Ayurgenomics: The old is the new New!
Mitali Mukherjee, Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology
Ayurveda, a documented system of Indian medicine practiced from 1500 BC, has a personalized approach to health and disease management. According to this system, each individual is born with a basic constitution, Prakriti, which remains invariant throughout its life and largely determines its susceptibility to disease, environmental response, diet and medication. Preventive and personalized therapeutic regimen based on the Prakriti individual is recommended. This system is in contrast to modern medicine, where there are no methods for classifying healthy individuals who are differently sensitive and the preventive regimen can be adapted only after the onset of the disease or at most in its preclinical stage. Moreover, in modern medicine, treatment is predominantly symptomatic, with the dose being almost empirical. With the advent of genomics, it is expected that there will be a paradigm shift in medicine from a generalized symptomatic approach to an individualized approach based on its genetic makeup. It would be possible to identify genetic factors that could help prevent the disease before it appeared; earlier diagnosis by high-risk screening; predicting the outcome of the disease and personalizing therapy, including medication, diet and lifestyle. Through a new framework integrating the principles of Ayurveda and genomics, we provide proof of the concept of how Ayurgenomics can drive predictive and personalized medicine.