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Medicine Google Stats Science

Google Looking To Define a Healthy Human 125

Posted by Soulskill
from the bet-this-one's-going-to-get-Godwinned-quick dept.
rtoz writes: Google's moonshot research division, "Google X," has started "Baseline Study," a project designed to collect anonymous genetic and molecular information from 175 people (and later thousands more) to create a complete picture of what a healthy human being should be. The blueprint will help researchers detect health problems such as heart disease and cancer far earlier, focusing medicine on prevention rather than treatment. According to Google, the information from Baseline will be anonymous, and its use will be limited to medical and health purposes. Data won't be shared with insurance companies.
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Google Looking To Define a Healthy Human

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  • According to Google, the information from Baseline will be anonymous, and its use will be limited to medical and health purposes. Data won't be shared with insurance companies.

    Given the revelations from Snowden I see no reason to trust Google or any other large American company.

    • by Scottingham (2036128) on Friday July 25, 2014 @02:34PM (#47533909)
      Given the revelations from Snowden I see no reason to trust Google or any other large company. -Fixed that for you.
    • While I believe your statement to be true, I think given Google's history and business model it's unwise to assume the risks to the health data that'll be collected come only from government entities. And actually, the thought that the government might get at my health history through this doesn't particularly bother me since they likely already have acquired it legitimately for various reasons.

      But Google could easily spin the "limited to medical and health purposes" to include health- and medical-related c

    • Relax, this is just two very rich guys being concerned about their own (future) health.
      Which is a good, and smart thing.

      This has nothing to do with collecting and improperly using sensitive, private data.

      • Two very rich guys have concerns about their bodies, and access to information about everyone elses. They get to judge what is improper or not.

  • Now you can target them like a laser!
    • Not to worry, spam ads aren't going anywhere. We just get targeted and spammed. Isn't the 21st century wonderful?

  • The finding (Score:5, Funny)

    by pushing-robot (1037830) on Friday July 25, 2014 @02:29PM (#47533875)

    The baseline healthy person is of mixed race, has 1.93 arms and 2.1 children, and is a hermaphrodite.

    • I guess I'd better go get 0.07 of an arm amputated.
      • by TWX (665546)
        Friend of mine did that with a shotgun when he was ten, outermost joint of his index finger one one hand. Several years later when he was in shop class he knicked the nub with the table saw and it started bleeding. The nurse came to the room and passed out when she saw what she thought was a freshly amputated finger...

        So the results can be highly entertaining, even if only from time to time.
        • by nschubach (922175)
          Slightly related: My older brother cut the tip of his thumb off when working on a shop project. The piece of wood he just cut was falling off the table saw and he reached over the blade to stop if from falling. This was a week before he was supposed to leave for the Naval Academy (he wanted to be a Marine pilot.) To get into the Naval Academy took a Congressional (or Presidential) nomination which are limited per year and he had received one of the few. After getting his the top re-attached, it had di
          • by turp182 (1020263)

            That's as bad as the colorblind son in Little Miss Sunshine.

            Sucks but I can understand the very stringent entry requirements for military pilots.

            So it goes - Vonnegut.

        • . . . I'm thinking of a fake finger tip, some ketchup and a hilariously "pull my finger" joke . . . with a twist.

          "Keep the tip."

    • And lives in Asia.

      If they're looking to define 'healthy,' the US is not the data pool of choice.

      • What they're doing is using data mining to locate biometric readings that aren't frequently followed by a negative health event.

        Obviously those metrics will vary a bit on gender, age, and other "healthy" factors that nonetheless influence health.

      • That is why they are only looking for 175 people. They don't expect to find many more than that.
    • by BKDotCom (542787)

      All hail our short-armed hermaphrodite overloards!

    • by timeOday (582209)
      Oh boy, brace yourself for thousands more comments like this objecting to the idea that there is one single "ideal human" and finding 'his' exact DNA sequence, even though nobody has stated such intent and there is no reason to do it.
      • by epyT-R (613989)

        It is almost certain that such information would be abused by ideologues as well as those looking to maximize profit, both at the expense of liberty.

      • by Belial6 (794905)
        The current practice of doctors and insurance companies using BMI to judge individuals indicates that there is an intent to define a single ideal human.
    • by epyT-R (613989)

      Along with a diet of kale and cabbage and a glass of water for each meal, this would be the only politically correct configuration. Anything else would 'offend' some protected group, thus it must be incorrect. I'm sure with state mandated health care, they'll eventually try to enforce this 'standard' on everyone, for our own good of course. In typical leftist brokenness, suddenly "Diversity is disabled for this session."

