"Predictive Health: How We Can Reinvent Medicine to Extend Our Best Years," a new book Emory physicians Kenneth Brigham and Michael M.E. Johns, proposes focusing on health first instead of disease.
Brigham and Johns want to harness the formidable power of medicine and technology — including genome-sequencing, protein-cataloging, massive data-sorting — as tools for health assessment, diagnosis, and intervention. The ultimate goal is to guide people to the improvement and maintenance of their health.
Physicians who practice predictive health would assemble a health portrait by running sophisticated tests on an infant at birth. Potential risk factors for diseases, such as type II diabetes or a genetic propensity for obesity, would become evident long before they are problematic, and physicians could initiate personalized strategies for treatment.
"Our approach involves more than curing disease or making an early diagnosis," Brigham says. "We see it as important to develop a mindset in which to see health as defined positively. We look at disease risk but more importantly at what a person can do to live a healthy, fulfilling life. We look at body fat and what is in a person's blood, yes, but we also look at how you live, where you live, who you live with, and how you react to stress, to determine a healthy lifestyle for an individual."
New health course switches to peer-led, personalized approach