Trying like heck to be a DISRUPTIVE INNOVATOR since 1997

August 6th, 2019 by Nick Jacobs Leave a reply »

As an outsider who came into healthcare two decades after most of the leaders who were running things, I became immediately aware of one obvious reality, “The United States has embraced a Disease-Centric, Medical Industrial Complex model of care.”

It’s a system where, if we speak about the concepts of wellness and prevention, it’s as if that is a false god to which we should never pray.  We define health as the absence of disease, and through polygenomic tools, we can assist in preventing many diseases, but it’s difficult to embed these concepts in a pathology-based culture. 

Drs. Jeffrey Bland, Leroy Hood, Wayne Jonas, Len Wisneski, Mimi Guarneri, Tierrona Low Dog, Dean Ornish, Deepak Chopra, and many other wellness and prevention and functional medicine-oriented scientists and physicians have been a part of my life over the last thirty years, and the majority of them are oriented toward both the new and ancient ways of caring for people.

In this country, we have been relegated to modifying symptoms as a way of making people feel good, and our systems specialize in the virtual health train wrecks rather than early prevention of these catastrophes. Don’t get me wrong. I’d rather be here when dealing with extreme situations, but when it comes to preventing these health-related breakdowns, it’s safe to say our system is not the most robust when wellness and prevention is the goal.

On the personalized, precision, and personal health movement, science is moving faster than our medical school curricula and the results are sometimes mind-numbing.  A few weeks ago, I sat with a young physician who was getting his fellowship at a very prestigious medical institution, and when I began to show him the reports from my pharmacogenomics testing, his response was a cross between complete awe and total confusion.  

We have made great strides in personalized medicine, but we continue to get sucked back into our disease-based model because that’s where the reimbursements are. We now have the ability to quantify what was previously unquantifiable, and the knowledge already exists that might protect us from tens of thousands of medical errors, but it’s not main-stream yet because it’s not being reimbursed.

How do we objectify health?  How do we personalize it and arrive at a unified position of what health is?  Health is not extra-ordinary. Health is both normal and personal.  Health is a combination of  all things physical, psychological, cognitive, and behavioral.  It is essentially what is being identified as functional. Our genes interact with our environment, and we begin to realize our genomic potential when everything is in “the zone,” but it’s also safe to say that the wildcard in every disease is lifestyle.

 We can easily look at the 300 or so genes that determine our ability to metabolize medicines, and we will soon perfect that same science as it relates to our food. When that happens, we will be able to identify how we will physically react to everything that we put into our bodies. But that too is not being taught in medical schools, and it is just now beginning to be taught in some pharmacy schools.

If you were told that your children could live happier, healthier lives by having them provide one cheek swab to analyze those 300 metabolizing genes, would you consider it?  Let’s place a further caveat on this. If you knew that this swab would not be used to unlock any of their other genetic risk factors except for medicine and food sensitivities, would you then provide that swab?  Would you be interested if you saw a report that indicated that, because of your personal genetic profile, the medicine you have been prescribed could prove to be lethal to either them or to you? 

That information is available. Precision medicine is available right now, but so is the means to achieve wellness through prevention.

Yours truly,

A Disruptive Innovator


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