TEDTalks Health


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From way-new medical breakthroughs to smart daily health habits, doctors and researchers share their discoveries about medicine and well-being onstage at the TED conference, TEDx events and partner events around the world. You can also download these...Show More

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How racism harms pregnant women -- and what can help | Miriam Zoila Pérez

12:25 | Feb 13th, 2017

Racism is making people sick -- especially black women and babies, says Miriam Zoila Pérez. The doula turned journalist explores the relationship between race, class and illness and tells us about a radically compassionate prenatal care program that ...Show More

New nanotech to detect cancer early | Joshua Smith

12:26 | Feb 8th, 2017

What if every home had an early-warning cancer detection system? Researcher Joshua Smith is developing a nanobiotechnology "cancer alarm" that scans for traces of disease in the form of special biomarkers called exosomes. In this forward-thinking tal...Show More

Could a drug prevent depression and PTSD? | Rebecca Brachman

18:23 | Dec 14th, 2016

The path to better medicine is paved with accidental yet revolutionary discoveries. In this well-told tale of how science happens, neuroscientist Rebecca Brachman shares news of a serendipitous breakthrough treatment that may prevent mental disorders...Show More

We can start winning the war against cancer | Adam de la Zerda

12:42 | Oct 5th, 2016

Learn about the latest advances in the war against cancer from Stanford researcher Adam de la Zerda, who's working on some cutting-edge techniques of his own. Using a remarkable imaging technology that illuminates cancer-seeking gold particles inject...Show More

A new way to heal hearts without surgery | Franz Freudenthal

09:28 | Sep 9th, 2016

At the intersection of medical invention and indigenous culture, pediatric cardiologist Franz Freudenthal mends holes in the hearts of children across the world, using a device born from traditional Bolivian loom weaving. "The most complex problems i...Show More

What we can do to die well | Timothy Ihrig

13:32 | Aug 23rd, 2016

The healthcare industry in America is so focused on pathology, surgery and pharmacology -- on what doctors "do" to patients -- that it often overlooks the values of the human beings it's supposed to care for. Palliative care physician Timothy Ihrig e...Show More

The taboo secret to better health | Molly Winter

12:21 | Aug 10th, 2016

Our poop and pee have superpowers, but for the most part we don't harness them. Molly Winter faces down our squeamishness and asks us to see what goes down the toilet as a resource, one that can help fight climate change, spur innovation and even sav...Show More

How barbershops can keep men healthy | Joseph Ravenell

13:08 | May 26th, 2016

The barbershop can be a safe haven for black men, a place for honest conversation and trust -- and, as physician Joseph Ravenell suggests, a good place to bring up tough topics about health. He's turning the barbershop into a place to talk about medi...Show More

Your words may predict your future mental health | Mariano Sigman

12:14 | May 24th, 2016

Can the way you speak and write today predict your future mental state, even the onset of psychosis? In this fascinating talk, neuroscientist Mariano Sigman reflects on ancient Greece and the origins of introspection to investigate how our words hint...Show More

Good news in the fight against pancreatic cancer | Laura Indolfi

06:03 | May 17th, 2016

Anyone who has lost a loved one to pancreatic cancer knows the devastating speed with which it can affect an otherwise healthy person. TED Fellow and biomedical entrepreneur Laura Indolfi is developing a revolutionary way to treat this complex and le...Show More

Simple hacks for life with Parkinson's | Mileha Soneji

06:57 | Mar 10th, 2016

Simple solutions are often best, even when dealing with something as complicated as Parkinson's. In this inspiring talk, Mileha Soneji shares accessible designs that make the everyday tasks of those living with Parkinson's a bit easier. "Technology i...Show More

What really happens when you mix medications? | Russ Altman

14:41 | Mar 2nd, 2016

If you take two different medications for two different reasons, here's a sobering thought: your doctor may not fully understand what happens when they're combined, because drug interactions are incredibly hard to study. In this fascinating and acces...Show More

The brain may be able to repair itself -- with help | Jocelyne Bloch

11:34 | Feb 15th, 2016

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: Doublecort...Show More

How we'll fight the next deadly virus | Pardis Sabeti

09:37 | Feb 4th, 2016

When Ebola broke out in March 2014, Pardis Sabeti and her team got to work sequencing the virus's genome, learning how it mutated and spread. Sabeti immediately released her research online, so virus trackers and scientists from around the world coul...Show More

