Salvatore Iaconesi: What Happened When I Open-Sourced My Brain Cancer

When artist Salvatore Iaconesi was diagnosed with brain cancer, he refused to be a passive patient — which, he points out, means “one who waits.” So he hacked his brain scans, posted them online, and invited a global community to pitch in on a “cure.” This sometimes meant medical advice, and it sometimes meant art, music, emotional support — from more than half a million people. Continue Reading

Dr Nadine Burke Harris: How Childhood Trauma Affects Health Across A Lifetime

Childhood trauma isn’t something you just get over as you grow up. Paediatrician Dr 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 the development of the brain. This unfolds across a lifetime, to the point where those who’ve experienced high levels of trauma are at triple the risk for heart disease and lung cancer. An impassioned plea for paediatric medicine to confront the prevention and treatment of trauma, head-on. Continue Reading

Dr Leana Wen: What Your Doctor Won’t Disclose

whendoctorsdontlistenDr Leana Wen founded Who’s My Doctor: The Total Transparency Manifesto, a campaign to help patients learn vital information about their own doctors.

Physician and public health advocate Leana Wen has traveled the world listening to patients’ stories. Born in Shanghai, she was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, a reporter with The New York Times’ Nick Kristof, and a fellow at the World Health Organization before assuming her current position as Director of Patient-Centered Care Research in the Department of Emergency Medicine at George Washington University. Inspired by struggles during her mother’s long illness, she wrote When Doctors Don’t Listen, a book about empowering patients to avoid misdiagnoses and unnecessary tests. Continue Reading

Dr Ben Goldacre: What Doctors Don’t Know About The Drugs They Prescribe

Ben Goldacre argues that when a new drug gets tested, the results of the trials should be published for the rest of the medical world — except much of the time, negative or inconclusive findings go unreported, leaving doctors and researchers in the dark. In this impassioned talk, Goldacre explains why these unreported instances of negative data are especially misleading and dangerous.

Publication bias is research misconduct and fraud:

  • Publication bias effects all fields of medicine
  • About half of all studies are unpublished
  • Positive findings are about twice as likely as negative findings to be published

Ben Goldacre, is a best-selling author, broadcaster, medical doctor and academic who specialises in unpicking dodgy scientific claims from drug companies, newspapers, government reports, PR people and quacks. Continue Reading