Toward achieving precision health

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Science Translational Medicine  28 Feb 2018:
Vol. 10, Issue 430, eaao3612
DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.aao3612

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  • RE: Precision Health

    Dear Dr. Albin,

    Thank you for your note. We agree with you on the importance of utilizing available preventative interventions. These general prevention approaches, should be leveraged, and are also part of our overall implementation strategy. Our vision is to use precision health interventions as described in the paper, in addition to, the strategies you mentioned. We feel both are needed to try to achieve precision health.

    Competing Interests: None declared.
  • RE: Precision Health

    This proposal would make sense if we had already exhausted available prevention strategies. The historical record shows that the greatest gains in health come from non-precision general preventive interventions - clean water, vaccinations, reduction in air pollution, etc. We are far from exhausting these types of interventions, particularly in the US where investment in public health strategies is relatively modest. Tobacco control, reduced alcohol consumption, better enforcement of traffic laws, restricting access to firearms, and strategies to reduce HIV spread are all examples of effective (and highly cost effective) interventions that should be pursued more vigorously. Other non-specific interventions such as reducing sodium in foods have some support for efficacy. There is solid data indicating that good quality early childhood education has significant health (and other) benefits later in life. Before embarking on the speculative efforts advocated by the authors, we'd do better to maximize existing, successful interventions. We have the knowledge, what we lack is the political will.

    Competing Interests: None declared.

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