National Geographic : 2019 Jan
A new era of health care is coming. Precision medicine will monitor our health moment to moment, predict our risk of cancer, heart disease, and other ailments— and devise treatments tailored to each of us. BY FRAN SMITH PHOTOGRAPHS BY CRAIG CUTLER EVERY IS UNIQUE BODY A MOTHER’S VOICE Cristina Iossa sings to her prematurely born son, Alessandro, at the neonatal intensive care unit of University Hospital in Modena, Italy. In NICUs, parents are now a more fre- quent presence. “The mother’s voice to her offspring is one of the most primal preci- sion medicines of all, because it primarily calls you and nobody else,” says Manuela Filippa, a researcher at the Universities of Valle d’Aosta and Geneva. Scientists the- orize that exposure to a mother’s voice stimulates a newborn’s brain to develop opti- mally to interpret sounds and under- stand language.