Expert Perspective: Healthy Nevada Project’s Clinical Results Milestone

clinical results

You may have recently heard about a Healthy Nevada Project milestone. The genetic study led by Renown and DRI is now the second population health study in the nation to return clinical results to study participants. Joseph Grzymski, Ph.D., principal investigator of the study, is here to explain.

Please talk about which clinical results are being returned to participants?

We’re returning clinical results for three hereditary issues. One is FH, or familial hypercholesterolemia, which is a genetic lipid issue. The other is hereditary breast and ovarian cancer, which you’ve likely heard in the news as BRCA 1 and 2. Likewise, we’re looking at Lynch syndrome, which is connected to an increased risk for colorectal cancer and endometrial cancer.

Why were these specific conditions chosen? And how are study participants being notified?

We looked at these specific conditions for a few reasons. First, they are relatively prevalent in the population, meaning a lot of people are at risk. That also means about 1 percent of study participants might have one of these three conditions.

The second reason is that we have clear guidelines for treatment of these genetic risks, and that’s really important, because you don’t want to pick up the phone and call somebody and tell them they have something wrong with them and not be able to tell them what to do.

With the study, we are going to reach out to these individuals. Renown Institute for Health Innovation’s medical research team will contact people by phone, talk through the process of what they should do and possibly follow up with genetic counseling. It’s really important to understand that all of these conditions are inherited from mom and dad, so we want to encourage them to talk to the rest of their family about these conditions.

What do these results mean for study participants and the community as a whole?

Learning about one of these conditions can have a big impact on the individual level. Of course, as part of the Healthy Nevada Project, we are screening the population at large to learn more about our community and how we can improve health in Nevada for generations to come.

How can others join the study?

Anyone over age 18 can go to our website and sign up if they live in northern Nevada. If you’d like to learn about your risk for these genetic conditions, you can opt in to receive these results.

Join the Healthy Nevada Project

Recruitment for phase two is still open. In addition to opting in to receive clinical results, participants receive National Geographic’s Geno 2.0 ancestry app at no cost. They also have the chance to pick an additional app for health and wellness after completing a follow-up survey.
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