TED Talks For Food Lovers #8: Teach Every Child About Food

Ignorance is one of the first concerns in encountering a global issue. According to the TED prize winner Jamie Oliver, obesity needs to be targeted with this very angle in mind, going even further by incorporating childhood learning and understanding in order to help prevent the issue from precipitating in the first place.     Diet and health are highly interdependent. The food people eat over the course of a lifetime often plays a huge role in determining many of the ailments they incur. Referring to some recent exploration into the field of microbiomics, the large quantity and variety of bacteria in our body may likewise be acutely as well as chronically transforming due to the food we eat and the changes we make to our diets. Lastly, for aspiring medical personnel, quick food sources such as cold pizzas, Chipotle veggie bowls, and espresso shots often make up our daily sustenance. What effect do these have on our health?   Over the course of the next several articles, I would like to take you all on a run through some of the most interesting TED talks on food, some quite interesting and others downright genius. As you watch these videos, reflect on the close ties between nutrition and medicine, and what we can due as future clinicians to best counsel our patients in the face of changing food consumption...

This Isn’t Your Average Toy – The Mine Kafon

Inspired by the makeshift wind-powered toys of his Afghan childhood, Massoud Hassani is on the verge of something special.   The Mine Kafon is a low-cost wind-powered mine detonator with the appearance of a giant, spiky-armed tumbleweed. Check out his Kickstarter campaign. As a child living in war-torn Afghanistan, Massoud Hassani was well acquainted with the devastating nature of war and the long, perhaps endless road to recovery. Landmines concealed underground are a ubiquitous threat to countless communities in Afghanistan. A report from the Electronic Mine Information Network states that “over one million Afghans (3.7% of the total population) live within 500 meters of landmine contaminated areas.” Growing up, Hassani was a tinkerer; of particular interest to him was the creation of wind-powered toys, which he would race with other children in the windy, desert outskirts of Kabul. His interest in engineering led him to pursue a degree at the Design Academy Eindhoven.   Out of this tumultuous past sprung the idea for the Mine Kafon, a wind-powered mobile constructed from biodegradable plastic and bamboo. Hassani’s creation has caught the eyes and imaginations of many, and the prototype has been exhibited all across the globe. It was exhibited by The Museum of Modern Art in March of 2013.   Featured image is a screenshot from the video...

Stem Cells Used to Successfully Treat Sickle Cell Anemia

Sickle cell anemia is an autosomal recessive disease caused by a single genetic mutation of the beta-globulin chain of hemoglobin. Sickle cell disease occurs when one receives a mutation of both beta-globulin genes. Normally, this position contains glutamic acid and the mutation results in a substitution of valine instead. The issue is that valine is hydrophobic, which will cause the red blood cells to polymerize when deoxygenated, take on a sickled shape and be sticky. This leads to anemia, vaso-occlusion, intervals of severe pain, organ failure and even death.   Image: Source   Other than hospital admission and pain control, the treatment for this disease is an allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant. The concerns arising from this technique, however, include lack of accurate donor matches and transplant rejection. A second option is autologous gene therapy, which would correct the patient’s own genes with the hopes that the reinfused cells would promote correct erythrocyte function.   Zinc finger endonucleases have been investigated for gene correction for this disease, as they are able to target specific genomic sites for modification. The hope is that a break in DNA will occur and a matched donor’s normal segment of the beta-globin, coupled to the endonuclease, will replace the mutation and force the production of adult beta-globin. Studies have shown that correction can be completed focused on this specific target area and in bone...

