Call to Action! Save Dr. Terry Wahls TEDx-IowaCity Talk!

January 14, 2014 in Categories: , , , by

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Note (added 1/15/14):  Emily McManus representing TED has commented on this post with the following “Thank you for your concern. We’d like to assure you that this claim is false. We have no plans to take Dr. Wahls’ talk off YouTube, and TED has not asked the local TEDx organizers to do so. The talk remains on YouTube, and we encourage you to continue debating and discussing the talk in the comments“.  Dr. Wahls was told directly by the organizer of the event that TED has repeatedly challenged whether or not her talk should stay up on YouTube.  Also, the new warning label remains on the talk.  Since when does advocating a nutrient-dense diet require viewer discretion.

Note (added 1/16/14):  The curator of the TEDx-IowaCity event has commented below.  Here is an excerpt “Indeed, I have had a number of conversations with TEDsters about Terry’s video.  No, they have never explicitly said they would take the video down, but they have seen fit to slather the video with an unusual and off-putting advisory…. Apparently something has agitated someone at TED.  After two and a half years they have decided to further editorialize.  Have they done so with other videos?  Are all health-related videos getting the same treatment?  It seems odd that they should wait until this moment to make this call… 1.5 million views later…. I just cannot fathom why TEDsters feel the necessity to ratchet up the disclaimer on Terry’s video at this point.”  I am relieved that Dr. Wahl’s talk does not appear to be in immediate danger of being taken down, but I believe the new warning label needs to be addressed.

Very early on in my paleo journey and only a few weeks after I launched this blog, a viral YouTube video came to my attention.  It was Dr. Terry Wahls’ TEDx-IowaCity talk in which she describes her discovery that a nutrient-dense diet, especially rich in a variety of vegetables and based on a paleo template, was able to reverse her secondary progressive multiple sclerosis and get her out of a wheelchair (link here and also embedded below).  Not only are Dr. Wahls’ nutritional recommendations based on sound science, but her personal journey is one of the most inspirational stories I have ever heard.

Wahls before and after

From wheelchair to bike, the power of a nutrient-dense paleo diet.

This talk, which came at a time where a standard paleo diet was helping a variety of my health conditions but not my autoimmune disease, had a profound influence on me.  I was already researching the Autoimmune Protocol and considering trying it out.  At the time, there were various lists of extra restrictions  (most notably the Autoimmune Caveat in The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf), but almost no information as to why additional restrictions were required and no discussion whatsoever about nutrient-dense foods that should be included with more regularity.  Dr. Wahls’ talk was a revelation for me and forever changed how I approach diet–not just with a list of don’ts, but also with a list of do’s and do more’s.  My passion for nutrient-density originates with this talk.

Dr. Wahls’ extraordinary impact on how I approach nutrition is visible throughout my book, The Paleo Approach.  In Chapter 2 where I detail diet factors that contribute to autoimmune disease (which includes several hundred scientific references), my first focus is on nutrient deficiencies and the impact that insufficient intake of a variety of micronutrients has on the immune system and the body’s ability to regulate hormones and heal damaged tissues.

I had the great pleasure of meeting Dr. Wahls at AHS13 (let’s face it, I was like an excited school girl meeting her favorite rockstar), and absolutely loved her talk which presented results from clinical trials using Dr. Wahls’ Protocol in patients with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis (patients are seeing vast improvements and compliance is extremely high).  And when Dr. Wahls agreed to write a cover endorsement for The Paleo Approach, I danced around my living room in excitement.  Perhaps even more exciting, I have had the pleasure of previewing her new book, The Wahls Protocol, which I highly recommend pre-ordering!

So, why this call to action?

TED is talking to the organizers of the
TEDx-IowaCity event about having
this inspirational and influential TEDx talk taken down.

 

Furthermore, TED has also added a warning to Dr. Wahls’ talk:

Note from TED: This talk, which features health advice based on a personal narrative, has been flagged as potentially outside TED’s curatorial guidelines. Viewer discretion advised.

The guidelines we give our TEDx organizers are described in more detail here:

http://www.ted.com/pages/tedx_curating_speakers

I have read the guidelines and do not see where Dr. Wahls’ talk is in conflict of them.  Also, I should point out that the video includes a disclaimer that, because the talk was filmed at an independent TEDx event,  it is outside the curatorial guidelines.  So, why exactly does it need a warning label?  And since when does advocating a nutrient-dense diet require viewer discretion?

The number one most important thing I want you to do is to watch this video before it gets taken down.  Here it is:

If you feel as passionately as I do that this video has the potential to help thousands and thousands of people, please consider commenting on the video itself (link to YouTube here) and e-mailing the TED organizers through this contact form.

 

Also, please use the buttons below and share this post in every way you can.  This is a story about triumph over autoimmune disease and essential information about the importance of nutrient density that needs to be heard.

