Public Release: 

Genetics brings promise of personalized medicine to a variety of specialties

The JAMA Network Journals

A better understanding of genetics can lead to improvements in prevention, diagnosis and treatment of a wide variety of diseases, according to reports published in the March issues of Archives of Dermatology, Archives of Neurology, Archives of Ophthalmology and Archives of Surgery, four of the JAMA/Archives journals. The theme issues on genetics are being published in conjunction with a JAMA theme issue on the same topic.

"This issue showcases a few of the latest advances in clinical genetics of the skin," writes Anthony E. Oro, M.D., Ph.D., of Stanford University School of Medicine, Calif., in an editorial in Archives of Dermatology. "While scientific progress opens opportunities for medical breakthroughs, it also engenders additional challenges that need to be addressed in the years to come."

Articles in the issue cover the genetics of:

  • Vitiligo, a disorder of skin pigmentation
  • Autoinflammatory diseases
  • Keratosis, or growths on the skin
  • Atopic dermatitis

(Arch Dermatol. 2008;144[3]:389-391, 310-316, 392-402, 375-379, 412-413. Available pre-embargo to the media at

"The advances in genetics and genomics during the past decade have provided insight into the molecular processes underlying many ophthalmic disorders," writes Janey L. Wiggs, M.D., Ph.D., of Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary, Boston, in an editorial in Archives of Ophthalmology. "These discoveries are valuable to the scientific community but also to physicians, as newly revealed genetic information is increasingly used to improve the quality of health care."

Articles in the issue discuss the genetics of:

  • Corneal dystrophy, or clouding in the eye's clear outer membrane
  • Progressive damage to the eye's cone cells
  • Uveal melanoma, a cancer of the eye
  • Eye movement disorders

(Arch Ophthalmol. 2008;126[3]:422-423, 388-394, 371-377, 379-384, 409-421, 388-394. Available pre-embargo to the media at

"Neuromics, the analysis of genomic DNA for risk association with a neurological disease, has achieved considerable success recently," writes Roger N. Rosenberg, M.D., of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, and editor of Archives of Neurology in an editorial. "An increased risk for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Alzheimer's disease, restless leg syndrome and multiple sclerosis has been associated with polymorphisms in specific genes."

The issue includes articles on neuromics applied to the following conditions:

  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Alzheimer's disease
  • Brain malformations
  • Primary lateral sclerosis

(Arch Neurol. 2008;65[3]:307-308, 337-344, 345-348, 349-357, 373-378, 358-366, 383-386. Available pre-embargo to the media at

Articles in the Archives of Surgery address genetics and:

  • Severe obesity
  • Pancreatitis
  • Septic shock (severe infection leading to low blood pressure)
  • Liver failure

(Arch Surg. 2008;134[3]:235-240, 227-233, 242-246, 247-253. Available pre-embargo to the media at

Editor's Note: Please see the articles for additional information, including other authors, author contributions and affiliations, financial disclosures, funding and support, etc.


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