Richard G. Petty, MD

Predicting Response to Medicines

Much as we would all like to rely upon natural and non-invasive approaches to treatment, there are times when pharmaceuticals also have their place.

A common question is whether there are any good ways to predict who will respond to what treatment and whether we can predict the risk of side effects. Unfortunately the answer is that although we are getting better, and the research base if growing rapidly, there is still a lot of trial and error in prescribing.

An exciting and relatively new area is called pharmacogenetics: using our genetic make-up to allow us to tailor treatments to each of us individually. Over the last few months there have been a lot of media reports about being able to use simple blood tests to predict who will respond to antidepressants. (As an example, see this report from the Washington Post).

Unfortunately these reports, though undoubtedly well meaning, have not told the whole story. You might be interested to see a brief article about this interesting topic that helps put things in perspective.

Though there are some highly reputable institutions that are trying to help provide genetic testing not only for drug responses but also to predict the risk of developing certain illness, unfortunately there are also plenty of rogues who prey upon the worried and unwary. I was recently shown pages and pages of all kinds of tests on an individual: genetic tests; biochemical tests; allergy tests and all kinds of unorthodox tests using every imaginable type of gizmo, from magnets to devices claimed to measure the aura.

Not surpringly, the individual was thoroughly confused by this vast morass of information. The best thing to do was to tear it all up and to start again with the simple question: "What do you think is wrong?" Deep down inside, she knew the answer.

I have spent years working in and running laboratories, so I am not shy about using science and technology.

Science and technology must be our servants and not our masters.

“During my eighty-seven years, I have witnessed a whole succession of technological revolutions. But none of them has done away with the need for character in the individual or the ability to think.”
–Bernard Mannes Baruch (American Financier and Government Official, 1870-1965)

“We must learn to balance the material wonders of technology with the spiritual demands of our human race."
–John Naisbitt (American Futurist and Author, 1929-)

“Humanity has passed through a long history of one-sidedness and of a social condition that has always contained the potential of destruction, despite its creative achievements in technology. The great project of our time must be to open the other eye: to see all-sidedly and wholly, to heal and transcend the cleavage between humanity and nature that came with early wisdom.”
–Murray Bookchin (American Ecologist, 1941-)

About Richard G. Petty, MD
Dr. Richard G. Petty, MD is a world-renowned authority on the brain, and his revolutionary work on human energy systems has been acclaimed around the globe. He is also an accredited specialist in internal and metabolic medicine, endocrinology, psychiatry, acupuncture and homeopathy. He has been an innovator and leader of the human potential movement for over thirty years and is also an active researcher, teacher, writer, professional speaker and broadcaster. He is the author of five books, including the groundbreaking and best selling CD series Healing, Meaning and Purpose. He has taught in over 45 countries and 48 states in the last ten years, but spends as much time as possible on his horse farm in Georgia.

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