By Sajeev Nair
When you hear about technology in healthcare, what your mind conjures up would most probably be the images of the latest whole body scanning machines and robotic surgeries. This is because the most pervasive deployment of technology in healthcare that most people are familiar with is found in CT or MRI scans and invasive procedures like keyhole and robot-assisted surgeries.
But, let me remind you, none of these fall in the realm of prevention. These are all invariably treatments. And treatments kick in only after you present yourself with some symptoms, which means only after you have developed a disease. While there is no doubt that high-tech diagnostics and invasive procedures have revolutionised treatments, and extended the longevity or lifespan, a sobering fact is that it hasn’t done enough for extending the healthspan or the number of healthy, productive years in one’s life.
This is why preventive healthcare has been on a resurgence in recent years. If you are surprised at my usage of the word resurgence, don’t be. Things were not always like this. I mean, people didn’t use to wait for diabetes to hit them, before they started taking care against it. At least, that was the situation with Ayurveda in India. And I guess that this was the same situation across most of this planet’s ancient medical systems, from what I have heard about ancient Chinese and Greek medicine.
But somewhere along the way, ancient preventive medicine got submerged in the deluge of modern diagnostics and treatments. In India, there were also some strategic missteps from at least some modern Ayurvedic practitioners, as they veered away from personalization which was at the heart of Ayurveda, to more generic medicines that could be mass produced, prescribed easily and marketed even more easily. However, the sad outcome from such a move was that such medicines became less effective for many.
Personalization based on the composition of the three physiological factors, vata, pitta & kapha, and their various combinations was so effective in Ayurveda that the same physician would prescribe totally different medicines for the same ailment in two persons and both of them would be healed perfectly. While some modern medicine practitioners disregard vata-pitta-kapha theory as an approximate science or even absurd, the fact of the matter is that treatments based on such macro approximations used to work beautifully.
Today, however, preventive medicine is making a strong comeback based on a most accurate kind of personalization which is based on technology. I will mention the core elements of such enabling technologies here. But before that, the first thing to note is that, none of these technologies that I am going to mention were possible before 2003, when the Human Genome Project (HGP) was completed.
First and foremost to be mentioned in this era of modern preventive medicine is personalization technology based on each person’s genetic data. While many people are still to wake up to this fact, science has proved beyond doubt that most lifestyle diseases like diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, obesity, cancer, dementia, COPD, cardiovascular diseases like heart attack & stroke, and hundreds of such diseases have genetic roots.
Such roots can lay dormant for years, before these genes get expressed or triggered due to poor lifestyles, faulty metabolism, high stress, or various environmental factors. Today, it is possible to discover these hidden genetic risk factors years or decades before this genetic expression happens and the disease develops. Such genetic testing can be made even more foolproof by combining detailed metabolic data with it. Today, even in India, such biohacking solutions like EPLIMO exist that finds any among hundreds of such disease risks by geno-metabolic testing.
But such technologies don’t stop there. They take the help of Artificial Intelligence (AI) to analyse the enormous genetic data from each individual, and to combine it with various metabolic parameters, as well as extensive data on research-validated lifestyle modifications, so that a detailed set of such lifestyle changes or biohacks spanning diet, nutrition, supplements, exercise, yoga, ayurvedic herbs, sleep, meditation, breathing exercises, de-stressing, detoxing etc can be suggested to the users, which when followed can keep their susceptible lifestyle diseases at bay.
This in turn has led to the evolution of truly personalized biohacks for each individual like personalized diets, personalized exercise regimens, personalized yoga etc that are way more effective than generic diets, exercises & yoga in preventing, managing, and reversing when possible, conditions like obesity, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, and lifestyle related cardiovascular diseases.
(The author is a Sajeev Nair is a tech & wellness futurist, biohacker, peak performance coach & author of the bestselling biohacking book, ‘The Making of a Superhuman’. He is also the the Founder & Chairman of Vieroots Wellness Solutions and Limoverse Technologies. The article is for informational purposes only. Please consult medical experts and health professionals before starting any therapy, medication and/or remedy. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the FinancialExpress.com.)