Genetic Rant & Roll – The Miniseries: Part 1

First the disclosure statement: we actually got our first ‘perk’ for doing this webpage. ArcticDX, the parent company for Macula Risk and VitaRisk genetic testing, has provided Lin and I each with a free genetic test Vita Risk to see if we have the genotype that interacts with zinc and makes your AMD deterioration progress more rapidly than those without it.  The price quoted to the public for these tests is $500 each without insurance, $50 copay if an insurance covers it.

That said, we have no intention of letting these generous gifts cloud our judgment about whether we think the information was valuable, etc. However, we will be using their products, talking about their products and consulting with their genetic counselors because we have been able to use their product for – one of my magic words – free. If you have a genetic testing company and wish to extend us free services, we will write about your company also.

OK. Thanks to Gerry and all of the folks at Arctic. It is exciting for us to think you believe in us and the quality of what we are doing enough to want to be associated with us.

I got my kit midweek and just got around to opening it this morning. I had wanted to give myself plenty of time to do it because I am really lousy at following directions. Fortunately for me directions were pretty basic and straightforward. You open the envelope, run one brush around the inside of one cheek, scraping 20 times, and then scrape the second brush on the inside of the second cheek. I did it first thing in the morning, before breakfast, so there was no stray DNA in my mouth. Never really thought of chicken or pig DNA being in my mouth after a big breakfast, but it would make sense.

I thought my cheeks would be tender but I hardly felt it. The brush is very gentle.

The kit is now sitting in the mailbox waiting for the letter carrier to pick it up and send it on its way. Not sure how long it will be.

The literature that came with the kit is possibly a little more optimistic than I would like, but this is the nature of advertising. I don’t believe medicine is quite able to apply genetic information in determining treatment and management strategies as well as the brochure suggests. Someday. I am interested in seeing what kind of ‘personalized treatment’ is going to be suggested. [Lin/Linda: at this point in time, the results can provide guidance to eye professionals as to creating treatments plans (how often to have an office visit, how often to have various eye tests) and whether AREDS supplements are advisable and with or without zinc.]

That is our most recent venture into the brave new world of AMD and vision loss. Please keep in mind: we are two sets of experiences, two opinions only. If you have experienced or believe something different – or even if you back us up for that matter – let us know. We are on this journey of exploration together.


Lin/Linda: I do not have AMD so there is no way my insurance would have paid for a test for me.  However, I do have a family history and I am the “right age” as the company representative told me & it will tell me if I’m one of the ‘zinc sensitive’ people.   Neither of us could benefit from and we did not have the Macula Risk test that ArcticDX has which includes a 10 year prognosis.  The prognosis shows estimated progression to advanced AMD which is what Sue has.  And I don’t have AMD.

 

Click here for contact information for ArcticDX.

 

 

 

Click here for other sources of genetic testing for AMD through the US National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), a division of the National Institute of Health. This is their Genetic Testing Registry with labs around the world not only in the US.

Next: Genetic Rant & Roll – The Miniseries: Part 2

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