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Home DNA test warning, the diabetes link to dementia and how HIV may one day be harmless

A wealth of front-page health news this morning, with the Independent giving top billing for the new home DNA test for conditions such as cancer and Parkinson’s, which it says has gone on sale in the UK despite being banned in the US.

The test, made by a Google-owned company called 23andme, costs £125 and can tell if you carry recessive genetic variants linked to 43hereditary conditions, including cystic fibrosis and sickle cell anaemia, and any of 11 genetic risk factors for diseases such as hereditary breast cancer and Parkinson’s disease, from a saliva sample.

But the paper says it comes with a health warning, with a Department of Health spokesperson urging people to ‘think carefully before using private genomic services as no test is 100 per cent reliable’.

Elsewhere, the Express gives over its front page to news that having diabetes in middle age is strongly linked with the development of dementia in later life.

Apparently researchers have found diabetes can make the brain age five times faster than normal.

Study leader Dr Elizabeth Selvin, of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in the US, said: ‘If we can do a better job at preventing and controlling diabetes, we can prevent the progression to dementia.

‘Even delaying dementia by a few years could have a huge impact on the  population, from quality of life to health care costs.’

Lastly, the BBC reports that HIV may be evolving to become less deadly.

Researchers believe the virus is becoming milder and less infectious, as it adapts to the human immune system – and may one day even become harmless.

Professor Philip Goulder from the University of Oxford commented: ‘The virus is slowing down in its ability to cause disease and that will help contribute to elimination.’


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