There has been recent talk in some scientific circles about how the United States has fallen behind in doing the kind of research that provides a more sold in depth kind of back ground analysis in the area of health care, which if undertaken could perhaps provide data that could help identify trends that could be very useful to the medical community in providing answers and in seeking new cures and treatments for a wide variety of ailments.
One example of this is a post mortem database for the whole country that could help identify health trends. As an example, there are no national statistics that correlate vegetarians versus meat eaters when it comes to colon cancer; having a database where you could grab up-to-the-minute statistics could help with not only health guidelines for people to follow, but for legislatures making rules for what can be served and what can’t in our nation’s restaurants.
Another example surrounds the mystery of why Type I diabetes seems to be on the rise, and seems to be worse in some parts of the country. Unfortunately, no one seems to know exactly how bad it is, or even how centralized some of these supposed “outbreaks” are. If we had a national database that tracked such things, it would be a simple matter of typing in a few queries and then using those results to focus on those areas that seem to produce an inordinate number diabetes type I patients.
In setting up a National Postmortem Database, doctors, coroners and other medical professionals would be required to background queries on every death they process with the results all going into the same database.
It’s not like this idea is new or unheard of, Iceland for instance has had a national health database for years, and it not only tracks the health and welfare of its population, but the DNA of everyone as well. Health officials in Iceland have been using this data to track the instances of disease, the prevalence of certain ailments, the likelihood of genetic diseases to strike those with certain DNA markers and overall health statistics for assistance in allocating funds for research and disease prevention.
Sweden too has invested heavily in a national health database whose sole purpose is to provide better data for analysis in tracking health problems, especially those that not very well understood, such as diabetes. The United States doesn’t even have the idea of a national health database on its radar, but it should if it doesn’t want to fall behind in medical research and help its people deal with such hard to understand diseases such as diabetes, autism and cancer.