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July 25, 2014

Google May Provide a Glimpse into the Human Body


The human body is a fascinating machine, in part because nobody really has a complete picture of what is going on inside the body. Many attempts have been made in the past to know about the human body, and the latest initiative has come from Google.

This project from Google, called Baseline Study, will collect molecular and genetic information anonymously from 175 individuals to start with. Later, these samples are expected to be collected from thousands of volunteers. With this information, Google will use its computing power to analyze information and find patterns called biomarkers. The aim of this project is to get a complete picture of what a healthy human being looks like. Moreover, this information is expected to find cures for some of the major diseases prevalent today such as diabetes, heart attacks and cancer.

This project is run by Dr. Andrew Conrad, a 50-year-old molecular biologist who has been heading Google's research arm called Google X. To put his ideas into practice, he has collected a team of 70 to 100 people who are experts in related areas such as physiology and imaging.

While the project sounds grand and impressive, it could run into privacy issues during the data collection process as many individuals would like to keep their health data private. To overcome this roadblock, Google plans to take the help of review boards that will monitor the data. Moreover, Google has assured anonymous volunteers that such information would not be shared with insurance companies. In this sense, Google is looking to go the extra mile to protect the privacy of data.

Once volunteers feel confident about sharing their information, Google will use its existing network to collect the same, and will run it through its powerful computing servers.

In short, the Baseline project is an ambitious effort by Google, and it is hoped that the project will successfully aid us in gaining a deeper understanding of the human body. 




Edited by Alisen Downey


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