Science

1.4 BOLDLY GO WHERE ONLY MICROBES HAVE GONE BEFORE (2)

Research is showing that by changing the microbiome in our guts we may be able to positively or negatively affect our entire holobiont. Looking at the future as read in the guts of settlers, we see an inevitable movement away from health-manipulation based on population studies to personalized health. As the scientific process validates and lowers the price tag on genetic testing and microbiome sequencing, settlers will be able to access medicine tailored to their genetic profile. From breath analysis on an iPhone to articles of clothing with built-in monitoring systems, settlers will take more and more control of their health outside of the doctor’s office, personalizing treatments and preventative measures. Already, we see widespread use of generalize probiotics with the intent to positively influence gut health. As research continues to better identify just what is in specific probiotics that functionally affect certain health phenotypes, we will start to see probiotics as well as drugs and internal mechanical devices (cyborgs!!!) customized to individual needs and desires. We are already cyborgs with our hip replacements and cochlear implants and Frankenstein monsters with our skin grafts and organ transplants, thus the next step is not going to be a big one (beside the large mental paradigm shift).

For a settler, the when of actualizing a future of personalized health depends on overarching regulatory structures like the National Institute of Health (NIH). These structures are very important. They make sure that portions of the general population don’t randomly ingest poison or pathogenic microbes masquerading as health foods.  Through regulatory entities, scientists follow specific guidelines of exploration, testing, and production that are designed to ensure the safety of the human population when an item hits the market. Currently, it’s a necessary process. However, it is a slow process; many settlers will not see personalized health care in their lifetimes. Many settlers will continue to live with chronic disease, mitigating the damages with mainstream methodologies.

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