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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7-Iyn, 2018

TEDTED-EdTededTed EducationTED EdAndrea ToneFrances KelseyFood and Drug Administrationpublic healthmedicinethalidomidedrugpregnancybabiesheroscientific breakthroughwomen in STEM



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TED-Ed 13 kun oldin
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TheSassi42 9 kun oldin
lalla jha I don't understand. Why.is this video political. I thought it was about a scientist/doctor.
lalla jha
lalla jha 10 kun oldin
Tedx stop using it for political benefits. It's a learning organization not a political one.
TheSassi42 10 kun oldin
TED-Ed The title is not chosen very well... The health crisis already happend. She averted it from spreading to the US and more countries. But saying she averted it could come over belittling to the health crisis that already happened, if the word is interpreted wrongly. I would recommend «averted it from the US» or similar.
miguel Saavedra
miguel Saavedra 10 kun oldin
phoenixkhost kd,wlöwylsodosls w Pkw 101a A a
miguel Saavedra
miguel Saavedra 10 kun oldin
phoenixkhost kd,wlöwylsodosls w Pkw 101a A
Noodle Kaboodle
Noodle Kaboodle 4 soat oldin
The most horrifying thing about thalidomide is that it's STILL used in Brazil despite the well documented damage to feotuses
Hershel Katz
Hershel Katz 17 soat oldin
she's so cool
Maybe women are naturally more atracted to some jobs, and men to others.
Elizabeth Brennan
I was going to say the same thing. Well said.
will k
will k Kun oldin
If drugs are associated with harm, then why is weed illegal. And why do you have to make this video a gender issue, if a female wants to do a stem subject she can, THERE IS NO BARRIER in the way of her getting any sort of work in that field
Mohdzahrin Bin Abdul Rahman
Im not american so this is the first time i heard bout her.phew i was so worried that she would not get the recognition she deserved as i watch it at the early part..bravo!
ElGringo 2 kun oldin
“The only reason more women aren’t in stem fields is because of patriarchy” has better not be in any of those videos if TED wants me to keep taking them seriously. Fingers crossed
Mark Smith
Mark Smith 3 kun oldin
Scientifically train bureaucrat. The FDA is a bureaucracy- sometimes behaving more bureaucratically and sometimes being out of control organisation.
driftster99 3 kun oldin
0:57 that fade though 👌
winnkey 3 kun oldin
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
Brendan Goosen
Brendan Goosen 3 kun oldin
Why would you turn this into a gender thing? So annoying! Get over yourselves! it's 2018 FFS
Devan S.
Devan S. 3 kun oldin
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.
Kate Hu
Kate Hu 3 kun oldin
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.
SR Creative Media
SR Creative Media 3 kun oldin
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.
random guy
random guy 3 kun oldin
Maybe women are underrepresented in STEM because less women want to take STEM then men - just like the inverse for, say, nursing.
Tak Tsing
Tak Tsing 4 kun oldin
I really feel the pressure she faced, especially when German had already approved the use.
Christian Prepper
Christian Prepper 4 kun oldin
*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.
Katen Cyan
Katen Cyan 4 kun oldin
I love hearing stories about great scientists!
TheNinjaMarmot 4 kun oldin
She would have been on PETA.'s hitlist despite saving many human lives at the expense of animals
Ryan Wei
Ryan Wei 5 kun oldin
am i the only one who noticed she graduated high school at 15
Jonah Safern
Jonah Safern 5 kun oldin
Oh, good GOD! They just *had* to make it about feminism and women's supposed inequalities, didn't they?
Velcon X13
Velcon X13 5 kun oldin
This is amazing that u actually found thus
Bella B
Bella B 5 kun oldin
We was all born for a reason.
Dank Paradox
Dank Paradox 5 kun oldin
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
Lisa Mae Gilbert
Lisa Mae Gilbert 5 kun oldin
101 years! Wow! 👏👏👏
Kyori Nicks
Kyori Nicks 6 kun oldin
Wage gap doesn't exist us men must protect ourselves from feminism. 1 min later FBI OPEN UP!
Captain Doom
Captain Doom 6 kun oldin
And to think, if she didn't get the job, there would be a HUGE national health issue ALONGSIDE the news and mainstream media.
Løvely Lady
Løvely Lady 6 kun oldin
Sis was getting her education 👏👏👏
Chidz Hustle
Chidz Hustle 6 kun oldin
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
DPowered Smith
DPowered Smith 6 kun oldin
She would be fired or ignored thinking that way now
Jad Sayegh
Jad Sayegh 6 kun oldin
McGill pride!
MindTech 6 kun oldin
John Marshall
John Marshall 6 kun oldin
Dr. Helen B. Taussig was one that stopped thalidomide in USA
Elliander Eldridge
Elliander Eldridge 7 kun oldin
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.
Cry Whit
Cry Whit 7 kun oldin
The FDA needs to pull her out of retirement, and rehire her. Somebody over there is slipping up...
Devilmonkey 6 kun oldin
She died 3 years ago at 101 years old. So that might be hard to do.
