Health Highlights: May 2, 2018

Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

One Million Volunteers Sought for NIH Genetics and Health Study

The U.S. National Institutes of Health wants one million Americans to share their DNA and health habits in order to create a huge database to learn more about how lifestyle, genetics and environment affect health and how to reduce the risk of illness.

Nationwide enrollment in the 10-year, $1.45-billion All of Us Research Program will begin Sunday. People can sign up online or at participating health centers, the Associated Press reported.

Over the past year, more than 25,000 people gained early entry through an invitation-only pilot program offered by participating universities and health providers.

The program is a “national adventure that is going to transform medical care,” according to NIH Director Dr. Francis Collins.

At first, the program will be limited to people 18 and older, but will later be opened to children. At least half of the participants must be from groups typically under-represented in medical research, the AP reported.

There are other collections that include genetic data from at least 100,000 people, but the NIH project is meant to be the largest and most diverse of its kind.

Participants will give blood samples that will undergo genetic testing, share their electronic health records, and provide details about lifestyle factors such as diet, sleep, and environmental exposures. Some might be asked to wear fitness trackers and other sensors.

In contrast to most medical students, volunteers will be allowed to see their test results and share them with their doctor, the AP reported.

In order to protect participants’ privacy, identifying information on their medical data will be replaced with a code and only scientists that meet specific security requirements will be allowed to study the data, according to NIH.