How to stay calm when you know you'll be stressed | Daniel Levitin

12:20 | Oct 30th, 2015

You're not at your best when you're stressed. In fact, your brain has evolved over millennia to release cortisol in stressful situations, inhibiting rational, logical thinking but potentially helping you survive, say, being attacked by a lion. Neuros...Show More

4 powerful poems about Parkinson's and growing older | Robin Morgan

11:57 | Sep 25th, 2015

When poet Robin Morgan found herself facing Parkinson’s disease, she distilled her experiences into these four quietly powerful poems — meditating on age, loss, and the simple power of noticing.

How young blood might help reverse aging. Yes, really | Tony Wyss-Coray

13:35 | Aug 19th, 2015

Tony Wyss-Coray studies the impact of aging on the human body and brain. In this eye-opening talk, he shares new research from his Stanford lab and other teams which shows that a solution for some of the less great aspects of old age might actually l...Show More

Everything you think you know about addiction is wrong | Johann Hari

14:42 | Jul 9th, 2015

What really causes addiction -- to everything from cocaine to smart-phones? And how can we overcome it? Johann Hari has seen our current methods fail firsthand, as he has watched loved ones struggle to manage their addictions. He started to wonder wh...Show More

What do we do when antibiotics don't work any more? | Maryn McKenna

16:59 | Jun 25th, 2015

Penicillin changed everything. Infections that had previously killed were suddenly quickly curable. Yet as Maryn McKenna shares in this sobering talk, we've squandered the advantages afforded us by that and later antibiotics. Drug-resistant bacteria ...Show More

Physical therapy is boring -- play a game instead | Cosmin Mihaiu

05:57 | May 19th, 2015

You’ve just been injured, and you’re on the way home from an hour of physical therapy. The last thing you want to do on your own is confusing exercises that take too long to show results. TED Fellow Cosmin Mihaiu demos a fun, cheap solution that turn...Show More

Programming bacteria to detect cancer (and maybe treat it) | Tal Danino

04:11 | May 7th, 2015

Liver cancer is one of the most difficult cancers to detect, but synthetic biologist Tal Danino had a left-field thought: What if we could create a probiotic, edible bacteria that was "programmed" to find liver tumors? His insight exploits something ...Show More

Why we laugh | Sophie Scott

17:04 | Apr 30th, 2015

Did you know that you're 30 times more likely to laugh if you're with somebody else than if you're alone? Cognitive neuroscientist Sophie Scott shares this and other surprising facts about laughter in this fast-paced, action-packed and, yes, hilariou...Show More

The next outbreak? We’re not ready | Bill Gates

08:32 | Apr 3rd, 2015

In 2014, the world avoided a global outbreak of Ebola, thanks to thousands of selfless health workers -- plus, frankly, some very good luck. In hindsight, we know what we should have done better. So, now's the time, Bill Gates suggests, to put all ou...Show More

How childhood trauma affects health across a lifetime | Nadine Burke Harris

15:59 | Feb 17th, 2015

Childhood trauma isn’t something you just get over as you grow up. Pediatrician Nadine Burke Harris explains that the repeated stress of abuse, neglect and parents struggling with mental health or substance abuse issues has real, tangible effects on ...Show More

Why we all need to practice emotional first aid | Guy Winch

17:24 | Feb 16th, 2015

We'll go to the doctor when we feel flu-ish or a nagging pain. So why don’t we see a health professional when we feel emotional pain: guilt, loss, loneliness? Too many of us deal with common psychological-health issues on our own, says Guy Winch. But...Show More

My simple invention, designed to keep my grandfather safe | Kenneth Shinozuka

05:46 | Feb 12th, 2015

60% of people with dementia wander off, an issue that can prove hugely stressful for both patients and caregivers. In this charming talk, hear how teen inventor Kenneth Shinozuka came up with a novel solution to help his night-wandering grandfather a...Show More

Humanity vs. Ebola. How we could win a terrifying war | Bruce Aylward

19:11 | Feb 3rd, 2015

"Ebola threatens everything that makes us human," says Bruce Aylward of the World Health Organization. And when the Ebola epidemic exploded in 2014, it caused a worldwide panic. But humanity can beat Ebola -- and Aylward shows four strategies that sh...Show More

