Up at 5AM: The 5AM Solutions Blog

"Divide each difficulty into as many parts as is feasible and necessary to resolve it"

Posted on Thu, Jul 21, 2011 @ 02:27 PM

Brandon Keim's Wired Science Blog article last week, "Genome Revolution is Skipping Nonwhites," describes how genome-wide association studies (GWAS) are biased toward subjects of (white) European descent, with resounding + limiting repercussions - in disease understanding and personalized medicine - for all people.

This is yet another divide we face as we pull together science and medicine, researchers and clinicians and patients. The other, of course, is this country's digital divide, which we are reminded of nearly every day when we step away from the alphabet soup and remember that HIE and MU and EMR and PHR presume a person has access to the digital world. Bringing exchange and consent and personal medical records to mobile devices might help bridge the divide, but only slightly.

How do we press forward, how do we "wield technology's wonders to raise health care's quality and lower its cost," without broadening the basic economic, literacy, digital, and genomic divisions among us? Is the achievement lessened if we create a world in which some of us have lifetime electronic medical records, while some of us still lack access to basic health care? Are technology and biotech smashing down our barriers, or making them worse? We're not philosophizing here - these are questions that concern us, and we'd love to hear your thoughts, links, commentaries (comment below to join the conversation). To paraphrase our president, can we join imagination to common purpose, harness courage to necessity, to make real the benefits of science, medicine, and technology - for all?

(Headline quotation, Rene Descartes.)


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