Predicting the Future of Medicine by Jeffrey Dach MD
chart courtesy of Jim Oeppen and James W.Vaupel, SCIENCE VOL 296 10 MAY 2002 (32)
Figure 1, Chart Shows Linear Increase in Life Expectancy from 1820 to Present
The Industrial Revolution resulted from the scientific achievements of the previous three centuries, going back to advances made possible by the Renaissance. The mass production of goods and services resulted in vastly improved living standards, and a linear increase in life expectancy from 1820 to present. Much of this improvement was due to decreasing infant mortality rates.
Before the Industrial Revolution, average life expectancy was only 35 years, going all the way back to Greco-Roman times. After the Industrial Revolution, there is a linear increase in life expectancy from 38 years in 1850, to 70 years in 2004.(32)(27)(28) We are now witnessing the first appearance in human history of a large population older than 50 years of age, the aging baby boomers, as a social, cultural and economic driving force. This linear increase in life expectancy is expected to continue, and serves as an important trend that is useful for predicting the future. According to Aldous Huxley, this overpopulation trend produces pressures toward global totalitarian government and loss of individual freedoms.
So, in summary, the Industrial Revolution led to improved living conditions which in turn led to increased life expectancy of the population. Most of this was due to decrease in infant mortality from infectious diseases. This sudden increase in population, mostly young people, created population pressures, and produced temporary scarcity of jobs and natural resources, making conditions ripe for global warfare, which historically alleviated population pressures, and provides natural resources for the victor.
A Post-Industrial Second Medieval Dark Age
In spite of many impressive scientific and industrial manufacturing advances, the historical era of the post-Industrial Revolution shares many of the same features of the Medieval Dark Ages, such as restricted technical knowledge and increased levels of warfare. One of these shared features was the restriction of technical knowledge to the elite few, i.e. governments (military uses), multinational corporations, universities and professional groups such as physicians. Another shared feature was increased levels of warfare. The Dark Ages had their feudal warfare, and the post-Industrial Revolution had its series of wars as well.
Thus the era from the Post-Industrial Revolution to the end of the Cold War (the fall of the Berlin Wall) can be considered a second Medieval Dark Age. The Internet Age represents a Second Renaissance.
Global Warfare Resulting From the Industrial Revolution
The first in a series of Post-Industrial Revolution Wars was the American Civil War in 1861-1864. Of course as we all know, the two opposing sides were the South, an agrarian society, economically dependent on the ancient concept of human slavery using imported Africans, and the Capitalist-Industrial North which depended on a more modern version of the master-slave relationship called hourly wage employment. Following the American Civil War, the series of post-Industrial wars continued globally with World Wars I and II.
Disruptive Science of Kuhn Leads to Atomic Bomb
In 1905, Classical Newtonian Physics gave way to the Einstein's physics of Relativity, a scientific revolution described by Thomas Kuhn as "Disruptive Science" (29). This scientific revolution was required and needed to invent the Atomic Bomb. The decision by US president Harry Truman to use the new Atomic weapon on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, August 1945, marked the end of the war and the beginning of the Atomic Age in which everyone globally lived in a state of anxiety that nuclear annihilation could be triggered at any time. In this new age, unrestricted global warfare threatened to destroy the entire planet, hence the creation of "Cold War" limited to the use of conventional weapons.
Centralized of Media
Media information during the 19th and 20th centuries originated centrally, was disseminated outward to the masses, and was non-interactive. This created an opportunity for political or corporate gain through manipulation of the media. Government sponsored news releases, corporate sponsored print and television advertising created a social and political climate aptly described by George Orwell’s novel, “1984” in which perpetual global warfare was the norm. (3)(4)
Ownership of the Media
During the early 20th century, books, radio and movies (records, radio, celluloid movie film) were all protected by intellectual property law and copyright legislation. More importantly, the broadcast television, printing press and radio stations of the 20th century was big business requiring huge amounts of starting capital investment, beyond the ability of the individual. This limited access media ownership was reminiscent of the situation with Medieval documents which were hand written, and restricted to a few noblemen and clergy who could read and write and could afford to maintain libraries. Ownership and control of modern media was in the hands of governments and large corporations. In this scenario of the 1820 to 1990, the post Industrial Second Dark Age, individuals were passive recipients of information rather than interactive creators of information.
