Accessibility View Close toolbar

Your Hardware / Your Software

The metaphor linking the human brain with computer hardware is now so well known that it features regularly in news media stories. But computers have only been with us since Colossus and ENIAC (electronic numerical integrator and computer) were constructed in the mid-1940s. The metaphor linking the code embedded in human DNA and computer software is less frequently cited. The general public only became aware of the concept of computer software in the early 1980s, with the launch of IBM's Personal Computer in 1981 and Apple's Macintosh computer in 1984. In contrast, our genetic code has been evolving for 2 million years.

We could consider computer hardware the metaphorical analog of the human nerve system, consisting of the brain, spinal and peripheral nerves, and neurons (nerve cells).1,2 The nerve system comprises the physical structures that initiate and transmit electrical signals that control the physiological processes of your cells, tissues, and organs. Activities involving your heartbeat, your breath, your digestion, and hormonal function are all regulated and directed by interaction with the nerve system.

Computer software provides encoded instructions for programs that run on the processors, memory banks, buses, and drives of the computer hardware structure. Such programming is analogous to our genetic code, which contains instructions for the growth, development, and functioning of every cell in our bodies. The nerve system carries out its functions based on instructions derived from the DNA contained within its cells.

Computers and the software they run on do not require much maintenance. You certainly don't want to spill coffee on your keyboard and you don't want crumbs to wander into any open ports or drive slots. You do want to backup your files and run security checks periodically. But that's about it. In contrast, the human body requires a fair amount of upkeep in order to ensure optimal performance. Many people are unwilling to do 30 minutes of vigorous exercise 5 times a week. Many people will not take the time to shop for nutritious food and prepare healthful meals.3 But if you engage in these important activities on a regular basis, you will go far to securing long-term health for yourself and your family.

Most of us put a lot of thought into decisions concerning our computers and the software we're going to run on them. We take good care of these helpers of our personal and business activities. But few of us are similarly conscientious when it comes to taking care of our own health and well-being. It would profit all of us greatly to take such care of our metaphorical hardware and software, that is, the physical and physiological structures that keep us healthy and well.

1Cash SS, Hochberg LR: The emergence of single neurons in clinical neurology. Neuron 86(1):79-91, 2015
2Xu J, et al: What does a neuron learn from multisensory experience? J Neurophysiol 113(3):883-889. 2015
3Asher G, Sassone-Corsi P: Time for Food: The Intimate Interplay between Nutrition, Metabolism, and the Circadian Clock Cell 161(1):84-92, 2015

New patients receive a free consultation!

Office Hours

Our Regular Schedule

Monday:

7:30am - 12pm and 2pm - 6pm

Tuesday:

2pm - 6pm

Wednesday:

7:30am - 12pm and 2pm - 6pm

Thursday:

7:30am - 12pm and 2pm - 6pm

Friday:

Closed

Saturday:

Appointment Only

Sunday:

Closed

Location

Find us on the map

  • "Dr. Blair and his staff are wonderful, caring individuals who have always given my family the best care. You guys are amazing!"
  • Ice Capades

    In the depths of winter, adults, as well as children, exert themselves to engage in enjoyable outdoor activities that will keep them warm and provide both excitement and entertainment. Cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, sledding, ice hockey, figure skating, and speed skating all have their enthusiasts. Many ...

    Read More
  • Being a Change Agent

    Being a Change Agent For most of us, change happens slowly, if at all. But as the recent holiday season fades into the distance, many of us wish to be increasingly proactive this year and take real action on the numerous New Year's resolutions that we made in regard to our health and well-being. Back ...

    Read More
  • Holiday Cheer

    In early winter, whether we're celebrating Hanukkah or Christmas, both or nothing at all, families and friends gather to share food and drink and give thanks for a year successfully completed. We send up a rousing holiday cheer and share delicious holiday cheer in celebration of our accomplishments and ...

    Read More
  • A User's Guide to Healthy Knees

    Healthy knees require continuous motion. However, our generally sedentary lifestyles are at odds with the maintenance of robust knee joint architecture. Left motionless throughout large portions of the day, over time knee cartilage will break down and knee ligaments will become lax. These chronic changes ...

    Read More
  • Detective Story

    When Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes applied himself to a difficult case, he famously utilized his powers of deduction. Holmes assembled and examined the facts before him and employed a scientific method of analysis to arrive at a solution that took into account of all the elements of the ...

    Read More
  • Learning From History

    Whether we're driving a car, riding a bike, or trying to record a spare at our local bowling alley, our musculoskeletal system bases its decision-making on past history, that is, what it has learned before. Drawing on years of experience, recorded deep within our muscle memory, we're able to avoid an ...

    Read More
  • A Center for Health

    Mindfulness programs and practices frequently describe a process of locating your "center." One's center may be conceived as a focus of energy, both spiritual and physical, by which all activities may be grounded and from which all activities flow. Similarly, ballet teachers and gymnastics instructors ...

    Read More
  • Wildfire Inside of You

    Comparisons between the inner world and the outer world have been frequently drawn by philosophers, nature writers, and visual artists. For example, "seeing the universe in a grain of sand" is a well-known aphorism. The number of neurons in your brain has been compared to the number of stars in the Milky ...

    Read More
  • Hitting for the Cycle

    In baseball, hitting for the cycle means that a batter hits a single, a double, a triple, and a home run during the same game. Hitting for the cycle is a rare baseball event, occurring about as often as a no-hitter by a pitcher. Certainly, a great deal of skill is involved in accomplishing such a feat. ...

    Read More
  • Find Inspiration in Walden

    In this 200th anniversary year of the birth of Henry David Thoreau, each of us can increase our health and well-being by applying his guidance to our regular exercise activities. Thoreau, one of the United States' greatest writers, naturalists, and philosophers, not only walked the length and breadth ...

    Read More

Newsletter Signup