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23AndMe's "Research Revolution"

A couple months ago, I noted that 23andMe initiated its first self-organized trial for Parkinson's Disease where the patients themselves have paid much of the cost of enrolling in trials and have invested time into filling out questionnaires and tracking symptoms. Last week, the company announced plans to expand those efforts to 10 additional conditions by offering a $99 DNA test kit to individuals who will participate in the company's research.

Predicting health in the workplace

At the Institute, we are deliberate about not making predictions. We forecast what the future might look like based on the implications of trends we see emerging today. Perhaps it is this aversion to predicting the future that makes me uncomfortable with Cincinatti-based start-up Allostatix's sales pitch:

The Allostatix Load Test™ measures whole body health and how the body is responding to the accumulation of stress and poor lifestyle habits based on the scientific concept of allostasis (maintaining stability through change) and allostatic load. This breakthrough test predicts health and wellness 3 to 5 years into the future with up to an 85% accuracy by looking at how all of the body systems work together. (emphasis in the original)

Interestingly, I didn't express any discomfort with such a claim back in March, when I wrote about another company that offers to predict one's future health.

So what is really bothering me? I have to admit that my gut reaction to the idea of using allostatic load as an indicator of future health was one of skepticism. What can Allostatix's "unique and proprietary system" of blood work and biometric measurements really reveal? Elevated cortisol levels? What if I am stressed out about having blood drawn?

Predicting your future health

Not sure how new a story this is, but I have only recently come across it.  With the tag line of "Know, Act, Achieve," Entelos' MyDigitalHealth promises to predict what one's health will look like in the future. The company offers to synthesize your health history, current health, and lifestyle to generate a simulation of your future health.  Then you can see how changing your lifestyle today might change that picture over time.  

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