Admit it, "personalized medicine," and "medical marijuana" have become the medical buzzwords du jour. Not a day goes by when I'm not seeing the splashed headlines of one or the other. Usually they're attached to something that reads like "the science supports this...." or "the science supports that..."

I've picked out these two because in a broad sense, they may well be linked-up in the not-too-distant future. The grandeur of personalized medicine evokes Julie Andrews twirling on that Austrian mountaintop belting out "the hills are alive with the sound of personalized medicine". It has a utopian zing that puts a glide into your healthcare stride. Ahhhhh, if only we all could be singled out for our own special care, and treatment. No more buying off the rack. We're getting medicinals from the Dolce and Gabbana Specialty Store. But not so fast says Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel. As you cruise down this article, you'll see his objections, which practically wolf howl against several of the major prevailing theories. Others have weighed in on the pros and cons, and ultimately they point the finger at that pesky "Big Data" as the key witness (as the case moves forward). 

And in this corner, here comes medical marijuana --- bidding to be a cornerstone of personalized medicine. I posted this on FB, but the image of the storefront weed shop deserved more attention.  One of the pro-weed claims is that it helps certain mental health issues. Here's what helps mental health issues----the less drugs in your body the better. That's my simple, humble take on the matter. Are we that far from one of those "ask your doctor about.....(CUT TO)....(slumped over millenial, earphones attached, head nodding, music vaguely in distance)..."about getting stoned?" I realize this has turned into a hot button topic. Just ask Oakland and Los Angeles (which seems to have multiple personalities regarding the issue). 

Regardless of how it all plays out, what's worth noting is that doors have been opened that may not get closed anytime soon. Sequence my genomes, give me my weed and tell my smart phone if a heart attack is coming my way. The real discovery seems to be how big data is turning into small (individualized) data that's morphing into that pretty red sportscar we can't wait to drive..................................just because we can.

 

Alonzo Lamont

alonzo@jhmi.edu 


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