Advances in Science and Medicine
Advances were made in science with the invention of instruments to extend human senses. The light and electron microscope allows us to see the very tiny world of microbes (leading to microbiology and antibiotics), and telescopes allow us to see the planets and stars on a very large scale. Further refinements permit instrumentation to use the entire electromagnetic spectrum as an extension of the eye to examine the natural world. When these new instruments are turned toward the human body, this is called medical science. Xrays, CAT scans, Ultrasound, Radionuclide and PET scanning all represent imaging with instruments which extend the senses to allow anatomic visualization inside the human body. (42)
Left image: Measles Virus, Electron Microscope Image Courtesy of Wikipedia
Just as the world’s great telescopes are restricted to a few privileged astronomers, medical instrumentation was restricted to a privileged few medical professionals who maintain the age old model of protecting and restricting technical knowledge. This created a social and political climate in the practice of medicine aptly described by Ivan Illich in his essay, Medical Nemesis in 1976. (5)(6)(7)(8)(9)(10)(11)(12)
Although the history of medicine chronicles great acheivement such as the conquest of infectious disease with invention of antibiotics and vaccines, advances in surgery with introduction of anesthesia and sterile technique, etc. critics of the medical system such as Illich point out the disconnect between the promise of medicine and the reality. (42)
This disconnect was perhaps best described by pediatrician Robert Mendelsohn MD in his 1979 book, Confessions of a Medical Heretic.(13)(14)(15)(16) By the way, Mendelsohn was my medical school adviser in 1976.
These two books by Mendelsohn and Illich perhaps best exemplify the Medieval Dark Age of Medicine, in which medical information is restricted to medical professionals and not to be shared with the layman.
The Revolutionary Impact of the Internet
In another form of Kuhn's "Disruptive Science", the Internet Age has turned everything upside down, and has brought the end of the Second Dark Age and created a Renaissance, representing a new openness of information. This is especially true in medicine, with the advent of the empowered autonomous e-patient.
Rather than being centrally controlled, the new Internet media is now controlled by individuals empowered to publish their own web pages, blog or message board with video and audio streams, directly competing with conventional media in the form of television, radio and print media.
Empowering the Individual
The individual is now empowered as an owner of a personal audio/ video broadcast station on the Internet. Creating content is as simple as writing content, or uploading video from a digital camera.
The individual now has access to previously protected knowledge, and is able to interact with this knowledge on the internet. New knowledge is being created in collaborative message boards and social networks. This new knowledge flows freely and is unprotected by intellectual property law, and its size will soon dwarf the previous body of protected knowledge.
Examples: Although seemingly protected by copyright law, the music and movie industries experience huge losses from pirated music and DVDs available online.
Examples: Secret corporate documents released during legal proceedings are deemed privileged by the court, yet are posted publicly on the internet (Zyprexa Documents) at huge personal cost to an individual. This information contradicts the corporate message of the drug companies and creates public outrage.
Example: Publication of the Rodney King video showing unjustified and cruel beating at the hands of the LA police contradicted the customary "resisting arrest" defense, and created public outrage.
Example: "Disease Mongering" Media Advertising by drug companies is exposed and unmasked by information on the internet. Disease Mongering is eventually abandoned by the pharmaceutical industry as self-defeating, and embarrassing to corporate goals. Television drug advertising, and specifically disease mongering will be banned in the future by the government in response to public outrage.
Intellectual Property Laws Will Be Revised or Abandoned
Public display of pirated information on the internet represents a general assault on intellectual property law, which will be either revised or abandoned. The law as it now stands, is ineffective at preventing the widespread dissemination of protected information. Although intellectual property laws are in effect and mostly respected and followed here in the US, the reality is that any kid with a video camera can copy a first run movie and post it on the internet.
Anyone can buy a video recorder, record an event, and then publish the video on a blog or U-Tube, along with written narrative. Drug patents are now being violated internationally. For example, Cipro is sold off patent in India.
Copy Protection considered "Last Century"
Patrick Dixon says "Trying to protect or copyright your own management ideas is a last-century nonsense: absurd and illogical." (36)
New Forms of Knowledge Will Be Created on the Internet
Not only is the older and previously restricted technical knowledge freely available at a mouse click on the internet, we also have a new phenomenon never seen before. This is the creation of new forms of valid knowledge as a direct result of the interactive and collaborative nature of the internet.
