Thursday, March 6, 2008
In a brief clash of civilizations today, I happened to be reading the Westchester WAG in the physicians' lounge. What is the Westchester WAG? It is a swanky monthly publication put out to showcase the high and mighty in Westchester County, NY. Yes it is one of the most affluent counties in the country, yes so is Fairfield County CT oh wait....isn't that where you have offices Dr Sherpa? Yes.....I have one on Park Avenue as well so it should come as no surprise that I was reading the WAG....Well maybe it should since I am from a small town in Pennsylvania and from a humble middle class family.
While flipping through the swanky weddings I stumbled across an article written by Isadore Rosenfeld a physician reporter who also practices cardiology in New York City at Cornell. It's funny that he wrote about coumadin and risk for bleeding, simply because he was standing next to me in the Emergency Department a few months ago taking care of a patient of his. This patient had a significant bleed in his brain because his blood was too thin on coumadin.
But what stunned me was five seconds after I dropped the WAG I looked at NEJM Online. Guess what? The group from Vanderbilt released some of their data on the study of CYP 2C9 polymorphisms and VKORC1 polymorphisms. Truly amazing. Even more amazing is that when you ask an internist about this you may get "I think I read about that in the WAG"....
Why in the hell do upper class socialites get this information before Internists? I am so fired up about this that I am speechless (Almost). Even crazier is why most internists/cardiologists have no clue about these studies. I think that we must solve this problem before we get anywhere in genomic medicine/personalized medicine. How can we do this?As I sit on a conference call planning our presentation at the Association of Program Directors in Internal Medicine spring meeting and we all are asking the same question. I am working my tail of on these solutions.
What was neat in this clash of social groups is that I began to realize that the NYT is right. Especially after Amy Harmon published her article about the Russian who had 350k to burn. Next time you are looking for material Amy......give me a call! The rich will absolutely want this information and use it for better health (if they see us), the poor deserve these services but likely will not get them. As for my parents the middle class, good luck finding an internist who knows that CYP450 is more than one enzyme.
The Sherpa Says:
This NEJM data suggests that VKORC1 may be more strongly linked to INR variability than CYP 2C9. Something that was not so clear. Does this mean we only have to test for one of these genes? I doubt it. In fact this makes even more the case for testing both genes. Why? Because there a less people with SNPs in VKORC1 than in CYP2C9. And Lastly, what in the hell is wrong with medicine? How did we forget that science matters? We didn't, we just never thought that genetics mattered. Now it is too late for these physicians to learn a language....Maybe we need rosetta stone's help?