By Laura Mizoue
I’m like my dad in many ways — same nose, same horrible eyesight, same sense of humor. But when it comes to healthy lifespan, I’d really like to be more like my mom.
SomaLogic’s founder, Larry Gold, likes to show a graph of age vs. quality of life with two different health curves: Curve A shows a slow steady decline in quality of life over time; curve B shows a high quality of life right up until the end. If you could choose, everyone would pick curve B, but most of us end up with curve A. Larry’s belief is that measuring thousands of proteins in the body can provide the kind of health information that can help a person change their trajectory from A to B.
I realized that Larry’s graph is a pretty good depiction of what happened to my parents. My dad never fully recovered from a massive stroke that he suffered in his 60s but went on to live another 20 years. My mom is in her 90s, still living at home and only recently decided to stop driving.
When they were my age, everyone (including their doctors) would have predicted my mom to be the one to suffer a slow steady decline, since she was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease in her 30s. My dad, on the other hand, had no family history of heart disease, and he took good care of himself — didn’t smoke, watched his weight, exercised regularly. The only health measure that might have raised a red flag was that my dad had high cholesterol. But that was because his “good cholesterol” levels were high.
I’m pretty sure that if SomaLogic’s new SomaSignal™ test had been available to warn my dad that he might suffer a major cardiac event in the next four years, he would have taken whatever actions he could to avoid that possibility.
Like my dad, I have high “good cholesterol” levels that throw my numbers out of the normal range. My doctors have told me not to worry about it, but I’m not so sure. Maybe my proteins can help determine if there’s something I can do to make sure that, unlike my dad, my health trajectory stays on track and ends up more like curve B than curve A.