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Individuality and Medicine

"The existence in every human being of a vast array of attributes which are potentially measurable (whether by present methods or not), and often uncorrelated mathematically, makes quite tenable the hypothesis that practically every human being is a deviate in some respects." --Roger J. Williams1 We're all subtly, and beautifully, different. A byproduct of this individuality, or deviation as Williams called it, is disease. Now for the first time, there exists a reasonable possibility to mea

Richard Gallagher

"The existence in every human being of a vast array of attributes which are potentially measurable (whether by present methods or not), and often uncorrelated mathematically, makes quite tenable the hypothesis that practically every human being is a deviate in some respects."

--Roger J. Williams1

We're all subtly, and beautifully, different. A byproduct of this individuality, or deviation as Williams called it, is disease. Now for the first time, there exists a reasonable possibility to measure the "vast array of attributes" and close the loop between individual variation and disease. The grand, albeit distant, aim is to identify susceptibility factors and prevent disease from occurring, replacing the current model of identifying pathology and treating symptoms.

The prototype of studying single-gene disorders has been around for 150 years (see Genetic Testing Timeline). In some countries, predictive screening is now in full swing for some single-gene diseases, including...

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