Imagine the Future of Health and Medicine: TEDMED 2012

There’s one place where you can learn about the latest innovations in technology, science, health and medical research from some of the most influential thought leaders in their fields: TEDMED.

TED, which stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design, is the world’s most famous conference on the ideas that shape the world. For the past three years, there’s been a special TED just for health and medicine — TEDMED — where passionate doers and thinkers go once a year to experience the power of new ideas, hear amazing and inspiring talks, meet innovative people, and leave transformed.

The annual TEDMED conference started today. TEDMED brings together 1500 thinkers and doers from a wide array of medical and non-medical disciplines. For the next three and a half days (April 10-13) at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., this uniquely diverse community will explore the ideas, innovations and challenges that will help shape the future of health and medicine for 300 million Americans … and the world.

TEDMED is hosting over 60 speakers this year, including Francis S. Collins, the Director of the National Institutes of Health; Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, President and CEO, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; Joel Salatin, Polyface organic farmer and author; and Ivan Oransky, Executive Editor of Reuters Health.

TEDMED has no agenda and no policy prescriptions. Instead, the organization seeks to serve the nation — and the world — by creating a safe place where people with very different ideas can come together to talk, to learn and to celebrate the amazing world we live in.

Coalition of Biomedical Researchers Backs Obama on Science

In his State of the Union address Tuesday night, President Barack Obama presented the United States with a vision of a better future through investment in education, infrastructure, and research. The president noted that fifty years ago American innovation played a pivotal role in the nation’s history and today holds promise for addressing the many challenges the country faces. “Maintaining our leadership in research and technology is crucial to America’s success,” he said during his State of the Union address, calling for investments in biomedical research, education, information technology and clean energy technology [1].

Medical Journal Conflict of Interest Disclosure and Other Issues

Author disclosure of financial associations with commercial entities that have an interest in the research published in medical journals is common practice. The information provided in the disclosure helps readers assess the degree of commercial influence over the work. Recently, however, differing journal policies have led to unintentional omissions and there have been calls for medical journals to standardize their conflict of interest policies.


Francis Collins Nominated to Head NIH

Last week, President Barack Obama nominated physician and geneticist Francis Collins as the next Director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) [1]. From 1993 — 2008, Dr. Collins was the first Director of the NIH’s National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI). He led the U.S. government’s Human Genome Project, which decoded the DNA sequence of 20,000 — 25,000 genes.


In the past, Collins’ research laboratory at the University of Michigan has identified a number of important genes, including those responsible for neurofibromatosis, cystic fibrosis, Huntington’s disease and genes for adult onset (type 2) diabetes. More recently, Collins has been a proponent of personalized medicine or genomic medicine, which leverages specific genetic knowledge for the delivery of effective healthcare. Medscape interviewed him about genomic research and personalized medicine two years ago, where he said that incorporating individualized medicine into the mainstream will necessitate a change in healthcare economics. As NIH Director he will undoubtedly have a voice in the ongoing healthcare reform debate in Washington.

In his announcement on Wednesday, President Obama said [1]:

The National Institutes of Health stands as a model when it comes to science and research. My administration is committed to promoting scientific integrity and pioneering scientific research and I am confident that Dr. Francis Collins will lead the NIH to achieve these goals. Dr. Collins is one of the top scientists in the world, and his groundbreaking work has changed the very ways we consider our health and examine disease. I look forward to working with him in the months and years ahead.

Health Highlights – February 10th, 2009

Health Highlights is a biweekly summary of particularly interesting articles from credible sources of health and medical information that we follow & read. For a complete list of recommeded sources, see our links page.

Health Highlights