Protective Foods, Protected Patients

A shift from curative to preventive health by prescribing protective foods to patients to improve human health and protect the planet. This might lead to reducing healthcare costs and incentivize food-health research.

For this breakthrough to be achieved, nutrition awareness needs to be increased among doctors and they need to be incentivized to prescribe protective foods.

Fitbit, AI, and true cost accounting, bundled up, get you here. Absolutely we need this; doctors will be needed less and less. The Tricorder challenge showed us the way to start this. The company that just won the 2019 Hello Tomorrow Start-up Challenge RxAll is another giant leap forward. “The company created RxScanner, a handheld nanoscanner that authenticates drugs and helps patients avoid dangerous counterfeits.” RxAll, Founded by Adebayo Alonge ’16, Named Best Early-Stage Startup in Hello Tomorrow Global Challenge | Yale School of Management
We need to get tools that can do this for food as part of the transition to our making the perfect nourishment.

What do you think is a realistic timeframe to achieve this?

This type of XPrize would not be a technical challenge as much as it would be a question of how does a team create a complete change in the medical/non-profit world from reactionary approaches to health to proactive approaches.

@taylorquinn If we shift this questions from preventative care to nutritional treatment, I think this could definitely be a technical challenge (biotech). For example, if we look at anti-biotic resistance, almost all funding is going toward a search for new antibiotics and new diagnostics. However, there is a very early project that could be a breakthrough - using a plant/food to cure the plasmids rather than a chemical approach to treating the infection. We’ll see how this research goes over the next year. If it works in these proof-of-concept trials, we could then look at 1) what in the biological is causing the plasmid curing and 2) what other biological agents are out there that could be identified for biotech solutions.
(Plasmid Curing by an Ethiopian Barley: A Natural Food Approach to Reduce Plasmid Mediated Antibiotic Resistance).

@ClaireBaker that sounds like an interesting approach

This idea would inevitably lead to reduced healthcare costs and would have many other knock-on benefits. It could work very well if implemented strategically.

I agree 100% that for this breakthrough to be achieved, nutrition awareness needs to be (dramatically) increased.

Rather than re-educating over-worked doctors and their patients and going up against Big Pharma, it would be more useful to focus on educating our youth on functional foods and nutrition in general, starting in primary school.

Many parents pay attention to what their children are being taught, which would increase the impact of the efforts.

Using low-cost, yet sophisticated hydroponic systems, Science Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) programs could be introduced early, giving young students hands-on experience growing food, experimenting with hybrids, photoperiods, learning about chemistry, nutrition, math, software, engineering of the systems, business, and more. This scratches the surface of possibilities.

An online pharmacopeia accessible by anyone could help raise awareness of food and nutrition, for curative as well as preventative health. An educated populace may turn to a nutritionist before going to a doctor.

@JohnIngram, @BruceGerman, @Cox, what are your thoughts on this potential breakthrough? Do you think it’s achievable? What technologies could be used to achieve it?

The EAT-Lancet report, in addition to a few other reports that have been published very recently, concludes that to sustainably nourish, not simply feed, 10 billion people without overtaxing the planet’s resources by 2050, the food systems would need to make paradigm adjustments intersecting, yields, diets, nutri-dense foods, reduction in food losses among others.
The current recommendation—as outlined by Harvard University’s Health Eating Plate model—is that half of our plate should be composed of certain foods. Changing the composition of our plate would bring a better balance of nutrients in our bodies. That rebalance would require doubling production of nutrient-rich foods by 2050, and ensuring that increased production happens in a sustainable and equitable manner.

**Prescribing healthy foods could bring cost-effective benefits and can be a potential and achievable breakthrough. **Functional food as medicine programs shall be encouraged and must be integrated into the health care system which in return brings down health economics ratio.
The consumer’s focus is already shifting from treatment-based remedies to preventive remedies. Gradually, it is clearly understood that no drug can be harmless because such drugs are not natural food, but processed and artificial, and the body tends to reject those in the first place and is not prepared for an unknown chemical composition which may trigger with drug.

Few studies for reference are linked hereunder:

To me ‘Prevention’ is why public science is done. The goal of disease research, ultimately to understand the causal mechanisms, trajectories and susceptibilities of an adverse health condition in sufficient detail to prevent it, is spectacularly beneficial to a society, yet is massively expensive and has no compelling business model at the end. How much will you pay for a disease you are never going to get? Ostensibly prevention is given away for free. When prevention consists of providing explicitly fortified foods (iodized salt, vitamin enriched cereals) the cost benefit ratio is compelling since everyone benefits and the cost is low. However, from a dietary perspective, prevention must be of the immunologic, metabolic, even neurologic conditions today that are highly variable in the population due to different inherent susceptibilities. The inescapable truth is that prevention really cannot be achieved in practice without a personalized diet management system. The sheer complexity of such an enterprise is emerging as the great entrepreneurial challenge of the next step in diet and health. The cost of building and deploying a personalized diet and health platform capable of managing each person’s diet is going to be large, very large. The system will require precise personal measurements (both health diagnostics and food composition) all of which need to be as devices deployed to each individual. While the savings to society as healthcare costs will be significant if diet-dependent diseases are largely eliminated, the benefits to each individual are insensible acutely and mostly of value only decades in the future. So xprize has a tantalizing question to answer: what is the value proposition for individuals that induces them to pay for prevention? While we’re at it, lets solve the same basic question for vaccinations, atmospheric carbonization and antibiotic resistance.