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And Technology, Too

Analytical tools and computing power, in addition to support from medical research and healthcare systems, will be needed to make sense of all the data coming off of ever-cheaper sequencing technologies and to personalize medicine, writes Andrew Litt, the chief medical officer at Dell, at ComputerWorld.

"These are baby steps up the mountain of genetic data that we need to conquer, but as our sophistication in genetic analysis grows, and as the speed of processing increases, our understanding of our DNA will increase," Litt adds. "As with most technology, the rate of increase will speed up, and the time needed to solve the problem will go down."

He further envisions a time when steps to prevent diseases like Alzheimer's could be take on early, even in utero. But to get to that point, he says that there needs to be greater investment in healthcare technology as well as incentives to prevent disease. "With continued investment in technology and research, and continued transformation toward a patient-centered, information-driven healthcare system, our grandchildren will be able to live much longer, and more importantly, much healthier lives than we can even imagine," he adds.