By Nancy Fliesler
Move over, Ozzy Ozbourne. Next Wednesday, October 27th, Children’s neurologist-neuroscientist and TEDMED speaker Frances Jensen will compare and contrast the developing infant brain with the highly paradoxical teen brain — which is also developing rapidly, all the way to age 25 or so. Infant and teen brains are at opposite ends of the developmental spectrum — almost different species, Jensen says — but they’re both extremely dynamic and exquisitely sensitive to environmental factors (drugs and alcohol in teens and brain injury and seizures in infants). Understanding these dynamic changes has led us to new therapies, which may someday replace ineffective “hand-me-down” drugs from adults. (Here’s Jensen talking to 60 Minutes about seizures.)
As a proud sponsor of TEDMED, Children’s has its own booth. Engineer Pierre Dupont and his team will demonstrate the concentric tube robot, which is under development as a way of maneuvering tiny instruments inside children’s beating hearts — avoiding the need for open-heart surgery and cardiopulmonary bypass. Other minimally invasive cardiovascular devices will be on display.
John Brownstein and Clark Freifeld will demonstrate HealthMap, an online global health and infectious disease intelligence system that extracts, categorizes, filters and integrates a variety of Web-based data sources — even penetrating blogs, listservs, chat rooms and online news reports — in multiple languages. (Read more and watch this 2008 interview clip on what’s next for HealthMap.)
And stay tuned for TEDMED coverage throughout from Vector blogger Nurjana Bachman of Children’s Technology & Innovation Development Office and guest bloggers from around Children’s. They’ll also be tweeting and posting on Facebook.