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February 9, 2012
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Kevin Sweet, an associate clinical professor of human genetics at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, has co-authored a book to help patients and consumers determine their individual risk for common diseases, seek genetic counseling and genetic testing when necessary, and learn how to apply acquired knowledge to influence their health.
“It is our hope that people will become better informed consumers of genetic and genomic testing and personalized medicine services that are available today, and those that will emerge over the next decade. We are entering an era in which patients and consumers will have the opportunity to learn a great deal from their genetic makeup,” says Sweet, also a genetic counselor at Ohio State’s Center for Personalized Health Care.
“Extracting useful information from one’s genes will help them better understand susceptibilities to rare and common diseases, and help their doctors with greater precision in monitoring, preventing and treating disease,” Sweet adds.
Sweet’s book, written with co-author Dr. Ron Michaelis, Your Genes, Your Health and Personalised Medicine, guides patients and consumers in understanding the genetic and non-genetic factors that influence risk and overall health, and appreciating how complex these interactions are. Specifically, content includes how one can estimate risk using personal and family history information, advantages and limitations of some genetic and genomic tests currently available, and the interaction by which non-genetic influences, such as nutrition, metabolism and environment, influence the activity of some genes. The book also stresses the importance of communication between patients, consumers and medical care providers.
According to Sweet, personalized approaches to medicine will improve safety, provide higher quality care, and lend better outcomes, potentially lowering healthcare costs. However, he says, there is a learning curve for patients and consumers, and few physicians feel confident in their ability to fully apply principles of genetics and genomics, upon which personalized medicine is based, to their practice.
Sweet also co-authored a companion book with Michaelis that enables healthcare providers to anticipate emerging developments and stay current in the fields of genetics, genomics and personalized medicine. This book, The Busy Physician’s Guide To Genetics, Genomics and Personalized Medicine, guides physicians and other healthcare professionals in understanding and applying principles of genetic and genomic medicine in their practices.
“The ability to understand and translate genetics and genomics into clinical practices, along with patient participation, is key to successful development and implementation of personalized medicine, and is crucial to advancing effective healthcare delivery,” Sweet adds.
Sweet is co-investigator of the Coriell Personalized Medicine Collaborative at Ohio State and directs the Family HealthLink project, an online tool that assesses risk for cancer and coronary heart disease. He is also a founding member of the National Society of Genetic Counselors Personalized Medicine Special Interest Group.