TED Blog

We all think we understand the formula for keeping healthy — eat right, exercise, don’t smoke, skip dessert. But that picture is vastly incomplete, perhaps fatally so. In the eye-opening new TED book, The Upstream Doctors: Medical Innovators Track Sickness to Its Source, physician Rishi Manchanda says that while our individual health is highly dependent on our daily behaviors, it may be even more strongly influenced by the social and environmental conditions in which we live. Manchanda argues that the future of our health, and our healthcare system, depends on growing and supporting a new generation of healthcare practitioners who look upriver at the source of our health problems, rather than simply opting for quick-hit symptomatic relief.

These “Upstreamists,” as he calls them, are practitioners on the frontlines of health who see that health (like sickness) is more than a chemical equation that can be balanced with pills and procedures…

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