Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Surgeon Generals Family History Redux!!!

Have you guys seen this yet? A reader let me know that the Surgeon General had officially launched the revamped site.
Family history is the key the tool that geneticists and counselors use to look for patterns of disease and heritability. Some people just pay attention to cancer, others focus on all diseases.....heck, I even look for history of adverse drug reactions in families. You never know what you will find, but if you look, you often find something.
The problem? It often takes a long time and information can be inaccurate. This is why counselors spend days on end trying to track down accurate records for cancer prediction risk.....This is time consuming and doesn't get paid now there is help.

Yes, after much adjustment and web-work, the Surgeon General's Family History tool is now much more than that. From the site:

What are the key features of the Surgeon Generals family health history tool?
The Surgeon Generals "My Family Health Portrait" is an internet-based tool that makes it easy for you to record your family health history. The tool is easy to access on the web and simple to fill out. It assembles your information and makes a "pedigree" family tree that you can download. It is private--it doesn't keep your information. It gives you a health history that you can share with family members or send to your health care practitioner

This tool is exactly one of several tools set to debut which allow patients to enter family history and email family members to collect further information. I am working on one as well, but ours is a little more than that......

CBS News covers the launch here.

"The goal: Just as people create ancestral family trees, create a family health tree. It may sound old-fashioned in this era of gene discovery. But genetics specialists use these "pedigrees" to look for patterns of inherited illnesses that can provide a powerful window on someone's brewing health risks. "

It turns out the tool has been piloted up in Boston.

But a small pilot study at Partners Healthcare in Boston suggests the digital potential. Embedding the e-family tree straight into software that adds in a patient's test and exam results produced a personalized report on cancer risk in minutes.

No surprises here. I have been saying this all along....Family history is the best genome scan available, the quickest, the cheapest and likely the most accurate.....

The Sherpa Says: Too bad V.C. can't make money off of this, maybe we would have NY Times articles about family history instead of SNP scans......Either way you slice it, the attention is good, provided you have a Sherpa to guide you up the mountain....


1 comment:

Tom M. Gomez said...

Steven - I have also played around with the tools in the link above - seems to be similar but the one you pointed out has better user interfaces. Also interesting - for those desiring privacy - there is even a downloadable tool. All of these links seem to run of the same root directory. I wish they would do a better job of highlighting these tools on the main pages.

As for those VCs - not so fast Dr. M - talk more during our next call.