Would you want a digital doctor implant, or an implant to make you happier? Would you want to live to 150? These and other intriguing questions fill the hypothetical scenario confronting the panelists on this program. Physicians today usually diagnose and treat diseases after symptoms appear – often using “one size fits all” therapies. Nanomedicine will help predict an individual’s chance of specific disease, continually monitor for disease occurrence, and provide individualized, pre-symptom treatment.
But there may be unintended consequences from our drive to live healthier and longer lives. As we develop devices that can monitor hundreds of health indicators and signal disease before it happens, we also generate a lot of information about ourselves that others can view. As nanomedicine allows us to live longer and healthier lives, will this lead to further challenges to our social support systems and our ethical and cultural values?
Funders: U.S. Department of Enrgy; National Science Foundation