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IBM’s Watson, Medical Expert? New Health App Uses Your DNA

Everyone from Apple to Microsoft is touting the benefits of their health apps. Pathway Panorama, however, is the only one to sequence your DNA and utilize IBM's Watson — made famous by its appearance on "Jeopardy" — to interpret health questions. How would it work? "Say you’ve just flown from your house on the coast to a city that’s 10,000 feet above sea level," Michael Nova, chief medical officer of Pathway Genomics, the company behind the app, wrote in a blog post. "You might want to ask how far you could safely run on your first day after getting off the plane — and at what pulse rate should you slow your jogging pace." The idea is that Pathway Panorama would be able to give incredibly detailed recommendations based on someone's DNA analysis and personal medical history, thanks to Watson's ability to interpret human language. There are certainly challenges to launching such an app (convincing people to hand over that much information, legal issues surrounding giving health advice, etc.), but the company expects to launch the app by the middle of 2015, with customers paying a monthly fee for the service.

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— Keith Wagstaff