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We live in a time of information abundance, which far too many of us see as information overload. With the sum total of human knowledge, past and present, at our fingertips, we’re faced with a crisis of attention: which ideas should we engage with, and why? Big Think is an evolving roadmap to the best thinking on the planet — the ideas that can help you think flexibly and act decisively in a multivariate world.

A word about Big Ideas and Themes — The architecture of Big Think

Big ideas are lenses for envisioning the future. Every article and video on bigthink.com and on our learning platforms is based on an emerging “big idea” that is significant, widely relevant, and actionable. We’re sifting the noise for the questions and insights that have the power to change all of our lives, for decades to come. For example, reverse-engineering is a big idea in that the concept is increasingly useful across multiple disciplines, from education to nanotechnology.

Themes are the seven broad umbrellas under which we organize the hundreds of big ideas that populate Big Think. They include New World Order, Earth and Beyond, 21st Century Living, Going Mental, Extreme Biology, Power and Influence, and Inventing the Future.

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Question: Is there a gap between diagnosis and treatment? Transcript: Well there’s two gaps there. One is a gap between our ability to diagnose and cure, and there’s other cases where they have the ability to cure but not diagnose the small set of people who react very negatively. Both of these, I think, are going to see major progress. They’ve already seen some major progress. But for example, different people have different responses to a personal decision. If you are offered the ability to get diagnosed for a disease for which there is no cure, some people say, “I don’t want to know that”. Other people say, “I want to know that, but I’m not going to do anything about it.” And the third set say, “Oh we’re gonna embrace this. We’re going to become experts on this disease,” even though they’re not even scientists. They become experts. Think of Lorenzo’s Oil where Augusto Odone actually starts to learn biochemistry and himself makes a contribution to lipid disorders . . . makes a new drug-like, food-like molecule. But there are many cases of this where people become the poster . . . . their family will become poster children for the disease: Michael J. Fox for Parkinson’s, and Doug Melton for Diabetes, and Betty Ford for cancer and substance abuse, and so forth. So I think that’s a really big opportunity is to take ownership of all the things that are special about your family, both positive and negative, and link up with other families that have the same alleles, the same changes in their DNA, the same variations that make them different from the average, and see how it plays out differently in different families. Maybe that some of them have much more severe traits than others, and you can find it by sharing that information. And you can see what lifestyle changes might be correlated with a less severe outcome. So I think that embracing things that don’t have cures, whether they’re severe or not, is an opportunity that we’ll see more and more.

 

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