Written by: Alyssa Sevilla
Have you ever wondered why two people with the same genetic makeup can have different health outcomes? Epigenetics, the study of how your behaviors and environment can cause changes that affect how your genes are expressed into proteins, may hold the answer. With advances in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, epigenetic testing is becoming increasingly popular for assessing coronary heart disease risk and providing more accurate predictions about a person’s risk of a heart attack. In this blog post, we’ll explore epigenetics in simple terms and how AI revolutionizes healthcare by providing a deeper view of a person’s health condition.
Epigenetics is the study of how genes are expressed over time. The same gene can be expressed expressed differently depending on environmental factors like diet and lifestyle. This differs from traditional genetic testing, which looks only at the genetic code itself. Epigenetic testing allows us to analyze a person’s epigenome—the complex layer of layer of modifications overtop of the genome that regulates the level of gene expression—to make more accurate predictions about their health condition.
At its core, epigenetics is about understanding how a person’s environment impacts the expression of genes to understand their disease risk better. Whereas traditional genetic testing provides only a snapshot of an individual’s genetics that does not change as we age and that controls only a small portion of risk for disease, epigenetic testing offers a much more comprehensive view of the everchanging lifestyle factors that can markedly increase or decrease our risk for disease.. With AI-driven technology, we can collect multiple layers of epigenetic information that provide larger insights into how our environment affects our health as we age.
One way this data is being used is in coronary heart disease risk assessments. By analyzing epigenetic and genetic data together, we can better predict an individual’s risk for developing coronary heart disease, leading to more tailored preventive care plans for patients at a higher risk of a heart attack than those methods that only use genetics. This type of precision medicine gives healthcare providers more accuracy and insight into their patient’s overall health and can even help detect diseases before they strike.
The potential applications continue; AI and machine learning are also used in genetic research and medical technology development to make discoveries faster than ever. For example, researchers have been able to use machine learning algorithms to identify new types of cancer mutations that were previously undetected using traditional methods. These breakthroughs will undoubtedly revolutionize healthcare as we know it, providing us with even deeper insights into human biology and disease prevention strategies.
As technology advances into uncharted territories such as AI-driven healthcare, new challenges such as safeguarding patient privacy and safety will emerge.. Despite these obstacles, it’s clear that epigenetics presents us with an exciting opportunity to unlock unprecedented levels of insight into our health conditions—allowing us to take proactive steps toward living healthier lives with greater clarity than ever before!
- Gharipour, M., Mani, A., Amini Baghbahadorani, M., de Souza Cardoso, C. K., Jahanfar, S., Sarrafzadegan, N., de Oliveira, C., & Silveira, E. A. (2021, September 14). How are epigenetic modifications related to cardiovascular disease in older adults? International journal of molecular sciences. Retrieved February 3, 2023, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8470616/