Hyper-Personalised Health Care – Shop With Your DNA!

Hyper-Personalised Health Care – Shop With Your DNA!

“A capsule and an App use your unique DNA to nudge you towards healthier choices when you're out shopping, by indicating red or green, simply by scanning the product barcode”. - DnaNudge

“Tired of spending hours at the gym and following rigid diets, only to see mediocre results? Take your fitness and nutrition from generic to genetic” - DNAfit.

Similar claims are made by others who use your “metabolism related DNA ” to suggest your nutrition and exercise regimen, giving you healthier choices within your habitat.

Apps like DnaNudge, DNAfit, provide goal-oriented nutrition advice based on the concept of Nutrigenomics - how the foods we choose, change how our genes are expressed to impact health, wellness, weight, and fitness.

A quick and simple one-time-use cheek swab is inserted into patented DnaCartridge and NudgeBox. Where the DNA is extracted from the sample and the user’s specific SNP's (a 'snip' is a single 'letter' out of the 3 billion human DNA code), relating to nutrition-related health conditions are analysed.

Within an hour the test is complete. And the result is loaded onto the users personalised capsule 'digitising their DNA' and the report is uploaded to their App.

The DnaNudge App now holds the user’s unique DNA report which shows their genetic predispositions and risk levels – red, amber or green – to a number of nutrition-related health traits. Now, when they go shopping and scan a product the App shows them personalised product recommendations based on their own DNA.

The colour-customisable DnaBand enables the user to do a lot more, example:

1. Scan products – flashing red or green to tell them if it's a good match for their biology.

2. Monitor inactivity – turning amber when they have sat too long

3. NudgeMatch with friends, to see which DNA traits they have in common

4. NudgeShare with family, helping select the right products for the whole family during the weekly shopping

The app reviews are promising, and yes there is the challenge of security breach and other legal issues mentioned in various reports. However, for the tech savvy, it could be worth a try! After all some of us have tried un/successfully to change our health behaviour’s over decades with/out assistance and support from people, programs and apps. I for one have inconsistently tried a few exercise and diet apps and failed consistently!

For me, being consistent in my behaviour while changing a habit is a challenge. Stepping out of my comfort zone often makes me ‘feel trapped’ in the difficult choice I seem to have made in that moment where I have to exercise immense self-control, it is almost like I have no free will.

Authors Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein in their book: ‘Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness’ provide a pretty straightforward solution,’ shape the environment to enable change’. This, along with a consistent practice of yoga and meditation have helped me a little on my diet journey. Who knows how stubborn my biology is? Trying the app seems like a fun challenge, and of course I can blame my biology for the weight my mind seems so attached to!

In 2018, Professor Chris Toumazou inspired by the “Nudge Theory” introduced the concept of how our biology can influence our decision making and hence our desire and bias for a given option. He called this Nudgeomics. The DnaNudge app uses this two-pronged approach. The app was tested successfully at Imperial College London, to assess if DNA-based dietary guidelines can help prevent type 2 diabetes in individuals with pre-diabetes.

If my DNA makes me who I am, do epigenetics and nudgeomics make my future me? “Perhaps our far distant progeny will remember the names of gods as electricity, magnetism, fission, evolution and gravity and the name of our religion as science.” wonders Peter Smetacek in his book Butterflies on the Roof of the World.

(The author is a Lucknow-based digital consultant can be reached at digitaljeevika@gmail.com.)

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