“With this $50 genetic test, we can look at all polygenic risk for all common disorders.”

New research published in Brain suggests that polygenic risk scores can accurately distinguish healthy patients from those with epilepsy; even those with generalized versus focal epilepsies. The findings shed light on the ability of genetic testing to help personalize methods of diagnosing and treating serious disorders. 

Led by Dennis Lal, PhD, associate professor in the department of molecular medicine at Cleveland Clinic, the study is the largest analysis of epilepsy genetics to date. Lal and colleagues combined large datasets from genome-wide association studies in order to calculate polygenic risk scores in more than 8000 people with epilepsy and 622,000 controls. While preliminary, the findings suggest that these risk scores may be useful in the future to determine which patients with seizures may go on to develop epilepsy, setting off a cascade that includes earlier and more targeted treatment. 

In an interview with NeurologyLive, Lal discussed the value of genetic testing and how it can optimize the way we develop clinical trials and test new therapies. 
Cleveland Clinic-led Research Team Develops New Genetic-based Epilepsy Risk Scores [news release]. Cleveland, Ohio: Cleveland Clinic. October 14, 2019. Accessed October 14, 2019.