    • by Reziac (43301) *

      Examine the pool of Slashdot users, then assume the opposite.

  • by Princeofcups (150855) <john@princeofcups.com> on Friday July 25, 2014 @02:35PM (#47533927) Homepage

    "Oh that promise to not sell the information? Well, we screwed up and sold it all for $10 Billion. Pay a fine of $10 Million? Sure, that's fair."

  • by TWX (665546) on Friday July 25, 2014 @02:36PM (#47533937)
    ...the initiative, led by Khan Noonien Singh, looks to improve the quality of life and longevity, strength, and memory for all humans, over the entire planet. On the goals of his project, Khan replied, "Improve a mechanical device and you may double productivity, but improve man and you gain a thousandfold."
    • Just make sure you melt down all the prototypes when you're done, we don't need another Lore incident...

      • by PvtVoid (1252388)

        Just make sure you melt down all the prototypes when you're done, we don't need another Lore incident...

        Wrong Noonien Singh [wikipedia.org], dude.

        • Well, OBVIOUSLY one of us is not spending enough of their time perusing Memory Alpha, harrumph harrumph!

          In all seriousness, I thought OP was creating a portmanteau of the two characters. Now I want to know if they're related.

          There goes my productivity. Eh, fuck it, it's Friday.

    • by russotto (537200)

      ...the initiative, led by Khan Noonien Singh

      -1, confusing Frankenstein and his monster.

      • by TWX (665546)
        Are you saying that Khan wouldn't, himself, look to continue to apply the same projects to others that created him? With his support for eugenics he'd want to replace the entire human population with engineered individuals.
    • by sysrammer (446839)
      KHAAAA...

      What? Oh.

      Well, mark me redundant then and be done with it.
  • Now, at last! Google People! In cooperation with the Venter Institute.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Oh wait, it's the detestable Democrats lying. How about that? What a fucking surprise! Lying Democrats? Who could believe this?

    Oh course they are trying now to say that the subsidy afforded to states to setup exchanges and withheld from those who do not was a typo. Get that? 1000s of pages and they made a typo. This of course due to a court ruling that says that those who signed up via the federal exchange cannot get subsidies because of - get this - the wording in the legislation - has to stand.

    Whic

    • by Reziac (43301) *

      This is what happens when no one reads the bills, let alone proofreads 'em.

  • The state and its now satellite insurance companies, who'd love to enforce it on the rest of us.

    "and now lets see which of us can touch our toes! Right over from the hips, please, comrades!"
    "anyone over 45 is perfectly capable of touching his toes!"

    • The insurance companies and the subservient state

      There, fixed that for 'ya. You're welcome.

      The insurance industry didn't get the largest corporate handout to come from any federal government, ever [wikipedia.org] by accident.

      • by epyT-R (613989)

        Actually, I bet it's a lot more bilateral than either configuration. The mutual scratching of the backs while they pretend to squabble for the proles.

      • by epyT-R (613989)

        one other piece..

        It takes a large state to build tyranny, whether its strings are pulled by a bunch of ideological loons, or by runaway corporate interests.

        • Actually, I bet it's a lot more bilateral than either configuration. The mutual scratching of the backs while they pretend to squabble for the proles.

          There is no disputing the incredible piles of cash that the insurance industry invested into Washington over the past several decades. Other than that capital investment (which helps to keep the "right" elected officials elected to office) what did the government have to gain by giving this giant gift to the insurance industry?

          From my vantage point this was a killer ROI for the industry. And a massive anal probe for the people.

          It takes a large state to build tyranny, whether its strings are pulled by a bunch of ideological loons, or by runaway corporate interests.

          I guess that depends on how one defines large. For example few people woul

  • They can't do everything, which is going to lead them to doing a lot of things suckily.

    How do they actually make money to keep those bazillions of servers running? Does anyone ever actually click on those ads?

  • As someone with a science background, I always find it shocking how much random guesswork goes on in medicine. You'd think that we could take a person in, take a bunch of different samples for analysis, test their DNA, run a full body scan, and just find anything that wasn't working the way it should. Ideally, I think our goal should be to be able to find illness even when the patient doesn't know it's there.

    It'd be great, for example, if you could go to the doctor and get a battery of tests, and have him say, "Hey, so you've been feeling a bit tired recently, right?"

    The patient says, "Yeah, I guess I haven't been sleeping well, and..."

    And the doctor interrupts, "Nope. I'm pretty sure the problem is that you haven't been eating enough [whatever]. It's causing too much of [something] in your system, which is causing you to be lethargic."

