From way-new medical breakthroughs to smart daily health habits, doctors and researchers share their discoveries about medicine and well-being onstage at the TED conference, TEDx events and partner events around the world. You can also download these and many other videos free on TED.com, with an interactive English transcript and subtitles in up to 80 languages. TED is a nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading.
Here's the Latest Episode from TEDTalks Health:
Rebecca Onie asks audacious questions: What if waiting rooms were a place to improve daily health care? What if doctors could prescribe food, housing and heat in the winter? At TEDMED she describes Health Leads, an organization that does just that -- and does it by building a volunteer base as elite and dedicated as a college sports team.
Reuters health editor Ivan Oransky warns that we're suffering from an epidemic of preposterous preconditions -- pre-diabetes, pre-cancer, and many more. In this engaging talk from TEDMED he shows how health care can find a solution... by taking an important lesson from baseball.
"Is it okay if I totally trash your office?" It's a question Elyn Saks once asked her doctor, and it wasn't a joke. A legal scholar, in 2007 Saks came forward with her own story of schizophrenia, controlled by drugs and therapy but ever-present. In this powerful talk, she asks us to see people with mental illness clearly, honestly and compassionately.
When faced with a parent suffering from Alzheimer's, most of us respond with denial ("It won't happen to me") or extreme efforts at prevention. But global health expert and TED Fellow Alanna Shaikh sees it differently. She's taking three concrete steps to prepare for the moment -- should it arrive -- when she herself gets Alzheimer's disease.
When game designer Jane McGonigal found herself bedridden and suicidal following a severe concussion, she had a fascinating idea for how to get better. She dove into the scientific research and created the healing game, SuperBetter. In this moving talk, McGonigal explains how a game can boost resilience -- and promises to add 7.5 minutes to your life.
Parkinson's disease affects 6.3 million people worldwide, causing weakness and tremors, but there's no objective way to detect it early on. Yet. Applied mathematician and TED Fellow Max Little is testing a simple, cheap tool that in trials is able to detect Parkinson's with 99 percent accuracy -- in a 30-second phone call.
When a freak tornado hit their hometown, sisters Caitria and Morgan O'Neill -- just 20 and 24 at the time -- realized they had to jump in and help. What they learned is: After a natural disaster, there's only a tiny window before the world turns its sympathy (and its donations) elsewhere -- so it's important to be prepared for every aspect of recovery. Watch this talk to learn how to step up in a timely fashion for your own community.
Nearly 450 million people are affected by mental illness worldwide. In wealthy nations, just half receive appropriate care, but in developing countries, close to 90 percent go untreated because psychiatrists are in such short supply. Vikram Patel outlines a highly promising approach -- training members of communities to give mental health interventions, empowering ordinary people to care for others.
One day, Ed Gavagan was sitting on the subway, watching two young med students practicing their knots. And a powerful memory washed over him -- of one shocking moment that changed his life forever. An unforgettable story of crime, skill and gratitude.
Diseases of the body garner sympathy, says comedian Ruby Wax -- except those of the brain. Why is that? With dazzling energy and humor, Wax, diagnosed a decade ago with clinical depression, urges us to put an end to the stigma of mental illness.
When are humans most happy? To gather data on this question, Matt Killingsworth built an app, Track Your Happiness, that let people report their feelings in real time. Among the surprising results: We're often happiest when we're lost in the moment. And the flip side: The more our mind wanders, the less happy we can be.
Patenting a new drug helps finance its immense cost to develop -- but that same patent can put advanced treatments out of reach for sick people in developing nations, at deadly cost. Ellen 't Hoen talks about an elegant, working solution to the problem: the Medicines Patent Pool.
Our bodies get Vitamin D from the sun, but as dermatologist Richard Weller suggests, sunlight may confer another surprising benefit too. New research by his team shows that nitric oxide, a chemical transmitter stored in huge reserves in the skin, can be released by UV light, to great benefit for blood pressure and the cardiovascular system. What does it mean? Well, it might begin to explain why Scots get sick more than Australians ...
In long-term relationships, we often expect our beloved to be both best friend and erotic partner. But as Esther Perel argues, good and committed sex draws on two conflicting needs: our need for security and our need for surprise. So how do you sustain desire? With wit and eloquence, Perel lets us in on the mystery of erotic intelligence.
Ron Finley plants vegetable gardens in South Central LA -- in abandoned lots, traffic medians, along the curbs. Why? For fun, for defiance, for beauty and to offer some alternative to fast food in a community where "the drive-thrus are killing more people than the drive-bys."
Today we know the molecular cause of 4,000 diseases, but treatments are available for only 250 of them. So what's taking so long? Geneticist and physician Francis Collins explains why systematic drug discovery is imperative, even for rare and complex diseases, and offers a few solutions -- like teaching old drugs new tricks.
Our bodies and homes are covered in microbes -- some good for us, some bad for us. As we learn more about the germs and microbes who share our living spaces, TED Fellow Jessica Green asks: Can we design buildings that encourage happy, healthy microbial environments?
When Eric Dishman was in college, doctors told him he had 2 to 3 years to live. That was a long time ago. Now, Dishman puts his experience and his expertise as a medical tech specialist together to suggest a bold idea for reinventing health care -- by putting the patient at the center of a treatment team.
It's 2013, yet 2.5 billion people in the world have no access to a basic sanitary toilet. And when there's no loo, where do you poo? In the street, probably near your water and food sources -- causing untold death and disease from contamination. Get ready for a blunt, funny, powerful talk from journalist Rose George about a once-unmentionable problem.
Today, thanks to better early detection, there are 63% fewer deaths from heart disease than there were just a few decades ago. Thomas Insel, the director of the National Institute of Mental Health, wonders: Could we do the same for depression and schizophrenia? The first step in this new avenue of research, he says, is a crucial reframing: for us to stop thinking about "mental disorders" and start understanding them as "brain disorders."
Nilofer Merchant suggests a small idea that just might have a big impact on your life and health: Next time you have a one-on-one meeting, make it into a "walking meeting" -- and let ideas flow while you walk and talk.
Thinking about death is frightening, but planning ahead is practical and leaves more room for peace of mind in our final days. In a solemn, thoughtful talk, Judy MacDonald Johnston shares 5 practices for planning for a good end of life.
