Friday, April 19, 2013

The Spirituality of TEDMED 2013

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TEDMED ended this afternoon.  It has taken me a little time to unwind so I can make an attempt at articulating what I have experienced over these past few days.  I cannot lie, it is really difficult to illustrate.  I am hoping that some of the videos are available soon, so I can "wow" you like they "wowed" me.

Each talk that we witnessed resonated with us logically.  We sat in our chairs in the Kennedy Center and watched these amazing presentations and performances.  Some resonated more with me, some resonated more with my friends that I met here.

Everyone that I met was excited to be a part of the TEDMED community.  Everyone had their reasons for attending. I really wasn't sure what mine was - there were only 2 dentists out of the 1800 or so people. I have watched numerous TED talks and even attended a TEDx event in Boulder last summer.  I guess I was looking to be inspired by a different mindset of people.

Since the people here were some of the most intelligent that I have ever been around, I figured that science and logic would rule the roost.  The science and logic is all explainable.  We all shook our heads in agreement, thinking, "Why didn't I think of that?"

The inspiration for these "out of the box" thinkers and doers is also explainable.  Something happened to them, their communities, their patients, etc., to catalyze a change in their path.

Inspiration is one thing, but where did the passion come from?

What made these mensa club members drop everything and modify their trajectory?  How did they get the courage to step off their path and enter into the unknown?

It was mentioned that it is completely illogical to innovate - as there is no data that can be relied upon when you are innovating.  An innovator is forging a new frontier -  and trust me we saw new frontiers with every presentation.  These passionate innovators

Their innovation took courage, intelligence, and a never quitting passion.  There is no logic to explain this other than synchronicity - or devine intervention.

Carl Jung described four dimensions of consciousness.  Time, space, causation and synchronicity. Time and space are obviously defined.  Causation is a series of related events that explain a certain result.  Synchronicity is a series of unrelated events that are unexpectedly tied together to explain a certain result.

The only explanation that ties these events together is  - Spirituality, Karma, God, Yoda, The Great Pumpkin, etc.

It wasn't until the very end of the conference that the word spirituality was even mentioned.  There is no logic here.  Logic lies in the brain.  Spirituality lives in the heart. This is where the power source for the passion, the inspiration, and the courage is continuously fueled.  No logical explanation here, only synchronistical explanations.

The presenters that so graciously shared with us are changing the world.  They are changing the health of their communities.  Their passion is inspiring our passion. And now, our passion is being shared with our communities.

Everyone has unique gifts.  It is our obligation to share these unique gifts with the world - whatever they may be.  However small or big, it is our obligation.

Synchronicity will prevail and we will all be as "wowed" as I am now.

TEDMED - A synchronistic blend of art and science

More to follow!

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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

First full day at TEDMED

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Dean and I!

Well, the day started out with a run with legendary ultra-marathoner Dean Karnazes.  There was a group of 20 or so of us.  Dean stated out bu causally mentioning that the last time he was in Washington dc, he ran here from california.  It took him 70 days of running 50 or so a day.  Had some nice conversation with him and other TEDMED delegates.  Interestingly enough his wife is a dentist in San Francisco. She practices in the same building as a friend of mine!  Small world.

I cleaned up and quickly got over to the Kennedy Center for the day.  There are  two main areas here.  The auditorium and the "hive". The hive is where all of the networking/connections are happening.  There are 50 mind blowing start-up companies that are looking to change the delivery of health care right now.

One in particular is called Emotiv. ( They measure brainwave activity and the ability to focus through EEG scanning.  I did a personality test with them through this EEG monitoring technology and m y dominant trait came up as an "Explorer". Never would have imagined that!

Another really cool company is called Neumitra. ( They have created a sensor that measures your stress, anxiety and focus etc.   When you become stressed or unfocused, the sensor gives you a reminder to take a walk,  listen to some music, talk to somebody. This has many uses and they are looking to applyq this technology in everyday life.  I can think of at least 5 different research projects that I would like to see done.  Wo knows, maybe I will?!?!

The speakers have been amazing.  This morning's theme was about big data.  The common theme was that we have the technology to analyze the zillions of data points in all aspects of health, why aren't we?  Several presenters gave their own personal experience transforming data into wisdom. A with any TED talk, we all were mind blown about the possibilities.

My favorite was a discussion about "what is cancer". It was a point counter point discussion.  When the video becomes available, i will pass it along.  It de-myths several concepts about cancer and the treatment of cancer.

A close second was Mayor Mick Cornett from Oklahoma City, OK. He shared his own struggle with obesity and then how he helped his city lose over a million pounds collectively.  He created infrastructure to promote more walking, running and cycling - less driving.  He asked all of the restaurants to offer healthy choice options.  It was also promoted through church groups, work, schools, etc. A whole new attitude transformed the health of the city.  On a side note, OK City is now on the fittest city list, has one of the lowest unemployment rates, a solid economy and a growing population.  It reminds me of Mayor Hickenlooper's "one book, one city" campaign.  It would be great to see other cities follow suit.

Then Richard Simmons showed up.   I was surprised at how much fun he was.  There is rumors of me being on the stage dancing with him and several other men from the audience...They are true.  I hope that section wasn't taped!

Last night, they outfitted us with "fitbit's". They are little pedometers that measure your steps, calories burned, etc.  Since this is supposed to be about health, they gave us the goal of 10,000 steps per day.  I was at 11,000 by noon (i took it running with me....). The food that they have been giving us is also very healthy, organic and fresh.

I have a physical scheduled for later this afternoon.  All done via smart phone technology.  The results will be available digitally-although not necesarrily on my phone.  This technology could seamlessly provide access to remote areas where health care is sparse.

Then lastly, I have to talk about the people that are here.  I am surrounded by the most innovative thinkers and leaders that I have ever been around.  There aren't too many dentists here.  I am trying to illustrate that we are still practicing a free-market driven health care system that works.  When I describe how I practice, the common comment is "I wish that the practice of medicine was more like that."

I don't see why it isn't...with this group of people, anything is possible!

More to come!