Genomics-based Care is Comprehensive Health Care
The primary factor missing from modern medicine is genetics. Are you looking for a caring physician who can interpret your DNA and microbiome results, counsel you on your genetic health risks, and offer you a genotype-specific preventive health plan? Would you like to see a physician who spent more than 15 minutes with you — one whose interventions did not center around pharmaceuticals and surgery, nor selling you vitamins and supplements without understanding your methylation cycle? Instead, would you like your physician to actually discuss your health status with you, explain the underlying causes, and educate you on how to optimally manage your health risks?
At The Harlin Center, Your Concern is Our Focus
The Harlin Center for Precision Medicine offers patients clinical genomics-based primary care — the highest standard for personalized medical care. Our primary care practice is on the cutting-edge of tailored treatment plans to prevent disease or to prevent disease from progressing. Like preventative medicine, precision medicine takes a proactive approach to patient care. However, we don’t rely on population-wide interventions, which may provide benefits to the population as a whole but offer little benefit to specific individuals. Our precision medicine practice focuses on the underlying determinants of disease. To assess the root cause of a patient’s condition, or identify disease risk, we use genetic screening, microbiome analysis, advanced biomarkers, nutrition analysis, and we take a comprehensive history. We screen for the most prevalent health risks, as well as health risks specific to individual patients.
We have developed gene panels and protocols for the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, irritable bowel syndrome, multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune disorders, macular degeneration, arthritis, many cancers, and other chronic diseases. We also offer a nutrigenetics and nutrigenomics assessment, screenings for gut permeability, gluten sensitivity, and digestive enzymes.
Introducing Precision Medicine
The Human Genome Project and the Human Microbiome Project ushered in a new approach to medicine, one built on the root causes of disease rather than their physical signs and symptoms. The core tenet of precision medicine is that every disease has molecular underpinnings that, once understood, will shed light on new paths for prevention and even reversal of existing conditions. Precision medicine has three primary objectives: classify disease more precisely, provide individualized patient treatment plans, and educate patients on preventative measures.
Medicine Version 2.0
The traditional practice of medicine provides care principally to those with overt disease and generally pursues clinical benefit through prescription drugs or surgical procedures. In contrast, precision medicine is based upon preventive and treatment strategies that take individual genetic variability and lifestyle choices into account. In the clinical setting, genetic tests can be used to determine the genetic cause of a disease, confirm a suspected diagnosis, predict future illness, detect when an individual might pass a genetic mutation to his or her children, and predict response to therapy (pharmacogenomics).
Genomics-based Primary Care at The Harlin Center
At The Harlin Center, our clinical process involves integrating a detailed medical history, physical exam findings, exercise fitness assessment, lab work, microbiome analysis, and DNA analysis. To truly personalize medical treatment, physicians must be able to extract meaning from big data — both genomic and microbial. This data is then married with NIH data and the latest medical research findings using our custom software. It provides Dr. Harlin with tremendous insight into both a patient’s health risks and an understanding of the root cause of a patient’s symptoms. With this insight, aided by the artificial intelligence embedded in our software, Dr. Harlin is able to prescribe evidence-based recommendations and strategies shown to extend healthspan.
When precision medicine is integrated into a primary care practice, where most health care is received and where there exists a continuous physician-patient relationship, patients benefit from the highest standard in primary health care. This means earlier disease interventions and a higher probability of better outcomes.
Genome-based Prevention Programs
Genomics-based primary care is not just for those with a diagnosis. At The Harlin Center, we focus every bit as much on wellness and disease prevention as we do on treating current conditions.
A 2004 study showed that about half of all deaths in the United States in the year 2000 were preventable. Disease and disability begin before individuals realize they are affected. Disease prevention relies on anticipatory actions, including disease screenings and maintaining follow-up care with your physician.
When you enroll in one of our genomics-based preventative programs, you will receive reports on your susceptibility to a spectrum of diseases — as well as other risk factors. You will also receive recommendations for follow-up care and preventative measures for your at-risk disease susceptibilities. A calculated odds ratio will indicate your risk of getting each disease. This is not to say a calculation of one’s certainty of getting a disease; this is an important distinction.
For a comprehensive overview of our program and the reports you’ll receive, click our What You Get link.
Life Expectancy vs. Years of Healthy Life
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has estimated the average life expectancy in the U.S. to be 75.4 years. And they have estimated the years of healthy life (YHL) to be 64.0 years. Based on these estimates, the average American spends 11.4 years, or a little over 15% of their life, in an unhealthy state.
