Precision Medicine Leads to Better Health

Rethinking the design of prevention and moving from pure «sick care» towards «healthcare» is of utmost priority in the future. Dr. Anna Erat knows how this can be achieved. Interview: Health guide, Tagesanzeiger December 10, 2022.

Dr. Erat, living a long and healthy life is everyone’s goal. However, there is often a gap between dream and reality. Why is that?

Living a healthy life is not always easy, as action goals are often not practically implementable. This is often due to the fact that concrete implementation intentions are formulated inadequately. Also, there is often a lack of support in establishing behavioral routines. However, a healthy lifestyle can be supported through education and motivational discussions within the framework of a check-up, followed by coaching and digital aids. In addition, doctors can address important topics regarding psychosocial aspects of health and depression.

What influence does the World Health Organization have in promoting healthy longevity?

Longevity, or healthy aging, is becoming increasingly important in health prevention. The WHO has declared the years from 2021 to 2030 as the Decade of Healthy Aging. People do not only go for check-ups to avoid or diagnose diseases, but also to optimize health and performance in old age.

We are moving towards «healthcare» and are no longer dealing with just «sick care». The role of the WHO is fundamental in promoting longevity. On the one hand, education and influence on health policy are important. On the other hand, the WHO can play an important role in the development of standards and quality control. Last but not least, the WHO is responsible for shaping the agenda of health research, which of course also includes studies in the field of longevity.

What could a rethinking towards more prevention look like in practice?

Prevention pays off when the quality of check-ups is right. Just as a missed diagnosis can lead to significant morbidity and mortality, overtreatment can also have highly negative effects. Therefore, the goal is to have check-ups carried out by competent specialists with individual screening and correct timing. It is time to rethink the design of prevention.

The traditional model, where everything takes place as standard in the doctor’s office, is over. In the future, coaching programs and the use of digital and telemedicine will become increasingly important for patients. There should also be a greater focus on individual risk factors and genetic predispositions, as well as lifestyle and living environment. Health data captured by wearables and digital technologies can be helpful in this regard.

In addition to artificial intelligence, which is becoming increasingly important for data analysis, genomic medicine is also coming into focus. What opportunities does this present?

Since Angelina Jolie’s report in the New York Times, most people are familiar with the BRCA 1 breast cancer gene. Genetic testing has since increased not only in cancer prevention but also in cardiovascular diseases. In this regard, we look in sports medicine, for example, for family indications of a thickened heart muscle or rhythm disorders, such as hypertrophic cardiomyopathies or Brugada syndrome.

If there is a suspicion of hereditary heart diseases, we can quickly confirm the diagnosis through a genetic analysis and initiate appropriate measures. Ideally, we can prevent a sudden cardiac arrest on the soccer field, like the one we saw with Christian Eriksen at the 2021 European Football Championship.

Dr. Anna Erat MD/PhD

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I take care of my clients from a holistic point of view, offering personalized and precision medicine. Healthier, Longer Life.

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