Scientists develop a 'Liquid Health Check' that assesses multiple health factors with...

Polycount

TS Evangelist
Staff member

Anyone who goes to the doctor regularly knows that the physician visit itself (and the accompanying blood test) is only the start of your health adventures. Often, professionals will forward you to various labs or specialists for further evaluation. Not only is this a lengthy process, but it can also be an expensive one: x-ray and lab tests aren't free, after all.

That's where this latest research -- conducted in partnership with biotech company SomaLogic -- comes in. In an early proof-of-concept study, scientists working out of SomaLogic HQ and the Universities of Cambridge, California, and San Francisco used their new blood test to scan 5,000 proteins per study participant (almost 17,000 patients in total). Once this data was processed using statistical analysis and machine learning tech, researchers were able to develop "predictive models" for a wide variety of potential health problems.

For example, a "certain pattern" of proteins present in an individual's blood may lead researchers to conclude that said person is at an increased risk for developing diabetes. Other patterns can help researchers assess someone's risk of cardiovascular disease, or simply aid in determining their body fat percentage, lean body mass, cigarette smoking habits, and more.

Given that many of these assessments or conclusions would ordinarily require a patient to not only be forthright about their health (we've all lied to our doctors in the past) but also diligently attend follow-up visits, it's easy to see the benefits of a more universal blood test for everyone involved.

Of course, even a 17,000-patient study is relatively small in scale when you consider how many people live in the US alone. Human beings are complex creatures, and there's always the chance that a larger sample size would lead to wildly different results.

Still, this is a promising start for research that may someday reduce the number of hoops patients (and physicians, for that matter) need to jump through during routine health checks. If you want to read the full "Liquid Health Check" research paper for yourself, visit its dedicated page on Nature.com.

Image credit: Shutterstock, Harvard

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Uncle Al

TS Evangelist
Any good internal medicine specialist can do the same thing with a full battery blood test, so I'm guessing these "tests" are attempting to do the diagnostic work of the doctor? I'm a little leary of this, particularly since it's not the first "test" to claim such great results. I'm sure it will eventually develop into a great thing, but for now I think I'd stick with the "old reliable" until the new one is proven.
 

EClyde

TS Evangelist
Ya go to the doctor and say blah blah blah most of them do what they are told to do by other doctors that make those decisions. Doubt that? Hell of a lot of PA's and NP's out there these days. Anyhow, this test is mostly bunk. My "career" was hospital lab work MT(ASCP) whatever, eh? And there are tests for everything imaginable. No way you are going to get anything but generalities out of this test. There is a test called the ESR...been around forever.....Do as much good to ask the patient..."How are you feeling" Not quite but almost. They must need funding. As far as "Hoops to jump thru" Hospitals been getting rid of those hoops for decades.
 

rrwards

TS Addict
The point of these tests are not for hospital use on people in the 1st world nations. They're designed to be used in the field in 3rd world countries for rapid health assessments where a full battery of blood tests isn't viable.
 

Markoni35

TS Maniac
Doctors are the dumbest people among educated ones. I'm totally expecting that AI will replace them first. And since doctors have extremely high salaries, replacing them with simple AI (where simple means cheap) will greatly reduce costs.

As opposed to say, replacing quantum physicists with AI. An average physicist is very smart, but don't earn as much as an average doctor. So the AI to replace a quantum physicist would have to be very very smart and would probably cost more than 5-year salary of the actual physicist.

Conclusion: To cut expenses and improve curing, replace doctors with AI. But don't replace quantum physicists. For now.
 
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