Why some people find exercise harder than others | Emily Balcetis

14:08 | Nov 25th, 2014

Why do some people struggle more than others to keep off the pounds? Social psychologist Emily Balcetis shows research that addresses one of the many factors: Vision. In an informative talk, she shows how when it comes to fitness, some people quite l...Show More

This gel can make you stop bleeding instantly | Joe Landolina

05:01 | Nov 20th, 2014

Forget stitches -- there's a better way to close wounds. In this talk, TED Fellow Joe Landolina talks about his invention -- a medical gel that can instantly stop traumatic bleeding without the need to apply pressure. (Contains medical images.)

What your doctor won’t disclose | Leana Wen

15:42 | Nov 13th, 2014

Wouldn’t you want to know if your doctor was a paid spokesman for a drug company? Or held personal beliefs incompatible with the treatment you want? Right now, in the US at least, your doctor simply doesn’t have to tell you about that. And when physi...Show More

The coming crisis in antibiotics | Ramanan Laxminarayan

14:42 | Nov 10th, 2014

Antibiotic drugs save lives. But we simply use them too much — and often for non-lifesaving purposes, like treating the flu and even raising cheaper chickens. The result, says researcher Ramanan Laxminarayan, is that the drugs will stop working for e...Show More

Yes, I survived cancer. But that doesn't define me | Debra Jarvis

16:09 | Oct 30th, 2014

Debra Jarvis had worked as a hospital chaplain for nearly 30 years when she was diagnosed with cancer. And she learned quite a bit as a patient. In a witty, daring talk, she explains how the identity of “cancer survivor” can feel static. She asks us ...Show More

The simple power of hand-washing | Myriam Sidibe

11:41 | Oct 14th, 2014

Myriam Sidibe is a warrior in the fight against childhood disease. Her weapon of choice? A bar of soap. For cost-effective prevention against sickness, it’s hard to beat soapy hand-washing, which cuts down risk of pneumonia, diarrhea, cholera and wor...Show More

One more reason to get a good night's sleep | Jeff Iliff

11:41 | Oct 13th, 2014

The brain uses a quarter of the body's entire energy supply, yet only accounts for about two percent of the body's mass. So how does this unique organ receive and, perhaps more importantly, rid itself of vital nutrients? New research suggests it has ...Show More

Why thinking you're ugly is bad for you | Meaghan Ramsey

12:02 | Oct 7th, 2014

About 10,000 people a month Google the phrase, “Am I ugly?” Meaghan Ramsey of the Dove Self-Esteem Project has a feeling that many of them are young girls. In a deeply unsettling talk, she walks us through the surprising impacts of low body and image...Show More

A neural portrait of the human mind | Nancy Kanwisher

17:40 | Oct 2nd, 2014

Brain imaging pioneer Nancy Kanwisher, who uses fMRI scans to see activity in brain regions (often her own), shares what she and her colleagues have learned: The brain is made up of both highly specialized components and general-purpose "machinery." ...Show More

“Am I dying?” The honest answer. | Matthew O'Reilly

05:33 | Sep 25th, 2014

Matthew O’Reilly is a veteran emergency medical technician on Long Island, New York. In this talk, O’Reilly describes what happens next when a gravely hurt patient asks him: “Am I going to die?”

What makes us get sick? Look upstream | Rishi Manchanda

18:13 | Sep 15th, 2014

Rishi Manchanda has worked as a doctor in South Central Los Angeles for a decade, where he’s come to realize: His job isn’t just about treating a patient’s symptoms, but about getting to the root cause of what is making them ill—the “upstream" factor...Show More

How to live passionately—no matter your age | Isabel Allende

08:16 | Sep 3rd, 2014

Author Isabel Allende is 71. Yes, she has a few wrinkles—but she has incredible perspective too. In this candid talk, meant for viewers of all ages, she talks about her fears as she gets older and shares how she plans to keep on living passionately.

