Coffee: Sound of bubble bursting – getting real about genomic medicine

From ScienceDaily (Feb. 18, 2011) this news, “Promise of Genomics Research Needs a Realistic View, Experts Urge”

Unrealistic expectations about genomic medicine have created a "bubble" that needs deflating before it puts the field's long term benefits at risk, four policy experts write in the current issue of the journal Science.

Ten years after the deciphering of the human genetic code was accompanied by over-hyped promises of medical breakthroughs, it may be time to reevaluate funding priorities to better understand how to change behaviors and reap the health benefits that would result.

You mean, the dead shall not rise again in this life? And,practically speaking,

After all, while advances are being made in personalized medicine through the tools of pharmacogenetics, "the most powerful predictor of drug efficacy is whether a patient takes the drug."

In my own country, tens of thousands end up in the emerg every year due to beggaring around with powerful prescribed meds. Reality check: If it's powerful enough to help you, when taken right, it's …

In many diseases a large number of genes play a role, making meaningful predictions difficult both for individuals and in public health.

To say nothing of all the other factors, like environment and age of first onset. Now this zinger:

There's little evidence that advising people they are at genetically increased risk for disease has significant impact on their behavior, while telling others they are at less risk can promote bad behaviors.

Which is only common sense, really.

Translating scientific findings into patient care is an "inherently messy" process, as demonstrated by hormone replacement therapy and other "ideas that didn't pan out when scrutinized through the lens of evidence-based medicine."

Actually, the big problem with transhumanism is that, to achieve immortality through science and technology, you must get all traces of the human out of the process first.

Denyse O'Leary is co-author of The Spiritual Brain.

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