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Precision medicine


The Society of Behavioral Medicine Annual Meeting took place in Washington, DC on March 30-April 2, 2016. The meeting covered a broad range of topics germane to behavioral medicine with sessions addressing cutting-edge research on health behaviors and behavior change, patient engagement and communication, management of chronic conditions, and population health and health disparities.  Within these content areas, two themes were consistently addressed: 1. precision medicine and the role of behavioral science and 2. opportunities for mHealth in behavioral medicine.  Several key points about these topics that were addressed at teh meeting are as follows:  

 Precision medicine and the role of behavioral science

There is value and great potential in capturing genomic information as part of behavioral science research. The scientific community’s ability to test for genomic alterations has outpaced our ability to interpret and... Read more
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The “How Do We Assess Quality in the Age of Precision Medicine?” session at the ASCO Quality Symposium on February 26, 2016, provided a nice overview of the challenges physicians and delivery systems are encountering as precision cancer approaches move from the lab and clinical trials into community use. 

I would describe the first challenge as too much data and too little evidence.  The session chair, Allison Kurian from Stanford, noted that her genetics clinic has gotten substantially more complicated since the days when tests for germline mutations of BRCA1/2 were the only service offered.  A multiplex panel for somatic mutations in tumors may currently test for as many as 70 mutations.  Whole genome sequencing identifies innumerable variants, most of them of unknown significance.  Decisions must... Read more

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