The Exposome. A Primer

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This laser focus of medical specialisation is practical, but it leaves people feeling like they are not being listened to. Here is where the medical profession might miss important contributing factors to illness. And this is what the exposome allows us to consider — an individual as a holistic being that encompasses many unique traits, habits, preferences, and connections between these.

This gives us the ability to understand people in a complete way, enabling a new age of holistic healthcare.

An easy way to think about the exposome is that it begins where the genome ends and includes the building blocks of life after that. Collectively, we have the following: Genome: This is your complete set of DNA contained in the chromosomes. Proteome: All proteins that can be expressed by the genome, created through the transcriptome. Metabolome: All the small-molecule chemicals, including the microbiome, scaling up to the entire human organism.

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Of course, we do not end here. From your body outwards, we are exposed to the environment that includes food, sunshine, chemicals, pollutants, allergens and more. Next features the more complex exposures, like relationships with people, work and home environments, finances, studies, these include psychological, sociological and economic exposures. In turn, these complex exposures affect the brain which affects hormones and neurotransmitters, resulting in changes to the metabolome and also epigenetic changes to genome expression.

This means the genome transcription changes, resulting in different proteins being produced that flows back up to the metabolome, changing how we react and interact with the environment.

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With this picture in mind, we can now clearly visualise how the exposome includes the transcriptome, the proteome, the metabolome, and all the external exposures that affect these. Essentially, everything except the genome. Truly a comprehensive concept! I find this cycle fascinating because it makes it clear how connected it all is - from the DNA upwards to our environment and back down to how it changes gene expression, in turn changing how we behave. This superconnection of our gene expression through to how we behave and how even the economic environment and climate affects us provides an important opportunity — to understand people in a holistic way.


The concept of the exposome really makes it clear just how important behaviour, lifestyle and mindset is in determining our own future. This is where I see a particularly strong relevance of the exposome to mental health and wellness. Toward the end of last year Miller and I exchanged some emails, and he agreed as well that this can open a new understanding of mental health.

After all, the true strength of the exposome is in being able to determine the causative factors of illness by looking at an individual comprehensively over time. There is so much more we can learn about human psychology and resilience by considering all these different areas together as a comprehensive view of who we are and what we are exposed to.

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Just think about what we can learn and how much better we can help people and even help ourselves if we had this holistic understanding of people. Truly a revolution for mental health, and importantly, preventative healthcare to curb the trends in depression, anxiety and suicide rates. Still, as Wild pointed out in his original paper, even a partial map is already incredibly useful. This is because it enables us to connect different spheres of life together and better understand what truly helps people live healthy lives — what is it that really gives us a sense of satisfaction and wellness.

By extension, being able to identify early if someone is heading towards depression or other mental health disorders and being able to intervene well in advance. Early detection is the pathway to reverse the spike in mental health disorders. In a time where most people have no close confidants to talk about what's most important to them, it is critical to establish a highly secure space where people can be honest about where they are at, be given tools to help themselves, and the ability to reach out when things are not improving.

Our vision is to build a framework that brings together all these different factors into one view. To do this, we are working with top researchers around the world, bringing together various datasets to map out in more detail the psychosocial factors of the exposome. The result? A holistic picture of the factors that contribute to mental health and wellness.

A central nexus that enables mental health practitioners and individuals to gain holistic understanding. Looking at the multitude of factors that comprise the framework, a natural thought is — how do we get insight out of this? Good question! The exposome is big. Being able to draw meaningful conclusions from a complex concept is critical for it to be useful in a practical sense.

Here is where we can use artificial intelligence for mental health to great effect. By training an AI algorithm to consider all these factors over time, we can find hidden correlations and causative factors, enabling us to very quickly identify risk, even without a full picture.

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It all starts with the right training for the AI algorithm. Additionally, this algorithm can recommend preventative strategies to strengthen an individual and build resilience in an extraordinarily holistic way. Through this framework and AI-driven insights, we are building an incredibly useful new tool for mental health care, as well as preventative intervention.

Here Driven is the first startup mapping the exposome at a broad level. Bringing so much together in a simple map, an AI-powered exposome can fully take into account who you are, your situation, your history, and your future. Both students and scientists in disciplines including toxicology, environmental health, epidemiology, and public health will benefit from this rigorous yet readable overview. Gary W.

Columbia Appoints Dr. Gary Miller as First Vice Dean for Research Strategy and Innovation

He served as Editor-in-Chief of Toxicological Sciences, the official journal of the Society of Toxicology, from Table of Contents 1. The exposome: purpose, definition, and scope 2. When the genome falls short: limitations of a gene-centric view of health 3. Omic-based technologies and their impact on the exposome 4. The exposome in environmental health sciences and related disciplines 5. Managing and integrating exposome data: maps, models, computation, and systems biology 6.

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An exposome education: university and community-the practical exposome 7. Staging the exposome: a vision for international collaboration Customer Reviews Average Review. See All Customer Reviews. Shop Books. Read an excerpt of this book! Add to Wishlist. USD Sign in to Purchase Instantly. Overview The Exposome: A Primer is the first book dedicated to exposomics, detailing the purpose and scope of this emerging field of study, its practical applications and how it complements a broad range of disciplines.

About the Author Gary W. Staging the exposome: a vision for international collaboration. Average Review. Write a Review. Related Searches. Active Geophysical Monitoring. Active geophysical monitoring is an important new method for studying time-evolving structures and states in Active geophysical monitoring is an important new method for studying time-evolving structures and states in the tectonically active Earth's lithosphere. It is based on repeated time-lapse observations and interpretation of rock-induced changes in geophysical fields periodically excited by controlled sources.

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