From the category archives:


From the Fasciculus Medicinae (c. 1495), via Medicá, a free iPhone app

Some of the presentations I’ve enjoyed most at TEDMED were those that combined the arts with health and medicine.  For example, the amazing medical book collection of Jay Walker (founder of and a zillion other Internet-commerce related businesses). Using themes like “freedom,” “beauty” and “patterns,” he illustrated how medical art and illustration have evolved over the last several hundred years, and in many instances how imagination has helped to fuel it. (Check out his library.)

Perhaps most amazing, Jay didn’t just use PowerPoint to show the images; he brought the actual books, Full story »

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Image by Steve Case via TwitPic:

Before Children’s Hospital Boston’s own Frances Jensen, Director of Epilepsy Research, took the stage yesterday, Richard Saul Wurman, organizer of TEDMED and the TED conferences, spoke warmly of Children’s participation and sponsorship of this year’s event. A generous gift from the Hassenfeld Family Initiatives enabled that participation, and Wurman thanked the Hassenfelds and Children’s for bringing “such interesting people” to TEDMED 2010. With that, Jensen began her talk about the importance of understanding the developing brain. Full story »

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Image by aussiegall (Louise Docker) via Flickr

Eight hours of talks from 30 speakers, from various walks of life… Was it overwhelming, boring or excessive? Not in the least. Today’s TEDMED talks were thought provoking, leaving us much to contemplate about death and disease. Today’s theme was accepting our responsibility for many of the diseases we are facing today.

Peter Daszak, a disease ecologist, reminded us that many devastating human diseases came from animal reservoirs. Full story »

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Yes, it’s true. If you were following on Twitter, you would have seen the tweets about Martha Stewart at the TEDMED conference touching a pair of breathing pig lungs on stage. The setup was a miraculous opening aria by opera singer Charity Tilleman-Dick, who then revealed the real miracle: a year ago she had a double-lung transplant. Shaf Keshavjee followed, wheeling out his ex vivo lung machine, which can maintain a healthy lung out of the body for 24 hours, enabling doctors to treat the lung with medications and even gene therapy before transplanting it to enhance the chances of success. Keshavjee invited audience members to come and touch the lungs, which is how Martha ended up there, iPhone in hand, preparing to tweet about her experience. Full story »

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This is the coolest meeting I have ever been to. I’ve become used to medical meetings where there are endless talks that often leave the audience less than inspired. If last evening was any indication, this meeting is all about inspiration.

Charity Tilleman-Dick opened TEDMED with her own inspiring story. As a world-class soprano, she was used to belting out arias in front of a full house. Now, she sang for an audience full of techies, physicians, artists and industrial leaders. After delivering an amazing performance, she revealed that the lungs that just generated these amazing sounds were not her own. Full story »

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The Gene Partnership (TGP) at Children’s Hospital Boston is now fully open for business, just in time for TGP Executive Director Dietrich Stephan, PhD, to hit the road to TEDMED, where he’ll be promoting TGP’s mission of “genetics for everyone.”

TGP was launched to harvest the fruits of the Human Genome Project-coupled with information technology, clinical data and other contextual information-to power the next wave of medicine. It approaches this goal differently than most personal genomics ventures, treating participants not as subjects but as partners. Patients can control what information they wish to share with a research project, and what information they receive back — benefiting from research findings directly and confidentially, free of charge.

Every child and family that visits Children’s can enroll, allowing researchers access to a rich, unparalleled repository of genetic information. Combined with faster gene-sequencing, mapping and data-crunching tools, the goal is for patients’ diseases to be diagnosed earlier and for new treatments — perhaps customized to the patient’s genome — to be moved to the market sooner.

Who would you rather give your DNA to?

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How to understand your genome and how to defy it. Pain and architecture. Wireless healthcare. Nanotechnology. Synthetic life. Ozzy Osbourne’s genome. What do these have in common? They are all topics designed to provoke our thoughts at the upcoming TEDMED conference in San Diego.

I board the plane with excitement, part of the Children’s Hospital Boston contingent heading to TEDMED. Children’s colleagues have traveled together before, to Haiti to respond to the earthquake, to Ghana to help kids with congenital heart defects. Our group is going to TEDMED not to intervene directly to help children (although you never know), but rather to exchange thoughts on the future of medicine and build collaborations that will improve the treatment of kids at Children’s and beyond for years to come. My goal, as Business Development Manager in the Technology & Innovation Development Office, is to find partners who will help make our inventors’ visions into real products for patients worldwide. Full story »


TEDMED here we come

by Nancy Fliesler on October 22, 2010

Move over, Ozzy Ozbourne. Next Wednesday, October 27th, Children’s neurologist-neuroscientist and TEDMED speaker Frances Jensen will compare and contrast the developing infant brain with the highly paradoxical teen brain – which is also developing rapidly, all the way to age 25 or so. Infant and teen brains are at opposite ends of the developmental spectrum — almost different species, Jensen says – but they’re both extremely dynamic and exquisitely sensitive to environmental factors (drugs and alcohol in teens and brain injury and seizures in infants). Full story »

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