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Investing in Local Communities to Improve Health

The New England Journal of Medicine has a fascinating study examining the effects of a low-income housing program impacted participants' health--the results of which suggest that, at least in many instances, improving the local neighborhoods where people live does far more to improve health than trying to tackle health problems on a case-by-case basis.

Contagion Health

Imagine you log into your Facebook* account on September 8, 2017. You see a scattering of updates from your friends—somebody accidentally swallowed their mobile phone, and somebody else is complaining that none of the 3000 shows that premiered on YouTube this season is any good.


Facebook Health - IFTF Artifact from the FutureFacebook Health - IFTF Artifact from the Future


How Products Are Shaping Social Networks

I'm not typically inclined to blog about evil genius, but it's hard to know how else to describe the redesign of an e-cigarette Blue Cigs. Specifically, the redesigned "smart packs" help e-cigarette smokers connect and socialize over doses of vaporized nicotine.

You're Not Popular Enough for the Flu Shot

I'm a little late to this great study by Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler about the possibilities of using social network analysis to predict flu outbreaks, but it's well worth highlighting. The premise of their study is that certain members of social networks can function as "sensors" that indicate the emergence of a flu or other outbreak.

How Our Bodies are Becoming Social

As part of the Chronicle of Higher Education's series on ideas and issues that will define the coming decade, Alondra Nelson writes about an idea we've been kicking around for a while: That over the next decade, she argues, our DNA will do as much to define our social interactions as it will do to define our health experiences.

As Nelson puts it:

If the therapeutic utility of the genome is somewhat intangible, the social life of DNA is unmistakable.

Take This Anti-Depressant--Courtesy of Your Social Network

A great feature in The Economist highlights the variety of ways businesses and researchers are looking at analyzing the intricacies of our social networks and digital trails to understand who influences us, who we influence, and what that could mean for the world at large. This isn't a new field, per se, but the breadth and subtlety of the analysis, as well as the potential quality of their conclusion, is pretty mind-blowing.

Contagion health continues to spread

Over the last couple of years, we've been interested in the idea that health spreads—for better or worse—through our social networks, and the tremendous potential this understanding has for designing networked-based interventions for optimized health results.  Nicholas Christakis and James Fowler have published some seminal work in this area, using the rich data available from the Framigham Heart Study.

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