Section: Industry News

Google Wants to Find Out What a Healthy Human Should Be Like

11 August 2014

Google is planning to start an anonymous collection of data about people’s state of health for its new and, probably, the most ambitious scientific project throughout the company’s whole history.

The new Google project was named Baseline Study (basic level research), and it is run by a world-famous molecular biologist Andrew Conrad. It is reported that Baseline Study will not be focused on studying or researching certain diseases, and the main stress will be put on collection and analysis of genetic and molecular data about people (it is planned to choose 175 people for the first research). The authors are sure that thanks to such an analysis it will be possible to detect cardiovascular and oncological diseases much earlier than modern medicine enables.

Biological information about users will be collected in different ways. For instance, recently Google has introduced its ‘smart’ contact lens, thanks to which the company will be able to monitor the level of glucose in the body of a person wearing them. Other ‘smart’ worn devices will be able to continuously record such data as pulse rate, level of oxygen in the blood, blood pressure, etc.

After the data has been collected, Google is planning to use its computational abilities for analysis of the given information in order to find the so-called biomarkers (specific peculiarities of the organism). For example, some people are not harmed by fatty food (the level of blood cholesterol does not rise, and cardiovascular diseases do not develop further). Yet other people not having such biomarkers can face problems starting from an early age. Having sufficient information about biomarkers of the first group of people, scientists could give proper recommendations regarding lifestyle change of a particular person, or create a new way of treatment which could help the organism fight excessive fats.

Of course, the problem of the users’ data safety remains an open issue, especially if it concerns biological information. It is reported that every collection of data and its processing will be implemented under supervision of a special council, and all the information available will be protected from leaks by the third party (e.g. by insurance companies). Data about people will be collected by different clinics, and only afterwards it will be handed to Google completely impersonal. In prospect, the search giant is planning to collect similar data about thousands of people.

The company claims that the results of the research will be of such a big importance for the whole society that it is hard to even imagine now. This project should move the focus of the modern medical practice from treatment of diseases to their prevention.