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Palm-held computers could hold your health some day

Are you one of those people who has her whole life loaded onto a palm-held computer? Your to-do list, your address book, your favorite books, your plans and goals for the next five years?

Someday, thanks to genetic research and rapid increases in computing power, you may literally be able to put "the book of life" -- your DNA information -- on a digital chip that could work with your hand-held computer, according to an article from ABCNEWS. This information could then be used to diagnose and treat diseases. Some experts say it will be available in the doctor's office within five years and in the home within 10.

The article says you'll be able to load your DNA information onto a microchip, plus genetic information about all the viruses and bacteria that could make you sick. The technology, which still needs approval from the Food and Drug Administration, would allow the doctor to make instantaneous treatment decisions based on the genetic information.

But some experts say it might not happen just this way, because people will be increasingly aware of such pitfalls as the information falling into the wrong hands. Vivian Weinblatt, president of the National Society of Genetic Counselors, says in the article that consumers might not want to have their entire DNA data on a disk or hand-held computer.

"It will be interesting to see what level of interest people will have in the entire genome, given the fact that some people now are reluctant to know about single genes," she says.

To find out more about genes, and the role they play in disease, you can read this from the National Center for Biotechnology Information. To find out more about DNA and the Human Genome Project, read this from the National Human Genome Research Institute.

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