• Health & Wellness

    Tomorrow’s Cure: How a lifetime of exposures impact health – exposome explained

There is a study of the fascinating interplay between the cumulative effects of external exposures on a person's body and genes. It is called exposomics. Learn why you need to recognize that people are exposed to hundreds or thousands of things per day, and why it’s important to study that complexity.

Featured experts on this week's Tomorrow's Cure episode are Dr. Konstantinos Lazaridis, the Carlson and Nelson Endowed Executive Director for Mayo Clinic's Center for Individualized Medicine; and Dr. Gary Miller, vice dean of Research Strategy and Innovation at Mailman School of Public Health, and director of the Center for Innovative Exposomics at Columbia University.

"Genetics has explained a lot, but there’s a gap there," says Dr. Miller. "If you want to explain complex diseases, you need to look at all the things that contribute to it."

"It's not the dramatic exposure that happens once in a lifetime. It's those small events that happen every day over five years, 10 years that created the problem," says Dr. Lazaridis. "How can we reverse that?"

"The exposome is designed to capture as many of the exposures as possible. And it's not just the ones we would think that would be negative. It's the positive ones as well. So when you eat your breakfast, there's a lot of nutrients and vitamins there. That's good. But there might be pesticide residues or plastic residues on it. You might have air pollution or allergens in the air that you're breathing," says Dr. Miller.  "We're looking at all the things that people get exposed to. I like to think about it as the compilation of all the physical, biological, chemical and psychosocial influences on our health."

To learn more about the exposome, tune into a new episode of Tomorrow's Cure, a Mayo Clinic podcast that is bringing the future of healthcare to the present. The podcast is free on all audio platforms, including Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Amazon Music. Episodes also will feature a video component, which can be viewed on Mayo Clinic's YouTube channel.

The first season comprises eight episodes, with seasons 2 and 3 set to resume in early 2025. To learn more and to see the complete list of episode topics and featured experts, visit tomorrowscure.com.

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