Editor's note: CNN.com will be bringing you a series of interviews with amazing individuals who were at the TEDMED conference in October 2011. Read more here.
Dr. Peter Diamandis wants you to be the CEO of your own health care.
You should be able to make decisions based on technology that analyzes your body and gives you personalized feedback and treatment recommendations, he says. And Diamandis wants to speed the development of that technology along by offering prizes for the people who can make it happen.
Diamandis is the founder and CEO of the X Prize Foundation, which offers $10 million prizes for various technological feats.
You may know her as Xena from "Xena: Warrior Princess" and, more recently, Lucretia from "Spartacus," but you may not expect that Lucy Lawless would fly all the way from New Zealand to California for TEDMED, a conference about great ideas in health care.
"It's like a beauty pageant for brilliant people, where you sit in the audience and all these geniuses comes out and like, parade their incredible brilliance in front of you," said the New Zealand-born actress in Coronado, California, in October.
Humans have a self-preservation instinct, a natural drive to survive. But we also have an awareness that there will come a day when all of those efforts will fail, and we will die.
"Death looms somewhere in the distance," said Dr. John Wynn, medical director for Cancer Psychiatry at the Swedish Cancer Institute of Seattle, Washington. "It pushes us to ask: What am I doing with my time?"
What helped David Kirchhoff, president and CEO of Weight Watchers International, shed 38 pounds, start exercising and eat healthy breakfasts?
Of course, you’d expect a CEO to toot the horn of his company.
He did at TEDMED, a conference about medical innovations and ideas. But he also stressed that the essential factor that shaped his metamorphosis - from an overweight 33-year-old needing Lipitor to a fit man who exercises - was the habits he formed. FULL POST
Nate Ball let the TEDMED audience see the inside of his throat Thursday night while he beatboxed. Dr. Quyen Nguyen used an endoscope on stage to give us an up-close-and-personal look at how these sounds are produced inside him.
Ball, an engineer by training, has a keen curiosity about what's going in his body when he beatboxes. He let Dr. Charles Limb, also on stage, look at images of his brain while beatboxing, too, on a different occasion.
Limb saw that Ball's brain has very different patterns of activity when improvising and when spouting out an established beat. Creating a new beat on the fly seems to involve shutting down a portion of the prefrontal cortex, which is involved in self-monitoring, and activating other neural networks; there is increased cerebellum activity in improvisation, for example.
CNN.com is catching up with Ball, Limb and Nguyen on camera. Stay tuned for future pieces on what makes each of their individual projects fascinating.
It's hard to miss Paul Stamets at TEDMED. He's wearing a hat made out of a mushroom, which he picked up in Hungary. And he brought a large bag containing exotic mushrooms with medicinal properties to his talk, including the large rare tree fungus agarikon.
"We have discovered a new class of antivirals and antimicrobials," he said.
Stamets, the Indiana Jones of mushroom hunting, revealed exciting uses for mushrooms for boosting the immune system. Turkey tail mushroom, for instance, has been shown in clinical trials to help breast cancer patients, Stamets said.
Diana Nyad may have had some setbacks this summer while attempting to swim from Cuba to Florida, but her journey isn't over yet, she said Wednesday.
"I can swim from Cuba to Florida, and I will swim from Cuba to Florida," she said at the TEDMED conference in Coronado, California. Nyad received a standing ovation after her inspirational presentation.
Lance Armstrong has brought attention to cancer through the ubiquitous Livestrong yellow wristbands. But at the same time, his story leaves the “Lance Armstrong effect,” the impression that cancer can be easily defeated and every patient can spring out of bed to achieve great feats much as the seven-time Tour de France winner has.
Dr. David Agus, a cancer expert from University of Southern California, asked Armstrong Wednesday night at TEDMED whether he felt any pressure of being the model of all things going right in cancer treatment.
“It doesn’t go right,” said Armstrong. He responded that every minute, a person in the United States dies from cancer.
And when he meets people living with cancer, the testicular cancer survivor doesn’t dispense advice.
“I don’t say anything,” Armstrong said about when he meets cancer patients. “They don’t expect Vince Lombardi to come in and give tips.”
Here is what every cancer patient wants, according to Armstrong.
“They want to be heard,” he said. “They want me to sit there, look at them in the eye and feel their story.”
Peter Diamandis, founder of the X PRIZE, believes there is about to be a revolution in how we innovate.
Diamandis has been instrumental in that revolution by offering monetary incentives for people to solve the world's problems, from spaceflight to oil spill cleanups. Wednesday, he announced the launch of the $10 million Archon Genomics X PRIZE presented by Medco.
Cancer expert David Agus was dissuaded from his original book title after Steve Jobs told him: "When you put health in the title of anything, it makes me feel like I’m eating brussels sprouts."
Agus was actually part of Jobs' cancer treatment process; Walter Isaacson says in his biography of Jobs that Agus joined a meeting of doctors as an "outside consultant" in May 2011 to discuss new information that had been gleaned from analyzing the genetic signatures of Jobs' cancer.
Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.