Spread your wings: illuminating nature and nurture in personalized medicine
Arts and Medicine

Spread your wings: illuminating nature and nurture in personalized medicine

Kathleen H. Miao, Julia H. Miao

Cornell University, New York, NY, USA

Correspondence to: Kathleen H. Miao. Cornell University, New York, NY, USA. Email: khm37@cornell.edu.

Submitted Jun 02, 2020. Accepted for publication Sep 02, 2020.

doi: 10.21037/cdt-20-550

Illustrated through a harmonious collection of geometric poly art and 3D digital media, the artworks in “Spread Your Wings: Illuminating Nature and Nurture in Personalized Medicine” highlight the complex duality of nature and nurture in the physiologic manifestations of diseases in patients. The collection also elucidates how personalized medicine can help improve patient health outcomes.

In Figure 1, the colorful forest scenery represents the diverse environmental factors of nature that affect the health of patients, such as cardiovascular diseases, and the DNA double helix ladder represents the genetic manifestations. For example, atherosclerosis and heart disease outcomes are a complex interplay of both genetic family histories of cardiac predispositions and environment factors, such as diet and exercise. Considering the diverse outcomes of patient health influenced by both nature and nurture can impact healthcare providers’ decision-making.

Figure 1 Forest of life.

In Figure 2, illustrates the juxtaposition of the heart and brain, representing decisions that incorporate emotions immersed in empathy, as well as logical decision-making that embraces clinical reasoning while delivering patient care. The flourishing tree in the center, with the helical DNA structure wrapped around its trunk and roots, is emblematic of a patient and his or her unique genetics and health. This underlines the importance of personalized medicine and the balance of compassion and empathy—as elucidated by the heart emblematic of emotion—and problem-solving and clinical knowledge—as elucidated by the brain emblematic of reason. Caring for diverse patients in a personalized way, depicted by the diversity of colors in the emblematic artworks above, illuminates the meaning of patient-centered care.

Figure 2 Wings of metamorphosis.

Like the wings of a butterfly, the metamorphosis of enhanced patient care emerges from the nurturing cocoon of personalized medicine. The bright colors in both artworks furthermore highlight the optimism and hope for medicine’s future and progress in enhancing patients’ quality of life. The dichotomy of the figures draws attention to the importance of body, mind, and human spirit, as physicians, healthcare providers, patients, and their families work together to encompass clinical reasoning and empathy in patient care. Emerging from the roots of genetics and taking flight into the living world, the artworks thus depict the integrated salience of nature and nurture in personalized medical decision-making, promoting optimal patient-centered care for both our current and future generations beyond.

Author’s Statement

Kathleen H. Miao and Julia H. Miao graduated from Cornell University with BAs in Biological Sciences. Dedicated to caring for their patient communities, Julia and Kathleen enjoy engaging in their passions for humanistic medicine through patient advocacy, research, and visual art narratives. Their photography and artworks have been featured and displayed in galleries and exhibits across the country. Both authors contributed equally to the artworks and writing of the article.


Funding: None.


Conflicts of Interest: Both authors have completed the ICMJE uniform disclosure form (available at http://dx.doi.org/10.21037/cdt-20-550). The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.

Ethical Statement: The authors are accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.

Open Access Statement: This is an Open Access article distributed in accordance with the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0), which permits the non-commercial replication and distribution of the article with the strict proviso that no changes or edits are made and the original work is properly cited (including links to both the formal publication through the relevant DOI and the license). See: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/.

Cite this article as: Miao KH, Miao JH. Spread your wings: illuminating nature and nurture in personalized medicine. Cardiovasc Diagn Ther 2021;11(3):954-955. doi: 10.21037/cdt-20-550

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