Monday, 25 March 2013

A Frightening Vision of the Future of Medicine.

Outside the medical school of the University of Sheffield (my alma mater) is an attractive stone carving of the words ARS LONGA VITA BREVIS. Apart from the fact that this is the name of an album by the group Nice before Keith Emerson left to form ELP,  it is also an aberrant Latin translation of a saying by the Greek father of us all, Hippocrates.
More of this later.

JAMA Network | JAMA | Crossing the Omic ChasmA Time for Omic Ancillary SystemsOmic Ancillary Systems

Interesting article about the 'omic' revolution to come and its implications. The word omic refers to the final 4 letters in 'genomic', metabolomic, and proteomic. I am pretty sure before the decade is through, a few other words ending in omic will join the list. I am also pretty sure that I will be long retired or even gone from this mortal coil before omic medicine is the norm. But the norm is what it will eventually become. It is very difficult at this point to actually visualise what life will be like in medicine and for physicians if they will still exist in their present form that is.  Each human is unique and this uniqueness is recognised and recorded digitally in omic medicine. Huge digital vaults as well as enormous analytical powers will be required. Medicine will be truly personalised and randomised control trials and evidence based medicine will be irrelevant and obsolete.
Just thinking and writing about this disconcerts me. This is a future does not really appeal to me and to a certain extent I am glad I will not be part of it.  The art of medicine will be dead. Ars Longa Vita Brevis no longer.