Every week there is an article in the media claiming that this or that new health science study shows that something is good or bad for you. It's confusing. But have you ever thought about how these health science projects are funded? The days of scientists like Newton sticking pins into their own eyes to find out how the eye works are long gone. For many years, if your project could not end in a patentable treatment or process, there was no money.
Medicine was captured by the reductionist camp of science that looked only for a direct linkage between cause and effect. Medicine was captured by a corporate ideal where is there was not a product or a process to be sold, there was no interest and so no money.
That is until now!
This Indiegogo Research Project illustrates the future of health reserach and the return of real science. Here is why I think this:
- It asks an Open Question - What sets of behaviours give us the best gut health and in what context? It tests no one thing but tests all. It looks at what will emerge. This is how we have to examine Complex systems. And our health and our bodies are Complex systems by definition.
- It is an Open Approach - We are invited in - Anyone can join for the larger and the wider the scope, the more the chance that Emergence will take place. The scope even includes our dogs!
- The funding is provided by the people who have an interest in the results and not in one POV that seeks to find a commercial use.
- When done, because the approach is so wide - all diets, all ancestry, all levels of society and even cross species, we will know, for the first time, what diets and what social context is best for optimal gut health. . There will be no more doubt about this or that.
Such an approach, remember, looks at Health and not Health Care. The assumption is that how we live drives our health. There is no pill or any treatment to sell. There is only information that we can all use or not as a matter of choice to be more healthy.
Here is another example - The D Action Study - that is looking at how Vitamin D - another thing that costs almost nothing - affects our immune system.
Not only is the money now available, but the approach to science lines up with the reality of health and human systems. Health is a complex topic that can only be approached using methods that enable us to cope with Complexity.
The Cynefin framework has five domains. The first four domains are:
- Simple, in which the relationship between cause and effect is obvious to all, the approach is to Sense - Categorise - Respond and we can apply best practice.
- Complicated, in which the relationship between cause and effect requires analysis or some other form of investigation and/or the application of expert knowledge, the approach is to Sense - Analyze - Respond and we can apply good practice.
- Complex, in which the relationship between cause and effect can only be perceived in retrospect, but not in advance, the approach is to Probe - Sense - Respondand we can sense emergent practice.
- Chaotic, in which there is no relationship between cause and effect at systems level, the approach is to Act - Sense - Respond and we can discover novel practice.
Traditional organizations, by their culture, can only work in the Simple and the Complicated quadrants of life. Medicine and Health as we know it today live in the Simple and Complicated Quadrants. This is why it is great at fixing us after a car accident but cannot cope with chronic illness.
No reductionist approach can cope with any Complex problem. Complex Problems demand Hacking. Hacking our own health will become something that we all will get good at. We will become Hacker of our own health like the brilliant Larry Smarr.
We will become less and less dependent on the institution of health. Just as we are of the media and soon universities
This will drive the revolution in health that will make the revolution of the 19th century seem minor.