Our Social Networks Like Our Gene Networks Can Determine Who We Are And How We Live Our Lives


Hi Folks!

They say that it is not what you know but who you know. As Albus Dumbledore said to Harry Potter, “It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” These are two instances in which networks play a major role. The first requiring social networks. The second being an expression of the behavior of highly integrated sets of biological networks, including social networks.

I recently gave a short presentation on the nature and interpretation of gene/protein networks in the context of Toxicology. I shared the lectern with an applied mathematician, Ke Xu, a small social network that made the experience even more fun! Both social and internal biological networks can exhibit complex, and sometimes unpredictable, behaviors. That said, our survival is heavily dependent upon network dynamics, including both stable and unstable states, especially in the case of surviving an abdominal aortic aneurysm. This issue is nicely clarified in a recent book by Matt Ridley, ‘The Rational Optimist,’ from which I created the first slide of my presentation. This slide shows an image of a prehistoric hand axe compared to a computer mouse. Both of these objects were designed to fit the human hand. A single individual made the hand axe, while the creation of the computer mouse required manufacturing and networking by thousands, if not millions, of people. The same applies to my AAA-stent graft. Thank goodness for social networking and specialization. That’s what I say!

The same issues apply to the design of your running shoes, your bike, and all the other equipment we use for endurance training. Furthermore, small personal networks, like your family and friends, also play a critical role in both your survival and your training. I am ‘blessed’ with three great sons, each of which contributes significantly to my life through their skills and insights. Nick, the eldest, for his calm wisdom and recently his advice on e-commerce, based on his tee shirt business experience . Duncan, number two son, for his artistic insights, also expressed in the form of tee shirts, and for kicking my ass at the track and on the bike. And finally, my youngest son, Nigel, a great dentist who has inspired me for years with his determination and skill as an athlete (number 96 one year in Hawaii). What a great little network I have. I am one lucky athlete, aneurysm or no aneurysm.

-k @FitOldDog


Speak Your Mind


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Disclaimer: As a veterinarian, I do not provide medical advice for human animals. If you undertake or modify an exercise program, consult your medical advisors before doing so. Undertaking activities pursued by the author does not mean that he endorses your undertaking such activities, which is clearly your decision and responsibility. Be careful and sensible, please.