Top 15 TED Talks for Doctors

Have you ever felt discouraged or uninspired? Maybe you feel overwhelmed with the small amount of time you have to learn about new advances in science and technology. If you don't have much time these days to explore new ideas in the health care, science, and technology fields then you're in for a real treat.

We've rounded up 15 TED talks surrounding some of the most remarkable ideas behind the advances in science and how they're shaping health care. Each TED talk is under 30 minutes so you can favorite them and listen later using the TED app. They're great for some quick inspiration and learning during lunch, on your way home or even when trying to squeeze in some cardio at the gym.

Did we miss one that you've found inspiring? Let us know in the comments below.


What is it about? Alan Russell discusses the cost of health care in relevance to age. His solution? Regenerative medicine — a breakthrough way of thinking about disease and injury, using a process that can signal the body to rebuild itself.

When was it filmed? February 2006


2. Thomas Goetz - It's Time to Redesign Medical Data

What is it about? Thomas Goetz looks at medical data and patient behavior. He explores how to help patients make better decisions by looking at medical data differently.

When was it filmed? October 2010


3. Quyen Nguyen - Color Coded Surgery

What is it about? Surgeons are taught from textbooks which conveniently color-code the types of tissues, but that's not what it looks like in real life — until now. At TEDMED Quyen Nguyen demonstrates how a molecular marker can make tumors light up in neon green, showing surgeons exactly where to cut.

When was it filmed? October 2011


4. Daniel Kraft - Medicine's Future

What is it about? A fast-paced look at using information technology to fight some of the biggest health care challenges today. This talk is a complete overview of some of the latest technology making health care faster, smaller, cheaper, and better.

When was it filmed? April 2011


5. Thulasiraj Ravilla - How Low Cost Eye Care Can Be World Class

What is it about? India's revolutionary Aravind Eye Care System has given sight to millions. Thulasiraj Ravilla looks at the ingenious approach that drives its treatment costs down and quality up, and why its methods should trigger a re-think of all human services.

When was it filmed? November 2009


6. Eric Topol - The Wireless Future of Medicine

What is it about? Eric Topol says we'll soon use our smart phones to monitor our vital signs and chronic conditions. At TEDMED, he highlights several of the most important wireless devices in medicine's future — all helping to keep more of us out of hospital beds.

When was it filmed? October 2009 


7. Michael Specter - The Danger of Science Denial

What is it about? Vaccine-autism claims, "Frankenfood" bans, the herbal cure craze: All point to the public's growing fear (and, often, outright denial) of science and reason, says Michael Specter. He warns the trend spells disaster for human progress.

When was it filmed? February 2010


8. Peter Attia - What if We're Wrong About Diabetes

What is it about? As a young surgeon, Peter Attia felt contempt for a patient with diabetes. She was overweight, he thought, and thus responsible for the fact that she needed a foot amputation. But years later, Attia received an unpleasant medical surprise that led him to wonder: is our understanding of diabetes right? Could the precursors to diabetes cause obesity, and not the other way around? A look at how assumptions may be leading us to wage the wrong medical war.

When was it filmed? April 2013


9. Abraham Verghese - A Doctor's Touch

What is it about? Modern medicine is in danger of losing a powerful, old-fashioned tool: human touch. Physician and writer Abraham Verghese describes our strange new world where patients are merely data points, and calls for a return to the traditional one-on-one physical exam.

When was it filmed? July 2011


10. Kevin Stone - The Bio Future of Join Replacement

What is it about? Arthritis and injury grind down millions of joints, but few get the best remedy — real biological tissue. Kevin Stone shows a treatment that could sidestep the high costs and donor shortfall of human-to-human transplants with a novel use of animal tissue.

When was it filmed? February 2010 


11. Ben Goldacre - What Doctors Don't Know About the Drugs They Prescribe

What is it about? 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, Ben Goldacre explains why these unreported instances of negative data are especially misleading and dangerous.

When was it filmed? June 2012


12Atul Gawande - How Do We Heal Medicine

What is it about? Our medical systems are broken. Doctors are capable of extraordinary (and expensive) treatments, but they are losing their core focus: actually treating people. Doctor and writer Atul Gawande suggests we take a step back and look at new ways to do medicine — with fewer cowboys and more pit crews.

When was it filmed? March 2012


13. David Agus - A New Strategy in the War on Cancer

What is it about? Too often, says David Agus cancer treatments have a short-sighted focus on individual cells. He suggests a new, cross-disciplinary approach, using atypical drugs, computer modeling and protein analysis to diagnose and treat the whole body.

When was it filmed? October 2009 


14. Brian Goldman - Doctor's Make Mistakes. Can We Talk About That?

What is it about? Every doctor makes mistakes. But, says physician Brian Goldman, medicine's culture of denial (and shame) keeps doctors from ever talking about those mistakes, or using them to learn and improve. Telling stories from his own long practice, he calls on doctors to start talking about being wrong. (Filmed at TEDxToronto.)

When was it filmed? November 2011


15. Rebecca Onie - What If Our Healthcare System Kept Us Healthy?

What is it about? 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 — and does it by building a volunteer base as elite and dedicated as a college sports team.

When was it filmed? April 2012

TED—which stands for Technology, Entertainment, and Design—is a nonprofit organization that is dedicated to spreading ideas. Their website is loaded with short talks on a variety of topics from some of the world's brightest minds. View more TED talks at


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