For the most part, our current health system is disease focused and reactive, rather than wellness focused. Billions of dollars worldwide are spent treating diseases such as Alzheimer’s Disease, Cancer, Cardiovascular Disease and Diabetes. Many experts believe that adopting a more preventative approach with a focus on wellness would reduce costs in the long-term, which are only set to increase given the world’s aging population.
The Hundred-Person Wellness Project (HPPW) is a 10-month pilot study of 100 ‘well’ individuals. Each participant undergoes whole genome sequencing (identification of their DNA), partakes in regular laboratory testing and sampling of their gut contents, and records personal traits such as physical activity, sleep, weight, blood pressure, and mood for the whole study period.
The information collected is then used to identify priority areas for lifestyle changes or make referrals to physicians if medical follow-up is warranted. In addition, researchers are also collecting data on specific proteins and markers of metabolism, to establish if these cellular components have any link to disease. The pilot study paves the way for a more ambitious project, planned to capture data on 100, 000 people.
Ultimately, the HPWP pilot study is an exciting step toward a future of optimizing wellness and providing early disease prevention.
Hood L, Lovejoy JC, Price ND. Integrating big data and actionable health coaching to optimize wellness. BMC Medicine 2015, 13:4 doi:10.1186/s12916-014-0238-7