Abraham Verghese on Impact of Language on Health

One of the highlights of TEDMED 2014, a three-day event held in Washington DC, and San Francisco, was a talk – “Stealing Smart” – by Abraham Verghese, Linda R. Meier and Joan F. Lane Provostial Professor of Medicine and Vice Chair for the Theory & Practice of Medicine at Stanford University. During his talk, Verghese discussed the impact of language on health, touching on such topics as the power of metaphor and the fact that diseases and syndromes are often named after their discovers. “Anybody with a curiosity for the human condition, with the willingness to work hard, and with an empathy for fellow humans, can be a great physician,” he said.Speakers at the event included a vast range of talent, from a musical performance by Farah Siraj, Jordanian singer and song writer; to Gary Conkright, CEO of PhysIQ, which has a predictive analytics application to warn physicians of changes in their patients’ health; to Elizabeth Nabel, MD, president of Brigham and Women’s Hospital and former director of the NHLBI; and to Nadine Burke Harris, MD, CEO of Center for Youth Wellness, who spoke about a factor recognizable in childhood that impacts much adult-onset disease. For a synopsis of the event, visit the TEDMED blog. TEDMED 2015 will be held November 18-20 in Palm Springs, CA. From Stanford Dept of Medicine News.