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TEDMED 2012 Liveblog

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From April 10 to 13, Healthy Living editors join some of the most creative and innovative minds in the health and medical field for TEDMED 2012 at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.

We invite you to follow us as we live blog from the event this week, highlighting some of the most forward-thinking ideas and original, passionate speakers.

You can also follow our tweets @healthyliving

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"Maybe chronic diseases are social diseases." -- Mark Hyman, M.D. Let's fix this problem together.

A great way to wrap up TEDMED 2012.

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@ pfanderson : Sociogenomics. Diabesity. All these great new words. #tedmed "Eat your colors" :) "Upgrade yr biological software with it" #tedmed

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@ LaylaMcCay : You're more likely to be obese if your friend's obese than if your mum's obese - Hyman proposes we need to address 'sociogenomics' #TEDMED

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HuffPost blogger and medical review board member Mark Hyman, M.D., founder of The UltraWellness Center, just took the stage.

We've been really looking forward to his talk!

"Most chronic disease is very often a social disease and not just a problem of biology," he just said. "The genetic threads that connect us may be less important than our social threads."

"We know now that food is not just calories, it's information," he continues. "We ate ourselves into this problem and we've got to eat ourselves out of it."

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@ kTraphagen : Saxon: Wearable sensors that can stream data to a smartphone are more ways for patient care. Gaming for medicine! #TEDMED

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@ sandraupson : Patients gaining access to their data is "one of the civil rights issues of our era." - Leslie Saxon, #TEDMED

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"There's not a Facebook of medicine," Leslie Saxon, executive director and founder of the USC center for body computing just told us.

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@ spf2juva : #TEDMED there no biomarker measures in psych. We might be surprised when we learn they are systemic diseases

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"Psychiatry is in dire need of objective diagnostic markers," Jay Lombard, chief scientific officer of Genomind, just told the audience at TEDMED. We all know someone affected by a psychological or psychiatric problems, but, "the reality is we still understand very little about them."

The key, Lombard says, is to move away from the idea of seeing our minds and bodies as separate entities.

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@ jacthong : Kids will soon be launching biotech companies from their dorm rooms like they have with software... Atul Butte #TEDMED

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@ LaylaMcCay : Data is power. Data is revolution. Data is frozen knowledge. It's up to us to melt it and release that power. #TEDMED

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"Slowing down aging in order to prevent the diseases of aging, that's a huge shift in the way we think of medicine and health care." --Dan Perry, President & CEO of the Alliance for Aging Research

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The conversation has turned to colonoscopies.

Billie Jean King says she is having one soon. Katie Couric, whose husband died at 42 from colon cancer, said sometimes people go to their appointments and write in her name as the person who referred them.

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Billie Jean King on exercise:

It's not fun for me to work out. I don't like it. I love the results.

Do you agree?

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Billie Jean King joins Katie Couric on stage! "I call women 'sheroes,'" she just said.

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We've been looking forward to Katie Couric all day!

"When I started in news, 'harass' was two words, not one."

She says she always ate dinner with her family growing up, and now eats with her own daughters. "They don't talke to me," she joked, "but I eat with them!" (Family meals can help kids learn about healthy foods and portion sizes, lower a teen's chances of drinking or doing drugs and developing eating disorders, among other healthy benefits.)

Couric also mentors kids from Harlem, and told a story of taking them to the Union Square greenmarket in NYC. They had never tried asparagus, mushrooms or a raw carrot!u

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Sleep made it!

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They have TEDMED talks in the soil, farmer and author Joel Salatin just told us. "Why would you want to eat something even worms won't eat?"

Who knew dirt could be so interesting? "There's a lot more sex going on in a compost pile than there is in a bag of 10-10-10."

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@ HealthyLiving : we love @gabbyreece -- she talks about working in both athletics and fashion and watching women either bulk up or nibble on apples #TEDMED

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"How people feel about you and how you look is not in your control." -- Gabby Reese in her TEDMED talk with husband Laird Hamilton.

What you can control, she says, is treating your body in a healthy way, incorporating exercise to help your body be the best it can be.

