23andMe Releases New Report Revealing Genetic Likelihood of Experiencing Panic Attacks
With millions of Americans experiencing mental health symptoms, 23andMe+ members now have exclusive access to four mental health reports to help determine their genetic likelihood of having one of these conditions
SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., June 21, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- 23andMe Holding Co. (Nasdaq: ME) (23andMe), a leading human genetics and biopharmaceutical company, today released a new report as part of the 23andMe+ subscription service on the genetics of panic attacks, or episodes of intense anxiety with symptoms that include hyperventilation and a racing heart. Panic attacks may occur as part of panic disorder or as a symptom of other anxiety disorders, such as generalized anxiety disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) or other mental health issues.
The Panic Attacks Report, powered by 23andMe Research, adds to the collection of reports in the 23andMe service that focus on mental health, including reports also powered by 23andMe Research on depression and anxiety.
In addition, the unmatched size and scale of 23andMe’s database offers a unique opportunity to estimate the likelihood of developing a condition using polygenic risk scores (PRS). This gives 23andMe+ members easy-to-understand insights into their genetic risk for mental health conditions, panic attacks, depression, or anxiety, as well as other health conditions like high blood pressure, or coronary artery disease. Currently 23andMe offers its subscribers more than 30 reports based on PRS. The company has published a detailed white paper outlining the methods used to create PRS.
Beyond offering deeper insights into the role genetics plays in its customers’ mental health, 23andMe hopes that offering this new report may help diminish the stigma around mental health.
"Because there’s still stigma surrounding this topic, struggling with your mental health can be isolating, but being able to talk about it can be really powerful,” said Becca Krock, a Senior Product Scientist at 23andMe. "With our genetic reports, like the Panic Attacks Report, people can access information about the genetic component of their mental health, and get a sense of how that fits in with their life experiences. We hope this information can equip people to reach out and find new ways to care for their well-being."
Panic attacks are caused when an individual’s “fight-or-flight” response is activated, even when there is no clear, immediate danger. They are quite common, affecting an estimated 1 in 3 people in their lifetime, according to researchers at Harvard. In some cases, if panic attacks occur more frequently and continue over time, they may be diagnosed as panic disorder, a type of anxiety disorder where panic attacks happen frequently.
As with many mood and anxiety disorders, panic attacks and panic disorder are sometimes misdiagnosed or simply difficult to diagnose. Understanding one’s genetic risk for these conditions, and sharing that information with your healthcare provider may help in reaching the right diagnosis and treatment.
23andMe’s Panic Attacks Report is powered by data from people who have consented to participate in 23andMe Research. The report uses machine learning techniques to estimate an individual’s likelihood of having panic attacks.
The estimate is made using a statistical model that includes more than 6,700 genetic markers, as well as information on an individual’s ethnicity and birth sex. You can learn more about the science and methodology behind our polygenic reports in this white paper.
23andMe’s genetic health report on panic attacks can provide customers with helpful information on their estimated genetic likelihood of being diagnosed with the condition, but it is not a substitute for clinical diagnosis and treatment.
23andMe is a genetics-led consumer healthcare and biopharmaceutical company empowering a healthier future. For more information, please visit www.23andMe.com.
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