TED : Ideas worth spreading

Review: Soon we’ll cure diseases with a cell, not a pill

Speaker: Siddhartha Mukherjee
TED2015
Date: March 2015
Location: Vancouver, BC

Description from TED website:
Current medical treatment boils down to six words: Have disease, take pill, kill something. But physician Siddhartha Mukherjee points to a future of medicine that will transform the way we heal.

Select this image to jump to the actual video on the TED website.
Select the image to go to the actual video.

My Review / Notes / Thoughts

Dr. Mukherjee proposes a shift in the way we think about treating diseases, away from the traditional “kill” method, and towards the “grow” mindset. He demonstrates that the typical “kill” method, which is a “lock-and-key” concept, can only address a tiny portion of human ailments.

I have to admit that his presentation really had me mesmerized. Because it is important that we learn to think outside of the box. However, some of his concepts I felt were better represented by some screenshots than me trying to explain them in the post. So here we can see what he was talking about … flipping the traditional approach to medicine.

Flipping the traditional approach
Flipping the traditional approach

To demonstrate his concept, he showed how this new approach could potentially work with fighting cancer.

A new approach to fighting cancer
A new approach to fighting cancer

He went on to ask how this new model could be applied to degenerative diseases. Personally I think that this would make for a great discussion option in a biological science course.

What about the great degenerative diseases? Kidney Failure, Parkinson's, Heart Failure, Osteo-arthritis
How can this flipped model be applied to degenerative diseases?

Additional points he brought up would also make for excellent discussion options in a biological science course. Perhaps it might even encourage some young people to learn more and take a career path into medical research.

Applying this model across medicine.
Great discussion questions!

This TED talk is an intriguing concept, I love thinking “outside the box” and I think this talk could be a great starting point to get students to think outside the box as well. While I mentioned biological sciences, he also discussed some psychological applications, so this talk could be used in courses that fall in that arena as well.

How might you use this talk to inspire student discussion and engagement?

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Mukherjee’s Book:


Until next time … live long life-learner!

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