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We know what health looks like, and we know what health feels like. But what are the benchmarks of a healthy human ...
We know what health looks like, and we know what health feels like. But what are the benchmarks of a healthy human being? How do we set the standard of peak health, and how should we strive to achieve it?
That’s what Google’s research arm, Google X, wants to answer. Their latest project, called Baseline study, will gather genetic and molecular data from a closed sample pool of 175 people, with more to follow. The aim is to create the most comprehensive and complete picture of what a healthy human being is.
The research will take note of users’ genomes and their parents' genetic history, as well as information about how they metabolize food, nutrients, and drugs, their heart rate under stress, and the influence chemical reactions have on their genes.
The project, led by molecular biologist Dr. Andrew Conrad, will use various diagnostic tools (such as Google’s smart lenses) to gather vast amounts of user data samples. It will then use this data to find patterns, or “biomarkers,” to deduce the most important aspects of human health.
The study could discover, for example, a biomarker that makes certain people particularly resistant to allergens, and could then use that biomarker to suggest ways in which allergy-sufferers might modify their habits and diet to maximize resistance. Or, as Dr. Conrad told the Wall Street Journal, it could reveal an enzyme that helps certain people break down fatty foods better, and use it to mitigate the effects of a high fat diet on those susceptible to heart disease.
The project will run parallel to Google X’s Life Sciences initiative for developing medical wearables, such as heart rate monitoring smartwatches, to pair with Baseline.