Are You A Personalised Medicine Believer? Or Is It Bunk?

Are You A Personalised Medicine Believer Or Is It Bunk

Personalised medicine is taking off – at least in the realm of ideas. Most people now believe that every person is different and requires individualised attention whenever they go to the doctor. We’re all just so different – or so the story goes.

But is the variation as much as people believe? It’s certainly not the case among our nearest biological relatives, like the great apes. Most of these eat essentially the same foods and develop identical health conditions (if any).

It’s also not true among domesticated animals. Horses, dogs, cats, and pigs all benefit from precision husbandry, with only minor differences in approaches for sub-breeds.

So what’s the truth? Why do some people love the idea of personalised medicine, while others believe it probably won’t take us far?

Why Do People Believe Personalised Medicine Is The Future?

The main reason people believe in personalised medicine is the idea that you can get treatment based on genetic makeup and susceptibilities. For example, doctors could look at the data and cross-reference it with a patient’s gene profile to see if a drug is likely to work or generate intolerable side effects. This screening is inherently helpful because it means patients can get the best treatments for them, not just those that work for the average population.

Personalised medicine also brings the possibility of earlier disease detection. Individuals go for a private liver function test or breast screening and find problems before they develop into serious diseases.

Getting the jump on chronic conditions is especially valuable. Doctors can recommend patients move ahead with treatment plans sooner instead of waiting for symptoms to become more persistent and dangerous over time.

Finally, personalised medicine is useful in the realm of preventive healthcare. Patients can learn more about their disease risk factors and what they should do to prevent them from developing.

For example, some individuals have a gene that causes their body to overproduce cholesterol, setting them up for heart attacks in their thirties and forties. These people could benefit from radical changes in their diets, including giving up oil and consuming herbs that actively reduce cholesterol levels in the body.

Why Personalised Medicine Has A Way To Go

Unfortunately, personalised medicine probably has some way to go. The main reason is that the field is still in the early stages. It’s not ready for prime time yet. Machines and tools that measure a patient’s specific genetics are in their infancy, and clinics can’t always translate their outputs into valuable data for use in the clinical setting.

On top of this is the cost. Patients must pay more for personalised medicine as it isn’t always available from public service providers or insurance companies.

Finally, there’s some fuzziness in the relationship between genetics and disease. While one can predict the other, it isn’t iron-clad. Therefore, many individuals are at risk of receiving personalised medicine that doesn’t serve them any better than conventional cheap approaches.

So, there you have it: some of the reasons why personalised medicine might be the future as well as those suggesting it isn’t.


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