Own your body's data | Talithia Williams

17:03 | Aug 11th, 2014

The new breed of high-tech self-monitors (measuring heartrate, sleep, steps per day) might seem targeted at competitive athletes. But Talithia Williams, a statistician, makes a compelling case that all of us should be measuring and recording simple d...Show More

The hunt for "unexpected genetic heroes" | Stephen Friend

10:39 | May 29th, 2014

What can we learn from people with the genetics to get sick — who don’t? With most inherited diseases, only some family members will develop the disease, while others who carry the same genetic risks dodge it. Stephen Friend suggests we start studyin...Show More

A glimpse of life on the road | Kitra Cahana

05:00 | May 28th, 2014

As a young girl, photojournalist and TED Fellow Kitra Cahana dreamed about running away from home to live freely on the road. Now as an adult and self-proclaimed vagabond, she follows modern nomads into their homes -- boxcars, bus stops, parking lots...Show More

How I help transgender teens become who they want to be | Norman Spack

16:53 | Apr 16th, 2014

Puberty is an awkward time for just about everybody, but for transgender teens it can be a nightmare, as they grow overnight into bodies they aren't comfortable with. In a heartfelt talk, Norman Spack tells a personal story of how he became one of th...Show More

Can the damaged brain repair itself? | Siddharthan Chandran

15:57 | Feb 24th, 2014

After a traumatic brain injury, it sometimes happens that the brain can repair itself, building new brain cells to replace damaged ones. But the repair doesn't happen quickly enough to allow recovery from degenerative conditions like motor neuron dis...Show More

A new way to grow bone | Molly Stevens

14:52 | Feb 18th, 2014

What does it take to regrow bone in mass quantities? Typical bone regeneration -- wherein bone is taken from a patient’s hip and grafted onto damaged bone elsewhere in the body -- is limited and can cause great pain just a few years after operation. ...Show More

His and hers … healthcare | Paula Johnson

14:42 | Jan 22nd, 2014

Every cell in the human body has a sex, which means that men and women are different right down to the cellular level. Yet too often, research and medicine ignore this insight -- and the often startlingly different ways in which the two sexes respond...Show More

Demo: A needle-free vaccine patch that's safer and way cheaper | Mark Kendall

13:50 | Jan 14th, 2014

One hundred sixty years after the invention of the needle and syringe, we're still using them to deliver vaccines; it's time to evolve. Biomedical engineer Mark Kendall demos the Nanopatch, a one-centimeter-by-one-centimeter square vaccine that can b...Show More

Why dieting doesn't usually work | Sandra Aamodt

12:42 | Jan 8th, 2014

In the US, 80% of girls have been on a diet by the time they're 10 years old. In this honest, raw talk, neuroscientist Sandra Aamodt uses her personal story to frame an important lesson about how our brains manage our bodies, as she explores the scie...Show More

How an obese town lost a million pounds | Mick Cornett

15:15 | Jan 2nd, 2014

Oklahoma City is a midsized town that had a big problem: It was among the most obese towns in America. Mayor Mick Cornett realized that, to make his city a great place to work and live, it had to become healthier too. In this charming talk, he walks ...Show More

Depression, the secret we share | Andrew Solomon

29:21 | Dec 18th, 2013

"The opposite of depression is not happiness, but vitality, and it was vitality that seemed to seep away from me in that moment." In a talk equal parts eloquent and devastating, writer Andrew Solomon takes you to the darkest corners of his mind durin...Show More

How societies can grow old better | Jared Diamond

18:11 | Nov 25th, 2013

There's an irony behind the latest efforts to extend human life: It's no picnic to be an old person in a youth-oriented society. Older people can become isolated, lacking meaningful work and low on funds. In this intriguing talk, Jared Diamond looks ...Show More

How to make stress your friend | Kelly McGonigal

14:28 | Sep 4th, 2013

Stress. It makes your heart pound, your breathing quicken and your forehead sweat. But while stress has been made into a public health enemy, new research suggests that stress may only be bad for you if you believe that to be the case. Psychologist K...Show More

Why do we sleep? | Russell Foster

21:46 | Aug 14th, 2013

Russell Foster is a circadian neuroscientist: He studies the sleep cycles of the brain. And he asks: What do we know about sleep? Not a lot, it turns out, for something we do with one-third of our lives. In this talk, Foster shares three popular theo...Show More

The voices in my head | Eleanor Longden

14:17 | Aug 8th, 2013

To all appearances, Eleanor Longden was just like every other student, heading to college full of promise and without a care in the world. That was until the voices in her head started talking. Initially innocuous, these internal narrators became inc...Show More

Better baby care -- thanks to Formula 1 | Peter van Manen

07:56 | Aug 1st, 2013

During a Formula 1 race, a car sends hundreds of millions of data points to its garage for real-time analysis and feedback. So why not use this detailed and rigorous data system elsewhere, like at children's hospitals? Peter van Manen tells us more.

The fastest ambulance? A motorcycle | Eli Beer

10:44 | Jul 30th, 2013

As a young EMT on a Jerusalem ambulance, Eli Beer realized that, stuck in brutal urban traffic, they often arrived too late to help. So he organized a group of volunteer EMTs -- many on foot -- ready to drop everything and dash to save lives in their...Show More

In our baby's illness, a life lesson | Roberto D'Angelo + Francesca Fedeli

06:17 | Jul 24th, 2013

Roberto D'Angelo and Francesca Fedeli thought their baby boy Mario was healthy -- until at 10 days old, they discovered he'd had a perinatal stroke. With Mario unable to control the left side of his body, they grappled with tough questions: Would he ...Show More

The big-data revolution in healthcare | Joel Selanikio

16:18 | Jul 2nd, 2013

Collecting global health data is an imperfect science: Workers tramp through villages to knock on doors and ask questions, write the answers on paper forms, then input the data -- and from this messy, gappy information, countries and NGOs need to mak...Show More

Prepare for a good end of life | Judy MacDonald Johnston

06:03 | May 22nd, 2013

Thinking about death is frightening, but planning ahead is practical and leaves more room for peace of mind in our final days. In a solemn, thoughtful talk, Judy MacDonald Johnston shares 5 practices for planning for a good end of life.

Got a meeting? Take a walk | Nilofer Merchant

03:28 | Apr 29th, 2013

Nilofer Merchant suggests a small idea that just might have a big impact on your life and health: Next time you have a one-on-one meeting, make it into a "walking meeting" -- and let ideas flow while you walk and talk.

Toward a new understanding of mental illness | Thomas Insel

13:03 | Apr 16th, 2013

Today, thanks to better early detection, there are 63% fewer deaths from heart disease than there were just a few decades ago. Thomas Insel, the director of the National Institute of Mental Health, wonders: Could we do the same for depression and sch...Show More

Let's talk crap. Seriously. | Rose George

14:01 | Apr 15th, 2013

It's 2013, yet 2.5 billion people in the world have no access to a basic sanitary toilet. And when there's no loo, where do you poo? In the street, probably near your water and food sources -- causing untold death and disease from contamination. Get ...Show More

Health care should be a team sport | Eric Dishman

15:59 | Apr 11th, 2013

When Eric Dishman was in college, doctors told him he had 2 to 3 years to live. That was a long time ago. Now, Dishman puts his experience and his expertise as a medical tech specialist together to suggest a bold idea for reinventing health care -- b...Show More

We're covered in germs. Let's design for that. | Jessica Green

08:43 | Mar 25th, 2013

Our bodies and homes are covered in microbes -- some good for us, some bad for us. As we learn more about the germs and microbes who share our living spaces, TED Fellow Jessica Green asks: Can we design buildings that encourage happy, healthy microbi...Show More

We need better drugs -- now | Francis Collins

14:40 | Mar 21st, 2013

Today we know the molecular cause of 4,000 diseases, but treatments are available for only 250 of them. So what's taking so long? Geneticist and physician Francis Collins explains why systematic drug discovery is imperative, even for rare and complex...Show More

A guerilla gardener in South Central LA | Ron Finley

10:45 | Mar 6th, 2013

Ron Finley plants vegetable gardens in South Central LA -- in abandoned lots, traffic medians, along the curbs. Why? For fun, for defiance, for beauty and to offer some alternative to fast food in a community where "the drive-thrus are killing more p...Show More

The secret to desire in a long-term relationship | Esther Perel

19:10 | Feb 14th, 2013

In long-term relationships, we often expect our beloved to be both best friend and erotic partner. But as Esther Perel argues, good and committed sex draws on two conflicting needs: our need for security and our need for surprise. So how do you susta...Show More

