It is not rare to hear people saying over a glass of wine in a friendly gathering that scientists overreact with smoking risks. To make themselves believable, they bring live examples of relatives-who were heavy smokers- and outlived their habits. What they do not mention, possibly because they are unaware of, is the fact that if they had six or seven uncles like the one they described, these brave ones would have very few chances to reach 73years old, on the condition that they had a balanced daily routine where smoking would be their only vice.
The scientific field of Epigenetics sheds light on external factors such as the environment we live in or everyday habits such as diet, smoking, pollution and exercise as key factors that may affect the longevity of a healthy person. Although a person’s DNA is fixed from birth, epigenetic marks are more dynamic. Both the environment and individual lifestyle can also directly interact with the genome to trigger epigenetic change.
The first days of November, Chronomics Company launched the world’s first consumer epigenetic health service. Available online, it is based on an advanced DNA test and examines a person’s epigenetic data which can then predict their future health. This information is vital for people to make informed lifestyle changes, concerning their diet and fitness routines, take out the guesswork and add science to personalized health management. Chronomics was founded in 2017 by three Cambridge University PhD researchers. Dr Toby Call completed a PhD in industrial biotechnology, Dr Tom Stubbs and Daniel Martin Herranz worked at the forefront of epigenetic research at the Babraham Institute and the European Bioinformatics Institute.
Insights into the Chronomics platform
Speaking with Dr. Tom Stubbs, who with Daniel Herranz, threw out the initial idea, we tried to delve into the Chronomics which offers the basic tools for quality life.
One of our questions was whether the platform can offer some genetically based diet suggestions. According to what he said, everyone responds differently to certain diets and everyone has different nutritional requirements. Chronomics makes use of the latest trends in epigenetics, the science of how environment and lifestyle habits affect health standards including current metabolic status and nutritional predispositions. This way it enables users to fine-tune dietary components to match epigenetic and genetic requirements and improve their metabolic health and other markers as part of a healthy lifestyle.
But what happens when a person wants to deviate safely towards more epicurean experiences? Is there an option that the client can change some parameters and see how they could affect health? For example what if I drink two glasses of wine instead of one per day? Chronomics users get access to a range of lifestyle and environmental insights derived from the latest in epigenetics and AI. These insights enable users not to just alter certain health parameters blindly, but to make data-driven choices that affect their health positively. As part of the Chronomics platform, users are able to understand their results in the context of other factors including age, location and sex. Users will also be able to adjust certain parameters within the platform to understand how small lifestyle changes can drastically impact long term health. Although it may take a little more than going from one to two glasses of wine per day, but for example by setting it to zero glasses of wine as a healthy baseline goal, it can help people achieve a more long-term DNA health.
Nowadays apps and wearables provide a fantastic granular insight into someone’s daily health, whilst Chronomics is a window into longer term trends in health rather than daily fluctuations. The research team is actively developing solutions with partners to enable data from these devices to be integrated. Apart from these third-party integrations, the Chronomics user dashboard has a health tracking feature that encourages positive change by enabling users to keep a record of their healthy lifestyle accomplishments.
A simple test procedure
The Chronomics test starts with a simple saliva sample taken in the comfort of your own home. Researchers analyze DNA methylation, the molecular fingerprint that is the interaction between a person’s genetic and epigenetic factors, namely lifestyle and environment. Chronomics profiles, specific lifestyle and environmental indicators are evaluated to give an overall picture of health – from biological age to metabolic status and impact of smoke exposure.
After the test analysis has been completed, users receive their online results, privately and securely. Through an online dashboard, they can then optimize a personalized life plan tailor-made to their individual requirements. This takes all the guesswork out of proactive health management, putting users back in control of their lifestyle choices.
Chronomics Co-Founder, Dr Tom Stubbs commented, “By bringing advanced epigenetics into the mainstream, this is the start of true personalized health management”. An annual Chronomics test and life plan cost £699 and are already available.