Friday, October 23, 2009

A First evening at TED MED 27/10/09

At TED in San Diego. Johnson and Johnson are the major sponsors - well done J&J, you're looking at the world differently! TED MED's founder, Richard Saul Wurman opened with Marc Hodosh. Richard likes to makes things simple and understandable - to demystify. This makes things accessible to everyone - he is an amazing man.

Let's move to regenerative medicine and stem cell breakthroughs. Daniel Kraft a physician at the Stanford Institute for stem cell biology and regenerative medicine told us the following..........The cutting edge of surgery and regenerative medicine is to build blood vessels, heart valves, bladders and skin - described as relatively simple now - we know how to do it, and are doing it!!! More complex organs such as the liver have more cell types and are highly vascularised structures. Surgeons would rather we receive such organs made predominantly of our own cells.

Imagine this Anthony Atala, Director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenrative Medicine... told us ...take one liver, remove the liver cells to leave a vascular bed and regrow the new host's liver using their own cells around this vasculature. This hasn't been done in man of course, and it still leaves the issue of a foreign tissue vascular bed, but it's amazingly close to pushing organ development and regeneration to another level. These same amazing scientists are working on regenerative capacity of salamander limbs and are asking what stands in the way of humans regenerating their limbs - scar tissue is the answer - so skin science is leading the way here to provide an artificial living layer that prevent the body from scaring and keeps it on the healing and regeneration pathway.

So may highlights and insights but one more thought - Geo-medicine. Our geographical history has a huge impact on our health yet it is unrecorded - what was in the environment where we were growing up, were students and where we have spent our adult lives? Actually so much information is now available about those environments - it's just we don't tie the data into our medical history. There are some intent on changing this - Bill Davenhall, Global marketing manager of Health and Human Service Solutions, ESRI is onto this!! He thinks it will help determine our risk and thus avoid unexpected events like his heart attack without warning nor apparent risk. He also looks to the changing healthcare service contribution of our high street stores like CVS and Walgreen.

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