Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Individualized Medicine Emerging From Gene-Environment Studies

Date:
January 24, 2005
Source:
Penn State
Summary:
New understanding of the dynamic interplay between genes and environment, made possible by technologies arising from the Human Genome Project, helps support the individualization of medicine and makes focusing on racial or ethnic group differences in disease less relevant, say Penn State researchers.

University Park, Pa. -- New understanding of the dynamic interplay between genes and environment, made possible by technologies arising from the Human Genome Project, helps support the individualization of medicine and makes focusing on racial or ethnic group differences in disease less relevant, say Penn State researchers.

Related Articles


"Technology has given us the ability to make a much more comprehensive picture of health outcomes," says Keith Whitfield, associate professor of biobehavioral health. "We now see, for example, that the origins of racial health disparities can involve both genes and environment and the interactions between them. The crux of the matter is the individual, with her or his unique genetic constitution and history of environmental influences."

Whitfield and Gerald McClearn, Evan Pugh professor of health and human development, are the authors of a paper, "Genes, Environment, and Race," published in the current issue of American Psychologist. The January issue is a special issue devoted to race in health and social science research.

The researchers write, "Investigations of the origins of health disparities across ethnic groups have traditionally emphasized environmental hypotheses that concentrate on social and economic inequities related to differential health outcomes. The recent explosion of genetic research clearly shows how genes affect individual variation in many aspects of health and illness."

They point out that some diseases, such as phenylketonuria or Huntington's chorea, have been found to be associated with a single major gene. However, they note, that one gene/one disease scenarios are typically not the case. Rather, because of gene/gene and gene/environment interactions, a particular genetic input or particular environmental input may have quite different consequences in different individuals. In addition, although one gene might be regarded as "the" gene for a condition, it is not necessarily "the only" gene for the condition.

In addition, Whitfield and McClearn offer the case of African American high blood pressure as an example of how the relative inputs of genetics and the environment to a disease state can vary across cultures. High blood pressure affects about 65 percent of African American elders between the ages of 65 and 74. When the Penn State researchers analyzed data from a recent twin study, the Carolina African American Twin Study of Aging, they found a large proportion of the individual variability in blood pressure for African American adults arose from environmental sources. Previous studies on other populations had shown that, although environment does impact blood pressure, genetic factors played a larger role in determining the individual differences in blood pressure.

In addition, they note that population differences can and do exist with respect not only between majority and minority populations but also among groups of different European origin. As an example, they describe research conducted by McClearn, Whitfield and colleagues with Swedish and Russian twins that showed that the proportion of variance for one particular condition attributable to genetic factors was greater for the Swedish than for the Russian sample. In addition, shared environmental influences were not important in the Swedish sample but accounted for nearly half of the variance in the Russian sample.

Whitfield notes that thanks to progress in genetics, the focus in medicine may return to treating each person as a unique individual. He says, "When doctors knew you and your family and your work and home environment, they were able to treat and prescribe for you based on their awareness of those unique characteristics. Advances in genetics can help return to a more individualized approach to medicine."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Penn State. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Penn State. "Individualized Medicine Emerging From Gene-Environment Studies." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 January 2005. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/01/050123213425.htm>.
Penn State. (2005, January 24). Individualized Medicine Emerging From Gene-Environment Studies. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 31, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/01/050123213425.htm
Penn State. "Individualized Medicine Emerging From Gene-Environment Studies." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2005/01/050123213425.htm (accessed March 31, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Solitair Device Aims to Takes Guesswork out of Sun Safety

Solitair Device Aims to Takes Guesswork out of Sun Safety

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Mar. 31, 2015) — The Solitair device aims to take the confusion out of how much sunlight we should expose our skin to. Small enough to be worn as a tie or hair clip, it monitors the user&apos;s sun exposure by taking into account their skin pigment, location and schedule. Matthew Stock reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Soda, Salt and Sugar: The Next Generation of Taxes

Soda, Salt and Sugar: The Next Generation of Taxes

Washington Post (Mar. 30, 2015) — Denisa Livingston, a health advocate for the Dinι Community Advocacy Alliance, and the Post&apos;s Abby Phillip discuss efforts around the country to make unhealthy food choices hurt your wallet as much as your waistline. Video provided by Washington Post
Powered by NewsLook.com
UnitedHealth Buys Catamaran

UnitedHealth Buys Catamaran

Reuters - Business Video Online (Mar. 30, 2015) — The $12.8 billion merger will combine the U.S.&apos; third and fourth largest pharmacy benefit managers. Analysts say smaller PBMs could also merge. Fred Katayama reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
S. Leone in New Anti-Ebola Lockdown

S. Leone in New Anti-Ebola Lockdown

AFP (Mar. 28, 2015) — Sierra Leone imposed a three-day nationwide lockdown Friday for the second time in six months in a bid to prevent a resurgence of the deadly Ebola virus. Duration: 01:17 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins