Know Your Body Type – an Application to Understand Personalized Medicine

Prakriti (body types) to personalized genomics – connecting the missing puzzle from Ayurveda to modern medicine- an evolution of traditional knowledge to modern scientific concepts of personalized genomics.

Indian traditional medicine such as Ayurveda, Siddha has similar concepts regarding an individual’s health, which is considered as a perfect balance between five elements and three “dhosas (literal meaning – faults)”. Dhosas refers to number of irregularities that causes illness and becomes a necessary feature of good health in par with three “gunas” (virtues). Both Ayurveda and siddha uses the principles of nature and the existence of five elements and three dhosas to distinguish and define different body types, that has unique characteristics and respond to the environment in a different way with unique predispositions to diseases and reactions to drugs. Any disease phenotype is a combination of both genetic and environmental influence, the diet and lifestyle have a huge implication on one’s health. The majority of non-communicable diseases are complex genetic disorders, which has predisposition both in terms of genetic variants and environmental lifestyle factors.

Indian traditional medicine often diagnoses an individual based on their unique prakrithi and treat through a holistic approach of modulating three pillars, ahara (diet), vihara (lifestyle) and aushadhi (medication). Advancement in medical research has also emphasized this point of view as personalized medicine/genomics, wherein they propose single nucleotide polymorphism and epigenetic factors that influence the response of an individual to a drug, which forms the basis of personalized medicine. With new technologies, the generation of omics data from patients (genomics, transcriptomics, proteomics data), it is possible to unravel the mechanism of adverse drug reactions, drug withdrawals, complications in chronic disorder, including body type data would lead to a better prognosis. In order for a better understanding, the traditional concepts have to be explored in a broad sense with current concepts on personalized medicine to propose an integrative global approach for the benefit of mankind from traditional as well as modern wisdom. At this juncture, my current proposal aims to connect the link between traditional knowledge and current medical research, obtaining data of body type through a self-reporting app, will give an idea of one’s body type and when tried in a well-defined cohort with this additional data, it will lead to better prognosis and treatment.

Group Leader

Surabhi Kandaswamy Lindau Alumna 2018
Manchester Centre for Genomic Medicine, The University of Manchester, United Kingdom