Saturday, November 25, 2017

Promethease Review

A screenshot from Promethease's health report
Promethease.com is a third party website for providing a comprehensive health report from your raw DNA data. It's not free, but it is extremely affordable at only $5 per report. They accept DNA from 23andMe, AncestryDNA, FamilyTreeDNA, MyHeritage, LivingDNA, Genos, and possibly others. Promethease recommends trying to upload regardless of what company you tested with as "many formats" should work. If it doesn't work, they encourage you to email them.

There are two options when you purchase a health report: you can create a free account, or you can get your report without an account. With an account, your raw DNA data which you upload is saved on the site (until/unless you ever decide to delete it). The report generated from it is deleted from the website after 45 days, however, you can regenerate the report from your saved raw data for free at any time. If you manage more than one kit, you can include them all on one account (but each report still costs $5). If you don't create an account, after 24 hours, everything (including your raw DNA data) will be deleted from their site and if you ever need to regenerate the report, you would have to pay again. Either way, the report is downloadable to save on your computer for future use, and so you can give a copy to your doctor. So creating an account is beneficial for regenerating the report at any time for free, especially if there are updates to the report. But for those who are concerned with privacy and don't want to store their DNA on the site, they have that option. For more information on Promethease's privacy policy, see here.

Promethease's tutorial
The first thing you'll see in your health report is a tutorial that pops up when you open it. I would suggest going through it and opening the links it contains for further information. The data Promethease throws at you can be a little technical and a lot overwhelming, but the tutorial definitely helps.

Although it explains, in plain English, what different genes are associated with and what it means, whether it's good or bad for you, etc, the most confusing thing about it is that you can have one gene that says you have a decreased risk of something, and another gene that says you have an increased risk of the exact same thing. How that plays out in reality is really something you'd have to ask your doctor. Essentially, all Promethease is doing is pulling data from SNPedia, which is like Wikipedia for genetics (they source their info from peer-reviewed scientific publications), so you don't have to go looking up each one of your genes and what they might be associated with.

The amount of information the report includes makes it impossible to view everything at once, which is why they've included various ways to search, filter, and sort the results. If you want to see everything on cancer, for example, you can either use the search bar at the top for "cancer", or select cancer from the "medical conditions" drop down bar on the right. It will then list all genes you have which are associated with cancer, good or bad, or "not set" (see image above right). I normally untick the option for "not set" because this basically means there's not enough information to say whether the association is good or bad and that means it doesn't really tell you anything.

Read through all the info and click "more info" to get
complete data on what a gene is associated with.
Sometimes when you select conditions from the drop down menu, a report may not readily sound like it's associated with that condition. For example, when I select cancer, one of the reports is for "Possibly impaired folate metabolism" (shown left) and the information included doesn't mention cancer. However, reading the whole summary, tells me the gene is "linked to slightly increased risk for several types of brain cancer." This is good to know, considering my grandfather died of brain cancer. Additionally, when I click on "more info" at the bottom of the details, it takes me to this page, which includes a huge long list of others conditions it's associated with, not mentioned in the summary. So make sure you read everything thoroughly and when there is an option to click for "more info", click it. Keep in mind that a single gene may be associated with more than one condition and that may be why, at first glance, it doesn't seem associated with the condition you selected even though it is.

Magnitude chart
Also note the "Magnitude" number. This is a measure of the interest factor. SNPedia recommends magnitudes under 2 aren't worth paying much attention to. Above 3 should be particularly noteworthy. That means you may have a "bad" gene for a certain condition, but if the magnitude is low, it's probably not worth concerning yourself over. So if you have one gene that says you have a higher risk of something, and another gene that says you have a lower risk of the same thing, take a look at the magnitude for each. You may even want to filter out any reports under a magnitude of 2 or 3, as the ones above those magnitudes are the ones you're going to want to pay the most attention to.

Conclusion: Although a little technical and can be confusing if you have genes that seemingly conflict with one another, the amount of information you get for a mere $5 is absolutely worth it, particularly because they do explain, in plain English, what the results mean. This is easily the most comprehensive health report available, especially for the price. The ability to download the report in its entirety is extremely beneficial as well, not only for future reference, but also so you can give it to your doctor (an option that is surprisingly lacking on many other health reports I've used), and I would strongly recommend taking it to your doctor as well, for a better understanding.

3 comments:

  1. Thanks for the positive review! Feel free to pass on suggestions for improvements to SNPedia or Promethease any time - we welcome community curation and feedback.

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  2. I am confused as far as the pricing goes is it that you go from 23andMe and charge one $5 per line or is it $5 per analysis

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    1. I'm not sure what you mean by "per line"? It's $5 per raw data kit you upload. If you create an account and save the kit, you won't have to pay for reports for that kit again, because you don't have to upload it again. If you upload without an account, the kit isn't saved, and if you want to regenerate the report, you have upload the kit again, which means paying for it again.

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