Applying a network perspective to human physiology

phys.org | 3/4/2019 | Staff
Mireille (Posted by) Level 3
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In modern medicine, physicians treat organs in isolation. People with heart conditions go to heart specialists, just as those with kidney ailments seek kidney specialists. While this model has made tremendous progress and saved countless lives, it doesn't account for how our organs work together or sometimes fail to do so.

This week at the 2019 American Physical Society March Meeting in Boston, Plamen Ch. Ivanov, a Boston University physicist affiliated with Harvard Medical School, will present a new paradigm called "network physiology." He will also participate in a press conference describing the work. Information for logging on to watch and ask questions remotely is included at the end of this news release.

Systems - Coordinate - Sync - Ivanov - Body

"We need to show how the different systems communicate with each other and adjust, coordinate and stay in sync," said Ivanov. The human body, according to this view, can be thought of as a network, with each organ serving as a node connected to other organs and other nodes. "The nodes are not just dots," he said. "They're dynamical systems, constantly changing in time, as are the connections between them."

Today's best hospitals aren't equipped to monitor the inter-organ interactions. "Separate devices keep track of separate functions, but no single monitor can observe a multitude of functions," he said. To improve health monitoring techniques, Ivanov and his colleagues have spent the past decade developing the computational tools and biomedical devices needed to capture data streams from different organ systems and see how they relate to each...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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