Quantcast Frequently Asked Questions : Health Nucleus

Frequently Asked Questions

About The Health Nucleus

What Is The Health Nucleus?

The Health Nucleus is the first-of-its-kind, research-based genomic enhanced health platform designed and conceived by Human Longevity, Inc. (HLI). The Health Nucleus is a wholly owned subsidiary of Human Longevity, Inc.

What is Human Longevity Inc.?

Human Longevity, Inc., is the genomics-based, technology-driven company working to revolutionize the practice of medicine.

Why is the Health Nucleus different?

The Health Nucleus is devoted to exploring, quantifying and beginning to understand you and your health and disease risk. Our research-based center combines genomics with an array of other clinical and biological measures.

Supported by the world’s largest genome sequencing center and experts in translating genomics data into clinically relevant information, this service will demonstrate how individuals can assess risk of disease and monitor health using complete biological measures.

When will the Health Nucleus open? Are other locations planned?

The first Health Nucleus is slated to open in La Jolla in the fall of 2015. Additional Health Nucleus offerings are planned for 2016 in US cities and other global locations.

Frequently Used Terms

DNA and the Human Genome

DNA is comprised of four chemical bases—A (adenosine), C (cytosine), G (guanine), T (thymine) that make up the genetic code. The full complement of DNA in the human body is called your genome. We each have over 6 billion base pairs or letters A, C, T, G in our genomes. When we sequence your genome we use a complex technology that converts the chemical language of DNA into the digital world of the computer. Your genome is the software of life in that it is the operating system of our body and codes for your physical structure and traits. Every cell in your body (except red blood cells) contains a copy of your genome. A genome has 46 chromosomes, and each person inherits 23 from each parent. You can inherit different gene (DNA) sequences from each parent that in combination with new genetic changes makes each one of us completely unique. We can even detect minor differences in identical twins. When we sequence your genome we identify the unique sequence variations that identify you. Some of the sequence variants can predict human traits such as eye and hair color as well as diseases and disease risks. We can sequence your genome from any tissue including tumor tissue; generally we use a blood sample.

Microbiome

In addition to the approximately 100 trillion cells in our body, the human body is also home to trillions of bacterial cells that live in and on your body. These organisms are collectively referred to as your microbiome and are essential for maintaining good health. They populate our bodies immediately at birth and play vital roles in the development of the immune system, as well as in the digestion and absorption of specific foods and production of certain nutrients. DNA sequencing of the microbiome provides important information about the type of microbes that live in and on the body and that impact health and whether there is a dysbiosis. A dysbiosis is an imbalance of the healthy microbial populations that can be associated with specific diseases. Continued investigation of the composition and function of microbes will allow us to elucidate their role in disease and in maintaining health, and help to develop biomarkers associated with disease. The microbiome is collected from saliva and stool samples.

Metabolome

Metabolomics is the measurement and analysis of metabolites in your body. Metabolites are small chemicals such as sugars, fats, hormones, signaling molecules, and intermediate and end products of the processes and biochemical reactions that take place within your cells, or from bacteria in your gastrointestinal system. Your metabolites gives a direct functional readout of your physiological state. Analyzing metabolites can assess physiological imbalances that are the precursors to disease. The complete set of metabolites is referred to as the metabolome. A blood draw is needed for metabolomics analysis.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)

An MRI is a diagnostic imaging test that provides detailed and precise images of your body’s anatomy through pairing electromagnetic fields, radio frequency signals, and accelerated gradient coil switching. The Health Nucleus utilizes a proprietary research protocol to provide comprehensive imaging assessments including quantitative neurological segmentation, metabolic analysis, head and neck vasculature assessment, and early cancer detection. The scan takes approximately 90 minutes to complete.

Dual-Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry (DXA)

DXA is a non-invasive imaging test that measures bone density, muscle mass, and percentage of body fat. The DXA scan is used in the Health Nucleus to assess bone loss, fracture risk, and provide additional insights into body composition. A person’s genotype may affect risk of certain degenerative bone conditions, as well as body type. When combined with genomic data, the used of DXA technology to quantitatively determine bone density over time may provide insights into an individual’s specific risk for these conditions. Because aging is often associated with decreased bone density and muscle mass, evaluation with DXA also provides current risk of bone fractures and osteoporosis. The scan takes approximately 15 minutes to complete.

