S&R Blog

Medical data and the infectious power of social networks
September 23, 2009, 6:05 pm
Filed under: behavior | Tags: , , ,

Recent studies have shown that friends behave similarly. In fact, if our friends buy something, there’s a better-than-average chance we’ll buy it, too.  Obviously, this is a great insight for marketers, but may even be more important for the pharmaceutical industry and healthcare in general.

In a recent Wired Magazine Article, Johnathan Leher explains  how a group of patients from a Farmingham, MA study might demonstrate how relationships directly influence behavior and thus health and happiness.

The Framingham Heart Study, started in 1948, comprised of 5,124 male and female subjects and has revealed many of the risk factors associated with cardiovascular disease, including smoking and hypertension. Data from the study combined with recorded family and friend information of the patients led Nicholas Christakis, a social scientist and internist at Harvard, and James Fowler, a political scientist at UC San Diego, to develop a social network that spanned 60 years. Some of the findings are below:


1985 - Obesity2000 - Obesity


1971 - Smokers

2001 - Smokers


1 Comment so far
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I think this article made some interesting points, I read a textbook directly related to this topic, its called Data Networks by Dimitri Bertsekas, Dimitri P. Bertsekas , I found my used copy for less than the bookstores at http://www.belabooks.com/books/9780132009164.htm

Comment by Candice

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