Personal Genomics and Public Health
Question: Will personal genomics play a bigger role in public health?
Neil Schluger: And so that’s a great question because I think personal genomics to me exists in a sort of tension with public health because public health by definition is a discipline that focuses on populations and not individuals. Medicine in a sense is what focuses on individuals. Someone gets sick, you take care of them, but from a public health perspective we ask the question what can be done medically, legally, economically, culturally, socially to improve the health of a population? And that might be building a sewer system instead of having an open water supply or it could be things like making cigarettes illegal or hard to get, and so those things I think are in some sort of tension with ideas like personal genomics. I’m a big believer in public health. I think you can make a dollar go a long way. We have the luxury in the United States because we’re a wealthy country of being able to do all this personalized medicine but I doubt that sort of personal genomics kind of approaches will have much impact on a disease like TB, at least not for many, many years
Question: What about diseases with genetic components, like malaria?
Neil Schluger: There certainly is a genetic predisposition to malaria but again I think it’s going to be difficult there. The scale of the infection is just enormous. Tens of millions of people get infected with malaria every year. It’d be hard for me to believe any time in the foreseeable future that genetic medicine will have much to do with control of malaria. If you had-- People point this out. If you have a dollar to spend right now on malaria, you’re better off spending it buying a bed net to be honest.
Recorded on: 04/25/2008
Public health, Schluger says, deals with populations, not individuals.
Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.
No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.
A completely unexpected discovery beneath the ice.
- Scientists find remains of a tardigrade and crustaceans in a deep, frozen Antarctic lake.
- The creatures' origin is unknown, and further study is ongoing.
- Biology speaks up about Antarctica's history.
Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon.com, explains his plan for success.
- Jeff Bezos had a clear vision for Amazon.com from the start.
- He was inspired by a statistic he learned while working at a hedge fund: In the '90s, web usage was growing at 2,300% a year.
- Bezos explains why books, in particular, make for a perfect item to sell on the internet.
It's one factor that can help explain the religiosity gap.
- Sociologists have long observed a gap between the religiosity of men and women.
- A recent study used data from several national surveys to compare religiosity, risk-taking preferences and demographic information among more than 20,000 American adolescents.
- The results suggest that risk-taking preferences might partly explain the gender differences in religiosity.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.