WGS 2019: Why medicine must be redesigned

DUBAI, As a society, we have become more immune to medications that once would have been seen as life-altering. As medications evolve, so too, does human biology. Looking to the future of healthcare, therefore, poses a host of challenges.

These challenges were addressed and explored today at the seventh World Government Summit (WGS 2019) when leading experts shared their thoughts on the future of health at a run of three sessions titled ‘Redesigning Medicine’.

Momo Vuyisich, Chief Science Officer of Viome, Harald Schmidt, physician and system medicine scientist, and Sara Gottfried, doctor and author, discussed the role of artificial intelligence, systemic medicine, and holistic health in redefining wellbeing.

According to Vuyisich, healthcare in the future will enable individuals to take control of the medical monitoring of their own health. He said that today’s healthcare model is focused on disease management, rather than healthcare itself, at the core of which is disease prevention before the symptoms appear. He stressed the role of technology in supporting this shift towards preventive medicine and touched upon the progress made in genomic sequencing over the past 15 years, which allows for the study and digitalization of health.

Highlighting the importance of personalized medicine in ensuring the health of people, Momo Vuyisich cited the example of Viome, the first test that not only pinpoints all the bacteria strains in the gut, but also any viruses, which are associated with poor health. Also, he highlighted the role of Artificial Intelligence and different technologies in understanding gut health through the analysis and testing of microbiomes. He said the process helps identify what foods make each person produce toxins, and how each body interacts with the environment around it. The analysis in turn, develops personalized diets that preserve people’s health.

Vuyisich concluded by presenting an outlook on how the use of AI and personalized medicine can be adopted. According to him, governments need to train clinical and data scientists to ensure the optimal use of data through technology and resources. He also stressed the importance of running large-scale clinical studies, and the need to fund such studies and provide less expensive computing to analyze the data. Lastly, he highlighted the need to educate society on the power of prevention and the importance of personalized diets.

Speaking about the socio-economic revolutions that have taken place in history, Harald Schmidt said the major revolution society is now facing is the new definition of health, how it will be achieved and how it will be paid for.

According to Schmidt, existing drugs lack precision, and while new drugs have been developed with extensive funding, the overall efficiency of medication has declined since the 1950s. He added that this is due to the way diseases have been systemized based on body organs, which is a conceptual error.

Given that studies have revealed that several diseases share common risk genes, he stressed the importance of understanding the mechanisms of each disease to be able to better treat it. Based on this premise, he said the future of healthcare would focus on systemic medicine rather than diagnostic medicine to better understand the complex role of various microbes and the interconnections between them.

For her part, Sara Gottfried presented her thoughts on the differentiation between health and disease. Echoing the same sentiment as her session peers, she also spoke about the importance of disease prevention rather than treatment. For this, Gottfried identified seven pillars of holistic health: Food � what to eat, when to eat and what type of food to eat; Move- functional movement to maintain muscle health; Sleep � seven to eight hours of sleep a night with at least 90-minutes of deep sleep; Think � the way people rise above perceived stress; Sooth � identifying methods to reduce perceived stress; Connect � avoid negative social situations that can trigger an inflammatory cascade; and Detox � actively detoxifying a person’s body.

The three-day World Government Summit 2019 runs until February 12 at Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai. The landmark event has convened more than 4,000 participants from 140 countries, including heads of state and governments, as well as top-tier representatives of 30 international organizations.

Source: Emirates News Agency