Example: An obscure doctor in Hong Kong publishes an article stating that acne is caused by vitamin B5 (pantethine) deficiency, and resolves after taking vitamin B5. (37) The vitamin is safe, with no adverse side effects, and is widely available without a prescription. Thousands of acne sufferers try the vitamin B5 treatment and report their progress on hundred of acne message boards across the internet along with before and after digital photos. The net result is the creation of new knowledge on the efficacy of Vitamin B5 for acne. This knowledge is in the public domain and cannot be copyrighted or protected by intellectual property law. This is especially useful for vitamins, supplements and other natural substances which are generally regarded as safe, and yet will never generate enough money to pay for the expensive drug trials required for FDA approval. These natural substances will be marketed as safe, nutritional supplements, or "medical foods" even though they have pharmacological activity.
Thus new knowledge is created and shared interactively without concern for intellectual property laws. The internet gives us the “online community” in which individuals share written, audio and video information. This was previously the domain of specialized libraries restricted to privileged groups.
Other forms of knowledge have always been free of protection by intellectual property laws. For example, it is not possible to patent the alphabet, the English language, or the chemical structure of a natural substance. The internet has expanded this knowledge base of free information, which will continue to expand, eventually dwarfing the body of knowledge in the protected domain.
The Doctor-Patient Relationship of the Future
Tom Ferguson MD describes the advent of a new type of doctor-patient relationship quite different from the old paternalistic one, in which the doctor is educator and participant, and recognizes an opportunity to learn from the expert e-patient, who engages in internet searches for medical information and may actually have more specialized knowledge than the doctor. The new doctor openly shares information with patients, and serves as educator.(21)(22)
Non-Medical e-patient Experts
Jenny Ruhl Diabetes Update and Blood Sugar 101
Jenny is a self taught diabetes expert who has condensed collaborative knowledge from many diabetes message boards into her book Blood Sugar 101.
Stop the Thyroid Madness Blog and Book.
Online resource advocates natural thyroid medication rather than synthetic version. This covers subtleties of treatment of thyroid disorders based on collaborative knowledge of many e-patients.
Internet Savvy Medical Expert:
William Davis MD Track Your Plaque, HeartScan Blog
Dr Davis is a Cardiologist in Wisconsin, and one of a new breed of internet savvy medical experts. He has created an online community which creates new medical knowledge concerning efficacy of various natural treatments to reverse heart disease.
The Structure of DNA
Although elucidating the structure of DNA was credited to Watson and Crick in 1953, some believe this credit should have gone to Rosalind Franklin (left image) who did the xray crystallography that revealed the double helix structure of DNA. She should have been credited and given the Nobel prize. She unfortunately died of breast cancer and never received proper credit.
X-ray crystallography uses electromagnetic light not visible to the human eye to image molecular structures. (24) This discovery opened the door to the new field of DNA sequencing, bio-technology, molecular biology, and the Human Genome Project (started 1990, finished 2000) which sequenced the entire human genome.(25) Shortly thereafter, using sequencing technology, private companies began offering online genetic testing for individuals (without a doctor's prescription) who wish to know their genetic information. The first humane genome sequence cost 300 million dollars. This is now offered online for under a thousand. We can expect the cost to go down to a few hundred dollars in the near future making this test available for most e-patients.
Above Image: Rosalind Franklin uncovered structure of DNA with x-ray crystallography courtesy wikipedia
3-D Structure of DNA Molecule Double Helix Courtesy of Wikipedia
What is DNA, and Why is it Important? (Deoxyribo-Nucleic Acid)
DNA resides in the nucleus of all living cells and contains the source code for protein synthesis. This also controls the growth, metabolism and reproduction of the organism from embryo to adult. In essence DNA is the master controller, it is like the source code in your computer.
Mutations in DNA (or random substitutions in the genetic code) cause deficiency or inefficiency of proteins, and are the cause of genetic diseases. Research in molecular biology uncovers on a daily basis new links between genetic code variations called SNP's and disease.
Cellular protein synthesis is, in turn, controlled by the DNA code and is the basic process of life itself.
Genome sequencing shows the actual DNA code along the DNA molecule, and this code determines which proteins are manufactured. A mutation in the code makes either absent or inefficient proteins corresponding to that code. By understanding this process of protein synthesis, medical science has tools to combat disease and improve health.
