The Future Of Medicine

Watch this Charlie Rose discussion with Dean Ornish, George Church and David Agus.

My response: The bigger news in recent genetic breakthroughs is not that you will be able to know your medical future, but the knowledge that you have the power to determine which part of your genetics get expressed. This is the important stuff!

60 years ago with the development of antibiotics, medicine went through an arrogant phase. Medical doctors at that time believed we were just a couple of decades away from a disease free world. Few people contemplated then the unintended consequences of antibiotics. It would take a couple of decades for super resistant bugs to appear. I still remember the series of penicillin shots I got 44 years ago. My immune system is even now still recovering from that event.

I admire these brilliant doctors. It’s great that the medical field generates such excitement and new possibilities. But there is a caution toward some humility and wisdom in our next steps. Please don’t tell us personalized gene therapy will eradicate disease. And do tell us more about the preventative choices we can make in our daily lives. We now have a society, mostly in the West, which believes that genes contain a person’s unavoidable destiny. Based on the recent genetic breakthroughs, let us hope that the educational efforts of the next decade help us to understand that we have all the power in the world to determine which part of our genetics will get expressed. Let’s realize we have a part to play in how our destiny and our health play out.

© Aviv Shahar

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