Gait/balance testing

Gait and balance is determined by a combination of physical functioning of joints, muscles, nerves and brain. These things are also impacted by sight, sensation and perception. Certain inherited neurological and musculoskeletal conditions often manifest with gait and balance abnormalities, especially over time. Assessing gait and balance in combination with genotype will enhance our understanding of genetic risk for these conditions and screen for early disease. In the Health Nucleus, gait and balance are quantitatively measured through the integration of time and pressure of footfall during an individual’s baseline walk and while performing other cognitive-based tests. The test takes approximately 20 minutes to complete.

4D Echocardiogram

An echocardiogram is a test that measures cardiac structure and function, including the movement of valves, heart muscle, and blood flow. In addition to traditional 2D techniques, the Health Nucleus uses 3D and 4D technology to gain insights into your heart muscle function and valve structure; blood flow is also evaluated and measured via Doppler technique. The test takes approximately 30 minutes to complete.

Electrocardiogram (ECG)

An electrocardiogram is a test that measures the electrical activity in your heart. It can also provide information about heart muscle thickness and chamber size. The electrocardiogram measures the time it takes for different areas of the heart to contract and relax and can provide insights into inherited arrhythmia disorders. The test takes approximately 10-15 minutes to complete.

Arrhythmia Monitoring

An electrocardiogram (ECG) measures your heart activity and rhythm over a few seconds. Because heart rhythm abnormalities (arrhythmias) such as atrial fibrillation can often be intermittent, heart rhythm monitoring over longer periods of time is also important. The Health Nucleus uses a continuous heart rate monitor to measure your heart rhythm for up to two weeks. When combined with genomic data, this additional heart rhythm monitoring and analysis enhances understanding of disease risk. While most arrhythmia monitors are worn for 24 hours, this device may be worn for up to two weeks across a range of activities and settings. The intent is to capture the heart’s intrinsic rhythm (beyond just the heart rate) over a period that is an accurate representation of an individual’s lifestyle.

Neuro-cognitive Assessment

A neuro-cognitive assessment looks at brain functioning and is essential in understanding physical health. There are genetic underpinnings to cognitive functioning, which include risk for neurological diseases. Combined with multiple tests in the Health Nucleus, the assessment evaluates your current cognitive functioning. Measuring cognitive functioning over time helps in the detection of subtle brain changes. The test is easy to self-administer and completed from your personal computer. The assessment includes simple motor performance, attention, memory, and executive function. The assessment takes approximately 30 minutes to complete.

The Experience

What can I expect?

The Health Nucleus’ multidisciplinary clinical team will work with individuals and their primary care providers to monitor health and assess disease risk using biological measures such as whole genome, microbiome and metabolome sequencing. We will partner with physicians to enable patients to benefit from the integration of this information.

What tests are taken during my Health Nucleus Visit?

Tests administered during a visit to the Health Nucleus include:

  • Whole Genome Sequencing
  • Metabolome & Microbiome Analysis
  • Comprehensive MRI Scans
  • Additional Imaging Analysis
  • Advanced Functional and Biometric Screenings
Do you sequence my entire genome or just a part you want to study?

The Health Nucleus is able to benefit from Human Longevity, Inc.’s whole genome sequencing and analysis. HLI is building the world’s largest genome sequencing center, creating a comprehensive database of whole genome, phenotype and clinical data.

We believe this comprehensive approach allows for a more complete picture of your health. In addition to your complete genome, we will also sequence and analyze your microbiome (the full complement of microbes that live in and on your body and contribute to health and disease), your metabolome and other clinical diagnostic and functional measures.

How can I access my Health Nucleus Report?

An online portal is available and a login is provided to all customers. You will receive a personalized report based on our analysis that our physicians will review with you and with your doctor.

What should I do before I come to the Health Nucleus before my first meeting?

We’ll reach out with detailed instructions before your visit to the Health Nucleus.

Insurance & Your Physician

Will my insurance be accepted?

While Health Nucleus services are not covered by health plans, you must provide proof of health insurance in order to enroll in order to ensure that any necessary follow up testing will be covered.

How will the HLI Health Nucleus team work with my doctor?

We partner with physicians to enable you to get a more comprehensive picture of your health.

The information collected at the Health Nucleus will be presented to you and your physician in the form of a clinical report, which will serve as a genomic-powered road map for managing your health. Throughout your journey, our genomics experts are available to answer any questions your physician may have.

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