Google’s plans to map the human body maybe an audacious move or a naïve undertaking but nevertheless, reports NBC News yesterday, that is exactly what Google is planning to do with the human body in search of good health planning.
Mapping the streets, the underwater ways of the oceans and providing Google Glass and Google autonomous cars, it can be noted that Google leads into unmapped territories. Google wants to establish biomarkers for human health through mapping the body. Each body is different and requires a different view from health and medical matters.
The logic behind its goal of setting biomarkers is to predict disease before it strikes. Google’s press release has taken on a formidable task of defining what it is to be healthy at molecular and cellular level so a baseline is established at every age. Its press release terms it, “what it means to be healthy.”
Kedar Mate, M.D., the vice president of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, a Massachusetts-based not-for-profit, told NBC News that genes are about 15 to 40 percent a factor. Behavioral patterns comprise 30-40 percent and socioeconomic factors account for 20-30 percent. According to Mate that despite using a “wonderful genetic model” it is not the total picture for health.
Mapping human body and relating the data of health information contains many variables and some human decision making to sift through the data. Since a baseline has never been done before it leads to some reserve on the part of medical and scientific genomics' experts despite the magnitude of Google’s computational computer ability.
The team of one hundred at Google in the Baseline Project is led by molecular biologist, Andrew Conrad. The wide range covered by the team includes biochemistry, physiology, imaging technology, anatomy and molecular biology. No small injection of knowledge to put together the baseline of human health.
Insurance companies cannot buy into Google’s information from the project but Stanford and Duke will eventually be the recipients of the information and models. The discrimination to make determinations as to why a person is healthy will be a hurdle for the team to develop within the models. Personal care for dental hygiene may be a factor in healthy teeth and not the genetics involved in the baseline. Poor socioeconomic conditions may be a challenge to meeting healthy hygiene and other healthy elements of lifestyle.
It is monumental task and a challenging beginning for Google. It has brought autonomous vehicles and wearable technology to the forefront, so this is certainly a project to watch in the years as it unfolds. You may find your health mapped and accessed from the cloud and onto your smartphone or watch.