Collecting global health data is an imperfect science: Workers tramp through villages to knock on doors and ask questions, write the answers on paper forms, then input the data -- and from this messy, gappy information, countries and NGOs need to make huge decisions. Data geek Joel Selanikio talks through the sea change in collecting health data in the past decade -- starting with the PalmPilot and Hotmail, and now moving into the cloud.
Roberto D'Angelo and Francesca Fedeli thought their baby boy Mario was healthy -- until at 10 days old, they discovered he'd had a perinatal stroke. With Mario unable to control the left side of his body, they grappled with tough questions: Would he be "normal?” Could he live a full life? The poignant story of parents facing their fears -- and how they turned them around.
As a young EMT on a Jerusalem ambulance, Eli Beer realized that, stuck in brutal urban traffic, they often arrived too late to help. So he organized a group of volunteer EMTs -- many on foot -- ready to drop everything and dash to save lives in their neighborhood. Today, United Hatzlah uses a smartphone app and a fleet of "ambucycles" to help nearby patients until an ambulance arrives. With an average response time of 3 minutes, last year, they treated 207,000 people in Israel. And the idea is going global.
To all appearances, Eleanor Longden was just like every other student, heading to college full of promise and without a care in the world. That was until the voices in her head started talking. Initially innocuous, these internal narrators became increasingly antagonistic and dictatorial, turning her life into a living nightmare. Diagnosed with schizophrenia, hospitalized, drugged, Longden was discarded by a system that didn't know how to help her. Longden tells the moving tale of her years-long journey back to mental health, and makes the case that it was through learning to listen to her voices that she was able to survive.
During a Formula 1 race, a car sends hundreds of millions of data points to its garage for real-time analysis and feedback. So why not use this detailed and rigorous data system elsewhere, like at children's hospitals? Peter van Manen tells us more.
Russell Foster is a circadian neuroscientist: He studies the sleep cycles of the brain. And he asks: What do we know about sleep? Not a lot, it turns out, for something we do with one-third of our lives. In this talk, Foster shares three popular theories about why we sleep, busts some myths about how much sleep we need at different ages -- and hints at some bold new uses of sleep as a predictor of mental health.
Stress. It makes your heart pound, your breathing quicken and your forehead sweat. But while stress has been made into a public health enemy, new research suggests that stress may only be bad for you if you believe that to be the case. Psychologist Kelly McGonigal urges us to see stress as a positive, and introduces us to an unsung mechanism for stress reduction: reaching out to others.
What does it take to regrow bone in mass quantities? Typical bone regeneration -- wherein bone is taken from a patient’s hip and grafted onto damaged bone elsewhere in the body -- is limited and can cause great pain just a few years after operation. In an informative talk, Molly Stevens introduces a new stem cell application that harnesses bone’s innate ability to regenerate and produces vast quantities of bone tissue painlessly.
Oklahoma City is a midsized town that had a big problem: It was among the most obese towns in America. Mayor Mick Cornett realized that, to make his city a great place to work and live, it had to become healthier too. In this charming talk, he walks us through the interlocking changes that helped OKC drop a collective million pounds (450,000 kilos).
There's an irony behind the latest efforts to extend human life: It's no picnic to be an old person in a youth-oriented society. Older people can become isolated, lacking meaningful work and low on funds. In this intriguing talk, Jared Diamond looks at how many different societies treat their elders -- some better, some worse -- and suggests we all take advantage of experience.
"The opposite of depression is not happiness, but vitality, and it was vitality that seemed to seep away from me in that moment." In a talk equal parts eloquent and devastating, writer Andrew Solomon takes you to the darkest corners of his mind during the years he battled depression. That led him to an eye-opening journey across the world to interview others with depression -- only to discover that, to his surprise, the more he talked, the more people wanted to tell their own stories.
In the US, 80% of girls have been on a diet by the time they're 10 years old. In this honest, raw talk, neuroscientist Sandra Aamodt uses her personal story to frame an important lesson about how our brains manage our bodies, as she explores the science behind why dieting not only doesn't work, but is likely to do more harm than good. She suggests ideas for how to live a less diet-obsessed life, intuitively.
One hundred sixty years after the invention of the needle and syringe, we're still using them to deliver vaccines; it's time to evolve. Biomedical engineer Mark Kendall demos the Nanopatch, a one-centimeter-by-one-centimeter square vaccine that can be applied painlessly to the skin. He shows how this tiny piece of silicon can overcome four major shortcomings of the modern needle and syringe, at a fraction of the cost.
Every cell in the human body has a sex, which means that men and women are different right down to the cellular level. Yet too often, research and medicine ignore this insight -- and the often startlingly different ways in which the two sexes respond to disease or treatment. As pioneering doctor Paula Johnson describes in this thought-provoking talk, lumping everyone in together means we essentially leave women's health to chance. It's time to rethink.
After a traumatic brain injury, it sometimes happens that the brain can repair itself, building new brain cells to replace damaged ones. But the repair doesn't happen quickly enough to allow recovery from degenerative conditions like motor neuron disease (also known as Lou Gehrig's disease or ALS). Siddharthan Chandran walks through some new techniques using special stem cells that could allow the damaged brain to rebuild faster.
Puberty is an awkward time for just about everybody, but for transgender teens it can be a nightmare, as they grow overnight into bodies they aren't comfortable with. In a heartfelt talk, Norman Spack tells a personal story of how he became one of the few doctors in the US to treat minors with hormone replacement therapy. By staving off the effects of puberty, Spack gives trans teens the time they need.
What can we learn from people with the genetics to get sick — who don't? With most inherited diseases, only some family members will develop the disease, while others who carry the same genetic risks dodge it. Stephen Friend suggests we start studying those family members who stay healthy. Hear about the Resilience Project, a massive effort to collect genetic materials that may help decode inherited disorders.
As a young girl, photojournalist and TED Fellow Kitra Cahana dreamed about running away from home to live freely on the road. Now as an adult and self-proclaimed vagabond, she follows modern nomads into their homes -- boxcars, bus stops, parking lots, rest stop bathrooms -- giving a glimpse into a culture on the margins.
The new breed of high-tech self-monitors (measuring heartrate, sleep, steps per day) might seem targeted at competitive athletes. But Talithia Williams, a statistician, makes a compelling case that all of us should be measuring and recording simple data about our bodies every day — because our own data can reveal much more than even our doctors may know.
