Episode 86: Personalized Medicine: The Voice of the Patient
Personalized medicine has garnered a lot of attention over the past decade. Usually it means determining the factors for each person that affect their health, their diseases, and potentially their treatments. Some examples are biomarkers that are found in their blood, their genetic make-up, diet and nutrition, behaviors, and environment. One example is the Parkinson’s Foundation’s PD GENEration initiative that offers free genetic testing and counseling for people with Parkinson’s disease (PD) to determine what genes and gene variants affect the course of their disease and response to treatments.
But despite all the scientific advances that allow these forms of personalized medicine, one crucial aspect of personalized medicine is the voice of the patient, both in each person’s encounters with the medical system and treatment team, as well as to inform the kinds of research that should be done and how to design and perform them. Dr. Bas Bloem, a professor of movement disorder neurology at Radboud University Medical Center in Nijmegen, the Netherlands, a Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence, discusses how people with PD want to be heard and how a new definition of health may best put people’s disease into the overall context of their lives.
Released: July 28, 2020
Professor Bas Bloem is a consultant neurologist at the Department of Neurology, Radboud University Medical Centre, Nijmegen, The Netherlands. He received his medical degree, with honours, at Leiden University Medical Centre in 1993 and obtained his PhD degree in 1994. He trained as a neurologist between 1994 and 2000, also at Leiden University Medical Centre. He received additional training as a movement disorders specialist during fellowships at The Parkinson's Institute, Sunnyvale, California, and at the Institute of Neurology, Queen Square, London. In September 2008, he was appointed professor of neurology, with movement disorders as special area of interest.
Professor Bloem is on the editorial board for several national and international journals and has published over 750 publications, including more than 640 peer-reviewed international papers. This includes a series of large clinical trials, all of which were published in high-end scientific journals. He has also supervised 48 successfully completed PhD dissertations. His H-index is 74 (Publons) / 86 (Research Gate) / 97 (Google Scholar).
Professor Bloem is past president of the International Society for Gait and Postural Research. He recently became an Officer (secretary-elect) for the International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society. From 2009 until September 2017, he was part of the board of ZonMw (The Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development). In 2011, he was elected the National Healthcare Hero by the Dutch Ministry of Health and Citizen of the Year for the city of Nijmegen in 2012. Since 2017, he has served on the Executive Scientific Advisory Board of The Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. In 2018, he was elected as member of the “Koninklijke Hollandsche Maatschappij der Wetenschappen” (the Royal Holland Society of Sciences and Humanities), the oldest scientific society in the Netherlands. In 2018, he won the Tom Isaacs award as a recognition of his longstanding achievements in the field of Parkinson’s disease.
Also in 2018, he was elected as member of the Academia Europaea. In 2019, he was elected as Fellow of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh. In 2020, he was elected as member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences. Also in 2020, he became co-Editor in Chief of the Journal of Parkinson’s Disease.
In 2002, Professor Bloem founded and became director of the Radboudumc Centre of Expertise for Parkinson & Movement Disorders, which was recognised from 2005 onwards as a centre of excellence for Parkinson’s disease. Together with Dr Marten Munneke, he also developed ParkinsonNet, an innovative healthcare concept that now consists of 70 professional networks for Parkinson’s disease patients, covering all of The Netherlands (www.parkinsonnet.nl).
Because of the evidence-based quality improvement and significant cost reduction, ParkinsonNet has received multiple awards, including the Best Pearl for Healthcare Innovation prize in 2011. In 2015, ParkinsonNet was awarded with the Value-Based Health Care Prize.
Professor Bloem has two main research interests: cerebral compensatory mechanisms, especially in the field of gait and balance; and healthcare innovation, aiming to develop and scientifically evaluate patient-centred collaborative care. He also values the publication of remarkable observations in single patients.