The New Executive Physical

Precision medicine — and the technology that powers it — offers more advanced medical care and can identify potential problems much earlier than traditional means. By Dr. Joel Kahn
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Dr. Joel Kahn
Dr. Joel Kahn

Despite all the efforts in the past 50 years to advance medical care, heart disease remains the No. 1 cause of death in the United States.

The main preventive medical tool for health care is an annual physical exam, which has changed little over the decades — whether it’s administered locally in metro Detroit or at referral centers like the Mayo Clinic or the Cleveland Clinic.

I’ve written before about how to avoid the “Widowmaker Heart Death” with a simple heart calcium CT scan and a few advanced lab studies (DBusiness Daily News, 2019 blog).

Now, medicine has advanced to true precision medicine measurements, highlighted in Tony Robbins’ 2022 book, “Life Force: How New Breakthroughs in Precision Medicine Can Transform the Quality of Your Life and Those You Love.”

The good news is you can access precision medicine testing in Detroit and get the “New Executive Physical” without traveling. Below is a list of what testing is available. Rather than recommending any one company, I suggest that you search on the internet or consult your doctor.

AI Coronary CT Angiography

This examination of the heart arteries is a quantum leap ahead of coronary calcium CT scoring, and involves injecting contrast material known as dye. The amount of plaque, degree of narrowing, and type of plaque (calcified vs. soft) can be measured in cubic millimeters by Artificial Intelligence (AI) software. A grading system, like cancer grading, is offered to represent the stage of heart disease present. The test takes less than five minutes and requires healthy kidneys and no allergy to iodine dye.

Early Cancer Detection

Only a few cancers are screened for during a routine physical exam, including breast, colorectal, prostate, and cervical cancers. A blood test, often called a liquid biopsy, is available and screens for 50 different cancers. It’s effective in identifying cancers at stage 0 or 1, enabling earlier therapy and, often, a cure. Ask for the Galleri test, available at clinics and online.

Full-Body MRI Scanning

I traveled to San Diego in 2017 for a head-to-toe MRI scan, without contrast, at the Health Nucleus clinic. Today, this test is available in the Detroit area. About 5 percent of studies reveal an unknown aneurysm in a blood vessel or a tumor hidden in the body at an early stage.

DEXA Bone Density Scan

The mineral content of the bone and bone strength can be assessed in minutes and without pain, and the DEXA scan can track bone health over time. New AI software can predict the presence of heart disease, too.

Heavy Metal and Genomic Analysis

Simple blood work can determine if “heavy metal” toxins like mercury are circulating in your bloodstream, causing damage. Saliva or blood testing can identify more than two dozen gene variants predicting heart disease.

Brain Volume Analysis

A predictor of health and cognition are precise AI-driven measurements of brain volumes. If a shrunken brain is detected, healing options include therapeutic measures like fasting programs, reduced alcohol intake, and hyperbaric oxygen therapy. A non-contrast brain MRI can involve a two-step process, locally and in Europe.

BlueTooth-Connected Home Blood Pressure Cuff

While this may not seem as high-tech as the other examinations, more people die worldwide of hypertension than any other illness. Having an upper arm blood pressure cuff in the office and at home is a good idea.

Home Sleep Apnea Study

A recent analysis indicated that up to 50 percent of Americans have undiagnosed sleep apnea that’s at least moderate in severity. A home sleep study is now easy to complete in one night.

Medical care in the greater Detroit area is world-class, and will improve with more “precision medicine” tools using AI-powered measurements. Without leaving the region, a state-of-the-art Executive Physical exam can be arranged that competes with any of the better-known referral centers. Investing in your health is a far better plan than investing in treatment for advanced medical problems.