In DepthBiomedicine

‘Scientific wellness’ study divides researchers

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Science  28 Jul 2017:
Vol. 357, Issue 6349, pp. 345
DOI: 10.1126/science.357.6349.345

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Leroy "Lee" Hood is famous for his role in the development of the first automated DNA sequencer and the establishment of systems biology. Now, his latest venture aims to monitor and predict health and disease to promote "scientific wellness" through a variety of measurements in a proposed 100,000-person wellness project: whole genome sequences; blood, saliva, urine, and stool samples taken every 3 months to measure hundreds of proteins and metabolites; and physical activity and sleep monitoring. A recently published study of Hood's 108-person pilot project collecting these data discovered something wrong in nearly every participant, such as low vitamin D levels or prediabetes. Monthly coaching helped improve some people's health during the study, prompting Hood to help launch a company called Arivale, which offers similar tracking, analysis, and coaching for a first-year subscription fee of $3499. But several doctors and scientists are unimpressed with the results. Some argue that standard medical checkups could detect many of health issues identified in the study, and others say it is simply too early to know how these data should be used clinically.