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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Who Can You Believe

Leroy Hoods P4 Medicine institute was co-founded in 2010 by the Institute for Systems Biology and Ohio State University to help catalyze the transformation of medicine from a reactive mode to a system that is Predictive, Preventive, Personalized and Participatory.

"Participatory" struck me as a misunderstanding of the human race. People get sick because of their participation in things that are bad for them. When they get sick they go to the doctor. To circumvent this reality Leroy Hood has designed his consumer. According to the P4 website:
The problem solving capabilities of today’s educated and internet-savvy consumers will be systemically tapped to improve system-wide solutions.
As a fan of the documentary "Forks Over Knives" I have seen people improve their disease state without the use of pills. I have used it to improve my own health. The results seen in that documentary, when people started eating healthy and exercising, are absolutely astonishing. But people don't want to eat just vegetables. People don't want to quit smoking or drinking. Those who do will get better. ISB and P4 can only fail if their patients don't follow orders and/or if their remedies cause problems. A change in diet and exercise will make the biggest difference. This fact will be masked by the PR machine at ISB and P4.

Leroy Hood is indeed convinced of his greatness. Closer to God than the rest of us, he is going to fix our bodies like a mechanic fixes our cars. The idea pushed by P4 and ISB is that we are merely a set of parts. The ISB will find the important parts. P4 will use ISB tests (looking for specific parts) and fix the person.

Enter the spoiler...

U.K. research knocks wind out of personalized medicine push

The finding, if it stands, could make the process of genetically profiling patients and their tumors, and then developing or matching a specialized treatment that addresses the mutation, more challenging than previously believed. Thus, personalized medicine for the masses becomes much harder to obtain.
Our parts are hard to disassemble into a systematic biology. In a Utopian world where research can be conducted without hierarchy or money constrictions, this is a question that needs to be addressed in the lab. What are they calling a mutation? What is ISB calling a bio-marker? What is the criteria each of the leaders have come up with and why have they come to such disparate views? Today’s educated and internet-savvy consumers need to know. 

Leroy Hood is a powerful man. He can get money and send people to work on what ever crosses his mind. ISB has been around over a decade, with an ad hoc addition called P4 Medicine. Along comes a group of scientists from the UK to give him and all of his people something to think about. Has Leroy anything to say about this research? I can't find any commentary. When something like this comes up, an outsider might think that scientists quickly get together to sort out the contradictions. They do not. They seek to silence the other guy. So far Leroy Hood is the silent one. It is now up to P4 Medicine to make their point. 


Anonymous said...

I was brought up believing that a fool and his money were easily parted.
Nothing is simple or cheap nowadays. You now have to concoct expensive, superficially scientific, time-wasting schemes to get governments to part with other people's money. "Personalized medicine", "one size-doesn't fit all", when in fact the lessons of medicine after the French Revolution tell exaclty the opposite: one size does fit all, common things are common, diseses have definite causes, we are not all that individual when it comes to disease in short. Soon, if not already, we will be going back to the days of the influence of the East wind, Feng Shui, the patient's temperament, the texture of the mouse dropping in the Muesli (I made the last one up, the rest are firmly believed ).

George Morris said...

As people learn how to shift their position on their health continuum toward health there will be less need for drugs. Nutrition will become our medicine.