For Example: Bio-Identical human hormones are messengers which attach directly onto the DNA, turning on DNA protein synthesis.(see diagram below) In the aging population after age 50, hormonal decline leads to reduced protein synthesis, and the onset of degenerative diseases from lack of reparative proteins. Replenishment of bio-identical hormone levels restores DNA protein synthesis, thereby delaying or reversing the onset of degenerative disease. This prevention or delay in degenerative disease with bio-identical hormone therapy has been described by some as "anti-aging". In reality, it is anti-degenerative disease.
Courtesy of J Jamieson Grade 12 University Biology Course
Chemically Altered Drug Paradigm is Rendered Obsolete by Advances in Bio-Technology
The Drug Paradigm is based on chemically altering a natural substance to obtain a patent which then protects profits. After the BioTechnology revolution, only natural substances are acceptable for medical and biochemical interventions.
1) The concept of a blockbuster patented drug, a chemically altered form of a naturally occurring molecule is rendered obsolete, and is increasingly replaced by advances in genomics, gene therapy, stem cells, cloning and bio-technology.
It is universally recognized that chemically altered forms of human hormones should never have been created, nor marketed to the population. In the future, chemically altered, synthetic hormones will be banned. These were found to cause cancer and heart disease in the 2002 Women's Health Initiative Study.
In order for the drug companies to survive, they much dramatically change.
2) Drug patents take on a new form. There is movement away from patenting an altered chemical structure, and towards obtaining a patent for the manufacturing technique. This applied to non-patentable protein structures, vitamins and other natural substances such as human insulin and growth hormone (HGH).
3) Medical Interventions will focus on molecular biology, DNA genomics, protein synthesis and natural biochemical processes, making unnatural chemically altered hormones and drugs obsolete. Since natural substances cannot be patented, there is no funding for large scale studies of their efficacy. Efficacy knowledge will be obtained by collaborative efforts of e-patient experts on internet networks.
5) The drug company funded double blind placebo controlled study for FDA approval will diminish in importance, and will be rivaled or replaced by the new forms of collective knowledge on the internet demonstrating efficacy of natural substances used to treat disease. The placebo-controlled Drug Trial for FDA approval will gradually become less and less useful as drugs are replaced by natural substances which cannot generate enough profit to warrant the expense of FDA approval.
6) Medical knowledge in medical journal publications will be rivaled and gradually displaced by new forms of collaborative knowledge created by e-patients on the internet.
Example: Videos of pre and post vaccination autistic kids posted on the internet changed the Vaccine autism paradigm. The collective knowledge of thousands of individuals posting internet videos of their autistic kids has destroyed any remaining confidence in American Institutional Medicine which dogmatically denies any linkage between autism and vaccination.
In 2008, the Federal Vaccine Court concedes that Hannah Poling’s vaccinations caused autism, a development which affirms the collaborative knowledge residing on the Internet.
Orthomolecular Medicine, a term coined by Linus Pauling in 1968 and championed by Abram Hoffer MD since the 1950's, will enter the mainstream. New advances in molecular biology, biotechnology and genomics demonstrates the logic and utility of this approach. SNP's (Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms) in the population, having been studied and documented, are genetic variants which cause reduced efficiency of selected enzymes. These inefficient enzymes and resulting derangement in cellular biochemistry lead to signs and symptoms of disease. By replenishing the body with higher concentrations of vitamin or mineral enzyme co-factors, enzyme efficiency increases, and thus correction of SNP genetic variants and associated enzyme abnormalities can be accomplished with nutritional supplements in mega-dose concentrations.(19)
Orthomolecular medicine will expand its scope from the study of vitamins, minerals and enzyme co-factors to enhance defective enzyme activity, to the study of manipulating gene expression to improve defective proteins and enzymes. This is the use of the new Personalized Medicine, and Genomic Science.
Quote from Linus Pauling PhD:
"An example is the effectiveness of cyanocobalamin (vitamin B12) given in amounts 1,000 times greater than normal to control the disease methylmalonic aciduria (11-14). About half of the patients with this disease are successfully treated with megadoses of vitamin B12. In these patients a genetic mutation has occurred and an altered apoenzyme that has a greatly reduced affinity for the coenzyme has been produced. Increase in concentration of the coenzyme can counteract the effect of the decrease in the value of the combining constant and lead to the formation of enough of the active enzyme to catalyze effectively the reaction of conversion of methylmalonic acid to succinic acid." (20)
Tetrahydofolate in methylation reactions.
