Are We Ready For Personalized Medicine For Behavioral Disorders?

Monica E. Oss | Open Minds | May 7, 2016

For most of the health care consuming public (meaning all of us), the era of personalized medicine can’t get here too soon. The thought of having the mass customization of Amazon applied to our health care – using our clinical, lifestyle, and genomics data to come up a “prescription” for wellness and treatment – is very appealing. And, personalized medicine has captured the attention of policymakers.

The big investment was last year’s $215 million infusion in the Personalized Medicine Initiative. In February, this initiative got started with a one-million-person, long-term health study to research “the interplay among genetics, lifestyle factors, and health,” setting a goal of 79,000 participants by the end of 2016, and the full one million by the end of 2019. But private sector funding rivals government investment. In the period between 2005-2012, $1.7 billion in private investment funding went to genomics-related initiatives.

What concerns me is the mindset that personalized medicine is applicable primarily to “physical” diseases – like cancer, cardiovascular disease, and autoimmune disorders. I certainly want the benefits of the developments of personalized medicine for those disease states. But, there is new breakthrough genetic research on behavioral disorders that could remake “best practice” in treatment of mental illnesses and addictions if the field is ready to use the information...