Home / Technology and Science / How one scientist averted a national health crisis – Andrea Tone

How one scientist averted a national health crisis – Andrea Tone



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In 1960, Frances Kelsey was one of the Food and Drug Administration’s newest recruits. Before the year was out, she would begin a fight that would save thousands of lives — though no one knew it at the time. Andrea Tone explains how Kelsey was able to prevent a massive national public health tragedy by privileging facts over opinions, and patience over short-cuts.

Lesson by Andrea Tone, animation by TED-Ed.

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37 comments

  1. If you're a student with a passion for science, share your ideas, discoveries and hopes with the world through TED's student idea platform: http://bit.ly/2M7hd87. If your passions lie elsewhere, we want to hear from you, too! TED-Ed is creating a space to celebrate and amplify student ideas on a wide range of topics — from human rights to staying organized in school — and we want you to be a part of it! Check it out!

  2. 44bebea 1108debra ok 44bebea 1108debra pat 44bebea 1108debra ok 44bebea ok yes 3pm pat 44bebea jpsdebra

  3. This video was great… Until they spewed some left propaganda at the end.

    (Also, before you reply I'm not saying that only the left does this. I am merely stating my distaste for how TED uses its influence for political gain. And my opinion would be the same if a person or an organization did the same on the right)

    Anyways, good on her, and dang… I wanna live that long, she clearly did something right!

  4. jonas andersson

    what's STEM?

  5. What does STEM mean ?

  6. I wonder what domestically made alernatives she saw approved instead of thalidomide and what was the offer she couldnt refuse

  7. Damn 1930 was brutal to women

  8. There are less women in STEM because women don't want to be in STEM

  9. she showed character by doing what is right and saveing the babies from deth and defects over submitting to all the pressure those people put on her to aproove there drug

  10. Starkweather, homicide, children of thalidomide bew…bee…dow..dow

  11. had me up till the end. Virtue signaling is the antithesis of everything the video supported. You just under-cut this amazing story with gender politics.

  12. Because most women chose the easy way. Like Gender Studies instead of stem cell research, lol.

  13. She lived 101 years

  14. The FDA needs to pull her out of retirement, and rehire her. Somebody over there is slipping up…

  15. Elliander Eldridge

    Unfortunately, "evidence based policies " seem to be less and less the case, with the precautionary principle rarely being applied. In one 90s case, a genetically modified organism was developed to cheaply produce fuel from useless biomass, namely the part of crops not used after a harvest. The FDA required that tests be conducted in sterile conditions, which demonstrated safety and it was approved. Then, during the peer review process, a sample was tested at a German University under real world conditions where it was quickly discovered that it spreads into the soil, persists such that the Earth would havto be cooked several feet down to remove, and kills living plants to then convert to fuel. Had this been released we'd be looking at a worst case scenario, and all because the FDA doesn't accept tests under real conditions. Or course, after this was published the FDA withdrew their approval. It's been a very long time since I read about it and I can't remember much more about it, but it was very interesting. And no, I don't actually oppose genetic engineering being that I major in genetics, but I do think more needs to be done to ensure safety.

  16. Dr. Helen B. Taussig was one that stopped thalidomide in USA

  17. wwowowowowwwowowowow

  18. McGill pride!

  19. She would be fired or ignored thinking that way now

  20. That’s funny, when I studied Thalidomide in school they never mentioned Kelsey, I understand it wasn’t relevant to the course but she was a massive reason it never spread in the US

  21. And to think, if she didn't get the job, there would be a HUGE national health issue ALONGSIDE the news and mainstream media.

  22. Wage gap doesn't exist us men must protect ourselves from feminism. 1 min later FBI OPEN UP!

  23. Women are not "unrepresented in STEM fields." They simply choose areas like nursing and business more frequently and men choose areas like physics and engineering more frequently. What's in these studies simply show the result of men and women's free choices. Good video other than the common misconception that the reason women don't join STEM is because they're persuaded not to

  24. We was all born for a reason.

  25. This is amazing that u actually found thus

  26. Oh, good GOD! They just had to make it about feminism and women's supposed inequalities, didn't they?

  27. am i the only one who noticed she graduated high school at 15

  28. She would have been on PETA.'s hitlist despite saving many human lives at the expense of animals

  29. I love hearing stories about great scientists!

  30. Christian Prepper

    UNLESS YOU PAY the FDA ENOUGH MONEY or KNOW the RIGHT PEOPLE!
    3:57 Then they turn a blind eye or attack the competition of well funded pharmaceutical companies.

  31. I really feel the pressure she faced, especially when German had already approved the use.

  32. Maybe women are underrepresented in STEM because less women want to take STEM then men – just like the inverse for, say, nursing.

  33. SR Creative Media

    Maybe there is not equality of outcomes in STEM because men and women don't want the exact same thing. But I see nothing but equality of opportunities being presented now… even back in the 1950s… She worked hard and got what she worked for and made a difference.

  34. I was loving the video until that gender commentary… ANYONE who stands their ground as a gatekeeper against a nuerotoxin should be lauded. That's all that matters.

    We need more like Frances not because she is a she but because she is a person of good morale.

  35. Then people in 2018 take it too far and we get anti-vacciners. uneducated people lead to uneducated research, educated people lead to life saving research.

  36. Why would you turn this into a gender thing? So annoying! Get over yourselves! it's 2018 FFS

  37. This was a great possitive story one which needs to be told in this day and age where we are having a resurgence of drugs trying to be rushed through the process with dodgy science. I was about to share but your shoehorn political push which was already covered by your narrative tarnished this for me. I have nothing against your desire to diversify the field of stem. Diverse people, equal diverse thinking and that is always a possitive in science.

    Its just i clicked on this and wished to share this because of a strong story about the revolution of a field, but then you made me have to then also share a political statement as well…. i didnt want to make a strong political statement. I wanted to share a strong story

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