How diversity improves health outcomes for all

How diversity improves health outcomes for all

by Natalise Kalea Robinson

I'm not a white man in my 50s.

Why is that important? Historically, a significant proportion of participants in clinical trials for pharmaceutical drugs have been white, male, and in their 50s. A lack of diversity can mean that clinical trial results around efficacy and known side effects may not be generalizable to other populations, such as women, racial and ethnic minorities, or older adults. With DNA sequencing, and now microbial sequencing, we’re not only learning that people are unique, but also that the way our bodies may react to any one trigger (like prescriptions, or even skincare) can be different. This movement has led to a rise in pharmacogenetics, which aims to understand how genetic factors impact different reactions to drugs. 

At Parallel, we don’t focus on human DNA like in pharmacogenetics; instead, we look at microbial DNA. But similarly, it’s important to optimize for diversity, and that’s what we’ve done. In our IRB-approved study on the skin microbiome using shotgun sequencing, our participants ranged from 18-87 and included people from all races and ethnicities, both men and women, from every state in the US. That means that we looked at microbial DNA, across a very diverse population in order to find skin microbiome patterns and correlate them to demographic characteristics like age, ethnicity, and geography, as well as skin health states.

It is with this diverse data set that we can confidently make meaningful recommendations around targeted skincare and personalized prescriptions, regardless of who you are or where you’re from. But hey, if you’re a white male in your 50s, we got you, too. 🙂

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About Parallel

A parallel world lives amongst us: the microbial world. This world impacts not only our lifespan, but also our healthspan.

Our mission is to empower people with real science to make meaningful skincare decisions to improve their healthspan, mental well-being, and self-confidence.

Parallel is a next-generation skin health company providing effective, personalized skincare and testing, powered by genomics, skin microbiome science, and machine learning.

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