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Published on January 24, 2018

Sherri and John Pattison

DNA Analysis Helped Woman Get Back to Being Herself

Spry and feisty, Sioux Falls retired hair stylist Sherri Pattison was not going to let a mystery ailment keep her down.

And the 72-year-old was down. Over the course of about two years, she estimated she fell about 20 times, in many cases, breaking bones in her face and arms, along with some teeth. Her condition not only baffled her and her husband, John, but her doctors as well.

In February 2017, her doctors encouraged her to take the GeneFolio™ test. As she said, it made all the difference in the world.

“Things really got better when the gene work came in,” said Pattison. “What I had was really rare – and I was in a lot of trouble. I am glad I had the GeneFolio test done because it helped my doctors understand what was going on.”

GeneFolio is a simple test, based on a single blood-draw that uses your DNA to predict the medications that may fit your body’s unique make-up for the best possible treatment and results.

Pattison has diabetes, high blood pressure and a heart condition, and she required a number of medications to treat these chronic conditions. Her doctor also discovered a small, slowly bleeding wound in her intestine that caused her to develop lower-than-normal iron content in her blood or anemia. This mixture of medications, along with the acute anemia, led to the falls.

“I broke both my arms, and I shattered my elbow, and I had a forehead injury along with breaking my nose and losing teeth,” she said. “People kept thinking I was passing out, and I knew I wasn’t. And I knew it wasn’t seizures, either.”

Avera Medical Group family medicine physician Andrea Miller, DO, said with the DNA information that GeneFolio provided, she was able to devise a plan that would help the drugs she needed from interacting in ways that actually hurt Pattison.

“I’ve found that the test has helped every patient who has had it, and in some cases, like Sherri’s situation, it helped us right away,” Miller said. “She was taking a statin medication and a beta-blocking drug, and we were able to find ones that did not have significant interactions.”

Before the GeneFolio test took place, Pattison worked with neurologists who ruled out brain and spine problems. Avera Medical Group hematologist Ayham Deeb, MD, provided her care during a series of transfusions and infusions. She said the information the test provided also helped him.

“Together, my doctors were able to get me on better medications for me. Now my iron levels in my blood are back to nearly normal,” she said. “More importantly to me, I haven’t had a fall in more than six months.”

That pinpoint DNA information was the key to this turnaround, Miller said, helping her to find a statin medication that she might not have considered without the test. For Pattison, who before these issues was an on-the-go woman who had been reduced to using canes and a walker, her insight is simple.

“I’m back to being myself – and I’m back to driving my new car. When I was falling I couldn’t drive it because they thought it was seizures,” she said. “That test is really something I needed to do. I am glad Dr. Miller and Dr. Deeb were able to use its results to help me get back to my life after two years of going through hell.”

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