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.
Tomorrow marks another birthday. As I age, I recognize that good health is more and more important than anything. It’s everything.
We’ve all heard the “be proactive” call to action. In a sense, this is assessment from a bird’s eye view. We can assess our lifestyle by repeating the mantras we’ve all heard before: Follow a healthful diet. Get plenty of exercise. Channel our stress. Don’t smoke. Moderation is key. Be engaged, be mindful. Okay, okay….let’s say that we do all that. Are we where we should be in the preventative health maze?
When I conduct an on-line search for “How to Assess Your Health”, my computer screen urges me to take a health report card quiz so that I can determine what my risk factors might be and use my overall score to evaluate my health. Been there, done that. I’m healthy, according to my on-line test results. Is there anything else included in proposed self-diagnostic test kit? Yes. One more thing: I need to trace my family history, which will give me clues about what diseases I might be susceptible to. According to my on-line guides, I am now complete. I can feel assured that I can head off problems before they ever come to the surface.
I’m not a medical professional and sincerely don’t profess to be, but through a devastating illness which my husband is currently combating, I’ve learned that assessment is key to everything. The assessment that my husband’s doctors and nurses speak of is that of learning about your own norms by following a road map and listening to your body. So this year, I’m challenging myself to actually learn something about my own norms, to “look under the hood of my engine” so to speak. I’m making my first attempt to understand how I run.
Last week, I had my annual physical. Although I get blood work done every year or so, this was the first time I requested a hard copy of my lab results. I also requested that my physician walk me through the results. He consented, and was happy to empower me to learn about the person whom I think I’ve known all too well for many-a year now. This was a valuable lesson. Having seen the same physician for years, he told me how my norms have been running for everything from blood sugar to iron, from blood pressure to cholesterol, both good and bad. I asked about hemoglobin, thyroid, and Vitamin D. And the list didn’t stop there.
I feel as though for the very first time, I’ve practiced the best prevention method: understanding. Not only did my physician take the time to teach, I became an inquisitive student. I followed up his assessment by utilizing a primer I found on the New York Times which allows the user to look at blood counts and understand what they mean. This served as a great follow up to help me interpret my test results.
As we continue to drown in this information age, it’s easy to get lost between multiple health blogs, hundreds of internet sites, and countless medical apps. The daily bombardment of drug advertisements and the conflicting (but well intentioned) studies about medical tests can be confusing at best. Ironically, the very best person to advise us, our doctor, is now more likely to spend less time with each and every patient. This is especially why we all need to get acquainted with ourselves, know our baselines and understand what they mean. How else will we recognize a change of status if and when a change happens?
Of course, when you’re sick, knowledge is power. But I’ve just learned that knowledge is power when you’re healthy as well.
When searching for the “fountain of youth,” or the “fountain of oomph!” one of the biggest mistakes that people make is thinking there is an easy way and try to discover it in an expensive bottle of whatever. They buy expensive anti-aging creams and lotions and call it a day (not that I’m against using any creams. In fact I do use a good body cream everyday). But the most important key to delaying the effects of aging is found in your lifestyle.
According to the National Institute on Aging, exercising regularly is the first step in fighting the effects of aging. Exercise helps you maintain healthy bones and joints, control weight, improve your mood and strengthen your muscles. Experts say that exercise also conditions the skin to make collagen, the support fibers that help keep wrinkles and lines under control.
The National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion suggests eating a balanced diet that’s low in saturated fats and contains at least five servings of fruits and vegetables a day.
Also things like amino acids can help your overall health as well as your age appearance. A great advantage of amino acids is that they can be found in many everyday foods we eat. Below is a list of the most important amino acids that help ward of the signs of aging.
Arginine can be food in foods high in protein such as eggs, fish, nuts, and beans and is just one of the amino acids that can help anti aging. It has been proven to help with heart related health conditions and clogged arteries, in addition it is thought to be a natural anti coagulant. Research on Arginine suggest it may possibly assist in lowering cholesterol, and help in the prevention of both strokes and heart attacks.
Leucine is another amazing anti aging amino acids, which is found in high protein foods such as red meat and eggs. It supports the body in repairing injuries and helps cells growth and repair, which is vital for those who are combating the effects of aging.
Cysteine a very important amino acid has many beneficial advantages and one the most important of the amino acids. This amino acid is supplied to our bodies through our diet, and can be found in foods such as broccoli, dairy products, soy beans, and Brussels sprouts. Cysteine plays an essential part in anti aging, because its helps our bodies to metabolize the fats in our diets better. In addition, it is also proven to help prevent damage caused by smoking and alcohol. Cysteine has other great effects such as, the ability to help prevent cancer and heart disease; it also helps boost your immune system causing you to be less susceptible to viruses. One of the most serious effects of aging is the ability to fight of disease and infection. This amino acid can help restore that ability and keep your body working to its best.
So the key to “fountain of youth” or should we say “fountain of oomph!” is simply taking care of yourself and eating the right foods and not necessarily found in an expensive bottle of some cream or lotion.