Have any of you heard of the term P4 Medicine? The term was coined several years ago by biotech pioneer Leroy Hood. Following a complex recipe of the integration of biomedicine, information technology, wireless and mobile, a new phase of digital medicine is being born. The shorthand for P4 Medicine – Predictive, Preventative, Personalized and Participatory – is already in play. Right here, right now, we are witnessing the transformation of how we will receive and experience health care, and it is amazing. How is that happening, and how will it affect us?
The vision of P4 Medicine is that instead of waiting for clinical symptoms to appear, like a growth spotted on an ultrasound after it has spread, physicians will be able to see early warning signs of malignancies from a tiny bit of blood analyzed by genomic instruments and software. If the genes and proteins are really predictive, then physicians could take early action, or patients can focus on prevention via lifestyle. All of a sudden, the focus of medicine goes from reaction to an investment in wellness.
And then there is the technology portion. There are currently over 20,000 different mobile apps available which merge your phone and diagnostics. For example, you can now measure your blood glucose on your and send it to your physician, which, in turn, can help you better understand your blood sugars as a diabetic. (Already, this has covered Personalized and Participatory.) Once this information is predictive, it can also be preventative as well. And that’s just for starters.
The booming field of mobile-health technology is only one part of an equation that is playing into this transformation. For example, GE Healthcare manufacturers a portable ultrasound device about the same size of a cellphone. It’s called the Vscan, and it allows a physician to look directly into the heart of a patient. Here, both the patient and the physician can see the muscle, the valves, the rhythm, and the blood flow. Already, we are touching on the Participatory and Personalized element of P4 Medicine. When we have the experience of witnessing what is happening inside our own body, we can start approaching medicine differently. No longer is your physician simply informing you about news which you may feel slightly removed from. (The language is medical. You may feel a disconnect.)
For those of you who, like me, have had the overwhelming experience of seeing your developing fetus via ultrasound, you can remember what that experience was like. For the first time, you are drawn that much closer in, witnessing life inside you. Similarly, physicians expect that patients who witness their own health in real time will be propelled to take charge of their own health care. It stands to reason that patients are more willing to make lifestyle changes that keep them healthy when they can monitor the consequences of their actions in real time.
Here at oomphtv, we aim to be a great communicator of new age 21st medicine, so stay tuned. Dr. Hood, in particular, believes that this transformative new idea in healthcare is near the tipping point. Timing is everything – we are blessed to be a witness.
If your curiosity is piqued, check out theP4 Medicine Institute for more information.
I came across yet another study done on exercise that I wanted to share (am I overdoing this whole exercise study thing here? Please let me know. But I do find these studies endlessly fascinating)
We all know that physical activity is beneficial in countless ways, but even so, Dr. Mark Tarnopolsky, a professor of pediatrics at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, was startled to discover that exercise kept a strain of mice from becoming gray prematurely.
But shiny fur was the least of its benefits. Indeed, in heartening new research published recently in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, exercise reduced or eliminated almost every detrimental effect of aging in mice that had been genetically programmed to grow old at an accelerated pace.
In the experiment, Dr. Tarnopolsky and his colleagues used lab rodents that carry a genetic mutation affecting how well their bodies repair malfunctioning mitochondria, which are tiny organelles within cells. Mitochondria combine oxygen and nutrients to create fuel for the cells. ( Just to let you know, mitochondria are microscopic power generators. I learn from these studies too)
Mitochrondria have their own DNA, distinct from the cell’s own genetic material, and they multiply on their own. But in the process, mitochondria can accumulate small genetic mutations, which under normal circumstances are corrected by specialized repair systems within the cell. Over time, as we age, the number of mutations begins to outstrip the system’s ability to make repairs, and mitochondria start malfunctioning and dying.
Many scientists consider the loss of healthy mitochondria to be an important underlying cause of aging in mammals. As resident mitochondria falter, the cells they fuel wither or die. Muscles shrink, brain volume drops, hair falls out or loses its pigmentation, and soon enough we are, in appearance and beneath the surface, old.
The mice that Dr. Tarnopolsky and his colleagues used lacked the primary mitochondrial repair mechanism, so they developed malfunctioning mitochondria early in their lives, as early as 3 months of age, the human equivalent of age 20. By the time they reached 8 months, or their early 60s in human terms, the animals were extremely frail and decrepit, with spindly muscles, shrunken brains, enlarged hearts, shriveled gonads and patchy, graying fur. Listless, they barely moved around their cages. All were dead before reaching a year of age.
Except the mice that exercised.
