Study with Duke and Stanford Universities aims to revolutionise treatment of disease through the study of healthy people. By Samuel Gibbs
Google’s latest project from its Google X “moonshot” division is every bit as ambitious as some of its robotics and communications projects like Glass.
Google wants to map how the human body behaves when it’s healthy, which could dramatically improve modern medicine.What are they doing?
The Baseline study is a scientific investigation into what it means to be healthy. It will collect data from healthy individuals, crunch the numbers and define a healthy state for a human being from real-world people.Why study the healthy?
Why study someone who isn’t sick? Modern medicine is good at treating diseases with obvious symptoms. But at the point at which a disease is showing symptoms severe enough to send someone to the doctor, the disease has been running wild within that person’s body for a good while.
By defining a baseline of what it means to be healthy, it is a lot easier to detect changes and pick up serious, life-threatening diseases before they become dangerous. Catching illness much earlier can either diminish the impact or neutralise the disease before symptoms appear.Who's being studied?
Google’s study will initially take 175 volunteers from various groups of ethnicity, habit and area and conduct testing of methods and practices to inform a much larger study later on. That small select group of people is expected to expand to around 400 or so by the end of the year.