D D 7 kun oldin
She lived 101 years
Terd Ferguson
Terd Ferguson 7 kun oldin
Because most women chose the easy way. Like Gender Studies instead of stem cell research, lol.
xXevilsmilesXx 7 kun oldin
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.
Anthony Flores
Anthony Flores 7 kun oldin
Starkweather, homicide, children of thalidomide bew...bee...dow..dow
Chris F
Chris F 7 kun oldin
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
fyukfy 7 kun oldin
There are less women in STEM because women don't want to be in STEM
KaidaCestro 7 kun oldin
Damn 1930 was brutal to women
M P 7 kun oldin
I wonder what domestically made alernatives she saw approved instead of thalidomide and what was the offer she couldnt refuse
Ella Aston
Ella Aston 7 kun oldin
What does STEM mean ?
jonas andersson
jonas andersson 7 kun oldin
what's STEM?
jonas andersson
jonas andersson 6 kun oldin
Devilmonkey 6 kun oldin
Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics
Joey Prette
Joey Prette 7 kun oldin
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!
Debra Timms
Debra Timms 7 kun oldin
44bebea 1108debra ok 44bebea 1108debra pat 44bebea 1108debra ok 44bebea ok yes 3pm pat 44bebea jpsdebra
Robby S
Robby S 7 kun oldin
03:21-03:32 is a pretty blatant example of why we NEED government oversight.
Devilmonkey 6 kun oldin
Exactly. I'd rather have a government that I can control than a company that can fleece me.
Tsubaki Turtle Cannon
AGRADONTÉ 7 kun oldin
This is cool because prevention is better than cure
Alexander Schwartz
Alexander Schwartz 7 kun oldin
This was beautiful till the agenda at the end rolled in, if you want a job in STEM go get it... stop blaming men
wasabi 8 kun oldin
I got goosebumps
zaimah Begum-Diamond
Go Frances. Wish I had your courage.
ThomasKT 8 kun oldin
not all heroes wear capes, some wear lab coats instead
Bob BS
Bob BS 8 kun oldin
Cool animation
AppleAmor 8 kun oldin
She probably lived to 101 because she didn't take all those drugs
Frank The Dank Plank
It was actually 2 scientists
M.C wolf Phoenix
M.C wolf Phoenix 8 kun oldin
I just finished watching so many vine videos, so everything is so funny to me right now!!
BOBS YEAH 8 kun oldin
101 years LOL
Newbytooby 8 kun oldin
Why does the “moral of the story” have to be about how one women did it and it’s because she’s a women that it happened? Why can’t it be about how a strong willed individual stuck with their gut instinct and stood up for what she believed was right?
Julia Rhoden
Julia Rhoden 8 kun oldin
I really like this video and how they don't make it seem like an accident that she did something good like some other channels do when they talk about women.
Prakash Aryal
Prakash Aryal 8 kun oldin
President Trump has now signed a bill called as "Right to Try" Bill.That basically says that you have right to use certain drug even if it dont has FDA approval. So, Good luck with that. Republicans are pro-business, bad or good.
Ao Li
Ao Li 8 kun oldin
Sounds like you can choose not to so...
R. Downgrade
R. Downgrade 8 kun oldin
((Starting off, yes, Andrea Tone did a good thing and this isn't a gripe on *HER* . Okay? Okay.)) Why were extra laws, by Congress no less, implemented when Ms. Tone here clearly demonstrated that she was enough? If anything, why was the FDA restructuring it's own rules to have without Congress meddle? I mean, did I not watch the same video everyone else did? Because she did here job right, Congress made more laws that her doing her job right already covered. Does no one else see how willfully and foolishly redundant that is?
Lammy Lams
Lammy Lams 8 kun oldin
My issue with this video is I do not feel it paints a big enough picture of the damage thalidomide did in other countries, including mine, Australia. Yes, the title includes the phrase "a national crisis", and one can assume that it'll be about the US, based on the narrator's accent alone (if not the US's domination of all media), however, there are still people alive today who have suffered terribly because Australia didn't have a Frances Kelsey, as, obviously no other country did. I feel it's slightly insulting to dedicate 6-7 seconds on those people, their families, and the lawyers who have fought for their compensation. As well as, ultimately, not giving Frances Kelsey enough credit for avoiding all the heartbreak, disharmony, and legal sagas that other countries have faced.
