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David Ewing Duncan

A View from David Ewing Duncan

Welcome to the Experimental Man Blog

A blog about how leading-edge bio-science and technology is impacting individuals and society.

  • April 22, 2009

Today the Experimental Man blog moves to the Technology Review website.

This blog is an outgrowth of my new book, Experimental Man: What one man’s body reveals about his future, your health, and our toxic world. In the book I report taking over 250 tests in the realms of genes, environment, brain and body and explore what these tests can tell us about one person’s health, past, present, and future.

I have delved into my inner secrets about everything from my proclivities for diseases to the levels of pesticides, metals, and dioxins inside me. I’ve had my brain scanned for belief in God, greed, altruism, fear, love, risk-taking, and more. Check out the Experimental Man Index for a list of tests and some of my results. (Example: over 7 million genetic markers sequenced; 22 hours in an MRI; and almost 2 liters of blood given up – despite my squeamishness about needles).

Are these tests useful? What do they tell us? And do we want to know?

I embarked on this journey as a science journalist attempting to understand and better explain a blizzard of abstract and complicated new discoveries in peronalized medicine by humanizing the story. The book arose out of two articles that used this journalist-as-guineapig method: for Wired on DNA and for National Geographic on environmental toxins.


Photo by Art Streiber, used with permission.

A companion to the book is The Experimental Man Project website, which contains the detailed results of my tests (genetic sequencing, levels of environmental toxins in my blood, brain scans, and more) and links with dozens of informational sites about personalized medicine and all of the labs and companies that tested me. The site is interactive with the book by chapter and page number. There are also tests you can take, such as this brain age test. The Experimental Man Project is a joint effort with the Center for Life Science Policy at UC Berkeley.

This blog began on the Experimental Man site and already has several months of offerings – check out previous blogs here on everything from Zombie genes to the rise of envirogenomics, the ibrain sleep test, and discount DNA.

I will continue to blog here on the emerging era of personalized medicine. This will include postings on tests and discoveries, and also on their implications for society.

One aim is to cover how science and technology–and common sense–could reshape American healthcare as the Obama Administration and the U.S. Congress debate health reform. We are living in one of those critical moments in history when crisis could shape great improvements for society–or not.

Read and enjoy!

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