Could the sun be good for your heart? | Richard Weller

12:59 | Jan 17th, 2013

Our bodies get Vitamin D from the sun, but as dermatologist Richard Weller suggests, sunlight may confer another surprising benefit too. New research by his team shows that nitric oxide, a chemical transmitter stored in huge reserves in the skin, can...Show More

Pool medical patents, save lives | Ellen 't Hoen

11:16 | Dec 10th, 2012

Patenting a new drug helps finance its immense cost to develop -- but that same patent can put advanced treatments out of reach for sick people in developing nations, at deadly cost. Ellen 't Hoen talks about an elegant, working solution to the probl...Show More

Want to be happier? Stay in the moment | Matt Killingsworth

10:16 | Nov 5th, 2012

When are humans most happy? To gather data on this question, Matt Killingsworth built an app, Track Your Happiness, that let people report their feelings in real time. Among the surprising results: We're often happiest when we're lost in the moment. ...Show More

What's so funny about mental illness? | Ruby Wax

08:44 | Oct 10th, 2012

Diseases of the body garner sympathy, says comedian Ruby Wax -- except those of the brain. Why is that? With dazzling energy and humor, Wax, diagnosed a decade ago with clinical depression, urges us to put an end to the stigma of mental illness.

A story about knots and surgeons | Ed Gavagan

12:21 | Sep 21st, 2012

One day, Ed Gavagan was sitting on the subway, watching two young med students practicing their knots. And a powerful memory washed over him -- of one shocking moment that changed his life forever. An unforgettable story of crime, skill and gratitude...Show More

Mental health for all by involving all | Vikram Patel

12:22 | Sep 11th, 2012

Nearly 450 million people are affected by mental illness worldwide. In wealthy nations, just half receive appropriate care, but in developing countries, close to 90 percent go untreated because psychiatrists are in such short supply. Vikram Patel out...Show More

How to step up in the face of disaster | Morgan O'Neill

09:23 | Aug 14th, 2012

When a freak tornado hit their hometown, sisters Caitria and Morgan O'Neill -- just 20 and 24 at the time -- realized they had to jump in and help. What they learned is: After a natural disaster, there's only a tiny window before the world turns its ...Show More

A test for Parkinson's with a phone call | Max Little

06:04 | Aug 7th, 2012

Parkinson's disease affects 6.3 million people worldwide, causing weakness and tremors, but there's no objective way to detect it early on. Yet. Applied mathematician and TED Fellow Max Little is testing a simple, cheap tool that in trials is able to...Show More

The game that can give you 10 extra years of life | Jane McGonigal

19:30 | Jul 9th, 2012

When game designer Jane McGonigal found herself bedridden and suicidal following a severe concussion, she had a fascinating idea for how to get better. She dove into the scientific research and created the healing game, SuperBetter. In this moving ta...Show More

How I'm preparing to get Alzheimer's | Alanna Shaikh

06:26 | Jul 3rd, 2012

When faced with a parent suffering from Alzheimer's, most of us respond with denial ("It won't happen to me") or extreme efforts at prevention. But global health expert and TED Fellow Alanna Shaikh sees it differently. She's taking three concrete ste...Show More

A tale of mental illness -- from the inside | Elyn Saks

14:52 | Jun 29th, 2012

"Is it okay if I totally trash your office?" It's a question Elyn Saks once asked her doctor, and it wasn't a joke. A legal scholar, in 2007 Saks came forward with her own story of schizophrenia, controlled by drugs and therapy but ever-present. In t...Show More

Are we over-medicalized? | Ivan Oransky

10:24 | Jun 19th, 2012

Reuters health editor Ivan Oransky warns that we're suffering from an epidemic of preposterous preconditions -- pre-diabetes, pre-cancer, and many more. In this engaging talk from TEDMED he shows how health care can find a solution... by taking an im...Show More

What if our healthcare system kept us healthy? | Rebecca Onie

16:34 | Jun 12th, 2012

Rebecca Onie asks audacious questions: What if waiting rooms were a place to improve daily health care? What if doctors could prescribe food, housing and heat in the winter? At TEDMED she describes Health Leads, an organization that does just that --...Show More