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Will AI Heal Us? with Daniel Kraft | Wondros Podcast EP 223

Originally aired on September 22, 2023

In this Wondors episode, hosts Jesse and Priscilla interview Dr. Daniel Kraft, a physician and innovator in digital health and medicine. They discuss a wide range of topics related to the past, present and future of medicine and healthcare. Daniel provides insights into how cancer treatments have evolved over the decades, moving towards more personalized approaches. He talks about the potential for technologies like CRISPR gene editing, synthetic biology and stem cell therapies to help extend human healthspans in the future. Other topics include the role of social determinants versus genetics in health outcomes, integrating Eastern and Western medical practices, the need to rethink medical education, and leveraging AI and data to democratize and improve healthcare access globally. Daniel emphasizes the importance of shifting to more preventative, proactive care focused on health rather than just treating disease. He shares his optimistic vision for the continued evolution of medicine and technology to help people live longer, healthier lives.

What advances have been made in cancer treatment?

  • Treatments have evolved from generic radiation/chemo to more personalized
  • Cancer itself evolves as treatments are developed
  • Shift underway to precision oncology and risk stratification
  • Early detection through blood tests becoming possible

Can emerging tech like CRISPR extend lifespans?

  • CRISPR gene editing already in trials for diseases like high cholesterol
  • Could enable proactive “minority report” style preemptive care
  • Tech like synthetic biology and stem cells may reverse aging processes
  • Goal is extending healthspans more than maximum longevity

What role do social factors play in health?

  • Data shows social determinants affect ~15% of health/longevity
  • Environment and exposures play a key role
  • Isolation is a major risk factor
  • Designing communities to enable healthy lifestyles critical

How to blend Eastern and Western medicine?

  • Differences often due to language/descriptive frameworks
  • Lots of opportunity to blend knowledge from both
  • Meditation/yoga/diet regimens prove effective
  • Learning from ancient natural treatments ongoing

How should medical education adapt?

  • Curriculums remain similar to those from decades ago
  • Needs to incorporate genetics, apps, telehealth, etc.
  • VR enables simulated surgical practice
  • Training should focus on future clinical environments

Can AI and data democratize healthcare?

  • Smart tools can enable basic diagnostics by less trained individuals
  • Vast amounts of health data now available
  • AI and analytics key to generating insights from data
  • Enables personalized, proactive, preventative care