A common theme at this week’s Aspen Ideas Festival is how we’re going to utilize new forms of technology to make improvements in our society. The panel, “Will Technology Make Us Healthier?” took this notion and applied it to our well being. The session was moderated by Andrew McAfee of the Center of Digital Business at MIT, and included Eric Topol of the Scripps Translational Science Institute and Nicholas Christakis of Harvard University.
Christakis began with a presentation about some of the work he’s doing with social networks. However, he was quick to point out that a lot his work involves real social networks, that of face to face interaction. He showed some visuals on the Hadza people, one of the last hunter/gatherer tribes in the world. They obviously aren’t using Facebook or Twitter, but a lot of the same principles of interaction can be tracked on a significantly smaller scale. These connections have propelled us into the era of passive data. And with this information, we can track major physician networks, hospital networks and more. Once these connections are established, decisions can be made on how to strategically manipulate them. An example he used was that of a network in the developing world, where you had to figure out how to make the greatest impact with a limited budget. By knowing the structure and flow, you could determine who should be targeted to have the greatest effect, usually the central people in the network. When it came to exploiting online network interactions, there were three factors to consider: (more…)
The festival’s second Thomson Reuters Knowledge Exchange event was titled “Cracking the Genetic Code,” and featured an excellent panel. Moderated by Chris Kibarian, president of our IP & Science business, the panel included Harvard professor John Quackenbush, Brian Fiske of the The Michael J. Fox Foundation, and Paul Rejto from Pfizer. The three panelists each brought a unique perspective to the discussion, and their varied expertise helped to turn complicated subject matter into something very easy to understand and enjoy.
The conversation started and revolved around the human genome, and the project to determine the sequence of chemical base pairs which make up DNA, as well as identifying the function of human genes. Professor Quackenbush almost poetically explained complicated scientific information so that it was easily comprehensible. He talked about the roadmap of the human genome and the new technologies that have contributed to the decreasing costs of identifying genes. He talked about a time in the very near future where the cost would become so low that we’d be able to generate huge amounts of data in an economically responsible manner. This data would then contribute to a better understanding about genetic factors contributing to risk of developing diseases and being able to develop more personalized care for serious illnesses. (more…)
In part two of the Thomson Reuters Knowledge Exchange session titled “Cracking The Genetic Code,” Chris Kibarian moderates a panel with Brian Fiske, John Quackenbush and Paul Rejto about the types of scientific advancements needed to develop the treatments and life saving therapeutics that will change and improve human kind.
In part one of the Thomson Reuters Knowledge Exchange session titled “Cracking The Genetic Code,” Chris Kibarian moderates a panel with Brian Fiske, John Quackenbush and Paul Rejto about the types of scientific advancements needed to develop the treatments and life saving therapeutics that will change and improve human kind.