Author Isabel Allende is 71. Yes, she has a few wrinkles—but she has incredible perspective too. In this candid talk, meant for viewers of all ages, she talks about her fears as she gets older and shares how she plans to keep on living passionately.
Rishi Manchanda has worked as a doctor in South Central Los Angeles for a decade, where he’s come to realize: His job isn’t just about treating a patient’s symptoms, but about getting to the root cause of what is making them ill—the “upstream" factors like a poor diet, a stressful job, a lack of fresh air. It’s a powerful call for doctors to pay attention to a patient's life outside the exam room.
Brain imaging pioneer Nancy Kanwisher, who uses fMRI scans to see activity in brain regions (often her own), shares what she and her colleagues have learned: The brain is made up of both highly specialized components and general-purpose "machinery." Another surprise: There's so much left to learn.
Matthew O’Reilly is a veteran emergency medical technician on Long Island, New York. In this talk, O’Reilly describes what happens next when a gravely hurt patient asks him: “Am I going to die?”
About 10,000 people a month Google the phrase, “Am I ugly?” Meaghan Ramsey of the Dove Self-Esteem Project has a feeling that many of them are young girls. In a deeply unsettling talk, she walks us through the surprising impacts of low body and image confidence—from lower grade point averages to greater risk-taking with drugs and alcohol. And then shares the key things all of us can do to disrupt this reality.
The brain uses a quarter of the body's entire energy supply, yet only accounts for about two percent of the body's mass. So how does this unique organ receive and, perhaps more importantly, rid itself of vital nutrients? New research suggests it has to do with sleep.
Myriam Sidibe is a warrior in the fight against childhood disease. Her weapon of choice? A bar of soap. For cost-effective prevention against sickness, it’s hard to beat soapy hand-washing, which cuts down risk of pneumonia, diarrhea, cholera and worse. Sidibe, a public-health expert, makes a smart case for public-private partnerships to promote clean hands — and local, sustainable entrepreneurship.
Debra Jarvis had worked as a hospital chaplain for nearly 30 years when she was diagnosed with cancer. And she learned quite a bit as a patient. In a witty, daring talk, she explains how the identity of “cancer survivor” can feel static. She asks us all to claim our hardest experiences, while giving ourselves room to grow and evolve.
Antibiotic drugs save lives. But we simply use them too much — and often for non-lifesaving purposes, like treating the flu and even raising cheaper chickens. The result, says researcher Ramanan Laxminarayan, is that the drugs will stop working for everyone, as the bacteria they target grow more and more resistant. He calls on all of us (patients and doctors alike) to think of antibiotics -- and their ongoing effectiveness -- as a finite resource, and to think twice before we tap into it. It's a sobering look at how global medical trends can strike home.
Wouldn’t you want to know if your doctor was a paid spokesman for a drug company? Or held personal beliefs incompatible with the treatment you want? Right now, in the US at least, your doctor simply doesn’t have to tell you about that. And when physician Leana Wen asked her fellow doctors to open up, the reaction she got was … unsettling.
Forget stitches -- there's a better way to close wounds. In this talk, TED Fellow Joe Landolina talks about his invention -- a medical gel that can instantly stop traumatic bleeding without the need to apply pressure. (Contains medical images.)
Why do some people struggle more than others to keep off the pounds? Social psychologist Emily Balcetis shows research that addresses one of the many factors: our vision. In an informative talk, she shows how when it comes to fitness, some people quite literally see the world differently -- and offers a surprisingly simple solution to overcome these differences.
"Ebola threatens everything that makes us human," says Bruce Aylward of the World Health Organization. And when the Ebola epidemic exploded in 2014, it caused a worldwide panic. But humanity can beat Ebola -- and Aylward shows four strategies that show how we are succeeding. The fight against Ebola is not yet won, he says, but it can be.
60% of people with dementia wander off, an issue that can prove hugely stressful for both patients and caregivers. In this charming talk, hear how teen inventor Kenneth Shinozuka came up with a novel solution to help his night-wandering grandfather and the aunt who looks after him ... and how he hopes to help others with Alzheimer's.
We'll go to the doctor when we feel flu-ish or a nagging pain. So why don't we see a health professional when we feel emotional pain: guilt, loss, loneliness? Too many of us deal with common psychological-health issues on our own, says Guy Winch. But we don't have to. He makes a compelling case to practice emotional hygiene — taking care of our emotions, our minds, with the same diligence we take care of our bodies.
Childhood trauma isn’t something you just get over as you grow up. Pediatrician Nadine Burke Harris explains that the repeated stress of abuse, neglect and parents struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues has real, tangible effects on the development of the brain. This unfolds across a lifetime, to the point where those who’ve experienced high levels of trauma are at triple the risk for heart disease and lung cancer. An impassioned plea for pediatric medicine to confront the prevention and treatment of trauma, head-on.
In 2014, the world avoided a global outbreak of Ebola, thanks to thousands of selfless health workers -- plus, frankly, some very good luck. In hindsight, we know what we should have done better. So, now's the time, Bill Gates suggests, to put all our good ideas into practice, from scenario planning to vaccine research to health worker training. As he says, "There's no need to panic ... but we need to get going."
Did you know that you're 30 times more likely to laugh if you're with somebody else than if you're alone? Cognitive neuroscientist Sophie Scott shares this and other surprising facts about laughter in this fast-paced, action-packed and, yes, hilarious dash through the science of cracking up.
Liver cancer is one of the most difficult cancers to detect, but synthetic biologist Tal Danino had a left-field thought: What if we could create a probiotic, edible bacteria that was "programmed" to find liver tumors? His insight exploits something we're just beginning to understand about bacteria: their power of quorum sensing, or doing something together once they reach critical mass. Danino, a TED Fellow, explains how quorum sensing works -- and how clever bacteria working together could someday change cancer treatment.
You've just been injured, and you're on the way home from an hour of physical therapy. The last thing you want to do on your own is confusing exercises that take too long to show results. TED Fellow Cosmin Mihaiu demos a fun, cheap solution that turns boring physical therapy exercises into a video game with crystal-clear instructions.
