BBC Earth (Asia) - - Q&a -

In the UK, the av­er­age man and woman are 178cm and 164cm tall re­spec­tively, and earn around $41,445 and $30,475 – and we might even know peo­ple who fit these two char­ac­ter­is­tics. But the search rapidly gets harder as we add more ‘typ­i­cal’ char­ac­ter­is­tics, those who per­haps also drink the av­er­age amount per week, spend the av­er­age amount on food and so on. You’d need hun­dreds of peo­ple to find at least one match­ing all these char­ac­ter­is­tics, and ever more as you try to pin down the ul­ti­mate ‘av­er­age per­son’, who is so un­likely they prob­a­bly don’t ex­ist. This is a ma­jor chal­lenge to ‘per­son­alised’ medicine, as many drugs have been shown to work on av­er­age, but then fail with many pa­tients – none of whom is ever just av­er­age. RM

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