What does the health data explosion mean for you?

From the recent rise of digitized health records to a dramatic increase in full DNA sequences to devices that measure your daily steps and blood pressure, the bits and bytes pour forth. The world has seen nothing like this before—not even from YouTube videos, currently the most prolific source of human data.

The question is: What does all of this health data mean for individuals—for you and your family and friends? And what can it tell us about our health present and future?

Regrettably, not much, although this may be changing as health care begins a monumental shift from an era of collecting data to actually understanding what it means.

What’s really needed is what Stanford geneticist Michael Snyder and others have called Interpretomics, or the science of interpreting medical data. Researchers should conduct long-term studies that accurately assess the impact of individual data points—from genetics to health records—and also how these factors work together to impact our health.

Thankfully, progress is being made. Just this week a new company called Arivale announced that it has raised $36 million to assess thousands of people over time using a battery of several dozen tests. Other companies and projects are forming to address the interpretome issue, including the Personalized Genome Project founded by geneticist George Church* at Harvard, and a new company formed by geneticist Craig Venter called Human Longevity, based in San Diego.

In many ways the collection of data in the past few decades is our civilization’s greatest invention. It’s our Parthenon, Pyramids, Great Wall, printing press, and steam engine rolled into one. But this brainchild needs what is perhaps an even greater invention just now being tinkered with in health care—the invention of using data wisely.

The GLP aggregated and excerpted this blog/article to reflect the diversity of news, opinion and analysis. Read full, original post: Who Cares About Your Health Data?




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