Danish scientists will soon be able to predict diseases

Data from more than six million Danish patients has allowed scientists to map out how illnesses develop. In the future, they will be able to predict which diseases each individual will be affected by.

For fifteen years, a group of scientists from the University of Copenhagen and the Technical University of Denmark have followed Danish patients in the health care system. The collected data includes all types of medical consultations and hospitalisations from 1996 to 2010, and with this data the scientists have been able to map the development of diseases by creating a large network that illustrates the disease routes most frequently travelled by Danish patients.

The data also allowed the scientists to map the secondary complications that are most common if a patient suffers from diabetes.

“It is the first time a study on disease development has been conducted on an entire population,” says Professor Søren Brunak from the Technical University of Denmark and the Novo Nordic Foundation Center for Protein Research at the University of Copenhagen.

“The developments of individual diseases have been studied, but not all diseases in an entire population at once,” he explains. “Here we can see which diseases affect each patient and in what order. This gives us new knowledge about the ways illnesses develop.”

Your genome reveals your illnesses
The study aimed at making scientists better equipped to predict what illnesses an individual patient is likely to face in the future. The goal is to achieve this by combining the study with DNA sequencing which will reveal information about genetic diseases.

 “If we can map the part of the genome that tells us about diseases, we can predict which diseases a patient is genetically predisposed to,” says Brunak.

Read more about the interesting study here.