ROCHESTER, Minn. -- Our DNA can tell us just about everything.
Spit in an ancestry kit, and you can find out where you're from.
But what if your DNA could help your doctor, before you ever get sick?
"That's what everybody wants," said Dr. William Mauck with the Mayo Clinic in Rochester. "They want the right medication at the right time for the right patient, and the right dose."
Right now, doctors at the Mayo Clinic are studying this.
"Pharmacogenomics," said Mauck.
"Pharmacogenomics is really the study of how your genes influence the metabolism of medications you might be taking," said Dr. Matthew J. Ferber with the Mayo Clinic.
So essentially, a DNA test that lets doctors know which drugs are the best for you, to help you manage pain more safely and effectively.
"Knowing this type of information before you need the information is critically important, because the types of test that we do in order to produce these results can take some time," said Ferber. "But knowing these results can really inform a physician about what drug to give you, what drug to avoid giving you, what drug to give you and at what dose."
This DNA data will be kept locked away with your medical records. Hopefully you never need it, but if you do, doctors will know immediately which drugs to prescribe or not to prescribe, like - for some - opioids.
"Opioids certainly have a very vital role in how we treat patients with pain," said Dr. Mauck. "The problem is then these medications get perpetuated either by providers who inadvertently give more than what maybe is needed and the patients become either tolerant or – some do – have addictive personalities and begin abusing these medications."
All of this is an education for physicians and providers, starting from the data in your DNA.