|Bob Carey knows that laughter is the best medicine.|
Session 7: "Human Nature Inside and Out." This was a very diverse session addressing not just how can improve upon patient care by understanding human nature, but also how we can turn around our natural tendencies in the face of adversity.
The session opened with Julian Treasure, chairman of The Sound Agency, which advises businesses on how to design their buildings with sound in mind. Treasure gave some upsetting statistics: hospital noise has doubled in magnitude in the past 40 years; it's 12X louder during the day and 8X louder at night than recommended by the World Health Organization; and loudness is the #1 complaint of hospital patients in 2013. Treasure suggests hiring acoustic engineers, employing vibrating pagers and silent trolleys and footwear, and masking sound with white noise or music. Next, architect and scientist Mariana Figueiro spoke of the range of afflictions to which we're vulnerable when we don't get appropriate amounts of (blue!) light during the right time of day. Jeff Karp then spoke about his brilliant "bioinspired" technology, including how imitating spider webs improved adhesive tape for premature babies and how barbs, like on porcupine quills, are much better for the skin than tradition staples. Next, anesthesiologist Emery Brown gave us a primer on general anesthesia (which is not sleep!). It's actually, he says, a "drug-induced reversible coma," and different anesthetics have different signature EEG patterns. Neurosurgeon and researcher Uzma Samadani then spoke about her company Oculogica, which creates eye-tracking diagnostic technology to detect concussions and other brain injuries that do not show up on imaging. Finally, Debra Jarvis, the "irreverent reverend," spoke on the importance of finding meaning from crappy situations. She told us about a man with cancer who would go for his chemotherapy treatments alone. When Jarvis asked why he didn't bring anyone, he said he didn't have any friends. Once cancer-free, he vowed to find the meaning of friendship; when Jarvis attended his Christmas Eve party later that year, his house was packed to the brim.