Penicillin changed everything. Infections that had previously killed were suddenly quickly curable. Yet as Maryn McKenna shares in this sobering talk, we've squandered the advantages afforded us by that and later antibiotics. Drug-resistant bacteria mean we're entering a post-antibiotic world -- and it won't be pretty. There are, however, things we can do ... if we start right now.
What really causes addiction -- to everything from cocaine to smart-phones? And how can we overcome it? Johann Hari has seen our current methods fail firsthand, as he has watched loved ones struggle to manage their addictions. He started to wonder why we treat addicts the way we do -- and if there might be a better way. As he shares in this deeply personal talk, his questions took him around the world, and unearthed some surprising and hopeful ways of thinking about an age-old problem.
Tony Wyss-Coray studies the impact of aging on the human body and brain. In this eye-opening talk, he shares new research from his Stanford lab and other teams which shows that a solution for some of the less great aspects of old age might actually lie within us all.
When poet Robin Morgan found herself facing Parkinson’s disease, she distilled her experiences into these four quietly powerful poems — meditating on age, loss, and the simple power of noticing.
You're not at your best when you're stressed. In fact, your brain has evolved over millennia to release cortisol in stressful situations, inhibiting rational, logical thinking but potentially helping you survive, say, being attacked by a lion. Neuroscientist Daniel Levitin thinks there's a way to avoid making critical mistakes in stressful situations, when your thinking becomes clouded -- the pre-mortem. "We all are going to fail now and then," he says. "The idea is to think ahead to what those failures might be."
When Ebola broke out in March 2014, Pardis Sabeti and her team got to work sequencing the virus's genome, learning how it mutated and spread. Sabeti immediately released her research online, so virus trackers and scientists from around the world could join in the urgent fight. In this talk, she shows how open cooperation was key to halting the virus ... and to attacking the next one to come along. "We had to work openly, we had to share and we had to work together," Sabeti says. "Let us not let the world be defined by the destruction wrought by one virus, but illuminated by billions of hearts and minds working in unity."
Through treating everything from strokes to car accident traumas, neurosurgeon Jocelyne Bloch knows the brain's inability to repair itself all too well. But now, she suggests, she and her colleagues may have found the key to neural repair: Doublecortin-positive cells. Similar to stem cells, they are extremely adaptable and, when extracted from a brain, cultured and then re-injected in a lesioned area of the same brain, they can help repair and rebuild it. "With a little help," Bloch says, "the brain may be able to help itself."
If you take two different medications for two different reasons, here's a sobering thought: your doctor may not fully understand what happens when they're combined, because drug interactions are incredibly hard to study. In this fascinating and accessible talk, Russ Altman shows how doctors are studying unexpected drug interactions using a surprising resource: search engine queries.
Simple solutions are often best, even when dealing with something as complicated as Parkinson's. In this inspiring talk, Mileha Soneji shares accessible designs that make the everyday tasks of those living with Parkinson's a bit easier. "Technology is not always it," she says. "What we need are human-centered solutions."
Anyone who has lost a loved one to pancreatic cancer knows the devastating speed with which it can affect an otherwise healthy person. TED Fellow and biomedical entrepreneur Laura Indolfi is developing a revolutionary way to treat this complex and lethal disease: a drug delivery device that acts as a cage at the site of a tumor, preventing it from spreading and delivering medicine only where it's needed. "We are hoping that one day we can make pancreatic cancer a curable disease," she says.
Can the way you speak and write today predict your future mental state, even the onset of psychosis? In this fascinating talk, neuroscientist Mariano Sigman reflects on ancient Greece and the origins of introspection to investigate how our words hint at our inner lives and details a word-mapping algorithm that could predict the development of schizophrenia. "We may be seeing in the future a very different form of mental health," Sigman says, "based on objective, quantitative and automated analysis of the words we write, of the words we say."
The barbershop can be a safe haven for black men, a place for honest conversation and trust -- and, as physician Joseph Ravenell suggests, a good place to bring up tough topics about health. He's turning the barbershop into a place to talk about medical problems that statistically affect black men more often and more seriously, like high blood pressure. It's a new approach to problem solving with broad applications. "What is your barbershop?" he asks. "Where is that place for you where people affected by a unique problem can meet a unique solution?"
At the intersection of medical invention and indigenous culture, pediatric cardiologist Franz Freudenthal mends holes in the hearts of children across the world, using a device born from traditional Bolivian loom weaving. "The most complex problems in our time," he says, "can be solved with simple techniques, if we are able to dream."
Our poop and pee have superpowers, but for the most part we don't harness them. Molly Winter faces down our squeamishness and asks us to see what goes down the toilet as a resource, one that can help fight climate change, spur innovation and even save us money.
The healthcare industry in America is so focused on pathology, surgery and pharmacology -- on what doctors "do" to patients -- that it often overlooks the values of the human beings it's supposed to care for. Palliative care physician Timothy Ihrig explains the benefits of a different approach, one that fosters a patient's overall quality of life and navigates serious illness from diagnosis to death with dignity and compassion.
Learn about the latest advances in the war against cancer from Stanford researcher Adam de la Zerda, who's working on some cutting-edge techniques of his own. Using a remarkable imaging technology that illuminates cancer-seeking gold particles injected into the body, de la Zerda's lab hopes to light the way for surgeons to remove even the tiniest trace of deadly tumors.
The path to better medicine is paved with accidental yet revolutionary discoveries. In this well-told tale of how science happens, neuroscientist Rebecca Brachman shares news of a serendipitous breakthrough treatment that may prevent mental disorders like depression and PTSD from ever developing. And listen for an unexpected -- and controversial -- twist.
What if every home had an early-warning cancer detection system? Researcher Joshua Smith is developing a nanobiotechnology "cancer alarm" that scans for traces of disease in the form of special biomarkers called exosomes. In this forward-thinking talk, he shares his dream for how we might revolutionize cancer detection and, ultimately, save lives.
Racism is making people sick -- especially black women and babies, says Miriam Zoila Pérez. The doula turned journalist explores the relationship between race, class and illness and tells us about a radically compassionate prenatal care program that can buffer pregnant women from the stress that people of color face every day.
Only one in nine people in the United States gets the care and treatment they need for addiction and substance abuse. A former Director of National Drug Control Policy, Michael Botticelli is working to end this epidemic and treat people with addictions with kindness, compassion and fairness. In a personal, thoughtful talk, he encourages the millions of Americans in recovery today to make their voices heard and confront the stigma associated with substance use disorders.