TED Talks For Food Lovers #7: How Food Shapes Our Cities

Where does food come from? Given the billions of people in the world, with millions concentrated in big cities, do we really know how we feed so many people with so much food everyday? And what insight can ancient cities and their structures provide into the food networks that keep the human species fed today? Listen in to Carolyn Steel in her TED talk below for answers to these questions and more.     Diet and health are highly interdependent. The food people eat over the course of a lifetime often plays a huge role in determining many of the ailments they incur. Referring to some recent exploration into the field of microbiomics, the large quantity and variety of bacteria in our body may likewise be acutely as well as chronically transforming due to the food we eat and the changes we make to our diets. Lastly, for aspiring medical personnel, quick food sources such as cold pizzas, Chipotle veggie bowls, and espresso shots often make up our daily sustenance. What effect do these have on our health?   Over the course of the next several articles, I would like to take you all on a run through some of the most interesting TED talks on food, some quite interesting and others downright genius. As you watch these videos, reflect on the close ties between nutrition and medicine, and...

Millennials, Back At It Again: Changing The Healthcare Industry

The term “millennials” is in no shortage these days, referring to the generation reaching young adulthood around the millennium. With just a simple Google search, you can find thousands of articles about millennials, usually involving social media, job hopping, or the “me” generation.   There is no doubt that times are changing and, apparently, millennials have a large part in that shift. Well, I should say technology is the real catalyst for the change and with a rising technology-obsessed generation, several industries are seeing some major impacts. Just a few examples include the food, retail, entertainment, and banking industries. Less human interaction, more transparent sourcing, and a desire for more rapid transactions are just some of the characteristics involved in the shift throughout these industries.   So, why is this relevant for med students? You guessed it. Millennials are changing the healthcare industry too.   Even though many medical students today may even be part of the millennial generation, it is important to know how your industry could be changing around you. Here are some ways that millennials may impact the healthcare industry.   Image: Source   1. Skepticism of Pharmaceutical Industry As pharmaceutical companies become more and more transparent, Americans are becoming more skeptical over the drugs they are promoting. According to a recent SERMO poll, “millennials [are] more likely to challenge doctor recommendations [and] more comfortable discussing healthcare costs.” This generation is less likely...

Gender Wars in the Hospital

When it comes to medical school, studies have shown that both age and gender have an influence on performance in medical school, with older women having an edge over both men and younger women.   Now a new study has brought the gender war to the hospital ward. Published in JAMA Internal Medicine, researchers have shown that patients may be better off when treated by a female physician, raising the age-old debate of man versus woman and sparking discussion as to how gender differences can play out in a clinical setting. Image: Source   Reviewing a large sample of over 1.5 million hospital visits made by Medicare patients (65 and older), researchers examined the rates of readmission and mortality to discover that within 30 days of arriving at the hospital, those treated by a female physician had significantly better outcomes, even when controlled for a broad range of variables, including type of medical condition and severity.   The study has caused a stir with physicians, reporters and commentators all weighing in with various theories to account for the difference in performance. In their paper, Tsugawa et al suggest that female physicians may adhere to clinical guidelines more closely, but others, such as Parks and Redberg, in an accompanying editorial, point to studies which show that female physicians may have longer visits with patients, communicate in a patient-centered manner and...

TED Talks For Food Lovers #6: Cut Your Food in Half

Cooking is an art form. The chef making his or her magical touches in a long and arduous process that results in a delicious end product. However, to see the food as it transforms from its initial to final form is a true delight. In this TED talk, Nathan Myhrvold talks about his new book and the illustrations within that show cross-sections of food while being cooked.     Diet and health are highly interdependent. The food people eat over the course of a lifetime often plays a huge role in determining many of the ailments they incur. Referring to some recent exploration into the field of microbiomics, the large quantity and variety of bacteria in our body may likewise be acutely as well as chronically transforming due to the food we eat and the changes we make to our diets. Lastly, for aspiring medical personnel, quick food sources such as cold pizzas, Chipotle veggie bowls, and espresso shots often make up our daily sustenance. What effect do these have on our health?   Over the course of the next several articles, I would like to take you all on a run through some of the most interesting TED talks on food, some quite interesting and others downright genius. As you watch these videos, reflect on the close ties between nutrition and medicine, and what we can due as...