Vitamins B6, B12 for Homocysteine reduction.
Coenzyme Q 10, D Ribose and L-Carnitine for improvement in mitochondrial function in patients with congestive heart failure.
Vitamin B3 Niacin for Schizophrenia
The Autonomous e-Patient and Reconfiguration of Medical Knowledge
The rise of the autonomous e-Patient is a new phenomenon, empowered by medical knowledge obtained on the internet, the e-patient knows more than their own doctor, and may actually be helpful to the doctor providing new knowledge. Social Networking of e-patients enhances knowledge and creates new medical knowledge which competes with and surpasses individual physicians. The exception, of course, being the physician technician such as the cardiac surgeon, or the invasive radiologist who maintains professional standing based on technical expertise. A special form of expert e-patient serves to guide others on the internet in social networks and message boards.(21)(22)
See the white paper on e-patients by Tom Ferguson MD.
Online Genetic Testing
The use of confidential online genetic testing is available online without a doctor’s prescription.
See DNA Direct online confidential testing. Genetic testing will become mainstream, cheaper, and easier, and will provide more an more useful information as medical science uncovers more links between genetic variants and disease states. It will play a dominant role in the medicine of the future. Genetic testing will be used to predict disease risk, preventive planing, and family planning.
Genetic tests currently available: see Understanding Genetic Testing.
Personalized Medicine is the combination of these two new powerful forces, Orthomolecular Medicine and Genetic Testing.(30) In the future, Personalized Medicine will expand and ultimately play a dominant role in medicine.(41) Example: Warfarin Genetic Testing allows improved calibration of coumadin dosage to avoid bleeding complications. Drug metabolism testing allows for personal modification of drug dosage.
Health Care and Health Insurance -Tranformation into a Public Utility
Simply watch the Michael Moore Movie, "Sicko", for a preview of our dysfunctional health insurance industry. The movie convincingly suggests the entire system is broken and in need of major change. The only question is what will health insurance look like in 10-20 years? Will the industry survive?
In the future, the health insurance industry will be regulated as a public utility, similar to the way the states regulate electric power utility companies. We all need electricity delivered to our homes, and we cannot function without it. Medical care is similar. If we need medical care, whether it is a blood transfusion, IV fluids, an operation for bowel obstruction or a simple antibiotic, we need it same as we need electricity for our homes and factories. We need it NOW and cant function without it.
The Concept of Universal Health Care
The concept of mandatory Health Insurance as a definition of Universal Health Care Coverage will be rejected. Universal Health Care defined as new legislation requiring everyone to purchase a United Health Care Insurance Policy is a bad mistake. In this scenario, the corporate profit motive is a major problem. The health insurance industry will increase profits merely by adjusting the parameters on its "Denial Engine Software" to increase denial of medical claims. The solution is to remove the corporate profit motive and transform Health Care into a public utility, regulated by state insurance agencies. For more on health insurance see my previous article on this topic.(26)
The Future of the FDA
The FDA will either be eliminated as a government agency or changed into a new entity which will look entirely different from its current form. After all, if the FDA had done its job properly, synthetic hormones would have been banned from their inception as dangerous illogical replacements for human hormones. This practice of "selling" synthetic hormones to the American public is morally and ethically wrong.
Here is an example of a fictictious scenario which explains the problems with modern drug deveklopment and the FDA: In this scenario, a clever drug company biochemist adds a chlorine molecule to the vitamin C carbon ring, obtains a patent, then funds the trials which are submitted to the FDA. The trials show a small half per cent decrease in heart disease, so the FDA approves the new vitamin C drug as useful in the prevention of heart disease. Amazingly, this absurd scenario has been the norm for the past century, and highlights the severe limitations of the FDA. Why would anyone spend $3 a pill for chlorinated vitamin C when the real vitamin C is available for pennies?
The Future of Government
Fifty years ago, Aldous Huxley predicted the end of democracy and individual freedom. He predicted they will be replaced by some form of totalitarian state. He mentions overpopulation as one of the driving forces leading to loss of individual freedom and totalitarianism. We have seen in Figure 1, the technology driven progressive increase in human lifespan, and its inevitable negative effect of increasing population pressure. Global population doubling time is now only 50 years. Victory over the forces of nature, paradoxically, has created the overpopulation bomb, which according to Huxley will lead to global totalitarianism. Huxley also mentions advances in media technology (television and madison avenue advertising) allowing the few to control the many with propaganda which bypasses the rational mind.(44)(45)
Perhaps he is right. However, Huxley lived before the Internet revolution, and perhaps the openness and decentralization of the Internet Revolution will tip the balance in favor of individual freedom.