Lux Narayan starts his day with scrambled eggs and the question: "Who died today?" Why? By analyzing 2,000 New York Times obituaries over a 20-month period, Narayan gleaned, in just a few words, what achievement looks like over a lifetime. Here he shares what those immortalized in print can teach us about a life well lived.
Here's a question we all have to answer sooner or later: What do you want to happen to your body when you die? Funeral director Caitlin Doughty explores new ways to prepare us for inevitable mortality. In this thoughtful talk, learn more about ideas for burial (like "recomposting" and "conservation burial") that return our bodies back to the earth in an eco-friendly, humble and self-aware way.
Why does race matter so profoundly for health? David R. Williams developed a scale to measure the impact of discrimination on well-being, going beyond traditional measures like income and education to reveal how factors like implicit bias, residential segregation and negative stereotypes create and sustain inequality. In this eye-opening talk, Williams presents evidence for how racism is producing a rigged system -- and offers hopeful examples of programs across the US that are working to dismantle discrimination.
If Yoda goes into cardiac arrest, will you know what to do? Artist and first-aid enthusiast Todd Scott breaks down what you need to know about using an automated external defibrillator, or AED -- in this galaxy and ones that are far, far away. Prepare to save the life of a Jedi, Chewbacca (he'll need a quick shave first) or someone else in need with some helpful pointers.
TED Fellow Zubaida Bai works with medical professionals, midwives and mothers to bring dignity and low-cost interventions to women's health care. In this quick, inspiring talk, she presents her clean birth kit in a purse, which contains everything a new mother needs for a hygienic birth and a healthy delivery -- no matter where in the world (or how far from a medical clinic) she might be.
When Amy Green's young son was diagnosed with a rare brain tumor, she made up a bedtime story for his siblings to teach them about cancer. What resulted was a video game, "That Dragon, Cancer," which takes players on a journey they can't win. In this beautiful talk about coping with loss, Green brings joy and play to tragedy. "We made a game that's hard to play," she says, "because the hardest moments of our lives change us more than any goal we could ever accomplish."
When stress got to be too much for TED Fellow Sangu Delle, he had to confront his own deep prejudice: that men shouldn't take care of their mental health. In a personal talk, Delle shares how he learned to handle anxiety in a society that's uncomfortable with emotions. As he says: "Being honest about how we feel doesn't make us weak -- it makes us human."
Alzheimer's doesn't have to be your brain's destiny, says neuroscientist and author of "Still Alice," Lisa Genova. She shares the latest science investigating the disease -- and some promising research on what each of us can do to build an Alzheimer's-resistant brain.
T. Morgan Dixon and Vanessa Garrison, founders of the health nonprofit GirlTrek, are on a mission to reduce the leading causes of preventable death among Black women -- and build communities in the process. How? By getting one million women and girls to prioritize their self-care, lacing up their shoes and walking in the direction of their healthiest, most fulfilled lives.
Illness is universal -- but access to care is not. Physician Raj Panjabi has a bold vision to bring health care to everyone, everywhere. With the 2017 TED Prize, Panjabi is building the Community Health Academy, a global platform that aims to modernize how community health workers learn vital skills, creating jobs along the way.
Meet Sharon Terry, a former college chaplain and stay-at-home mom who took the medical research world by storm when her two young children were diagnosed with a rare disease known as pseudoxanthoma elasticum (PXE). In this knockout talk, Terry explains how she and her husband became citizen scientists, working midnight shifts at the lab to find the gene behind PXE and establishing mandates that require researchers to share biological samples and work together.
What if our bodies could help grow new life after we die, instead of being embalmed and buried or turned to ash? Join Katrina Spade as she discusses "recomposition" -- a system that uses the natural decomposition process to turn our deceased into life-giving soil, honoring both the earth and the departed.
Inventor Manu Prakash turns everyday materials into powerful scientific devices, from paper microscopes to a clever new mosquito tracker. From the TED Fellows stage, he demos Paperfuge, a hand-powered centrifuge inspired by a spinning toy that costs 20 cents to make and can do the work of a $1,000 machine, no electricity required.
Jimmy Lin is developing technologies to catch cancer months to years before current methods. He shares a breakthrough technique that looks for small signals of cancer's presence via a simple blood test, detecting the recurrence of some forms of the disease 100 days earlier than traditional methods. It could be a ray of hope in a fight where early detection makes all the difference.
The Italian island of Sardinia has more than six times as many centenarians as the mainland and ten times as many as North America. Why? According to psychologist Susan Pinker, it's not a sunny disposition or a low-fat, gluten-free diet that keeps the islanders healthy -- it's their emphasis on close personal relationships and face-to-face interactions. Learn more about super longevity as Pinker explains what it takes to live to 100 and beyond.
It's not the passage of time that makes it so hard to get older. It's ageism, a prejudice that pits us against our future selves -- and each other. Ashton Applewhite urges us to dismantle the dread and mobilize against the last socially acceptable prejudice. "Aging is not a problem to be fixed or a disease to be cured," she says. "It is a natural, powerful, lifelong process that unites us all."
The treatment of HIV has significantly advanced over the past three decades -- why hasn't our perception of people with the disease advanced along with it? After being diagnosed with HIV, Arik Hartmann chose to live transparently, being open about his status, in an effort to educate people. In this candid, personal talk, he shares what it's like to live with HIV -- and calls on us to dismiss our misconceptions about the disease.
What makes our bodies age ... our skin wrinkle, our hair turn white, our immune systems weaken? Biologist Elizabeth Blackburn shares a Nobel Prize for her work finding out the answer, with the discovery of telomerase: an enzyme that replenishes the caps at the end of chromosomes, which break down when cells divide. Learn more about Blackburn's groundbreaking research -- including how we might have more control over aging than we think.
What if you could know exactly how food or medication would impact your health -- before you put it in your body? Genomics researcher Jun Wang is working to develop digital doppelgangers for real people; they start with genetic code, but they'll also factor in other kinds of data as well, from food intake to sleep to data collected by a "smart toilet." With all of this valuable information, Wang hopes to create an engine that will change the way we think about health, both on an individual level and as a collective.
