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Why Everything in Medicine Is Connected

Why Everything in Medicine Is Connected: “But social networking is about more than just friends reunited; it’s a framework for understanding even the most basic of biological processes…In its simplest form, network analysis can map ties between entities (whether elephants, humans, or genes). The same principles that allowed researchers to characterize the role of matriarchs in the social organization of the endangered African elephant species also illuminated the collective dynamics fueling individual donations to the 2004 tsunami relief fund, and provided the techniques to model the gene network that controls T cell activation in humans.”
The term network is no longer broad enough to encompass its multiple uses. The article listed above describes networks within medicine according to structural patterns of organization. It works well in that instance. But in discussion of networked learning, things become a bit less certain. Does learning in networks refer to the web? Social ties? The neural activity going on in our neocortex? Obviously it refers to all of these concepts…and that is exactly the problem. When a field first emerges, one word describes it all. As the field specializes, more nuanced terms need to arise to provide more descriptive views of concepts. In the end, it’ll still all be about networks, but our language of networks needs to be more precise.