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The Science

The Senegenix™ P4 Medicine Healthcare Model

At Senegenix™ we believe modern healthcare should be Personalised, Predictive, Preventive and Participatory (P4 Medicine). In other words it should be based on the individual biological makeup to the level of genomic material, it should predict individual health risks and not wait for disease to happen, it should emphasize prevention rather than cure, it should empower patients to be active participants in their own healthcare.

Personalised Medicine also known as Precision Medicine refers to a very new model of medicine and healthcare where both diagnosis and treatment of disease are based on the individual genetic makeup. From a genetic point of view humans are identical at species level however different at individual level, having a unique variation of the human genome. No two humans are completely identical at genome level, not even identical twins.

Today’s scientific and technological advances allow investigating life forms to their basic building blocks, the gene sequence in the genetic material of a cell, through the so called Next Generation Sequencing technology. The human genome can be sequenced in its entirety (whole genome), only its coding part (exome), or as groupings of genes of interest (gene panel). The interpretation of the sequencing data is however still a matter of ongoing research. Genome-wide association studies are putting together the clinical significance of the sequencing data in health and disease. Translating this tremendous amount of information into actionable end-points is the domain of precision medicine. Developing gene therapies to address these mechanisms is the new frontier. Although we are only at the beginning of the road in personalised medicine, it is the most exciting one we have ever been on in the history of medicine.

Health is regarded as an optimum state of physical, mental and emotional wellbeing, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. It depends on many factors, in different layers, much like a pyramid. Adequate levels of physical wellbeing has a beneficial impact on mental and emotional wellbeing, therefore it is in our opinion the main element of health. Physical health, also known as fitness, is reflected in the body composition, functional capacity, and the aging changes of the body.

Body Composition. The human body is the result of growth and development from early life to adulthood, followed by the impact of time and environment on its peak adult form. In the absence of injury, the process of aging and the impact of lifestyle will leave a footprint on the adult-form body structure and composition, through changes of the metabolic rate. This is the capacity of one’s body to burn energy per unit of time. Even at rest our bodies burn energy to maintain life sustaining processes like breathing, food processing, elimination of waste, brain function. This is known as Basic Metabolic Rate (BMR). The various types of exertion through lifestyle add further energy consumption to the resting metabolic expenditure, summing into a total daily energy expenditure. The daily energy expenditure is sustained from the dietary energy intake, and any difference between the two will determine if one loses weight, maintains or gains weight. This is known as the Energey Balance Equation.

Cardio-Respiratory Fitness. Functional capacity refers to the ability to perform during daily activities and during exertion. One of its determinants is the cardiorespiratory fitness level. The capacity of the heart and lungs to provide blood and oxygen to the muscles during exertion is known as cardio-respiratory fitness.  It is measured by the VO2max parameter which quantifies the amount of oxygen ventilated during maximal physical exertion. Poor cardio-respiratory fitness in otherwise healthy subjects has been correlated with increased risk of heart attack, stroke, type 2 diabetes, and even mental wellbeing and cancer. It is thought to be a better health risk predictor than other more traditional risk factors like smoking, blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar. Cardiorespiratory fitness is trainable through exercise and identifiable through our cardiorespiratory fitness test. The current international exercise recommendations for adults in order to gain health benefits are a minimum of 150 min of moderate-intensity exercise per week, or 75 min of high-intensity exercise per week. For additional and more extensive health benefits, adults are recommended to engage in 300 min of moderate intensity exercise/week. Even further health benefits are gained beyond this amount of weekly exercise.

The human microbiota refers to the collection of micro-organisms which live in partnership on the/ inside the human body (also known as friendly bacteria). It has an impact on a number of bodily functions through the processing of substances reaching the host. The tremendous number of species of microbes that populates our bodies, on the skin, in the body orifices (like mouth, nose, vagina), and in the gut can now be identified through genetic sequencing. The largest population of the human microbiota is present in the large bowel and it is thought to have such a large influence on the functioning of our bodies, that can be considered another organ-system in itself. Large bowel microbiota sequencing offers an insight into the composition of this flora and its potential implications.

Aging. Aging is understood as Chronological Age, the amount of time passed since birth, however can also be regarded as Biological Age, the effect of wear & tear on the biological components of one’s body since birth. The amount of wear & tear that one’s body has accumulated during life depends on the efficacy of the build-in resistance to wear & tear, given by the cellular repair mechanisms. Biological age is a measure of biological processes and not of time.  It is the Biological Age which determines longevity. The difference between Biological and Chronological Age can therefore measure the speed of the aging process, and unravel premature aging.