Half of the mice were allowed to run on a wheel for 45 minutes three times a week, beginning at 3 months. These rodent runners were required to maintain a fairly brisk pace, Dr. Tarnopolsky said: “It was about like a person running a 50 or 55 minute 10K.” (A 10K race is 6.2 miles.) The mice continued this regimen for five months.
At 8 months, when their sedentary lab mates were bald, frail and dying, the running rats remained youthful. They had full pelts of dark fur, no salt-and-pepper shadings. They also had maintained almost all of their muscle mass and brain volume. Their gonads were normal, as were their hearts. They could balance on narrow rods, the showoffs.
But perhaps most remarkable, although they still harbored the mutation that should have affected mitochondrial repair, they had more mitochondria over all and far fewer with mutations than the sedentary mice had. At 1 year, none of the exercising mice had died of natural causes. (Some were sacrificed to compare their cellular health to that of the unexercised mice, all of whom were, by that age, dead.)
The researchers were surprised by the magnitude of the impact that exercise had on the animals’ aging process, Dr. Tarnopolsky said. He and his colleagues had expected to find that exercise would affect mitochondrial health in muscles, including the heart, since past research had shown a connection. They had not expected that it would affect every tissue and bodily system studied.
Other studies, including a number from Dr. Tarnopolsky’s own lab, have also found that exercise affects the course of aging, but none has shown such a comprehensive effect. And precisely how exercise alters the aging process remains unknown. In this experiment, running resulted in an upsurge in the rodents’ production of a protein known as PGC-1alpha, which regulates genes involved in metabolism and energy creation, including mitochondrial function.
Exercise also sparked the repair of malfunctioning mitochondria through a mechanism outside the known repair pathway; in these mutant mice, that pathway didn’t exist, but their mitochondria were nonetheless being repaired.
Dr. Tarnopolsky is currently overseeing a number of experiments that he expects will help to elucidate the specific physiological mechanisms. But for now, he said, the lesson of his experiment and dozens like it is unambiguous. “Exercise alters the course of aging,” he said.
Although in this experiment, the activity was aerobic and strenuous, Dr. Tarnopolsky is not convinced that either is absolutely necessary for benefits. Studies of older humans have shown that weightlifting can improve mitochondrial health, he said, as can moderate endurance exercise. Although there is probably a threshold amount of exercise that is necessary to affect physiological aging, Dr. Tarnopolsky said, “anything is better than nothing.” If you haven’t been active in the past, he continued, start walking five minutes a day, then begin to increase your activity level.
The potential benefits have attractions even for the young. While Dr. Tarnopolsky, a lifelong athlete, noted with satisfaction that active, aged mice kept their hair, his younger graduate students were far more interested in the animals’ robust gonads. Their testicles and ovaries hadn’t shrunk, unlike those of sedentary elderly mice.
Dr. Tarnopolsky’s students were impressed. “I think they all exercise now,” he said.
After reading a study like this, I always think if they could put exercise in a pill form and sell it, the pill would cost a fortune, due to the benefits it offers. But exercise does not cost anything except our time and energy. Not a bad deal!
This is a kind of follow-up blogpost to The Longevity Quiz (what can I say. I just recently turned fifty and have been thinking about this subject)
Today I ran across an article from Health magazine.
Apparently those born after the year 2000 are more likely than ever to live to 100, according to research from Denmark. Good news for the kids, but what about us grown-ups?
Genetics do play a big factor in how long you live (thank you grandparents), but only somewhere between 20% and 50%, depending on the experts you ask. That still leaves over 50% up to YOU!
Walter Bortz II, MD, a clinical associate professor of medicine at Stanford, suggests how you can improve your odds of a long and happy life.
We can call this The Walter Bortz II, MD, Secrets to a Long Life:
Bulk up on fruits and veggies, +5 years (plant based whole foods diets reduce disease)
Exercise five days a week, +2 to +4 years (move and elevate your heart rate for a half-hour a day, minimum)
Reduce stress, up to +6 years (from meditation to music to movement to art therapy. Find something that work for you.
Get a hobby, +2 years (provides a sense of accomplishment.)
Floss, +6.4 years (removing harmful bacteria reduces stroke and heart attack risks.)
Vacation, +1 to +2 years (leisure is a great stress reliever!)
Sleep seven to eight hours nightly, +2 years (sleep assists cell repair.)
Have sex, +3 to +5 years (releases feel good hormones and burns about 200 calories, too!)
Thought you would like to know!
By Cheryl Roby
There are days that lack oomph! Let’s face it, the fast paced techno dense life can be stressful.
