Health and Wellbeing

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  What advances can science make to ensure a healthy future for all New Zealanders?  

health & wellbeingSequencing An Individual’s Dna

10 years ago, it took $10 million and 1 year to sequence an individual’s DNA.  Now you can have your genome sequenced for $1000 in 1 day. In 2023 everyone could have their genome sequenced for $1 in 2 minutes.  In 2023 you may have your full DNA information that travels with you from the moment you are conceived. Today, people who have had their DNA sequenced are getting information about whether they are more likely than other people to develop a range of illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease and some forms of cancer.  This allows them to make diet, exercise and lifestyle choices that reduce the risk of developing these illnesses and have regular checks to catch them early if they do develop them. In 2023, everyone could be in a position to have this information and make these choices.  What would you do with this information? Who would expect to have access to it? How could it be used to improve everyone’s health?

health & wellbeingMaking Dna “Younger” To Reduce Ageing

Treatments to intervene in the ageing process, such as telomere treatments, are already on the market. Telomeres are repetitive sequences of DNA at the end of chromosomes that protect them from deterioration.  This deterioration is linked to the ageing process.  Research is underway to find ways for telomeres to better protect themselves or help them to rebuild. What if, in 2023, 50 year olds suddenly have health more resembling that of someone 15 years younger? Whilst, mere decades ago, women over the age of 30 were much less likely to conceive than their younger counterparts, now, with both social change and fertility treatments, the average age of motherhood is slowly creeping upwards. What if fertility treatment became significantly cheaper and more effective at older chronological ages because those who could afford telomeres had a younger biological age? What effect would that have on the way we fund fertility treatment? In 2023 sensors and connectivity will be utterly ubiquitous. Pets, clothes children – all will be connected and communicating information constantly about their surroundings. How will this be integrated into a functional flow of information rather then a seething mass of meaningless data? What will we do with it? Would you eat a cake that could diagnose you with cancer, but also report on your digestive health?

 

 

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