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Connecting the Dots Between Health Habits and Treatment

Posted by Thomas Edwards on May 6, 2018 4:45 PM EDT
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U.S. study seesk 1 million people for massive DNA study....

...and researchers want to examine health habits and lifestyle activities, eating/nutrition and tie them to illness, prevention, treatment and recovery.

A couple of Sundays ago (4/22), the U.S. government said the it is going to open enroll participants and volunteers in an ambitious experiment.  The goal is to build a large enough database comparing the genetics, lifestyles and environments of people from all walks of life.  Researchers are hoping that they can learn definitively why some people of all ages manage to avoid illness and others are not able to do so.  Ultimately, the study may lead to ways that healthcare providers and consumers themselves can find customized and personalized ways to prevent and treat chronic and other acute illnesses.

The article I read which was written by Lauran Neergaard of The Associated Press stated that Congress has authorized up to $1.45 billion to be invested over a ten-year period for the project.  It all hinges on whether enough peoople around the country will sing up, either signing up online at the project's website, www.joinallofus.org, or thorough participating health care centers.  Apparently, there's already a lot of interest in that more than 25,000 people got early entry into the project over the past year through an invitation-only pilot test run by participating universities and heatlh providers.

Volunteers will share medical information through surveys, interviews and periodic questionnaires.  They will also provide access to medical histories and electronic health records, blood samples and other research to delve deeply into their diets, exercise habits, sleep and other lifestyle factors such as social connectedness and community engagement.  They might wear fitness trackers and other sensors.

Later this year, the article said that participants will start undergoing generic testing, initially to look for so-called "variatns" in DNA that affect diseases risk, similar to waht some proivat companies now sell.  Mapping the genetic codes of that many people is way too expensive for now.  But some participants may eventually be involved in that more comprehensive approach in the not too distant future.

Still yet to be decided is to what degree this research can inform government policies, macro-encomic incentives to change to more healthy behaviors and ways to determine the appropriate specific remedies and treatments for specific groups of people.

Nonetheless, this type of aggressive research may bring inspiring results and great hope to millions of people, thus affecting health care methods and driving healthier population lifestyle practices in years to come!

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