Two stunning research studies have come out this past week, and their outcomes are food for thought for all who care about their health, for their health and wellness providers and for even the healthcare policy makers in industry and governments.
The first of these studies by researchers at School of Kinesiology and Health Science at Canada’s York University looked at 19 significant risk factors that cause premature death in adults aged 20 and above. Most of these risk factors were killer lifestyle diseases and high-risk lifestyles.
This multi-decade study on large amounts of data, primarily on US citizens, was published recently in the noted medical journal ‘Plos One’, with its most shocking result being that less than 3% of the people surveyed had none of these 19 risk factors for early mortality.
With less than 3% people thus being truly healthy, it is clear that millions who consider themselves healthy, aren’t so. In other words, more than 97% – or almost everyone – in a population would benefit from correcting, managing or preventing their lifestyle risk factors.
The fact that this is a US based study should really send shockwaves across the rest of the nations, including India, as most of them lag behind the US when it comes to health awareness, per capita healthcare spend, diagnosis rates, quality of health interventions and longevity.
It is obvious that public health awareness campaigns as well as generic lifestyle modification advice have not been effective. What is the long-term and sustainable solution to such an enormous health challenge facing whole populations? Another study that also came out this past week provides clues to what should be the way forward.
Researchers at America’s National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI), a part of its state-funded and prestigious National Institutes of Health (NIH) made a meta-analysis or study-of-studies of 13 previous studies and found that clinical research that takes a genotype-first approach should be resorted to, for breakthroughs in this regard.
To understand this, it is important to realise what is the kind of clinical research that is most often undertaken today. It is basically a phenotype-first approach, where the study participants are chosen based on their manifestation of the disease being studied.
To explain this with an example, a clinical research on type 2 diabetes would mainly recruit people who have already developed this lifestyle disease. The NHGRI scientists say that this is obviously giving a bias to such studies, whereas they are now advocating studies where study participants are chosen based not on the manifestation of a disease, but their underlying genomic risk factors for developing that disease.
In this study published recently in the noted scientific journal ‘American Journal of Human Genetics’, the researchers also note that focusing on a genotype-first approach has been paying higher and higher results during the past several years, with the genetic links of various diseases already being discovered.
The obvious advantage from a genotype-first approach, the researchers note, is that healthcare can turn from the current reactive strategy to a more personalised, predictive, precise and preventative strategy. In fact, this is already happening with personalised epigenetic lifestyle modification solutions like Eplimo.
Pioneered by the Bengaluru based health-tech startup Vieroots Wellness Solutions, Eplimo employs a detailed genetic test and a comprehensive metabolic assessment of each person to asses their geno-metabolic risk factors for developing any among 250+ lifestyle diseases. Eplimo also provides personalised lifestyle modifications spanning diet, nutrition, supplements, exercise, sleep, yoga, meditation, breathwork etc to keep these disease risks at bay.
Among lifestyle modifications, the most difficult is starting and sticking with a sufficient daily exercise plan, and today there are powerful motivational programs designed to do this, like from the lifestyle modification community, Limoverse.
The world’s first health & wellness ecosystem and metaverse that is built on the blockchain, Limoverse is a meeting ground for wellness seekers and wellness providers from the world over, and also delivers effective motivation through its HealthFi platform.
Limoverse HealthFi will reward users when they exercise, either by counting the calories through wearables or by counting the steps through GPS, and by proportionately rewarding users with Limo crypto tokens into their wallets every time they exercise, walk, jog or run.