Thank you for contributing to better science!
When you participate in the Healthy Nevada Project, you’re contributing to more than basic
scientific research; you’re helping to power research that may one day lead to better healthcare
for your entire community. Our goal at the Healthy Nevada Project is to learn more about the
complex relationship between our genetics, environment, and health. With this type of
information, we may be able to improve the prevention, identification, and treatment of certain
conditions. To do this, however, we rely on participants like you. (If you haven’t signed up yet,
you can do so here)
Because our participants are vital to our research, we want you to be informed and up to date
on the latest research findings that are coming from the Healthy Nevada Project. Below, you’ll
see brief descriptions (as well as links to the primary articles) describing our most recent
Population Health Genetic Screening for Tier 1 Inherited Diseases in Northern Nevada:
90% of At-Risk Carriers are Missed
Publicly announced on May 27, 2019
What was the study about: In this study, a team of researchers from Renown IHI and Helix,
compared two methods that can be used to identify people who may be at risk of developing a
disease and would benefit from early medical intervention. The two methods being compared
were population-scale genetic screening—the kind of DNA testing that is not initiated as a result
of a patient’s symptoms or family history—and the current methods used in standard medical
practice which suggest patients receive genetic testing if they’re showing symptoms of a
disease, or if they’re family’s medical history suggests a possible genetic condition.
Results: We analyzed data from the first 23,000 Healthy Nevada Project participants to identify
the percentage of individuals who have clinically actionable results—meaning they’ve inherited
a genetic variance that greatly increases their likelihood of developing specific conditions. But it
also means these individuals are now able to work with their physicians to potentially prevent, or
lessen the impact of these conditions. Here’s what we found:
- 1.3% of participants had a genetic variance that could cause medically actionable
- 90% of these people would likely not have known about their increased risk had they not
participated in a population-scale genetic screening project.
- 26% of those people with medically actionable results had already begun to show signs
of disease development.
Take home message: The evidence published in this paper makes a strong case for population-scale genetic screening. We show that hundreds of Healthy Nevada Project participants are living with an elevated risk of developing certain conditions, such as breast cancer or Familial Hypercholesterolemia; and further show that these people are largely unaware of their risk due to limitations in the methods used under current medical practice.
Genome-wide rare variant analysis for thousands of phenotypes in 54,000 exomes
Publicly announced on July 4, 2019
What was the study about: Science is still in the early phases of understanding how each part
of the human DNA sequence, consisting of 3.2 billion building blocks, contributes to our traits.
We worked closely with our partners at Helix to evaluate DNA from Healthy Nevada Project
Participants in order to discover new links between genetic factors and our traits.
Results: We analyzed DNA from 54,000 people and compared this to information from each
person about their traits—more than 3,000 traits in total. Here’s what we found:
- Several previous associations were confirmed—including the association of specific
genetic factors and serious heart conditions, such as Familial Hypercholesterolemia.
- Some new associations were suggested, including one that links a genetic factor with
blood flow properties in the brain.
Take home message: This paper not only helps to expand and reaffirm existing knowledge
about human genetics, it also demonstrates the usefulness of a new and powerful (and quite
technical) method for studying human genetics.
None of the research could be done without YOU, the participant. That is why we honor what your sample has contributed to the scientific community.
Spread the news! With each ounce of spit, we are changing the current understanding of population health and making Nevada healthier!