Color Genomics’ cholesterol and heart disease test: Are expensive genetic screens worth it?


[Color Genomics] is releasing a genetic test for a condition called familial hypercholesterolemia, or FH, which causes sky-high cholesterol levels and a corresponding increase in the risk of heart attacks and strokes.

Some outside cardiologists say that they’re not sure there is value in routinely testing for FH, despite the fact that the disease is a unquestionably deadly, because simple tests for cholesterol and low-density liprotein (LDL, the “bad cholesterol”) are so cheap and readily available. Why pull the blueprints, they argue, when you can much more cheaply just listen to the engine?

James Stein of the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, echoed those concerns, worrying about turning ‘people’ into ‘patients’ unnecessarily.

But there is also a building chorus of experts on Color’s side, who think genetic testing for FH can help identify and motivate patients in ways that testing for LDL levels cannot.

Some facts everyone agrees on: FH is serious, even if there is only one copy of the gene; in patients who have two FH genes, heart attacks can occur in people’s twenties.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion, and analysis. Read full, original post: A New Heart Disease Test Flings Color Genomics Into A  Battle About Genetics In Medicine