Schiff Granger
Schiff Granger 8 kun oldin
_Thank God FDA backed this. Good job Kelsey!_
frawding 8 kun oldin
Nice video. Simply answer to the Women in STEM question: it's simply because women don't want to.
migaca 8 kun oldin
tham medics they live forever (101)
Arushi Aishwarya
Arushi Aishwarya 8 kun oldin
I'm so glad the FDA backed her up :)
LittleArmyNut 8 kun oldin
Lol she was right the whole time and people thought she was wrong and then karma struck with birth defects
Blake Pfitzner
Blake Pfitzner 8 kun oldin
+LittleArmyNut well only her fellow scientists knew about her no one believed her because no one knew there was that possibility of birth defects
LittleArmyNut 8 kun oldin
Blake Pfitzner Karma towards the other people that didnt believe her not the scientists
Blake Pfitzner
Blake Pfitzner 8 kun oldin
I'm sorry but how is a mother with a child with birth defects karma towards the medical scientists (or whatever they were I don't remember what they said)
Vuph 2
Vuph 2 8 kun oldin
Press F to pay respect
Enrico Tessadro
Enrico Tessadro 8 kun oldin
Of course this is a 5 minutes video and many details on her story can't be told in such a short time frame, but surely she is an inspiring examples. I personally believe that work ethics and scientific facts importance are highly underestimated nowadays.
Iftekhar Ahmed
Iftekhar Ahmed 8 kun oldin
wow hats off !
Khianne Geriane
Khianne Geriane 8 kun oldin
I couldn't agree more about the gender issue for women in STEM professions. I find it difficult to find a job overseas though I am qualified for it. My application is always disapproved as they we're requesting men for that certain job. I am an architect btw.
omgidkwh atimdoing
omgidkwh atimdoing 9 kun oldin
that last thing about women n stem is an easy thing to answer. Stem is hard, women in a more general sense don't want to do hard things. At least that's where all the signs point.
Toriqul Islam Shimanto
Respect 👏👏👏👏
Libby O'Dwyer
Libby O'Dwyer 9 kun oldin
no wonder she lived to be over 100
Matthew Ferrara
Matthew Ferrara 9 kun oldin
Does nursing count as stem?
Trevor Manning
Trevor Manning 9 kun oldin
Someone Please sub to this channel uzvid.com/video/video-xVXK0sGme6w.html
Trevor Manning
Trevor Manning 9 kun oldin
Please sub to this channel uzvid.com/video/video-xVXK0sGme6w.html
Trevor Manning
Trevor Manning 9 kun oldin
Please sub to this channel uzvid.com/video/video-xVXK0sGme6w.html
Spuds Potato
Spuds Potato 9 kun oldin
I want to like it for Frances Kelsey, but they had to make it political. 🙄
Hegeleze 9 kun oldin
Instead of focusing on HOW her reasoning was done or WHAT the problem was, you created a puff piece which tries to commend the fact that the person happens to be female. The focus should always be the science and the reasoning, never the gender of the person doing the reasoning. Trite propaganda per usual.
Hai Dinh
Hai Dinh 9 kun oldin
She’s brilliant. But the title gives her too much credit! How about the FDA’s leaders who back her decision? The researchers or reporters who later pointed out that drug is bad. It’s not one-person job. A click-bait indeed.
Peyton Woeller
Peyton Woeller 9 kun oldin
Hi TED-Ed! This really inspired me and my girlfriend. Were both in sixth grade going to seventh and we were both asked to be apart of a college STEM program. We had to take Manu tests and we can have our associates degree before we graduate highschool and I was even offered a scholorship for the program. This imspired us because it shows that if we work had we can make a difference. You guys impact so many lives for the better and I want to thank you.
Brenna Seah
Brenna Seah 9 kun oldin
Thalidomide is still used but under Orphan Drug. If I remember correctly from class, it is used to treat cancer now.
Blind Bob
Blind Bob 9 kun oldin
I actually went to School with A few thalidomide kids, the deformities were just horrific. My mother took it for morning sickness The sibling before me aborted, I might have had another sibling. but I do know my parents are hiding something.. but don't know what......
nightingale mori
nightingale mori 9 kun oldin
For the question at the end. It's because not a lot of women prefer to work in stem fields comparing all women who work and get paid to those in stem fields is unjust and pushing women into a job they may not want but feel obligated to.
Sai Gungurthi
Sai Gungurthi 9 kun oldin
Women are underrepresented in STEM because there are more men who find STEM appealing than women.
bush did creation club
Godamn it you can't force women into stem
andrew angel
andrew angel 9 kun oldin
Cute. I love ted ed
biggie red2978
biggie red2978 9 kun oldin
thank God for her and other scientists for finding out the truth about thalidomide
John Keith
John Keith 9 kun oldin
Thank god for heroes like Andrea Tone! She should run for president...
Erik Sparr
Erik Sparr 9 kun oldin
That’s some amazing animation! The video was incredible too!
Gabriel Thompson
Gabriel Thompson 9 kun oldin
She is epic
You would ignore me in real life
I read somewhere that the birth defects in those babies was caused due to one enantiomer of thalidomide. I was wondering if that information is legitimate.
røςkzzz φαυrαν
Plzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz plzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz make a video on masturbation
Packless1 9 kun oldin
...unsung heroes...!
FlyingFree333 9 kun oldin
Women outnumber men in universities, nobody is preventing them from entering STEM fields, they are just less interested in them than men, on average.
MrSqueak Squeak
MrSqueak Squeak 9 kun oldin
641 thumbs-down! Why? What's wrong with people like you?
Diatsu 9 kun oldin
Oppenheimer - How one scientist caused a global crisis forever.