However, there is still the strong possibility that free democratic governments anywhere (even here) could fall into the hands of a despot utilizing the 10 step blueprint to impose a totalitarian state. If this road is taken, it could halt or even reverse the Internet Renaissance. In this scenario, the affected government typically declares marshall law in response to real or imagined military threat, repeals individual freedoms, and closes public access to the Internet, creating a centralized totalitarian regime, as commonly observed in many other examples around the globe.
Naomi Wolf's book, the End of America is a chilling eye opener describing the 10 steps used historically to crush democracy. The United States has already embarked on the first few steps. (Imprisonment without due process in solitary confinement, torture of prisoners, criminalization of dissent, etc. )(40) Hopefully, we still have a few Minute Men around somewhere, and Amercia will wake up in time to miraculously swerve away from the course described in Naomi Wolf's book.
With the advent the Atomic Age, the traditional solution to overpopulation, namely global warfare, is no longer tenable. According to Huxley, population pressure (Fig 1 chart) aggravated by increasing lifespan and other advances in medical science, inevitably leads to global totalitarian governmental, also called "the World State", a unified global government described by Aldous Huxley in his novel, Brave New World.(43) In other words, Huxley might argue that totalitarian government is the inevitable outcome of scientific achievement. The Jury is still out on that one.
Image of The Moon Calisto Courtesy of NASA
The Future of Medicine
"410 scientists from 55 countries have signed an Open Letter to all Governments demanding a moratorium on environmental releases of GMOs because they are unsafe, and a ban on patenting life-forms and living processes because those patents are unethical.Above quote comes from Dr. Mae-Wan Ho in a talk given at the Workshop on Agriculture and the Developing World of the US National Academies' Standing Committee on Agricultural Biotechnology, Health, and the Environment, Washington DC, 16 April 2001. Taking Science Seriously in the GM Debate By Dr. Mae-Wan Ho.
Genetic manipulation is inherently unsafe and dangerous, sort of like giving a loaded gun to a child. It may take one or two more centuries before our understanding of molecular biology and genetic engineering gives us the tools to actually do anything safely and with the precision described in Dr Dixon's talk. Where I would agree with Dr. Dixon, however, with his comments is on the future use of stem cells which may become medically useful in a short period of time.
The Fluid Genome
One of the unpredicted results of the Human Genome Project is what Dr. Mae-Wan Ho calls the "Fluid Genome". The total number of genes found in the human genome actively synthesizing proteins was a relatively small number and not enough to explain the complexity of organism. Most of the genome is actually what was previously called "Junk DNA". The findings of the Human Genome Project contradicts Watson and Crick's Central Dogma of molecular biology, i.e. that information flows in one direction from the DNA to RNA to Protein. Instead, we find a "Fluid Genome" which undergoes constant change in response to the environment, with information flowing back to the genome. This new paradigm means that the genome is inherently unstable, and it is sheer folly to attempt to modify the genome of plants or animals with our current crude methods of genetic engineering. Fluid Genome Link. See Article: Fluid Genome & Beyond by Dr. Mae Wan Ho. Likewise, the failure of gene therapy is due to the fact that our current methods are too crude to account for the fluid nature of the genome.
The following is a partial transcript of Patrick Dixon video (see video below):
Dr Dixon discusses Stem Cell Technology, specific examples are how stem cell technology can be used to grow new teeth in adults, allow recovery of heart muscle after heart attack, and rebuild eyes in animals that have gone blind. The video discusses a future cure for Macular Degeneration, and the repair of brain after stroke with stem cells injected into the stroke area. Bone Marrow transplant in leukemia patient from male donor, and after patient died, autopsy showed “male cells” in her brain from the bone marrow transplant. Dixon discusses spinal cord nerve tissue regeneration from stem cells treatments and impact of stem cells on Aging.
Genomics, Genetic Code
Dixon says that, in the future, we have ability to re-write the genetic code from scratch and create new forms of life. Today’s crude science makes transgenic animals by cutting and pasting genetic codes into plasmids, and transmitting from one animal to another.
We will be able to sequence the entire genome of an individual human in milliseconds. The cost will be minimal and within the means of the average person.
