Best TED Talks in Biomed 2016

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As usual TED talked ... and talked and talked ... in 2016. Here are our fave presentations in biomed last year.

1. Gene Editing Can Now Change An Entire Species -- Forever

[ted id=2494]

CRISPR gene drives allow scientists to change sequences of DNA and guarantee that the resulting edited genetic trait is inherited by future generations, opening up the possibility of altering entire species forever. More than anything, the technology has led to questions: How will this new power affect humanity? What are we going to use it to change? Are we gods now? Join journalist Jennifer Kahn as she ponders these questions and shares a potentially powerful application of gene drives: the development of disease-resistant mosquitoes that could knock out malaria and Zika.--- TED

“We have a very powerful, but also somewhat alarming new tool….. Gene drives are so effective that even an accidental release could change an entire species, and often very quickly.”---Jennifer Kahn


2. Helping A Damaged Brain Repair Itself

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Through treating everything from strokes to car accident traumas, neurosurgeon Jocelyne Bloch knows the brain's inability to repair itself all too well. But now, she suggests, she and her colleagues may have found the key to neural repair: Doublecortin-positive cells. Similar to stem cells, they are extremely adaptable and, when extracted from a brain, cultured and then reinjected in a lesioned area of the same brain, they can help repair and rebuild it. "With a little help," Bloch says, "the brain may be able to help itself."--- TED

 ”The dream of functional neurosurgeons is to repair the brain. I think that we are approaching this dream.” --- Jocelyne Bloch

3. How To Read The Genome and Build a Human Being

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Secrets, disease and beauty are all written in the human genome, the complete set of genetic instructions needed to build a human being. Now, as scientist and entrepreneur Riccardo Sabatini shows us, we have the power to read this complex code, predicting things like height, eye color, age and even facial structure — all from a vial of blood. And soon, Sabatini says, our new understanding of the genome will allow us to personalize treatments for diseases like cancer. We have the power to change life as we know it. How will we use it?--- TED

“We are touching the very inner detail on how life works. And it's a revolution that cannot be confined in the domain of science or technology. This must be a global conversation. We must start to think of the future we're building as humanity.” --- Riccardo Sabatini

4. A New Superweapon In The Fight Against Cancer

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Cancer is a very clever, adaptable disease. To defeat it, says medical researcher and educator Paula Hammond, we need a new and powerful mode of attack. With her colleagues at MIT, Hammond engineered a nanoparticle one-hundredth the size of a human hair that can treat the most aggressive, drug-resistant cancers. Learn more about this molecular superweapon and join Hammond's quest to fight a disease that affects us all.--- TED

“It's not just about building really elegant science. It's about changing people's lives. It's about understanding the power of engineering on the scale of molecules.”  ---Paula Hammond

5. Why Helmets Don’t Prevent Concussions – And What Might

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What is a concussion? Probably not what you think it is. In this talk from the cutting edge of research, bioengineer (and former football player) David Camarillo shows what really happens during a concussion — and why standard sports helmets don't prevent it. Here's what the future of concussion prevention looks like.--- TED

“What we think is that if we can slow the head down just enough so that the brain does not lag behind the skull but instead it moves in synchrony with the skull, then we might be able to prevent this mechanism of concussion.” --- David Camarillo