New multi-gene test may help find risk of heart disease, other conditions

Researchers are reporting a new way of analyzing genetic test data that may help identify people at high risk of heart disease and other common medical conditions. The new test might save lives by detecting potentially fatal conditions well before any symptoms appear and allowing doctors to provide appropriate lifestyle modifications or treatments, the researchers suggest. The test measures millions of small genetic variations that add up to cause harm, allowing investigators to calculate a person’s risk or ‘polygenic risk score’ for heart disease and four other serious disorders including type 2 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, breast cancer, and atrial fibrillation. Their study, which is partly funded by NHLBI, appears in Nature Genetics