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23andMe, Lark Health Join Genetics, AI, Diabetes Prevention

23andMe and Lark Health are joining together artificial intelligence, genetic profiling, and diabetes prevention tools to improve individual wellness.

Artificial intelligence and genetics

Source: Lark Health / 23andMe

By Jennifer Bresnick

- Consumer genetic test company 23andMe has announced a partnership with Lark Health, provider of AI-driven health coaching programs, to allow consumers to use genetic test results to inform their approach to wellness.

The collaboration will integrate the results of 23andMe genetic tests into Lark Health’s wellness programming and CDC-recognized Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP), potentially changing an individual’s understanding of his or her diabetes risk and optimal prevention strategies.

“Access to your genetic information is really just the beginning — using that information to prevent serious health consequences is the next critical step,” said Anne Wojcicki, chief executive officer and co-founder of 23andMe.

“Our collaboration with Lark enables 23andMe customers to use their genetic information in a clinically validated program to help them make lifestyle changes to improve their health.”

In a previous study involving more than 400,000 individuals, 23andMe found certain genetic variants that are associated with body weight, says a press release.  The company also identified lifestyle factors that, in combination with genetics, have the biggest impact on weight differences.

Lark Health then integrated these findings into its popular AI coaching programs. 

“For example, the Lark AI coach makes personalized food recommendations using 23andMe's Genetic Weight Report results to rank the potential impact of certain food choices on a customer's weight. The AI coach will also personalize recommendations based on several other 23andMe reports such as Saturated Fat and Weight, Lactose Intolerance and Sleep Movement,” the companies stated.

Lark Health has a user base approaching two million individuals for its wellness coaching and diabetes prevention programs. 

Its Wellness Program can also integrate data from more than 70 types of health monitors or apps to create more personalized recommendations, says a blog post on the 23andMe website.

“We're thrilled 23andMe chose Lark for this innovative collaboration that has the potential to impact weight loss counseling and diabetes prevention,” said Lark Health CEO and co-founder Julia Hu.

“Together, we have launched a new type of personalized and scalable counseling platform for chronic condition management based on genetics, and we hope to help millions live healthier lives more easily.”

The Wellness Program will be available to all 23andMe Health + Ancestry customers for a monthly fee.  Users can request insurance reimbursement for the DPP option, or may self-pay to cover the costs.

“Taken together these two new programs are an exciting opportunity for 23andMe Health + Ancestry customers,” 23andMe said.

“This not just because these programs can help nudge people toward their health goals, but also because they offer an actionable way for customers to use their genetic results to make lifestyle changes, something customers tell us they want.”

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