For people that are healthy at age 65, the average life expectancy is another 20.8 years and the corresponding number of YHL is 11.9. This means that almost half of their remaining years will be spent is an unhealthy state.
Health Programs that Prevent Disease
We aim to change these statistics. Today, thanks to advances in DNA sequencing technology, genome sequencing is very affordable. This has paved the way for highly personalized medical treatment and preventive care. By integrating genomic and clinical data, we prescribe a highly personalized health program aimed at preventing the diseases that pose each patient their greatest risk.
You’re Different; We’re Different
At The Harlin Center, we have brought together genomic and microbiome data, NIH research, and evidence-based physician guidelines to create a truly state-of-the-art preventive medicine patient experience. Our precision medicine approach holds the potential to identify your age-related disease susceptibility. This enables us to design a highly specific set of interventions to prevent, arrest, or reverse disease and extend your years of healthy living.
Our Precision Medicine Process
Your precision medicine evaluation begins with genomic sequencing, big data analytics, blood-based biomarkers, and molecular mechanism-based diagnostics. Based on this information, along with physiological signs that forewarn of potential cardiovascular disease, cancer, or neurodegeneration, you and Dr. Harlin collaborate on preventive strategies that encompass diet, supplements, and lifestyle. What’s more, we provide in-depth education and stress reduction training to support you on your journey to optimal health. Click the link for an overview of our precision medicine process.
Big Data Analytics and AI
The Center’s proprietary artificial intelligence engine (AI) provides our big data analytics. It cross-references approximately 650,000 nucleotide pairs and 250 gut microbiota with over 6,000 large-scale genome-wide association studies (GWAS) and thousands of meta analyses. The software detects clinically relevant associations in approximately 7,500 genetic variants. From this data, a patient’s risk for acquiring 24 diseases of aging and 16 cancers are assessed. Also assessed is the patient’s susceptibility to the six principle mechanisms of disease: atherogenic dyslipidemia, insulin-glucose dysregulation, DNA damage (oxidative stress), immune dysfunction, circadian rhythm disruption, and maladaptive stress response. Based on the patient’s specific findings, an AI-assisted heath-maintenance prescription is formulated.
Genetic sequencing of the microorganisms in our poop gives us valuable insight into our health and risk of disease. Often, it is not the presence of a pathogen that indicates disease or disease risk, but rather an imbalance in our microbial ecosystem. Our gut microbiome analysis provides us with a picture of how your gut microbiota contributes to your health or whether it increases your risk of disease. We prescribe specific dietary interventions as a means for altering the intestinal microbial structure and changing the course of many intestinal and systemic disorders. We may also prescribe specific a limited duration medical food (probiotic) and prebiotic supplement if appropriate.
Our mission is to nurture therapeutic relationships and to fully address your health concerns.
Our concierge-style practice allows us the time to get to know you and fully understand your concerns and goals. This extra time enables us to make an accurate diagnosis, which often eludes doctors practicing conventional medicine. Once diagnosed, we will work with you to develop a treatment plan that works for you — either to prevent or reverse disease. Not long after patients adopt their treatment plans, we often see them successfully discontinue statins, lower or discontinue blood pressure and blood sugar medications, and see them feeling more energetic and alive.
Cultivating Mind-Body Health
Dr. Harlin is a certified instructor of the Benson-Henry Mind-Life Institute’s Stress Management and Resiliency Training (SMART) course. Patients are encouraged to participate in our educational support group get-togethers where principles related to stress management are discussed and cultivated.
Staying Abreast of Medical Research: An essential part of what we do.
Since the mid-80s, scientific knowledge of effective, evidence-based strategies to increase health span has increased exponentially. Thousands of studies evaluating the benefits of various diets, exercise regimens, nutritional supplements and approaches to stress reduction have been published. To ensure that our recommendations are based on the most relevant, authoritative and strongest scientific evidence, we assess study design, methodological rigor, objectivity, and the statistical confidence of the study’s conclusions. We also stay well abreast of the most up-to-date clinical practice guidelines and research-driven protocols.
Mokdad, A. H., Marks, J. S., Stroup, D. F., & Gerberding, J. L. (2004). Actual Causes of Death in the United States, 2000. Journal of the American Medical Association,291(10), 1238-1245.