Nutrition Business Journal Summit Panelist Jessica Richman Discusses Big Data and Personalized Medicine

David Perlmutter addressing the NBJ audience.

David Perlmutter addressing the NBJ audience.

The Nutrition Business Journal (NBJ) hosted the 17th Annual NBJ Summit July 22-25 in Dana Point, CA to bring together the thought leaders, innovators, and aspiring revolutionaries of the nutrition industry for three days of discussion and inspiration. uBiome’s cofounder and CEO, Jessica Richman, was an invited panelist for the “Personalized Medicine 201: Insights on the Future of our Industry” education session on the closing day of the summit.

The panel, moderated by Marc Brush, editor-in-chief of NBJ, focused on the role of supplements in the advancement of personalized medicine. Richman was joined on the panel by Mark Menolascino, anti-aging physician and founder of Meno Clinic; Michael Nova, Chief Medical Officer of Pathway Genomics; and Larry Smarr, founding Director of the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2), all leaders in the application of big data to personalized medicine or quantified self initiatives. (For a quick introduction to quantified self see Gary Wolf’s TED@Cannes talk here.)

In his lecture prior to the panel discussion, Smarr, Atlantic Magazine’s “measure man”, posited that two-thirds of chronic diseases are self imposed by lifestyle choices. Lifestyle choices, reflective of our behavior, combine with genetics to further define our health conditions according to  Menolascino. However, we may be trapped in a feedback loop since, as pointed out during the summit by David Perlmutter, the industrial lifestyle we are choosing alters the bacteria of our gut leading to changes in the brain and behavior that further modify behavior and perpetuate our slide down the slope into poor health.

This area of the discussion is where the mission of uBiome coupled with supplements can intervene. By using big data to assist in the development of science-based, proven supplements we can break this feedback loop. As a panelist, Richman stated, “I see a future where all of us can generate hypotheses and set research agendas, where anecdotes can converge into data to create meaningful research.” Understanding of self and access to interventions to alter self are the future of personalized medicine, especially as it applies to our gut microbiota.

The panel covered several additional areas of personalized medicine and big data’s role in it’s progress. Robert Craven tweeted during the discussion, “‘middlemen are needed to interpret the complex subject of personal medicine into common language,” reflecting both the overwhelming nature of big data and personalized medicine, as well as, the immense possibilities of these conjoined fields.

Help contribute to the big data movement with one of uBiome’s microbiome sampling kits available here.

Contributed by Brooke Anderson-White, PhD, uBiome Scientist