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Gene test spots all known inherited heart conditions

You may never have to wonder about heart problems in the future.

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You might never have to worry that you'll fall victim to a heart condition passed along by your family. Researchers have developed a blood test that can reliably detect all known inherited heart problems, like genetically-based arrhythmia -- if doctors know about it, they can spot it. Previous tests only looked at a handful of genes and were only useful in certain circumstances, but the new technique identifies flaws in all 174 genes linked to the potentially life-threatening issues.

As you'd guess, this could do a lot to transform medicine. You should be that much more likely to catch an inherited condition before it becomes an emergency, giving you a chance to mitigate the effects. It should be cheaper and less burdensome, too -- doctors could test a whole family one time instead of watching it for years to see if heart problems crop up in more than one person. This won't spare you from having to take medicine or change your lifestyle, but it could prevent a tragedy.

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