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David Duncan Has a Prescription for American Health Care
Date:9/14/2009

BOSTON, Sept. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- The 13th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Heart Failure Society of America (HFSA) today featured a discussion by David Ewing Duncan titled "One Man's Quest for Personalized Medicine." Over the course of one year, Duncan submitted himself to hundreds of tests that could predict and even prevent future illness.

One test made predictions about the health of Duncan's heart. By gathering data on his cholesterol levels, a heart CT scan, a genetic profile, and more, the test showed personalized predictions that were specific to Duncan's genes and physiology. One scenario showed Duncan's risk of heart attack at 70% over the next twenty years. That forecast changed dramatically if Duncan maintains his current weight instead of gaining the typical pound per year for a man over 40. With a steady weight, the risk fell to about 2 percent and with cholesterol lowering statins, Duncan's risk fell to zero.

"Many of these tests aren't ready for the general public, but they do give us an interesting glimpse into the future of medicine," said Duncan. "People are curious as to where this technology is going and we may never know unless we provide the organized push needed to learn more."

This specific test would cost nearly $1000 as demand increases but Duncan points out that a diagnostic cardiac catheterization can cost more than $25,000 and a heart bypass operation runs well over $85,000. The cost also has to be weighed against the 80 million Americans suffering from heart disease and the fact that nearly $450 billion was spent last year in direct and indirect costs for treatment of heart disease.

"David Duncan's journey through the American Health care system as a healthy person illustrates one of the major problems facing the American health care system today. That is, as health care professionals we recognize that it is imperative to identify p
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SOURCE The Heart Failure Society of America
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