Forget quinoa. Meet fonio, an ancient "miracle grain" native to Senegal that's versatile, nutritious and gluten-free. In this passionate talk, chef Pierre Thiam shares his obsession with the hardy crop and explains why he believes that its industrial-scale cultivation could transform societies in Africa.
Having feelings isn't a sign of weakness -- they mean we're human, says producer and activist Nikki Webber Allen. Even after being diagnosed with anxiety and depression, Webber Allen felt too ashamed to tell anybody, keeping her condition a secret until a family tragedy revealed how others close to her were also suffering. In this important talk about mental health, she speaks openly about her struggle -- and why communities of color must undo the stigma that misreads depression as a weakness and keeps sufferers from getting help.
After decades of research and billions spent in clinical trials, we still have a problem with cancer drug delivery, says biomedical engineer Elizabeth Wayne. Chemotherapy kills cancer -- but it kills the rest of your body, too. Instead of using human design to fight cancer, why not use nature's? In this quick talk, Wayne explains how her lab is creating nanoparticle treatments that bind to immune cells, your body's first responders, to precisely target cancer cells without damaging healthy ones.
Kristie Overstreet is on a mission to ensure that the transgender community gets their health care needs met. In this informative, myth-busting talk, she provides a primer for understanding gender identity and invites us to shift how we view transgender health care -- so that everyone gets the respect and dignity they deserve when they go to a doctor.
One in five women in the United States will not have a biological child, and Christen Reighter is one of them. From a young age, she knew she didn't want kids, in spite of the insistence of many people (including her doctor) who told her she'd change her mind. In this powerful talk, she shares her story of seeking sterilization -- and makes the case that motherhood is an extension of womanhood, not the definition.
Ever wonder how we poop? Learn about the gut -- the system where digestion (and a whole lot more) happens -- as doctor and author Giulia Enders takes us inside the complex, fascinating science behind it, including its connection to mental health. It turns out, looking closer at something we might shy away from can leave us feeling more fearless and appreciative of ourselves.
How do we improve in the face of complexity? Atul Gawande has studied this question with a surgeon's precision. He shares what he's found to be the key: having a good coach to provide a more accurate picture of our reality, to instill positive habits of thinking, and to break our actions down and then help us build them back up again. "It's not how good you are now; it's how good you're going to be that really matters," Gawande says.
There's nothing quite like a good night's sleep. What if technology could help us get more out of it? Dan Gartenberg is working on tech that stimulates deep sleep, the most regenerative stage which (among other wonderful things) might help us consolidate our memories and form our personalities. Find out more about how playing sounds that mirror brain waves during this stage might lead to deeper sleep -- and its potential benefits on our health, memory and ability to learn.
Since the widespread use of antibiotics began in the 1940s, we've tried to develop new drugs faster than bacteria can evolve -- but this strategy isn't working. Drug-resistant bacteria known as superbugs killed nearly 700,000 people last year, and by 2050 that number could be 10 million -- more than cancer kills each year. Can physics help? In a talk from the frontiers of science, radiation scientist David Brenner shares his work studying a potentially life-saving weapon: a wavelength of ultraviolet light known as far-UVC, which can kill superbugs safely, without penetrating our skin. Followed by a Q&A with TED Curator Chris Anderson.
Want to connect with a depressed friend but not sure how to relate to them? Comedian and storyteller Bill Bernat has a few suggestions. Learn some dos and don'ts for talking to people living with depression -- and handle your next conversation with grace and maybe a bit of humor.
In sub-Saharan Africa, power outages, low technology penetration, slow internet and understaffed hospitals plague health care systems. To make progress on these problems in Malawi, TED Fellow Soyapi Mumba and his team created a new system from scratch -- from the software that powers their electronic health records to the infrastructure used to support it. In this quick, hopeful talk, Mumba shares how his jack-of-all-trades mindset can help reshape health care in low-resource environments.
In 2012, Colorado legalized cannabis and added to what has fast become a multibillion-dollar global industry for all things weed-related: from vape pens to brownies and beyond. But to say that we've legalized marijuana is subtly misleading -- what we've really done is commercialized THC, says educator Ben Cort, and that's led to products that are unnaturally potent. In an eye-opening talk, Cort examines the often unseen impacts of the commercial cannabis industry -- and calls on us to question those who are getting rich off of it.
Once a cared-for patient and now a caregiver himself, Scott Williams highlights the invaluable role of informal caregivers -- those friends and relatives who, out of love, go the extra mile for patients in need. From personal care to advocacy to emotional support, unpaid caregivers form the invisible backbone of health and social systems all over the world, Williams says -- and without them, these systems would crumble. "How can we make sure that their value to patients and society is recognized?" he asks.
Think we're winning the battle against HIV? Maybe not, as the next wave of drug-resistant viruses arrives. In an eye-opening talk, TED Fellow Edsel Salvana describes the aggressive HIV subtype AE that's currently plaguing his home of the Philippines -- and warns us about what might become a global epidemic.
Do you know what you want when you die? Do you know how you want to be remembered? In a candid, heartfelt talk about a subject most of us would rather not discuss, Michelle Knox asks each of us to reflect on our core values around death and share them with our loved ones, so they can make informed decisions without fear of having failed to honor our legacies. "Life would be a lot easier to live if we talked about death now," Knox says. "We need to discuss these issues when we are fit and healthy so we can take the emotion out of it -- and then we can learn not just what is important, but why it's important."
What if we incentivized doctors to keep us healthy instead of paying them only when we're already sick? Matthias Müllenbeck explains how this radical shift from a sick care system to a true health care system could save us from unnecessary costs and risky procedures -- and keep us healthier for longer.
Irina Kareva translates biology into mathematics and vice versa. She writes mathematical models that describe the dynamics of cancer, with the goal of developing new drugs that target tumors. "The power and beauty of mathematical modeling lies in the fact that it makes you formalize, in a very rigorous way, what we think we know," Kareva says. "It can help guide us to where we should keep looking, and where there may be a dead end." It all comes down to asking the right question and translating it to the right equation, and back.
Something strange and deadly is happening inside the brains of top athletes -- a degenerative condition, possibly linked to concussions, that causes dementia, psychosis and far-too-early death. It's called chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, and it's the medical mystery that Chris Nowinski wants to solve by analyzing brains after death. It's also why, when Nowinski meets a pro athlete, his first question is: "Can I have your brain?" Hear more from this ground-breaking effort to protect athletes' brains -- and yours, too.
