Malaria doesn’t just occur in the poorest parts of the world; malaria actually creates poverty. And while people in non-malarious countries are so concerned about the disease that they load up on preventative medication before traveling to locations where malaria is an issueSonia Shah: 3 reasons we still haven’t gotten rid of malaria, those who actually live in those areas encounter it so often that they don’t worry too much about it. “A child in Malawi, for example, she might have 12 episodes of malaria before the age of 2, but if she survives, she’ll continue to get malaria throughout her life, but she’s much less likely to die of it,” says Sonia Shah in today’s talk, given at TEDGlobal 2013.
Shah’s talk is full of fascinating observations on why malaria has been so hard to eradicate, even though we’ve had a cure since the 1600s. It shows the full scope of the problem, and how—really—most preventative measures for the disease are simply band-aids. What’s needed, she explains, is a full-scale eradication of “the malarious way of life.”
Shah’s talk reminds us of several other TED Talks, which shed new light on epidemics. Here, some highlights.
|Nicholas Christakis: How social networks predict epidemics
Nicholas Christakis: How social networks predict epidemics
Want to predict the next big epidemic? Map real-life social networks, like friendships and workplace relationships. In this talk from TED@Cannes, Nicholas Christakis shows how monitoring the friends of unconnected people can give incredible insight into the spread of disease, and yield early warning of epidemics.
|Steven Johnson: How the “ghost map” helped end a killer disease
Steven Johnson: How the “ghost map” helped end a killer disease
Steven Johnson shares a historical story in this talk from TEDSalon 2006, taking us back to London in 1854 during the age of cholera. He tells the story of an incredible doctor who wasn’t convinced that the disease was transmitted by air, but had a hunch it was being passed via water. Here’s how he changed the thinking of the time.
|Shereen El-Feki: HIV — how to fight an epidemic of bad laws
Shereen El-Feki: HIV — how to fight an epidemic of bad laws
In about 50 counties, having an HIV is considered akin to a crime — people can be incarcerated or deported simply for having the disease. In this talk from the TEDxSummit, she wonders if the HIV epidemic led to an epidemic of bad laws, and shows that banishing the infected is not the answer.
|Laurie Garrett: Lessons from the 1918 flu
Laurie Garrett: Lessons from the 1918 flu
In 2007, amid intense fear over the spread of avian flu, people started stockpiling masks and Tamiflu. In this talk, given at TED that year, disease prevention expert Laurie Garrett explains why this is not the best approach and why it’s about having prepared communities, rather than prepared individuals. How does she know this? For that, she looks to the flu epidemic of 1918.
|Gregory Petsko: The coming neurological epidemic
Gregory Petsko: The coming neurological epidemic
Some epidemics start rapidly; others take decades. As Gregory Petsko explains at TED2008, this will be the case for Alzheimer’s disease as the population over the age of 80 balloons. This means that it’s time to do more research, now. A bold call for the government to start funding research into connections — like the fact that those with neurological disorders have very low incidence of cancer.
TED Talks with novel ways of thinking about epidemics