"It doesn't have to be hours and hours every day. It doesn't have to be you can never eat any bread or any pasta," she says. "That's not the message, that's not what works."

The key is to take one day at a time, one choice at a time.

"Everest is just another step after the one you took before," Hamilton says.

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People spend more time picking out a new TV than choosing a new doctor.

That's according to Jon Cohen, senior vice president, chief medical officer and director of hospital services for hospital services at Quest Diagnostics.

Does a medical system work if it treats patients like consumers?

Cohen is arguing that shopping for the new TV works because people compare price, quality and desire to make the best decision.

But those parameters don't translate to healthcare, he says -- if you go to two doctors, for instance, and one of them makes the correct diagnosis, they both make the same amount of money. And patients use service to judge quality (does the doctor call me back on time?, are they nice to me in the waiting room?), not any measure of judgement or experience. "There is no Consumer Reports for judgement and experience."

And what about desire? "People don't want healthcare," Cohen argues. "We have to give it away or incent people to get it."

Instead, he suggests a "desire-driven healthcare system."

What do you think?

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40 years into the "War On Cancer," where do we stand?

Otis Brawley, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, is tackling that topic now.

While we've made huge strides in cutting smoking rates (and, in turn, cancer rates) in the decades since the surgeon general released their first tobacco warning, Brawley says he's now worried that the obesity rate over the next 15 to 20 years is going to cause the cancer rate to begin increasing again.

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There's something called an "intravenous lecture" happening right now, given by Stephen Petronio on the topic of censorship.

@ mishachellam : This presentation is intriguing. It also makes me slightly uncomfortable. #random intravenous #TEDMED

@ Verdeaux : Stephen Petronio just shimmied on stage at #TEDMED 2012 live... with an IV in him. Odd or totally intriguing?

@ GilmerHealthLaw : this is my body, if i don't give it to you, there is a hole in my story. to censor it is the most radical invasion. Petronio #TEDMED

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"I didn't choose surgery, it chose me," Barbara Bass, director at the Methodist Institute for Technology Innovation and Education, just told the audience.

"What we do is immediate," she said, explaining the bond that develops between patient and surgeon. "It's amazing what people let us do to them."

Interesting insights on the career of a surgeon. One of our favorites so far: "We actually love the cozy space of the operating room. To you it feels cold and strange."

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@ abbeycofsky : Sandeep Kishore at #TEDMED: we need to make behavior change sexy.

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@ kTraphagen : "Fighting disease is not a medical issue, it's a societal issue" Kishore #TEDMED

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@ AmandaChenCGI : "We need to start a revolution and address the causes of the causes" - Sunny Kishore #TEDMED

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Ed Gavagan, co-founder of Design Starts Here, just told the audience at TEDMED that you never imagine you'll be the person walking down the street who, because you opt to go one way or another, your life is changed forever. He was that person.

Gavagan shared a story -- back when he was unmarried, had hair down to his waist and owned a bar (another life, as he says) -- when he was walking down Bleecker Street in New York City and was attacked by a gang with a 10-inch knife, cutting his interior vena cava and collapsing his lung, among other injuries.

The memories afterward, Cavagan said, are unlike any others he has ever experienced -- they are stored in a vault, played out in high def with George Lucas doing all the special effects, he joked.

An ambulance picked him up after the attack, and a surgical team worked on him throughout the night -- the doctor later told him he didn't cut his hair so he would look good for his funeral. He estimated he had a 2 percent chance of living. The surgeon removed a third of his intestines, organs he jokes he didn't know he had and, finally, his appendix, just for good measure. Cavagan spent three days on life support.

Ultimately, he quite literally beat the odds.

"That chance encounter with those kids on the street with their knives led me to my surgical team," he said. "Their training and their skill and always a little bit of luck pushed back against chaos."

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Missy Cummings, one of the Navy's first female fighter pilots, is speaking on how technology and humans need to work together.

@ HealthyLiving : Missy Cummings, one of the U.S. Navy's first female fighter pilots, says she LOVES dropping bombs. #Fearlesswoman! #TEDMED #TEDMEDLive

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We made a stop at the TEDMED latte stand -- only skim milk is used, in case you were wondering.


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