A friend sent me an article about a foundation that is studying 3,000 golden retrievers to determine why the lifespan of the breed is shrinking.  They are interested, not only because they are golden lovers like I am, but because these dogs and humans share 95% of the same DNA.  (No wonder they act like people!)

Volunteers keep journals of all types of details: interaction with new types of people, food changes, moves, environmental factors, sleeping patters and changes in temperature.  The researchers hope to discover patterns that may account for the unusually high incidents of bone cancer and lymphoma in the breed.

I wonder what they will discover, and more so I wonder what factors have contributed to my health today.  What did I do in my childhood that helped strengthen my immune system?  What seemingly incidental things made a difference — one way or the other — without conscious effort?

One of the gifts of technology is that it allows us to amass vast amounts of data and detect tiny patterns within it.  Will people allow access to their data collected via wearable technology to contribute to pattern-building?  Will volunteer parents journal everything about their newborn’s upbringing as the dog-owners are doing?  

I recently heard that “in order to master the macro, we need to manage the micro.*”  How can you look at your data from the macro, and ensure that you collect enough of the micro to create a pattern that matters?

— beth triplett

Source:  Golden retrievers’ shorter lifespan focus of research by Sue Manning for the Associated Press in The Detroit News, May 7, 2015, p. 14A

*As quoted by Jeff Cufaude at NACA Retreat, May 2015

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