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The Problem With Personalized Medicine 216

Posted by Soulskill
from the it's-all-so-personal dept.
gManZboy writes "Talk of individually tailored medical treatment isn't pie in the sky. This approach eventually will help us address risk factors even before a disease can invade our cells, and detect preclinical disease before it gets out of hand. What role will medical informatics play in this brave new world? Hint: Little data projects may be as important as big data projects such as gene sequencing. At a recent symposium on personalized medicine, Ezekiel J. Emanuel, MD, chairman of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health at the University of Pennsylvania, questioned whether it would make more sense to target all the lifestyle mistakes that patients make rather than analyze genetic defects. His view: 'Personalized medicine misses the most important fact about modern society--little ill health and premature death is genetic, much more is lifestyle and social.' Is Emanuel a dinosaur or a pragmatist?"
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The Problem With Personalized Medicine

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  • by overshoot (39700) on Friday January 20, 2012 @11:00AM (#38761266)
    There are two parts to the "healthcare crisis" in the USA:
    1) People who can't afford it and therefore suffer. This includes accidents, communicable diseases, etc. that aren't much dependent on obesity.
    2) Huge amounts of resources spent (about half of all healthcare spending) on dragging out the process of dying for people who are, one way or another, going to die soon anyway. Most of them are geriatric patients with incurable progressive conditions: metastatic cancer, congestive heart disease, Alzheimer's, etc.

    Better lifestyle practices will give us longer, healthier, and for many of us happier lives. They won't make us invulnerable nor immortal. They won't keep our families from bankrupting themseves trying to add one more week of misery in ICU when our time comes.

  • by somersault (912633) on Friday January 20, 2012 @11:04AM (#38761322) Homepage Journal

    True, though I don't think it's just that. Any high GI food supplies you energy faster than you can use it. So your body starts storing that excess blood sugar as fat as fast as it can. And then in a little while you're craving energy again, hungry and/or tired. Basically you get sugar withdrawals.

    When I tried coming off carbs out of interest, I started in the evening. I felt incredibly tired the next morning. I went out for a walk (probably a mile or two in total) and was really worried I was going to fall asleep on my feet at one point.. but then by the end of the walk I felt good. Basically I think that was because if you exercise for 30 minutes or so you start burning fat for energy rather than relying on stuffing your face. Now I only eat "whole" carbs like brown rice and wholemeal bread/pasta/noodles/whatever. They don't give you the same sugar rushes and cravings that put your body on a chemical rollercoaster.

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