On October 3, Chevy Chase Trust hosted Health Insights 2018, a program featuring three experts in the areas of genetic testing, the microbiome and the mind-gut relationship.
The first session featured Beth Peshkin, Professor of Oncology and Director of Genetic Counseling at Georgetown Lombardi Comprehensive Cancer Center. Professor Peshkin discussed hereditary cancer testing, and the benefits of working with a genetic counselor. Since 1998, the cost of genetic testing has significantly decreased, thereby opening access to a wider cross section of individuals. This increased access is producing data that influences preventive care and helps doctors make informed decisions regarding future care. Peshkin pointed out that while in some cases, genetic testing may be life- saving, consumers need to be very careful about the tests they use as the quality and reliability of results vary greatly.
The second session featured the co-founders and co-directors of the Amos Food, Body & Mind Center at Johns Hopkins. Glenn Treismann, MD, PhD, the Eugene Meyer III Professor of Psychiatry and Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and Director of the AIDS Psychiatry Service spoke about how genes and the bugs that make up our microbiome drive the choices we make every day. His remarks were followed by those of Jay Pasricha, MBBS, MD, Director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Neurogastroenterology. Dr. Pasricha explained how increased knowledge of the microbiome/brain relationship is shaping patient treatment for an extensive number of disorders and diseases. Describing the microbiome itself as a brain for the body, Pashricha indicated it controls us just as much as the brain in our heads. Both doctors predicted that in the future, medical treatment may be based on the food we eat rather than the medicines we take. According to the doctors, diabetes and obesity are two conditions both successfully managed by the replacement of certain bugs in the microbiome.