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Technological advancements have led to significant improvement in the quality of healthcare provision. Technological advancement helps in efficient diagnosis and treatment of various ailments. Technological advancements have helped in improvement of genetic technology. It is now possible to determine and isolate genes that are associated with various ailments. This helps in early detection and treatment of the disease. Genetic technology has found importance in a new medical approach known as personalized medicine. Personalized medicine is the customization of healthcare to fit the individual needs. Personalized medicine bases its methods on genetic and other medically relevant information of the patient. Increased genetic research has enabled people have a clear understanding of what it means to be human. Genetic research helps in identifying the genetic makeup of the human DNA. Therefore, genetic technology is crucial in the development of personal medicine.
Genetic Technology and Personalized Medicine
In personalized medicine, genetic testing helps in determining the susceptibility of people to certain diseases. In addition, personalized medicine helps in identification of diseases at the molecular level. This helps in the formulation of treatments that respond to the healthcare needs of the individual rather than using a ‘one size fits all’ approach. Gene sequencing helps identify genes that make people susceptible to certain diseases. Gene sequencing has already led to the identification of genes associated with heart disorders, Parkinson’s disease, type 2 diabetes, prostate cancer, and Crohn’s disease (Paddock, 2012). In fact, researchers in several parts of the world make new discoveries on genes associated with various diseases after a few months. Advancements in genetic research are mainly due to the US federal government funded genetic research initiative, the Human Genome Project. Researchers continue making advancements on genetic research on a daily basis.
The medical profession has embraced genetic diagnostic tests in determining various ailments. The tests are widely used in prenatal care. Women undergo genetic screening to determine chromosomal abnormalities that may make the unborn child have various ailments. These include Down syndrome and Parkinson’s disease (Kaplan, 2011). Medical practitioners screen patients who have a family that has a history of the various genetically related diseases, which put them at high risk of suffering from the diseases. Genetic technology also helps determine how patients will respond to conventional therapies. This helps in determining the right medication and in some instances the most efficient dosage.
Benefits of Personalized Medicine
To improve people’s health status, it is vital for medical professionals to put more emphasis on prevention of ailments rather than treatment of diseases. Traditional medical practices have been unable to use prevention effectively to improve health status of people. However, personalized medicine is extremely efficient in prevention of diseases. Personalized medicine helps in determining the susceptibility of people to various diseases. This helps medical practitioners detect diseases at their initial stages, and provide information on the progression of various diseases. Personalized medicine has also helped in the formulation of disease prevention strategies (Spiegel & Hawkins, 2012). Therefore, increased use of personalized medicine would ultimately lead to fewer occurrences of various diseases. In addition, prevention helps people and governments save vast sums of money on healthcare provision. This is because it is far much cheaper to prevent diseases than to treat them once they occur.
The efficiency of treatment procedures depends on patients’ responsiveness to the drugs. People respond differently due to various drugs. Responsiveness to the drugs depends on the individual genetic makeup and physiology of the patient, which are unique to each patient. Personalized medicine helps medical practitioners determine prescription drugs that have side effects on various patients. Personalized medicine helps determine the most efficient dosage for various patients. Various pharmaceutical companies have adopted personalized medicine to improve the effectiveness of their drugs. Personalized medicine helps in developing genetic and other tests that help determine which patients would benefit from the drug and which will have adverse side effects (Pollack, 2010). Thus, personalized medicine has helped reduce costs, time and failure rates of medication. This is because trial and error inefficiencies increase healthcare costs and expose patients to adverse drug effects, which undermine their health.
Drawbacks of Personal Medicine
Personal medicine requires extensive research for early recognition of risk profiles of individual patients. For personal medicine to be efficient there must be several new developments in diagnostics and biotechnology. In addition, it is extremely expensive to undertake gene sequencing, which is vital in personal medicine. This makes personal medicine be very expensive in the short term, to set up systems that would help increase the efficiency of personal medicine. However, in the long term personal medicine would be cheaper than conventional medicine. Technological advancements have led to the reduction of gene sequencing. Reduction in the costs of genetic sequencing promises to increase medical advancements (Markoff, 2012). Therefore, personal medicine has a very bright future due to the reduced costs.
Personal medicine relies heavily on genetic technology. However, genetic technology is not 100% efficient. Therefore, personal medicine exposes patients to risks of receiving incorrect information on their susceptibility to diseases (Uhlmann, Schuette & Yashar, 2011). This may have serious repercussions on the patient, depending on the type of false data. False information may make the patient have psychological trauma. This may trigger a barrage of litigation against medical practitioners who give false information.
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Genetic technology promises to affect the medical profession significantly. Personal medicine would greatly benefit from advances in genetic technology. The advances would help improve the efficiency of personal medicine. However, personal medicine is still in its initial stages of development. Nevertheless, personal medicine is the future of medical practice.