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Online Think Tank Big Think Launches New Multimedia Web Series Exploring Some of the Most Pressing Science and Medical Issues of our Time

NEW YORK, Aug. 20 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, Big Think (, an online global think tank featuring video interviews with many of the world's most distinguished thinkers, launched Breakthroughs, a new multimedia web series exploring the cutting edge of medical science (

The online series answers a range of questions on some of today's most urgent topics. In response to the escalating global concern over Swine Flu, some of the world's top experts were brought together for a panel taping to discuss the origins of the H1N1 virus, how it was communicated, and how we can better prepare ourselves for similar pandemics in the future. In a series of post-panel conversations, they have also added insight into the 'top ten' facts that the public does not yet know about the H1N1 virus. Research scientists from Pfizer, the world's largest research-based biopharmaceutical company, provided the vantage point of those who are working to convert breakthroughs in the lab into real resources for patients and their families:

Swine Flu and the Next Pandemic

As the world is more interconnected than ever, new viruses inevitably appear and spread rapidly across the globe. We are an increasingly susceptible host to other species' viruses to which we have little immunity. As a public health emergency may be imminent, Peter Palese, Chairman of the Microbiology at Mr. Sinai Medical Center, demystified the origins of the Swine Flu epidemic and outlined the scientific community's current understanding of the Swine Flu. Michael Worobey, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Arizona and the author of a recent groundbreaking paper in Nature on Swine Flu, explained how the virus had been lurking undetected in pigs for up to a decade; he called for much closer monitoring of viruses in livestock. Barry Bloom, former Dean of the Harvard School of Public Health, revealed other hidden epidemics beyond infectious diseases. Jeff Koplan, former director of the Centers for Disease Control, described global health policy and the institutional and national response to infectious disease.

The Personal Genome: What We Know Now

In an intelligent and pointed exchange that heralds a looming societal debate, Dr. Harry Ostrer, head of the Human Genetics Program at NYU, Esther Dyson, venture capitalist and board member of Google-backed 23andMe, geneticist Tara Matisse from Rutgers University and Boonsri Dickinson, an editor at Discover Magazine, discussed one of the big questions of tomorrow: What is the promise, and possible peril, of having one's own genome mapped? What is the connection between genetics and behaviors like homosexuality or novelty seeking? Will there be a time when drugs are tailored to an individual's particular DNA?

About Big Think

Launched in November 2007, Big Think is the first online venue for the growing global conversation about where we are and where we're headed. Taking cues from elite private institutions and conferences that convene thought leaders from a variety of backgrounds and perspectives to share ideas about pressing global issues, Big Think adapts these models to the more egalitarian Web medium to give the public access to expert thinking and the opportunity to engage in dialogue around it.

About Pfizer

Founded in 1849, Pfizer is the world's premier biopharmaceutical company taking new approaches to better health. Pfizer discovers, develops, manufactures and delivers quality, safe and effective prescription medicines to treat and help prevent disease for both people and animals. The company also partners with healthcare providers, governments and local communities around the world to expand access to our medicines and to provide better quality health care and health system support. At Pfizer, colleagues in more than 90 countries work every day to help people stay happier and healthier longer and to reduce the human and economic burden of disease worldwide.

SOURCE Big Think
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