If you were born in 1889, your average life expectancy (for a man or a woman) was about your mid 40’s.  Today, that life expectancy is nearly age 80, with many people living well into their 90’s and more and more making it past the 100 year mark.   It’s amazing how the field of medicine has changed in the last 125 years, more impressively how quickly it has changed in the last 25 years.

In the future, we can expect to see even greater changes and the specific tailoring of each person’s medical care under his or her own unique genetic makeup. The cost of sequencing a person’s DNA is now only $1,000 dollars. That’s amazing when you consider the cost to produce the first sequence of human genome about 10 years ago was $400 million dollars.

What can we expect?  DNA sequencers will analyze our microbiomes and how these microbiomes affect individuals with regard to obesity, cardiovascular disease and other treatments.  They also hold the key to the future on cancer treatment which we already see in place with providers like the Cancer Treatment Centers of America (we will be featuring Dr. Laurence Altshuler of Cancer Treatment Centers of America on our broadcast this weekend).

These new treatments will enlist a patient’s own immune system to fight the disease, building cellular ninja warriors to take out cancer tumors.  We will also see genome research revolutionize treatment for Alzheimer’s disease, autism, depression, Parkinson’ disease, stroke, epilepsy and many other neurological disorders.

If you read the Bible’s Old Testament, you know it’s not unusual to see stories of individuals like Job and Enoch who lived to be over 200 and 300 years of age.  It wasn’t so long ago that people found these ages hard to believe.  Now it seems it won’t be too long until we may see that kind of life expectancy again.

Cary Hall

America’s Healthcare Advocate