Chatting With: Jacky Loong, CEO and Founder of MyLifeCodes

Share with us the backstory and your motivation for founding MyLifeCodes

Hi, I’m Jacky Loong. I’m the founder and CEO of MyLifeCodes. I have eight years of experience as a healthcare provider and I founded MyLifeCodes –  a genetic testing solutions provider founded – in October 2020. Through MyLifeCodes’ extensive DNA tests, we aspire to help individuals understand their bodies and health conditions better. 

In a period where non-communicable diseases (NCDs) or non-infectious medical conditions such as hypertension, diabetes, and high cholesterol in Malaysia are on the rise and are some of the nation’s leading causes of death. We feel obligated to play our part in reducing these numbers. We believe that we can provide patients with objective, invaluable information and facts to help them lead healthier lives.

Tell us more about MyLifeCodes and the services you offer

In collaboration with expert medical professionals in Bioinformatics – a field in which one combines biology, computer science, mathematics, information engineering, and statistics to analyze and interpret biological data. MyLifeCodes offers a convenient, affordable and accessible approach to genetic testing. We are committed to providing a solution-based approach to our patients. To achieve this, we collate data from Malaysian and East Asian DNA samples, which ensures higher accuracy in comparison to other test kits in the local market. 

We offer three different packages; Basic, Premium, and Platinum. Amongst the key highlights of these packages are TP53 Gene cancer-risk, 23 health-risk, 11 nutrigenomics and 14 weight management reports, which tests an individual’s risks of developing a wide range of conditions. All three of these packages also detail other conditions by providing wellness, allergy and sensitivity, skin condition, weight management, fitness, and personality traits reports. Altogether, we provide 263 general reports and 130 specific reports for our patients. Additionally, for the Premium and Platinum packages, patients are offered a free COVID-19 risk report and a vitamin and mineral analysis or nutrigenomic report. We also provide nutritional recommendations to overcome genetic weaknesses identified in your DNA.

But what exactly is a DNA test? How does it work and how is it done?

DNA testing is the total number of genetic variants that an individual has to assess to determine their heritable risk of developing a particular disease, we also call it polygenic risk scores (PRS). A PRS is calculated from many small genetic variants and can often be intervened by lifestyle factors. It allows doctors and scientists to confirm genetic conditions or help determine a patient’s chance of developing or passing on a genetic disorder and improve the patient’s lifestyle.

DNA testing is the total number of genetic variants that an individual has to assess to determine their heritable risk of developing a particular disease, we also call it Polygenic risk scores.

After choosing the preferred package, patients will go through a simple four-step process; 

1. Receive the DNA test kit, 

2. Collect the saliva in a test tube 

3. Send the DNA sample back for testing 

4. Receive the results after 6 to 8 weeks. 

Upon receiving the results, patients are also given free consultation sessions with our expert medical professionals.

What can a DNA test tell us about our health?

DNA tests allow us to be more informed about our own health. As mentioned earlier, the reports generated by MyLifeCodes are able to provide information such as wellness, allergy and sensitivity, skin condition, weight management, fitness, and personality traits.

This allows patients to better prepare for the future and alter their lifestyles to better control their potential conditions/diseases. 

This also applies to children as well. Every child is gifted and has their own set of unique talents, which are encoded in his/her DNA. Evidence-based genetic tests allow us to reveal the inherited and endowed inborn talents and personality traits of a child. The test allows parents to discover some of the innate talents that their child has been born with and details areas that the child is more likely to excel in. With this information, parents of young children will be able to plan their kids’ development to match their potential and interests without needing to slog through the tedious trial and error process. Parents can then plan for their development accordingly to allow their children to feel the initial success and build up their confidence.

What happens when someone goes through a DNA test?

It’s a pretty straightforward process actually, our patients would only need to provide a sample of their saliva to our researchers. After a set period of time – depending on the package they have selected, they will be able to receive a detailed report on their health conditions as well as consultation from our medical professionals.

What does the future hold for DNA testing?

I believe that gene therapy and pharmacogenetics are the future of DNA testing. These two are some of the most exciting developments in the medical field.

Gene therapy 

Gene therapy is an experimental technique that uses genes to treat or prevent disease. In the future, this technique may allow doctors to treat a disorder by inserting a gene into a patient’s cells instead of using drugs or surgery. 

Through gene therapy, researchers can replace a mutated gene that causes disease with a healthy copy, inactivate mutated genes that are not functioning properly, or even introduce a new gene into the body to help combat diseases. 

Pharmacogenetics

Pharmacogenetics is the study of how people respond differently to drug therapy based upon their genetic makeup or genes. This is because not everyone’s body reacts to certain drugs/medications the same way. 

This allows doctors and researchers to better understand the needs and requirements of patients and provide unique, curated lists to help with their specific health conditions.

Recommended health habits for Malaysians to live a healthier lifestyle.

I would advise everyone to take up DNA tests, knowing our genetic disposition is half the battle as it not only tells us what we don’t know about our bodies, it also allows us to better prepare for the future and implement lifestyle changes wherever necessary. Everyone is highly unique and gene expressions differ from person to person, and while healthy lifestyle practices help in preventing certain diseases and conditions from occurring, DNA tests provide us with an understanding of our bodies, requirements, and risks at a much deeper level.

That said, the general rule of thumb still remains, we should watch the food we consume, exercise often despite being cooped up in our homes (simple jumping jacks and yoga will do, as long as we keep our bodies moving and blood flowing). 

While some of us might be more productive while working from home, it is of utmost importance that we get enough rest at the end of the day, allowing our bodies to rest and recharge is not only healthy, but essential to ensure proper bodily functions and work productivity. Last but definitely not least, do go for regular health check-ups with your local doctor to keep track of your health and wellbeing.

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