Your health dashboard

It is complicated to explain the benefits of Wellnessfx, so this is long.

All kinds of things show up in our blood long before they are visible elsewhere. From our blood we can detect early stages of illness, maximize athletic performance, determine when and where we acquire environmental toxins, and see what’s truly normal for us. Someday we’ll monitor our body’s full biochemistry 24/7 and that will change medicine forever. But today only a few of us have a our biochemistry tested once a year, if that, for only a few factors. And all we get is some numbers.

Wellnessfx is a tool for monitoring 60-100 biochemical factors in your body, as often as possible, and in a super understandable dashboard. They make your biochemistry actionable — illuminating trends in your body and offering ways to nudge the trend in the right direction. Frequent measurements add data points allowing you to manage your health in a much more scientific way.

In the past year I’ve been using Wellnessfx to track my body’s chemistry. After signing up for an account I made an appointment through them with a local blood testing labs with a request generated by Wellnessfx. The local lab extracted my needed blood and sent the results to Wellnessfx. A few days later I logged into my account and saw my results of 60-120 different markers graphed, annotated and intelligently dissected. I chose a doctor from Wellenssfx’s staff and together on the phone we’ll went over the data, item-by-item, for 40 minutes. Repeat 6 months to a year later.

The quality and personalization of this consult is unlike any doctor visit I’ve ever had. For patients like me who want to understand my body as much as possible, each consult is a short course in human biochemistry — my biochemistry. On my account’s website I can dig deeper into my numbers and the linked technical literature as far as I care to go. All the doctor’s notes and recommendations are archived for me to review any time. In fact the consults are recorded so you can review them any time.

The more often I am tested the more valuable my data becomes, because as Wellnessfx emphasizes, the actual numbers are often less important than the trends. Imagine you weighed yourself once a year; that is not as actionable as weighing yourself more frequently, say every day. The same goes for your biochemistry.

In addition to testing blood biochemistry, Wellnessfx also extracts genetic markers. That is, they sequence some genes that relate to biochemical factors. So in my case their test noticed I that my ApoE genetoype indicates I would benefit if I drank alcohol, such as a glass of red wine per day.

My trends are managed via lifestyle choices (diet and fitness), supplements, and medicines — the usual medical interventions. What’s new is two-fold: 1) the resolution of this cycle; because you keep monitoring, you can finely tune the leverage, making modifications in small steps; and 2) its application to healthy states. Constant monitoring with fine tuned remedies is standard procedure for illness. The unique approach of Wellnessfx is to apply this intense monitoring/response to all your measurables, including those that seem healthy.

Your normal is not my normal and my normal can only be established by constant monitoring. Intense monitoring also alerts me to drifts away from that norm, long before other symptoms may show up, at a point where it may be a lot easier to modify and control it. A negative trend is much easier to treat in this pre-disease still “healthy” stage. It’s like paying attention to your check-engine light instead of waiting for smoke to shoot out of the hood.

The number of chemicals, hormones and genes that Wellnessfx tracks is variable because they don’t do any of the actual testing. Rather they piggyback on existing blood and gene tests. As these drop in price, or increase in possible markers, so does Wellnessfx’s report. Right now scientists are developing much better tests, by less invasive captures, for much cheaper, eventually for use at home. As these are released they’ll be incorporated into Wellnessfx’s interface.

But today you need to have vials of blood extracted at a lab. And that is not cheap. Each round of testing and doctor’s consult costs $150 for a basic set, or $530 for a full “performance” level set. In theory, your own doctor could order these tests and go over the results in the same depth as Wellnessfx. And maybe your doctor does. But in my experience this quality and detail rarely happen.

Wellnessfx is private medicine. It is part of the quantified self movement, encouraged by enthusiasts who want to use the best tools available to track themselves, including their genes and blood, to maximize health, among other good things. Wellnessfx is professional state-of-the-art biochemical/ genetic marker testing, available to anyone.

I’ve learned so much from tracking my blood over a year, to a degree my doctors have no interest in doing, that the high price has been worth it. For long-term good health, it’s cheap.

At the moment, Wellnessfx has an e-check up, which will test 25 biomarkers for $29. including having your blood drawn at a local LabCorp (not available in all states). Of course, they hope you’ll continue for the next round to see if you’ve made progress.



-- KK 09/10/13