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New ‘Scientific Wellness’ Strategy Could Cut Chronic Illnesses and Save Money

By September 18, 2018No Comments

“Scientific wellness” should be widely adopted as a health strategy to avoid chronic illnesses and reduce healthcare costs, according to Dr Leroy Hood, founder of the Institute for Systems Biology in Seattle.

This strategy was an entirely new way of doing medicine, which he described as “P4 medicine,” in that it was “predictive, personalised, preventive and participatory”.

Speaking at the “Schrödinger at 75 conference” on the future of biology, in Dublin on Wednesday, Dr Hood was critical of how much modern medicine was devoted to disease alone. New technologies in biology, however, “means we can now focus on wellness too”.

He outlined how in 2014 he persuaded 108 friends to take part in an experiment involving “deep phenotyping,” which involved a thorough analysis of their genome, as well as tracking their behaviour using devices such as a Fitbit and analysing “biomarkers” such as particular proteins.

“If you look at the determinants of health, genetics has a 30 per cent contribution, environment and lifestyle make up 60 per cent, and healthcare 10 per cent,” Dr Hood added. A better understanding of genetics and lifestyle could allow people take actions to make them healthier but it was “not all in your genes”.