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Home » The Greatest Medicine in the World: Rohin Francis (Transcript)

The Greatest Medicine in the World: Rohin Francis (Transcript)

Here is the full transcript of interventional cardiologist Rohin Francis’s talk titled “The Greatest Medicine in the World” at TEDxNewcastle 2022 conference.

Listen to the audio version here:


Introduction to Medical Magic Bullets

I don’t know if any of you have heard of medical magic bullets. It was a term actually coined over 100 years ago to describe therapy that’s so effective at treating a problem without causing loads of unpleasant side effects to the patient that it can be described as having the targeted precision of a magic bullet.

Infection is a classic example, really for the first time it allowed us to kill infection without half killing the patient, childhood vaccines would be others that have saved millions of lives safely and effectively, but both of those are not particularly new and in the lifetime of most people sitting here in the room there have been precious few magic bullets. There are medications that work of course, but the effect sizes are often more erratic and smaller than you might think or have been led to believe.

The Magic of Exercise

But there is one intervention which is sometimes overlooked and there’s mountains of evidence actually showing how effective it is at preventing all the biggest killers: heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer, obesity, stroke. It’s been shown to be useful in managing conditions like depression, ADHD, anxiety, it can improve your mood, it can improve your bone density to reduce fractures later in life, it can improve the quality of your sleep, it can even offer that slightly less definable quality of just making you feel better.

If you haven’t guessed where I’m going with this, I’m of course talking about exercise. But you all know that exercise is good for you, you’ve heard that before, so I thought maybe I can be more persuasive today, instead of telling you that exercise is good for you, I thought I would show you why I think exercise is as close to magic in biology as we have.

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