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Google, prin divizia de cercetare Google X, a pornit un studiu in a carui prima faza va colecta date medicale de la 175 de subiecti, scopul fiind sa creeze, din informatii genetice si moleculare, un model despre cum ar trebui sa fie un corp perfect sanatos. Studiul va fi extins la cateva mii de persoane, iar Google spune ca ne-ar putea ajuta sa orientam medicina mai mult catre preventie, decat catre tratamentul bolilor. Va fi unul dintre cele mai detaliate experimente legate de corpul uman, scrie Wall Street Journal, potrivit HotNews.

Baseline Study se vrea a fi unul dintre cele mai ambitioase proiecte medicale, iar pentru asta exista o echipa de 70 de cercetatori condusa de Andrew Conrad, un biolog molecular ce a a dus inovatii in domeniul testelor HIV.

Practic vor fi colectate informatii genetice si moleculare de la 175 de persoane care vor ramane anonime, iar din analiza acestor informatii cei de la Google spera sa traga concluzii despre cum ar trebui sa arate organismul unui om sanatos.

In prima etapa, cei 175 de subiecti vor da probe de urina, li se va recolta sange si le vor fi analizate si lacrimile. Apoi, daca totul merge bine, se doreste trecerea la o noua etapa in care sa fie analizate mii de persoane.

Nu e nici pe departe primul studiu de genetica, dar se vrea a fi mai larg si cu cantitati de date uriase. Ideea ar fi ca bolile grave sa fie detectate rapid, iar medicina sa fie orientata mai mult catre preventie, decat catre tratamentul bolilor.

Studiul ar putea, spre exemplu, sa gaseasca diversi biomarkeri care ajuta unii oameni sa descompuna eficient mancarurile grase, determinandu-i sa duca o viata lunga, fara colesterol mare. Altora le lipsesc acesti biomarkeri si sunt in pericol sa moara rin “floarea” vietii de atac de cord, Dupa ce studiul a identificat biomarkerii, pot fi verificati tot mai mult oameni pentru a se vedea daca dispun de acesti markeri, iar daca raspunsul e negativ, poate fi gasit un tratament.

Google are deja o retea de centre de date si este o super-forta in computing, astfel ca aceste competente pot fi utilizate pentru a stoca si evalua informatii medicale.

Liderii proiectului admit ca fac un pas urias spre necunoscut fiindca trupul uman este ultra-complex, fiind greu sa descoperi in totalitate legaturile dintre ADN, enzime si proteine si modul in care factorii de mediu, precum dieta, influenteaza aceste legaturi. Profesorul Conrad spune ca salturile se vor face in pasi mici si nu vorbim de un proiect software care sa fie gata intr-un an sau doi.

Google mai spune ca informatiile despre subiectii din studiul Baseline vor ramane anonime si nu vor fi, spre exemplu, date catre asiguratori. In plus, studiul va fi auditat si modul in care va fi realizat va fi supervizat de cercetatori de la universitati de prestigiu, compania nedorind sa incalce dreptul la viata privata.



Google X sets out to define healthy human

Google X, the secretive research arm of Google Inc., is making a major foray into clinical research with the goal of pinning down what it means to be healthy. The Mountain View, California, company revealed last week that it will launch a project, the Baseline Study, to follow thousands of people and identify patterns of biochemicals, proteins, genetic mutations, and other measurements that correlate with who remains well and who gets sick.

The project was first reported on 24 July by The Wall Street Journal, whose story described it as Google’s “most ambitious and difficult science project ever” and “a giant leap into the unknown.” It will “know the structure of thousands of people’s bodies—down to the molecules inside their cells,” raising “significant issues of privacy,” according to the article.

Google's researchers are planning a large study of human health.

After a pilot study this summer with 175 people who are donating blood and saliva for testing, Google X expects to recruit thousands more volunteers in collaboration with medical schools at Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, and Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. Besides donating biological samples, participants may sport wearable medical devices, such as a glucose-sensing contact lens developed by Google X. Heading the project is Andrew Conrad, Google X’s life sciences chief, who developed cheap HIV tests for donated blood and was chief scientific officer of LabCorp, the giant clinical testing firm, before joining Google last year.

In some ways, the Baseline Study doesn’t sound that radical. Many groups are amassing DNA and biological samples from large groups of people, both healthy and diseased, and tracking their outcomes. It is also routine in such longitudinal health studies to gather detailed medical data from volunteers and keep their information anonymous, as Google X says it will do.

Google declined to make Conrad available for an interview that might clarify how its project differs from others, but collaborator Robert Califf, a Duke cardiologist, provided more details toScienceInsider. Cardiff said the study hopes to recruit 10,000 volunteers over 2 to 3 years from Palo Alto and the cities of Durham and Kannapolis in North Carolina. Participants will be tested for their genome sequence, blood proteins, and biochemical or so-called metabolomic profiles; in some cases, these data will be combined with their electronic health records. Some participants will be healthy; others will have disease. The goal is to tease out new biomarkers that can detect diseases such as cancer and heart attacks earlier, according to Califf. Google X has “obviously got the computing power to do things on a bigger scale than other people,” he says.

The study may also find new correlations with physiological measures and better define what’s normal: For example, perhaps monitoring pulse 24 hours a day might reveal some new predictor of a heart attack, Califf says. “Integrating real-time physiology with the biology just hasn’t been done before. It’s too hard.”

Google X is funding the study for now, but there will be other contributors, says Califf, who declined to say what the costs will be. He expects the Baseline Study to run for 5 years “and then we’ll see,” he says.

The Kannapolis site for Google X’s project is especially intriguing. After the local textiles mill there closed down in 2003, throwing many townspeople out of work, Dole Food Co. chair and billionaire David Murdock built a new research center on the mill’s remains. One of its projects is now the MURDOCK study, which plans to enroll 50,000 local residents and follow their health much like the famed Framingham Heart Study. Conrad worked with Murdock to set up the research center while he was at LabCorp.

Posted in BiologyHealth

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