Ayurgenomics: Old is the new New!

Ayurgenomics: Old is the new New!: By Dr. Mitali Mukerji

Mitali Mukerji, Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology

Ayurveda, a documented system of Indian medicine practiced since 1500 B.C has a personalized approach towards management of health and disease. According to this system each individual is born with a basic constitution, “Prakriti”, that remains invariant throughout lifetime and to a great extent determines his or her susceptibility to diseases, response to environment, diet and drugs. A preventive and customized therapeutic regime is recommended based on the individual’s Prakriti. This system is in contrast to contemporary medicine where there are no methods to classify healthy individuals who are differently susceptible and a preventive regime can be adapted only after the disease onset or at the most in its pre-clinical stage. Besides, in modern medicine the treatment is mostly symptomatic with the dosemanagement almost empirical. With the advent of genomics it is anticipated that there would be a paradigm shift in medicine from a generalized symptomatic approach to an individualized approach based on his or her genetic makeup. It would be possible to identify genetic factors that could help in prevention of disease prior to its onset; earlier diagnosis through screening of the high-risk; prediction of disease outcome and customization of therapy including drug, diet & life style. Through a novel framework integrating principles of Ayurveda and genomics, we provide a proof-of-concept of how “Ayurgenomics” could provide an impetus to predictive and personalized medicine.


References

  • Mitali Mukerji and Bhavana Prasher Ayurgenomics: a new approach in personalsized and preventive medicine. Science and Culture 2011 Jan Vol 77 No 1-2:10 -17 (popular article)
  • Aggarwal S et al EGLN1 involvement in high-altitude adaptation revealed through genetic analysis of extreme constitution types defined in Ayurveda. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 Nov 2;107(44):18961-6.
  • Prasher B et al Whole genome expression and biochemical correlates of extreme constitutional types defined in Ayurveda. J Transl Med. 2008 Sep 9;6:48.

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