SNS: Quantified Health: Towards Digitally Enabled Genomic Medicine

SNS: Quantified Health: Towards Digitally Enabled Genomic Medicine


Volume 14, Issue 36
Week of September 26, 2011

In This Issue

Feature: Special Letter: Quantified Health: A 10-Year Story of Digitally Enabled Genomic Medicine

  • Nutrition, Exercise, and Sleep: The Foundations for a Healthier Self
  • Your Blood Is a Window Into Your Well-Being
    • Reducing your body’s silent inflammation
    • Changing your cholesterol levels
    • Measuring your risk of future coronary disease
  • “Come Back When You Have a Symptom”
  • A Personal Medical Detective Story
  • Know Your Genetic Polymorphisms
  • You Are a Superorganism
  • The Interplay Between Your Genes and Those of YourHuman Microbiome
  • What the Digital Revolution in Healthcare Is All About
  • About Larry Smarr


Publisher’s Note: This issue may be the most important Special Letter we have ever published. For many of you reading it, it may also save your lives, or extend them.

There is a new approach to health available to anyone, today. Described in this issue, it represents a revolution in the balance of power between patient and today’s healthcare systems, putting the former in charge, through a program of regularly gathering personal data.

In this issue, you’ll also learn a number of fascinating things about the human body that are just now “coming into the literature,” and which are generally unknown.

Finally, there are three very large healthcare issues that author Larry Smarr and I have both discussed personally at length which are completely ignored by today’s treatment regimes and which are key to proper health. The first is the simplest: sleep, in the right amount, properly done. Not adhering to this practice probably cuts years off of lives today, with the victims never having had a clue what happened.

The second is almost as obvious: as a Stanford-trained biochemist, I have never understood the idea of healthcare without attention to food. What you eat is the most important, and the first, input into good or improved health. Addressing your daily food intake should be the first work your doctor does in treating you. (I’ll cover the third major shortfall in my summary.)

Twenty years ago, a friend I’ll call Tom had just survived a head-on car collision. He’d lost his spleen, and the sight in one eye from hitting his head on the dash – i.e., from brain damage. At the time that we met, his doctor had given up on his sight returning (it had been a few weeks), and, Tom said, he had literally been unable to sleep since the crash. I looked at the biochemistry and found that the same amino acid needed for nerve repair was also a precursor to serotonin, necessary for sleep. Tom’s body seemed to be coming up short. I suggested some foods with high content of this amino acid, and he agreed to try. Within 24 hours he was sleeping normally, and his sight returned shortly afterward. Today he is a leading architect in Seattle.

These problems, and their improper treatment, are common.

I hope, by reading Larry’s incredible piece, they will become less so; you will be the better for it. – mra.


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