What happens when a trauma surgeon who regularly preforms splenectomies after motor vehicle crashes (MVCs) moves to Michigan, and is no longer called on to perform the procedure? Dr. Stewart Wang recognized that patients involved in MVCs in southeastern Michigan were less likely to need a splenectomy after major crashes. By analyzing the CT scans of crash patients, he found that fat can cushion the spleen, resulting in less damage to internal organs. Because Michigan has a higher incidence of obesity, fewer splenectomies were required.
Subsequently, Dr. Wang recognized that there was a far wider application for this type of analysis. By focusing on specific bio-markers and linking them to important clinical outcome measures, he moved from spleens to an expanded number of bio-markers that can predict outcomes from crash injuries and elective surgery, can assist in clinical decision making and diagnosis, and can actually prevent injuries and futile surgeries.
Morphomics is incredibly collaborative in nature, and its true power comes from bringing together experts and data from many fields to tackle important questions about human health and well-being.