    I would imagine that part of the problem is that you can't establish what constitutes a problematic variance from "normal" until you establish what is an acceptable variance from "normal". You can't establish what constitutes an acceptable variance from "normal" until you have some baseline of "normal".

    • I would certainly be (a lot) happier if medicine actually worked that way; but are there any examples of our successfully reverse-engineering a system as complex as we are robustly enough to make those sorts of determinations? I may be forgetting, or ignorant of, something; but I can't think of any aspect of science where we've taken on a problem of that scale without a whole lot of hacks, constants defined to make the numbers work out, simplifications, or just plain acknowledgement that we have the math to
      • but are there any examples of our successfully reverse-engineering a system as complex as we are robustly enough to make those sorts of determinations?

        I don't know if there is a system as complex as we are, so you're right, it's going to be difficult. On the plus side, we've already been working on the project for a few thousand years, and we started making some real progress in the last hundred years or so.

  • Does the baseline healthy human enjoy targeted advertising, or does he really enjoy targeted advertising and find it to be an enriching aspect of his modern lifestyle?
  • ... that is, unil the insurance companies get another fantastic handout from the federal government, this time requiring google to release the information to them so that they can raise your rates. Google has no power in comparison to the insurance industry.
  • Baseline will be monitored by institutional review boards, which oversee all medical research involving humans. Once the full study gets going, boards run by the medical schools at Duke University and Stanford University will control how the information is used.

    Now feel free to laugh derisively at the idiots who didn't read TFA and immediately started screeching about Google invading their privacy.

    • Yah they are going to do this with out thinking of making money for the shareholders some how. Where were you on July 24 2014 when corporations gave up a small change of profit to help out man kind.

      Healthy humans = better workers = better pay = more money to spend.

      • Profit doesn't mean that your privacy has been invaded.

        Patents on genetic tests [nature.com] already exist. This program is a way of developing more tests that can be patented and profited from.

        That said, my opinion is that allowing patents on human genes was a bad idea that should have never been allowed to happen, but that's an entirely different issue that has nothing to do with privacy.

  • Are they going to really look at the outliers? I'm 6'6" (almost 2.0M) tall. I personally think that some of the health metrics use "average" people and assume linearity for weight, calorie consumption, etc. We need to check the extremely tall, the extremely short as well as weight variations in a large sample.
  • In a sensible health insurance market, I might very well want to have insurance companies have my personal health data.

    I'm 61 and in perfect health. Literally, perfect health. Superb lipid profile, low blood sugar, not over weight, no diseases, never smoked, don't drink, athlete level blood pressure, etc. I work my ass off keeping this way.

    I WANT the damn insurance companies to discriminate on the basis of "pre existing conditions". Note that the term "pre existing conditions" is an insurance industry ter

  • According to Google, the information from Baseline will be anonymous, and its use will be limited to medical and health purposes.

    I work in the medical field. Both clinical and research. I've seen what "anonymous patient" data looks like. While it can be done correctly, it almost never is. When I say almost never, I mean under 5% of the time; and that's being generous.

    The DICOM data generated by most advanced imaging scanners (MRI, CT. etc) is pretty big. To make matters worse, every vendor (Philips, GE, Siemens, etc) uses more than just the standard fields (tags) to store the unique patient identifiers. They all also use proprietary

  • Unless a fat sack of cash or some sort of swanky government hand-out comes their way...

    And then, what then? We have another artificial "universal" measure for determining what "healthy" is? Like BMI supposedly is for weight measurement?

  • what a lot of posters strike me as missing, is that the DEFINITION OF WHATS HEALTHY IS ALREADY MADE, and when you apply for life insurance you AGREE TO SHARE ALL DR RECORDS AND GET RETESTED. So unless most of you just take the "cover your credit card debt and handle the funeral services" health insurance your company offers, then you've already crossed the 'share lots of specific health info, tied specifically to you' threshold. As someone who's off the bell curve in terms of body height, I'd welcome a
  • we need single payer health care in the usa and not let the GOP take us back to the old system where they will use tech like this to get out of having to pay for just about anything.

  • Use an algorithm to determine if they stick to the 3 major food groups, caffeine, nicotine, and ibuprofen. Parse through their social media interactions to make sure they never get angry because they have killed all of their enemies. And, bot through their pr0n accounts to make sure they have sex regularly.

  • Don't think we've seen one of those in a good long while. How many people reading this right now have a good diet? Do you exercise enough? How's your digestion? Immune system? Do you have any infections that won't go away/you don't know about? How's the ratio of bacteria in your intestines? Define a healthy human being.... no one knows what that is. Doctors certainly don't because there's no profit in it.

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