There was no way I could keep up with the stream of incoming thoughts and people that I experienced at TEDMED. Plus TEDMED had their own blog — which provides better coverage than I can do — so here is the official blog…which is worth a scan.
I learned a lot from TEDMED — I was particularly interested to learn about my microbiome. The speaker — Jonathan Eisen — suggested it should be considered an organ, just like our skin. His blog on the topic is here.
There were many thought-provoking questions:
- the real impact of bias in the way data is published and shared from clinical trials.
- the evolutionary future challenge of drug resistant bacteria — and whether it should impact treatment today and how
- using gaming/crowdsourcing to figure out the right structure for a protein (go U of Washington)
One observation — which is further exemplified by the 20 grand challenges selected out of over 40 choices — is that there are SO MANY worth causes (diseases, fixing science in so many ways, engaging consumers etc) that real progress is on core issues (my definition — like getting a value driven, consumer centered health delivery system) is diminished as folks push their worthy agenda. As Mike Leavitt said while Sec. of HHS — it is not that we lack political will – it is that there is too much political will that stops progress.
I was also struck by the many ‘chance’ encounters I ended up having with thoughtful, motivated and energized folks. That is one of the great benefits of working in the health sector — the breadth and depth of the talent tackling the problems. I hope the community really makes some progress in the coming year.