Google announced the Baseline Study project, a detailed study on the biological level of human beings to determine what a healthy person should be. The initial study includes 175 people of which an enormous amount of medical information will be collected. A team that includes dozens of specialists led by molecular biologist Andrew Conrad will use this information to create a portrait of a person in perfect health.
In the past, Andrew Conrad worked among other things to the creation of cheap tests for HIV. In March 2013, he joined Google X, the Google’s laboratory where new technologies of various kinds are developed, from Google Glass to self-driving cars. In the medical / biological filed, it’s developing Google Contact Lens, smart contact lenses capable of monitoring glucose levels in tears useful for diabetics.
The subjects of Baseline Study, who in a future stage could become thousands, will be carefully studied by using state of the art technology to monitor their biological functions. Eyewear, smartwatches, bracelets and other equipment containing tiny sensors will collect medical data on the behavior of their bodies during their daily activities. In addition, the subjects’ bodily fluids will be examined.
The huge amount of data that will be collected will allow to identify biomarkers useful to figure out where you can work to avoid or at least reduce the risks to health. So far, medical science has identified biomarkers for diseases now at the last stage but the project Baseline Study Google should serve to identify trends that emerge much earlier.
Andrew Conrad used as an example a biomarker that shows how some people can break down fatty foods efficiently. Other people may not have it and as a result they may be at risk for heart diseases. Identifying those trends can allow to intervene before the disease becomes severe.
According to Google, all data collected will be completely anonymous and confidential. That’s because the data on health are among the most sensitive. In a period in which the issues regarding privacy are deeply felt, such data must be handled in an appropriate manner.
The connection between the Baseline Study project and Calico, the company created by Google to develop longevity defeating disease and aging, isn’t clear. The data that will be collected and their analysis will certainly be useful in studies related to longevity. There will certainly be time for the two projects to work together because they both have long-term goals.