Comments

I’ve seen this before, and just watched it again. What in the world is TED thinking – trying to censor someone with such good, healthy advice?
I will protest as well.
I also may be following her soon, due to health issues for my husband. I am already Paleo and loving it.
Thank you!

‘Cause, you know, TED talks never include “personal narrative” or thought-provoking non-standard points-of-view. :-/

I have to wonder if, in the shadows behind this, there’s someone else pressuring TED…

Shared on FB and emailed TED. I can’t imagine why they want to take it down unless they are getting pressured from the wheat growers association!

Done. I would be so upset if they remove it… I send my clients there routinely for inspiration. She inspired my own health journey – with this particular talk. Any way we can download it? Keep it alive?

Thank you for your concern. We’d like to assure you that this claim is false. We have no plans to take Dr. Wahls’ talk off YouTube, and TED has not asked the local TEDx organizers to do so. The talk remains on YouTube, and we encourage you to continue debating and discussing the talk in the comments.

Ms McManus, I am as skeptical as the the next guy about the efficacy of diet fads and people pushing their own books. But really, you won’t allow people to watch this video without that annoying warning label across the screen? Dr Wahl’s talk may strike you as not sufficiently supported by hard science or independent research, or you may object to her conflict of interest in pushing sales of her books, but surely she is no more guilty of these criticisms than dozens of other Ted Talks presenters I have seen. Please remove the warning label, as it smacks of censorship and bias, both of which are inimical to Ted’s mission.
Sincerely…

Ted has jumped the shark. I’ve stopped watching new videos from them in protest of other talks they have already taken down.

I did send an email re this one, but really, who cares about Ted any more? We need a new organization doing this whose primary credo is free speech.

Other videos they have taken down actually got more views afterwards, when the talk was put back up independently.

Turns out it’s okay! From Emily McManus, editor of TED, on Quora:
“Thank you for your concern, and I’m happy to let you know this claim is false. We have no plans to take Dr. Wahls’ talk off YouTube, and TED has not asked the local TEDx organizers to do so. The talk remains on YouTube, and we encourage you to continue debating and discussing the talk in the comments there.”
The link is here but you may have to join Quora to see it:
http://www.quora.com/TED/Why-does-TED-want-to-take-down-Dr-Terry-Wahls-TEDx-talk-Minding-the-Mitochondria-about-reversing-her-secondary-progressive-multiple-sclerosis-and-getting-out-of-a-wheelchair/answer/Emily-McManus?__snids__=285186277&__nsrc__=4

It’s an interesting response. I was told directly by Dr. Wahls who was told directly by the TEDxIowaCity organizer. I’ve added a note to the top of this post with TED’s official response.

Done and so tired of the politics around our choices being taken away from us. Thanks for letting us know this was an issue. Paleo eating has helped me as well heal many severe autoimmune challenges.

If TED was not concerned they would not have contacted the TEDx host multiple times concerned about its validity. Also they would not have added the statement “viewer discretion advised”. Since when does TED take a stand that increasing the intake of vegetables may be harmful to one’s health – when thousands and thousands of studies show doing so lowers the risk of cancer, autoimmune conditions, mental health problems, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure.

Response from TED:
Hi Dr.,
Thank you for your concern. We’d like to assure you that this claim is false. We have no plans to take Dr. Wahls’ talk off YouTube, and TED has not asked the local TEDx organizers to do so. The talk remains on YouTube, and we encourage you to continue debating and discussing the talk in the comments.
Warm regards,
Madeleine
TED Support

After posting about this in one of my groups I got this response: From Emily McManus, editor of TED, on Quora:
“Thank you for your concern, and I’m happy to let you know this claim is false. We have no plans to take Dr. Wahls’ talk off YouTube, and TED has not asked the local TEDx organizers to do so. The talk remains on YouTube, and we encourage you to continue debating and discussing the talk in the comments there.”
The link is here but you may have to join Quora to see it:
http://www.quora.com/…/Why-does…/answer/Emily-McManus…

Why does TED want to take down Dr. Terry Wahls’ TEDx talk “Minding the Mitochondria,” about…
http://www.quora.com
Emily McManus’s answer: Thank you for your concern, and I’m happy to let you kno…See Mo

It’s an interesting response. I was told directly by Dr. Wahls who was told directly by the TEDxIowaCity organizer. I’ve added a note to the top of this post with TED’s official response.

So, the actual note says:

“Note from TED: This talk, which features health advice based on a personal narrative, has been flagged as potentially outside TED’s curatorial guidelines. Viewer discretion advised.”

No where in there do I read anything which indicates that TED is pressuring anyone to do anything. The curious thing is that the note states “This talk…has been flagged”. The question is, WHO flagged it and why? Can anyone flag a talk? Was it TED or TEDx that flagged the talk? And if so, are they flagging other talks as well as a general precaution?

Their curatorial guidelines are fairly lenient and reasonable. However, that doesn’t mean that someone with an agenda wouldn’t find some talk working against that agenda and want to have it taken down. Not just this talk, but any talk.