What's the most transformative thing that you can do for your brain today? Exercise! says neuroscientist Wendy Suzuki. Get inspired to go to the gym as Suzuki discusses the science of how working out boosts your mood and memory -- and protects your brain against neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's.
Dixon Chibanda is one of 12 psychiatrists in Zimbabwe -- for a population of more than 16 million. Realizing that his country would never be able to scale traditional methods of treating those with mental health issues, Chibanda helped to develop a beautiful solution powered by a limitless resource: grandmothers. In this extraordinary, inspirational talk, learn more about the friendship bench program, which trains grandmothers in evidence-based talk therapy and brings care, and hope, to those in need.
A 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bicycle ride and then a full-length marathon on hot, dry ground -- with no breaks in between: the legendary Ironman triathlon in Kona, Hawaii, is a bucket list goal for champion athletes. But when Minda Dentler decided to take it on, she had bigger aspirations than just another medal around her neck. She tells the story of how she conquered this epic race, and what it inspired her to do next.
We use rituals to mark the early stages of our lives, like birthdays and graduations -- but what about our later years? In this meditative talk about looking both backward and forward, Bob Stein proposes a new tradition of giving away your things (and sharing the stories behind them) as you get older, to reflect on your life so far and open the door to whatever comes next.
Four decades ago, Judith Heumann helped to lead a groundbreaking protest called the Section 504 sit-in -- in which disabled-rights activists occupied a federal building for almost a month, demanding greater accessibility for all. In this personal, inspiring talk, Heumann tells the stories behind the protest -- and reminds us that, 40 years on, there's still work left to do.
Why do we still think that drug use is a law-enforcement issue? Making drugs illegal does nothing to stop people from using them, says public health expert Mark Tyndall. So, what might work? Tyndall shares community-based research that shows how harm-reduction strategies, like safe-injection sites, are working to address the drug overdose crisis.
Thousands of years ago, ancient Nubians drew pictures on tomb walls of a terrible disease that turns the eyelids inside out and causes blindness. This disease, trachoma, is still a scourge in many parts of the world today -- but it's also completely preventable, says Caroline Harper. Armed with data from a global mapping project, Harper's organization Sightsavers has a plan: to focus on countries where funding gaps stand in the way of eliminating the disease and ramp up efforts where the need is most severe. Learn more about their goal of consigning trachoma to the history books -- and how you can help. (This ambitious idea is part of the Audacious Project, TED's initiative to inspire and fund global change.)
Public libraries have always been about more than just books -- and their mission of community support has taken on new urgency during the current opioid epidemic. After witnessing overdoses at her library in Philadelphia, Chera Kowalski learned how to administer naloxone, a drug that reverses the effects of narcotics, and she's put it to use to save patrons' lives. In this personal talk, she shares the day-to-day reality of life on the frontline of the opioid crisis and advocates for each of us to find new ways to keep our communities safe and healthy.
Is there someone in your life dealing with anxiety, depression or thoughts of suicide -- but is too ashamed to talk about it? Jeremy Forbes saw this happening around him, and now he's on a mission to teach people how to start a conversation about it. In this deeply personal talk, Forbes shares his approach to helping a group of traditionally silent men in his community open up about their struggles. "We can all be life preservers," he says.
The global refugee crisis is a mental health catastrophe, leaving millions in need of psychological support to overcome the traumas of dislocation and conflict. To undo the damage, child psychiatrist and TED Fellow Essam Daod has been working in camps, rescue boats and the shorelines of Greece and the Mediterranean Sea to help refugees (a quarter of which are children) reframe their experiences through short, powerful psychological interventions. "We can all do something to prevent this mental health catastrophe," Daod says. "We need to acknowledge that first aid is not just needed for the body, but it has also to include the mind, the soul."
The United States accounts for five percent of the world's population but consumes almost 70 percent of the total global opioid supply, creating an epidemic that has resulted in tens of thousands of deaths each year. How did we get here, and what can we do about it? In this personal talk, Travis Rieder recounts the painful, often-hidden struggle of opioid withdrawal and reveals how doctors who are quick to prescribe (and overprescribe) opioids aren't equipped with the tools to eventually get people off the meds.
Current treatments for depression and PTSD only suppress symptoms, if they work at all. What if we could prevent these diseases from developing altogether? Neuroscientist and TED Fellow Rebecca Brachman shares the story of her team's accidental discovery of a new class of drug that, for the first time ever, could prevent the negative effects of stress -- and boost a person's ability to recover and grow. Learn how these resilience-enhancing drugs could change the way we treat mental illness.
Tobacco causes more than seven million deaths every year -- and many of us are far more complicit in the problem than we realize. In a bold talk, oncologist Dr. Bronwyn King tells the story of how she uncovered the deep ties between the tobacco industry and the entire global finance sector, which invests our money in cigarette companies through big banks, insurers and pension funds. Learn how Dr. King has ignited a worldwide movement to create tobacco-free investments and how each of us can play a role in ending this epidemic.
When cancer cells are closely packed together in a tumor, they're able to communicate with each other and coordinate their movement throughout the body. What if we could interrupt this process? In this accessible talk about cutting-edge science, Hasini Jayatilaka shares her work on an innovative method to stop cancer cells from communicating -- and halt their fatal ability to spread.
When faced with life's toughest circumstances, how should we respond: as an optimist, a realist or something else? In an unforgettable talk, explorer Mark Pollock and human rights lawyer Simone George explore the tension between acceptance and hope in times of grief -- and share the groundbreaking work they're undertaking to cure paralysis.
For nearly half a century, scientists have been trying to create a process for transplanting animal organs into humans, a theoretical dream that could help the hundreds of thousands of people in need of a lifesaving transplant. But the risks, specifically of transmitting the PERV virus from pigs to humans, have always been too great, stalling research -- until now. In a mind-blowing talk, geneticist Luhan Yang explains a breakthrough: using CRISPR, a technique for editing genes, she and her colleagues have created pigs that don't carry the virus, opening up the possibility of safely growing human-transplantable organs in pigs. Learn more about this cutting-edge science and how it could help solve the organ shortage crisis.
