The Game of Life: Revolutionary approach to health focuses on prediction

By Laura Coyle | Emory Health Magazine | May 2, 2013

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Hypertension? Take seven steps back. A healthy diet? Move 12 steps forward. The predictive health approach turns the focus from treating disease to nurturing health.

Life is a fatal condition. Make the best of it. Thus ends a new book that presents a revolutionary approach to health.

In "Predictive health: How we can reinvent medicine to extend our best years," Emory physicians Kenneth Brigham and Michael M.E. Johns argue for an essential shift in how we approach health care. The predictive health approach focuses on prediction instead of diagnosis and health rather than disease.

Predictive health, as the authors explain, involves defining what health is and detecting and correcting the earliest unhealthy tendencies long before there is any evidence of disease. It differs from personalized medicine, which is trying to find a drug to fix a problem. Instead it tries to get a step ahead.

"The thinking is a matter of switching your brain a little bit," says Johns. "It doesn't mean that we won't take care of disease when it comes along. But it requires a different way of thinking."

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