The note itself merely states that the talk is “potentially outside” the guidelines. It doesn’t say it is. They advise viewer discretion, in other words, they’re playing a CYA game here. Someone has complained. That someone probably has an agenda this video is working against and they want it silenced. TED is merely noting that there is controversial matter discussed in this video and essentially notifying people who watch it that they can’t be held accountable for it’s content.

But no where is there any indication that TED is pressuring for the removal of the video. If they wanted it gone, it would be gone. Period.

I would like to know if ALL talks that are food related are getting a label. If so, then OK. But then, any talk regarding physical activity could be potentially harmful too and should carry a label.

Maybe this is what they are targeting in on…

“Topics to avoid

We’ve found that some topics are particularly problematic. We recommend approaching these with the utmost skepticism or avoiding them altogether:

“Healing,” including reiki, energy fields, alternative health and placebos, crystals, pyramid power.”

I think that it is interesting that they don’t want topics about free energy (which was next on the list). Seems to me they are catering to the drug industry and the oil industry.

Here are their guidelines for curating speakers. http://www.ted.com/pages/tedx_curating_speakers As you’ll see in the Guideline 4 Only Good Science – TED has gone 100% mainstream – which is, as we all know, driven by corporate interests. The same mainstream science that is responsible for the sham that is our (genetically modified, disease producing) food supply and the joke that is our medical industry aka “healthcare” system. So long TED. You are history.

I just read this a few minutes ago, and maybe this explains why they are targeting Dr. Wahls: “TED aligns with Monsanto, halting any talks about GMOs, ‘food as medicine’ or natural healing.” Here’s the link:
http://www.naturalnews.com/042112_ted_conferences_pseudoscience_gmo.html##ixzz2qW61fPpK

I also have MS, and I believe what we eat is more important than what the pharmaceutical companies tell us we should put in our bodies. I’m finding I’m doing much better eating a Paleo diet. I haven’t been able to stomach (no pun intended) organ meats, though.

Well, that “TEDxIowaCity organizer” that gets mentioned above must be me! I’m Cliff Missen and I was the curator for TEDxIowaCity in 2011.

Indeed, I have had a number of conversations with TEDsters about Terry’s video. No, they have never explicitly said they would take the video down, but they have seen fit to slather the video with an unusual and off-putting advisory.

The advisory reads, “This talk, which was filmed at an independent TEDx event, falls outside TED’s curatorial guidelines. Read more below.”

Below, the advisory reads, “Note from TED: This talk, which features health advice based on a personal narrative, has been flagged as potentially outside TED’s curatorial guidelines. Viewer discretion advised.”

Why is TED being so timid? I do not know. I’ve attended several TED events, watched a hundred or so talks, and used TED videos in my courses. Are all the ideas presented scientifically sound? No. Are all the ideas “based on personal narrative”? Yes. Could some of the odder ideas, followed to their logical conclusion, be harmful? Sure.

As one who works around the developing world on various projects, I can say with a great deal of certainty that TED favors style over substance when it comes to discussing the issues of the very poor majority of the human race. None of these talks carry an advisory.

Apparently something has agitated someone at TED. After two and a half years they have decided to further editorialize. Have they done so with other videos? Are all health-related videos getting the same treatment? It seems odd that they should wait until this moment to make this call… 1.5 million views later.

Does TED really need to put itself into this position? What is to be gained? Is there evidence that Terry’s ideas have caused harm?

Frankly, I wonder if the TED folks have actually done their due diligence and how well they understand Terry’s heroic work.

As I asked TEDs’ David Webber and Emily McManus: “At what point does TED say, ‘OK, this science appears to stand on its own merits’? Are talks like Terry’s being tracked so that, at some point in the future, TED can give it its imprimatur? Are the suspect talks from others being tracked to see if they actually stand the test of time?”

I love TED. I love Terry. I admire both for the ways they urge us to stretch our brains and challenge us to think outside of traditional constraints.

I just cannot fathom why TEDsters feel the necessity to ratchet up the disclaimer on Terry’s video at this point.

I’ll leave it to the folks at TED to explain.

Interestingly, I TEDx video debunking the Paleo Diet showed up in my what to watch next in the right column. I clicked to dislike and see if it had a similar warning…it did not. How is that not biased?

I just watched Terry’s TedX video for the first time about a month ago and I didn’t even notice the “warning” because I was just so interested in actually hearing what she had to say. While it totally sucks that TED has decided to be terrible (insomuch as adding curatorial guidelines in general and adding this “warning” to Terry’s video); for me the truth remains, and the truth will win out in the long run for those that seek answers. Terry and many others, including myself, have healed and will continue to heal themselves with real, natural foods and diets such as Paleo and AIP. We need to continue sharing information with each other and our families and friends, growing our own food, and voting with our dollar (by buying organic, local produce and grassfed meats, for instance). Neither TED nor any other organization can tell us what to do, say, or feel OR EAT.

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