Individuals will have ability to reprogram our own sperm and eggs. One will be able to buy new genes on the internet based on desired traits and features, and use these genes to make one's own children as easily as buying a copy of Microsoft office.
My comment: If the government gets involved, then this sounds a lot like Aldous Huxley's, Brave New World.
Example of this new biotechnology: Human genes are inserted into microbes to make insulin. We will see a dramatic increase in gene therapies and treatments.
Genetic testing can predict not only disease risk, it will also be used to predict who will become the violent criminals. History of neglect and abuse as a child plus genetic make-up determines high risk factors. This could be used as a legal defense argument for criminals.
Gene therapy will be used to grow cartilage for patients with osteoarthritis. Biotech Vaccines that stop rheumatoid arthritis. We will repair spinal cord injuries with gene therapy, allowing severed nerves to regrow. Gene therapy will repair human brain, eye and lungs of cystic fibrosis patients.
We will see a movement away from drugs for disease to gene treatments to improve performance (sex, memory, athletic ability). Olympic games will no longer be natural. Athletes will have temporary boosts from injections of genetic material undetectable with testing. Hair regrowth from stem cells will be of tremendous commercial value.
People want to use frozen cells to “clone” their family members to bring them “back from the dead”. People are using online services to record and store an individual human genome for later cloning when technology is ready. The media will pay 30 million dollars for the exclusive rights for the life story of the worlds first cloned human. Cloning is fairly simple. Once we have the first human cloned baby, the world of bio-tech will never be the same. These new Cloning technology advances will affect emotions, moods, moral codes, values, culture. There will be a public debate and moral debate. A reaction is likely. Gene screening as a prerequisite for health insurance will become a requirement.
Watch the video here:
More by Dr Patrick Dixon:
Patrick Dixon, Future of Health Care - part 2 of 3 (34)
Patrick Dixon, Future of Health Care - part 3 of 3 (35)
(hint - this next video below is the most entertaining video of the three)
The 21st Century: What will it look like?
This is a very entertaining look at the Future, with excellent music and interesting images. Very inspirational. Karsten Staack made this video for some events in the Detailed Roadmap of the 21st Century (39)
The Great Experiment of the 21st Century:
From 1981 to 1982, Mendelsohn was president of the National Health Federation. He also served as National Director of Project Head Start's Medical Consultation Service (a position he was later forced to resign after criticizing the public school system), and as Chairman of the Medical Licensing Committee of Illinois. He often spoke at NHF conventions and produced a newsletter and a syndicated newspaper column, both called The People's Doctor. He appeared on over 500 television and radio talk shows. In 1986, the National Nutritional Foods Association gave Mendelsohn its annual Rachel Carson Memorial Award for his "concerns for the protection of the American consumer and health freedoms."
Mendelsohn considered himself a "medical heretic." One of his books charged that "Modern Medicine's treatments for disease are seldom effective, and they're often more dangerous than the diseases they're designed to treat"; that "around ninety percent of surgery is a waste of time, energy, money and life"; and that most hospitals are so loosely run that "murder is even a clear and present danger."
E-Patients are driving a healthcare revolution of major proportions,
"The medical worldview of the 20th Century did not recognize the legitamacy of lay medical competence and autonomy. Thus its metrics, research methods, and cultural vocabulary are poorly suited to studying this emerging field. Something akin to a system upgrade in our thinking is needed - a new cultural operating system for healthcare in which e-patients can be recognized as a vakluable new typoe of renewable resource, managing much of their own care, providing care for others, helping professionals improve the quuality of their services, and participoating in entirely new knids of cliniian -patient collaboratoions, patient initiated research, and self managed care."
"Developing, refining, and implementing this new open source cultural operating system will be one of the principal challenges facing healthcare in the early decades of the 21st century, But difficult as this task may prove to be, it will pay remarkable dividends, For given the recognition and support they deserve, these new medical colleagues can help us find sustainable solutions to many of the seeemingly intractable problems that now plague all modern healthcare systems."
Kuhn normal science vs disruptive science
Normal science: Method provate and results concealed. Outdated paradigms.
Klausner is leaving NCI to become president of the Case Institute of Health, Science and Technology, a new philanthropic enterprise launched by the Case Foundation, the family foundation of AOL Time Warner Chairman Steve Case and his wife, Jean.
Predicting the Future - Links