What if we could help our bodies heal faster and without scars, like Wolverine in X-Men? TED Fellow Kaitlyn Sadtler is working to make this dream a reality by developing new biomaterials that could change how our immune system responds to injuries. In this quick talk, she shows the different ways these products could help the body regenerate.
In 2011, eye surgeon and TED Fellow Andrew Bastawrous developed a smartphone app that brings quality eye care to remote communities, helping people avoid losing their sight to curable or preventable conditions. Along the way, he noticed a problem: strict funding regulations meant that he could only operate on people with specific diseases, leaving many others without resources for treatment. In this passionate talk, Bastawrous calls for a new health care funding model that's flexible and ambitious -- to deliver better health to everyone, whatever their needs are.
We may not be as deeply divided as we think -- at least when it comes to health, says Rebecca Onie. In a talk that cuts through the noise, Onie shares research that shows how, even across economic, political and racial divides, Americans agree on what they need to live good lives -- and asks both health care providers and patients to focus on what makes us healthy, not what makes us angry.
Nobody likes going to the hospital, whether it's because of the logistical challenges of getting there, the astronomical costs of procedures or the alarming risks of complications like antibiotic-resistant bacteria. But what if we could get the lifesaving care provided by hospitals in our own homes? Health care futurist Niels van Namen shows how advances in technology are making home care a cheaper, safer and more accessible alternative to hospital stays.
What do Tourette syndrome, heroin addiction and social media obsession all have in common? They converge in an area of the brain called the striatum, says neuroscientist Rachel Wurzman -- and this critical discovery could reshape our understanding of the opioid crisis. Sharing insights from her research, Wurzman shows how social isolation contributes to relapse and overdose rates and reveals how meaningful human connection could offer a potentially powerful source of recovery.
As a fire chief and first responder, Jan Rader has spent her career saving lives. But when the opioid epidemic hit her town, she realized they needed to take a brand-new approach to life-saving. In this powerful, hopeful talk, Rader shows what it's like on the front lines of this crisis -- and how her community is taking an unusual new approach to treating substance-abuse disorder that starts with listening.
You probably know the common symptoms of a heart attack: chest and arm pain, shortness of breath and fatigue. But there's another kind that's just as deadly and harder to detect because the symptoms are silent. In this quick talk, 17-year-old inventor Akash Manoj shares the device he's developed to stop this silent killer: a noninvasive, inexpensive, wearable patch that alerts patients during a critical moment that could mean the difference between life and death.
There's no better way to stop a disease than to catch and treat it early, before symptoms occur. That's the whole point of medical screening techniques like radiography, MRIs and blood tests. But there's one medium with overlooked potential for medical analysis: your breath. Technologist Julian Burschka shares the latest in the science of breath analysis -- the screening of the volatile organic compounds in your exhaled breath -- and how it could be used as a powerful tool to detect, predict and ultimately prevent disease.
Modern American health care is defined by its high costs, high overhead and inaccessibility -- especially for low-income patients. What if we could redesign the system to serve the poor and still have doctors make money? In an eye-opening (and surprisingly funny) talk, physician P.J. Parmar shares the story of the clinic he founded in Colorado, where he serves only resettled refugees who mostly use Medicaid, and makes the business case for a fresh take on medical service.
Silence is a rare commodity these days. There's traffic, construction, air-conditioning, your neighbor's lawnmower ... and all this unwanted sound can have a surprising impact on your health, says noise researcher Mathias Basner. Discover the science behind how noise affects your health and sleep -- and how you can get more of the benefits of the sound of silence.
In the US, the very same blood test can cost $19 at one clinic and $522 at another clinic just blocks away -- and nobody knows the difference until they get a bill weeks later. Journalist Jeanne Pinder says it doesn't have to be this way. She's built a platform that crowdsources the true costs of medical procedures and makes the data public, revealing the secrets of health care pricing. Learn how knowing what stuff costs in advance could make us healthier, save us money -- and help fix a broken system.
How would you prefer to spend the last years of your life: in a sterile, hospital-like institution or in a village with a supermarket, pub, theater and park within easy walking distance? The answer seems obvious now, but when Yvonne van Amerongen helped develop the groundbreaking Hogeweyk dementia care center in Amsterdam 25 years ago, it was seen as a risky break from tradition. Journey with van Amerongen to Hogeweyk and get a glimpse at what a reimagined nursing home based on freedom, meaning and social life could look like.
Here's a shocking statistic: 50 to 80 percent of people in the criminal justice system in the US have had a traumatic brain injury. In the general public, that number is less than five percent. Neuropsychologist Kim Gorgens shares her research into the connection between brain trauma and the behaviors that keep people in the revolving door of criminal justice -- and some ways to make the system more effective and safer for everyone.
Every year worldwide, more than 50,000 otherwise healthy people with epilepsy suddenly die -- a condition known as SUDEP. These deaths may be largely preventable, says AI researcher Rosalind Picard. Learn how Picard helped develop a cutting-edge smartwatch that can detect epileptic seizures as they occur and alert nearby loved ones in time to help.
You use your brain's executive function every day -- it's how you do things like pay attention, plan ahead and control impulses. Can you improve it to change for the better? With highlights from her research on child development, cognitive scientist Sabine Doebel explores the factors that affect executive function -- and how you can use it to break bad habits and achieve your goals.
E-cigarettes and vapes have exploded in popularity in the last decade, especially among youth and young adults -- from 2011 to 2015, e-cigarette use among high school students in the US increased by 900 percent. Biobehavioral scientist Suchitra Krishnan-Sarin explains what you're actually inhaling when you vape (hint: it's definitely not water vapor) and explores the disturbing marketing tactics being used to target kids. "Our health, the health of our children and our future generations is far too valuable to let it go up in smoke -- or even in aerosol," she says.
Can we make tattoos both beautiful and functional? Nanotechnologist Carson Bruns shares his work creating high-tech tattoos that react to their environment -- like color-changing ink that can tell you when you're getting a sunburn -- and shows exciting ways they can deliver real-time information about our health.
Sleep is your life-support system and Mother Nature's best effort yet at immortality, says sleep scientist Matt Walker. In this deep dive into the science of slumber, Walker shares the wonderfully good things that happen when you get sleep -- and the alarmingly bad things that happen when you don't, for both your brain and body. Learn more about sleep's impact on your learning, memory, immune system and even your genetic code -- as well as some helpful tips for getting some shut-eye.