A new book by researchers at the Massachusetts General Hospital Harvard Medical School and University of Copenhagen presents critical evidence indicating that decisions about disease management are best optimized when individuals move in the right direction for the benefit of both patients and their caregivers.

We were interested in exploring how we can influence individuals behavior by using the genetic architecture when considerations are most important for health and the well-being of our patients says senior author Edward Inglis Ph. D. senior research analyst in the Department of Neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital and senior author of the novel book Genetic Environment and Physiology: From Neurogenetic Ancestry to Disease Prevention. It is a fundamental research question and one that has implications for screening programs that may overcome the clinical resistance to gene editing in a variety of diseases.

The exciting part of this approach is that we can activate the diversity of our health care systems and interventions with a greater protection against disease completely by modifying the genetic architecture of that individuals organ. In our case we probed for genetic variations that point toward increased longevity in twin and sister pairs similarly adjusted for the degree of physical and mental activity of the twin as well as for the biochemical physical and cognitive function of the offspring.

Edward Inglis Ph. D. senior research analyst in the Department of Neurology at Massachusetts General Hospital.

This method provides a novel approach for determining if the best genetic adaptation for an individual is to move in the right direction by being on the right physiology-wise particularly physical and cognitive systems or their closest relatives. This approach said Inglis is the key to making an important difference and providing an enormous benefit to the patients. And the approach has the potential to deepen the understanding of why some patients live longer than others.

It was a comparative analysis of several genetic variants by MDPh. D. student Nina-Paz Lakin Ph. D. Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) that led to this books conclusion. Using the Genome Identifier Analysis Program (GIP) a computational capability to generate molecular profiles on the basis of DNA sequences the authors screened 451 identical pairs of identical twin brothers and sisters before and after age 40. That is they tracked the genetic traits of all of those individuals who carried such traits. This was accomplished in a cohort of four patients with no genetic predisposition. Twin profile data were used to isolate genes running in each individual. Using clever data accounting for genetic variants in both the twins and the siblings such that many of the variations result from the genetics of the more closely related siblings including at least one duplicated deletion note the authors observed phenotypic deterioration over time. Female twins were included to increase their sensitivity.