Project Main Details
Eating better? Exercising more? Developing more effective drugs?
These days, we can even look at people’s genes to see if they’re especially prone to certain conditions.
But it’s not just what happens in an individual’s body.
We also need to look at the way the world around us affects the health of populations.
And one thing helping us do that is data.
Say doctors notice high levels of chronic asthma among children living in particular neighborhoods.
By analyzing seemingly unrelated data they discover that almost all the cases can be linked to hazardous living conditions.
Mold, water damage, and insect infestations are common.
This revelation changes the entire approach to treatment and prevention.
These children don’t need a lifetime supply of inhalers; they need safe, clean housing.
Data can help in other ways too.
The same data-driven technology used to pinpoint traffic jams can also track outbreaks of diseases, such as Zika.
One effort to tackle Zika involves releasing mosquitoes purposefully injected with a special bacteria that reduces their capacity to transmit the virus.
After several generations of crossbreeding with the Zika-infected mosquitoes, the virus is largely eradicated.
And because we have data on precisely where Zika is most prevalent, researchers know where to release the inoculated mosquitoes so they have the greatest impact.
Merging science with data in this way is the foundation of precision public health – an approach that gets the right interventions, to the right populations, in the right places…to save lives.
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