Florida gene study could determine your risk for an early heart attack

A first-of-its-kind study on the horizon in Florida could determine if you carry the genes that could increase your risk of an early heart attack.

Dr. Steven Smith, the Chief Scientific Officer at AdventHealth, says that "if you have an interest in genomics, you want to learn more about yourself, or if you want to learn about your risk for this condition called familial hypercholesterolemia, this is the place to come."

AdventHealth is teaming up with personal genomics company 'Helix' for the 'WholeMe' study. They are looking for 10,000 Florida residents to spit in a tube. They will extract the DNA and screen it for genes linked to a genetic condition that causes high cholesterol and can lead to heart attacks and strokes if left untreated.

Dr. Smith leads the research enterprise at AdventHealth. He says that they are "particularly interested in people who have this familial hypercholesterolemia condition because they need to be treated more aggressively, to have lower cholesterol levels to prevent the development of heart attacks and strokes."

Researchers are hoping to advance personalized medicine. They want to find out how genomics, which is the study of a person's genes altogether, can prevent, diagnose, and treat diseases. They also want to see how it can impact personal health decisions.

Dr. Des Walker, an Associate Chief Medical Information Officer, says that "it provides a wonderful motivation for them to be empowered and take action, not in terms of medical treatment as well as the diet and exercise recommendations needed to decrease their risk for that."

Researchers will start recruiting for the 'WholeMe' study in July. It is open to anyone 18-years-old and older. 

For more information, visit wholemeflorida.com.