Medical Issues, Apps, Tests, Power, and Silicon Valley
This is Sylvain Costes, Ph.D. giving a lecture on Bleed for Science Day at BioCurious regarding his kit MyDNABreaks He is explaining what breaks DNA, what keeps it from breaking and what repair looks like. What engages me is the concept of broken and fixed and the relationship to how much control we have over what happens to us. Dr. Costes told us there is a fine line between repair and damage. If we can find that line we can make a difference in our health.
I think there are 2 kinds of power in the so called revolution in medical care. One is real power that actually empowers the person doing the test or using the app. Exogen Biotechnology‘s kit, MyDNABreaks,is real power. This is a consumer product that measures your DNA breakages. It is a window into how you are doing at this point in time. Too many breaks? And you eat hot dogs for breakfast, Splenda with every beverage and dinner is a slider with fries? You eat no fruits or vegetables, drink no green tea, and never take a vacation? You KNOW something is wrong with this picture and you pick a variable to change. Diet is the easiest. Throw out all the garbage you now eat, spend a week on veggie scrambles, salads, falafel and hummus, no alcohol, have coffee and green tea. No diet anything. Now, go back and measure your DNA. Less breaks? And does that correlate with your repair rate?
In this case you are in control. You don’t need a person from the medical industry to prove you are on the low end of DNA breakage and you don’t need a rocket scientist to tell you hot dogs are full of chemicals which can damage your DNA. You look at the test results, you make changes and you test again. This is science in action for your benefit and you control the experiment. This is A/B, A/B testing.
Uses proposed for a kit like this – 1) measure the repair rate of children considered for radiation and stem cell treatment. Those who do not repair their DNA well/quickly should not be given the treatment since it will further damage their DNA and make them more ill. 2) You know that anti-oxidants will prevent DNA damage prior to radiation. But what about anti-oxidants in other situations? How much is too much and what is just right for you? Again, the power is in your hands. Test, take, test. Find out who YOU are. You decide how much testing to do and for what variables. This is personalized medicine. This is an empowered health care consumer.
Then we have the apps that mirror the current paradigm: doctor as necessary god, patient as child. “Doctor I want my Vitamin D levels measured.” “Why?” We did this 6 months ago.” One app creator says. Every woman sees her doctor as a god.”
Mirroring the current paradigm in an app probably will work. The demographic that loves to see their doctors and considers them as THE SOURCE for information and action is huge. But change is in the air as the public becomes more educated about certain things. More later on another app that replicates paternalism and calls it personalized medicine. The message is: if it is on your iPhone it is personalized medicine. Oh hell no it isn’t.
I’ll tell you about one of them soon.