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TEDMED, April 16-19, 2013

Last Updated: April 22, 2013.


TEDMED is a multidisciplinary community of innovative thinkers who are bonded together by a determination to create positive change in the world of health and medicine. TEDMED 2013 was held at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C., from April 16 to 19 and was simulcast to approximately 2,000 U.S.-affiliated medical schools, teaching hospitals, non-profits, VA clinics, and health-focused government agencies. New to TEDMED 2013, simulcasts were extended to international institutions and communities. TEDMED 2013 featured 50+ speakers/performers and nearly 2,000 participants known as delegates, as well as 50 innovative start-ups in TEDMED's newest platform, The Hive.

TEDMED 2013 opened its stage production with a musical performance by Kishi Bashi. Numerous stage presentations followed, including "What is Cancer?" -- a question/answer session presented by David Agus, M.D. Agus is a professor of medicine and engineering at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine and Viterbi School of Engineering in Los Angeles and also heads USC's Westside Cancer Center and the Center for Applied Molecular Medicine. He spoke of the need to better understand what cancer actually is, as well as the capabilities of modern science and managing patient expectations.

Agus referred to cancer as a process that is at work in each of us -- the only question is: What stage of cancer are we in? He also spoke of treatment strategies and goals. Getting aggressive about cancer isn't always the best strategy. If cancer isn't going to cause problems or isn't going to grow, aggressive tactics can cause much harm and offer little benefit. "My job as a cancer doctor is to help people live longer, better," he said, citing several low-tech, low-cost tools at his disposal now that allow him to do that, including baby aspirin and statins -- both linked with extended survival in various cancer diagnoses and stages.

What is Agus's single best tool to help guide the use of such treatments for any individual patient? "It's communication. Asking the simple question: Do you feel better? Do you not feel better?"

Mick Cornett, the mayor of Oklahoma City, in a separate stage presentation, talked about how his city was once on a magazine publication's list of the most obese cities. Five years later, it was on the list of the fittest cities. Fueled both by a personal battle against overweight/obesity as well as a mayoral competitive urge to free his city from the list of most obese cities, Cornett set about creating a community that was "made for people rather than communities built for cars." He worked with businesses in his city, sometimes known as the "fast-food capital of the world," to create opportunities for healthy choices. He urged Taco Bell to work on an "al fresco" line that would offer fewer high-fat, high-calorie toppings, stating that "even once you choose Taco Bell, there are still better choices that can be made."

Other entities at TEDMED offering tools for healthier choices included those in The Hive. Innovators and entrepreneurs demonstrated technologies and applications such as a smartphone physical; Breathwear, a clip-and-go respiration sensor that streams breathing patterns to a user's smartphone; Brain Sentry, a helmet-mounted sensor that sends an alert when an athlete experiences a potentially dangerous impact to the head; and NudgeRx, which provides an Internet-based, post-hospital, daily discharge monitoring service to help reduce unplanned readmissions and emergency department visits.

Another aspect of TEDMED 2013 was the 20 Great Challenges of health and medicine, with 120 experts contributing unique perspectives. The Great Challenges are on-going, with an online engagement platform and a digital community of 35 million explorers.


TEDMED: The 'Zombie Doctor Apocalypse' Is Here

MONDAY, April 22 (HealthDay News) -- Physicians, wake up! You no longer need to be one of the walking dead. You have the power to create positive change and return to the reason you chose this career in the first place, according to an internist presenting at TEDMED 2013, held from April 16 to 19 in Washington, D.C.

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TEDMED: Get the Joy Back Into Health and Wellness

MONDAY, April 22 (HealthDay News) -- Regina Benjamin, M.D., M.B.A., the 18th Surgeon General of the United States, led the stage presentation "Can Joy Be the Key That Unlocks the Puzzle?" at TEDMED 2013, held from April 16 to 19 in Washington, D.C.

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TEDMED: Is the Obesity Crisis a Disguise for a Deeper Problem?

MONDAY, April 22 (HealthDay News) -- Rather than the cause in-and-of-itself, obesity may be a symptom of something far more insidious that is causing obesity-related chronic health concerns, according to a nutrition researcher who presented at TEDMED 2013, held from April 16 to 19 in Washington, D.C.

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TEDMED: Patients Can Become Leaders on the Health Team

MONDAY, April 22 (HealthDay News) -- Identifying and engaging leaders from within a community is critical for creating meaningful change at a community-wide level, according to a leading physician educator who presented at TEDMED 2013, held from April 16 to 19 in Washington, D.C.

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