My computer and blackberry conveniently provide information and up to date status that were unheard of even 10 years ago AND they provide a constant stream of messages that say READ ME, PAY ATTENTION TO ME, I AM URGENT!!
When I realize that my state of mind has gotten out of balance and I am paying more attention to the imagined urgency than to the gift of instant information and connection, my work with stress management and inquiry help bring me back into balance.
As a Reiki Master and student of conscious living I have come to understand that my work first and foremost is to be kind and peaceful in this world. If I am anxious or angry or impatient (substitute any emotions other than peace, love and kindness that resonate with you) I am adding to the energy of war. There is a war going on inside me that affects not only me but everyone I come in contact with and the collective conscious. Our energies are all connected. Our thoughts are powerful beyond what most of us can imagine.
So, before I try to fix what’s out there, I refocus on what is inside; using the tools of inquiry, breath, positive affirmation and others to regain peace.
Cheryl Roby’s website is www.rockyourchakras.com and www.robychart.com
I know that I will not live forever, but maybe, just maybe, I can make some lifestyle changes that can influence how long I do live. Most importantly I would like those years to be healthy and as active as possible.
Over the past few years I have been reading some of the work that Thomas Perls, MD has been doing with centenarians at Boston University. He has written many books, papers and articles all about the topic of longevity. He recently developed this quiz based on the latest research on what factors help lengthen a person’s life. (this quiz is recently published in Health Magazine so it’s focused a bit more towards women, but men will learn from this too) Thomas Perls, MD is the real deal and I have the highest respect for the work he has been doing.
So spend a few minutes and take this quiz. Once you figure out your number, examine your numbers to figure out on how some simple changes can potentially add years to your life. This is kind of interesting quiz and do make you think about your own health. Give it a shot. And yes, you can make some small changes in your life that can make a difference.
1. When you’re stressed, how do you handle it?
a) Very well. I thrive on it and find it motivating.
b) Pretty well. I have regular healthy outlets, like yoga, walking, or calling a friend.
c) Not so well. It’s hard for me to let problems and worries go.
2. How often do you do things that keep your brain sharp, like learning a language, playing chess, or solving crosswords?
1) A couple of times a week.
b) Between once a week and once a month.
c) Rarely or never.
3. Do you spend time with friends on a regular basis?
a) Yes, I have lots of friends, and I’m very social
b) Yes, I have a small circle of close friends whom I enjoy spending time with
c) No, I usually either go it alone or spend time just with my partner
4. Have any of your parents, grandparents, aunts, or uncles lived to be 97 or older?
c) Don’t know
5. Do you have a brother, or sister with a history of heart attack or diabetes?
c) Don’t know
6. How much do you exercise?
a) 30 minutes at least five times a week
b) Some, around twice a week, and/or I regularly do something active like gardening or walking
c) Rarely or never
7. Are you at a health weight? (go to health.com/healthy weight calculator if you’re not sure.)
a) Yes, I’m within my ideal weight range.
b) Pretty close. I’m a bit above what the the charts say I should be, but I’m energetic and don’t have any weight related health problems.
c) No. I am well above my ideal weight, and I get sluggish and out of breath quicker than I’d like.
8. Do you smoke?
9. Do you floss?
a) every day
b) Once in a while
10. How often do you eat red meat?
a) 4 times a week or more
b) 2 or 3 times a week
c) Once a week or not at all
11. Did you have a child without fertility assistance after the age of 38, or did you stop getting your period completely after the age of 54?
(If you’re too young for either of these questions or don’t have children, pick “b”
12. Do you have a primary care doctor you trust whom you’ve seen in the last year?
b) No, but I see my gyno each year
13. How would you describe your sleep?
a) Great. I sleep enough so that I wake up feeling clearheaded and rested.
b) Could be better. I don’t get enough sleep, and I’m often tired during the day.
c) Not so great. I try to sleep, but I have insomnia sometimes or often.
KEY: For women start with the number 89 and add or subtract based on your answers. Males would start with 86.
1. a) 0 b)0 c)-5
2. a)+5 b)+2 c) 0
3. a)+5 b)+2 c) 0
4. a)+10 b)0 c) 0
5. a)-3 b)0 c) 0
6. a) 0 b)-2 c) -5
7. a) 0 b) 0 c) -8
8. a) -15 b) 0
9. a) 0 b) -3 c) -3
10. a) -5 b) -5 c) 0
11. a) +5 b) 0
12. a) 0 b) 0 c) -3
13. a) 0 b) -2 c) -2
Your potential age = years old.