The Unmentionables panel, moderated by Alex Drane of Eliza, is a place for those companies whose topics simply are not often discussed in health care. This year vulnerability, care-giving, death, sex, stress, and drinking were addressed from companies including Cigna, Altarum Institute, the Pew Research Center, UCSF, Delivering Happiness (Zappos), Hula, MD Anderson Cancer Center, and author Gabrielle Glaser. The theme for this year’s panel was “Health is life. Care, completely. Empathy always.”
Elissa Epel, Associate Professor of Psychology at UCSF, examined how stress processes lead to early disease precursors, focusing on overeating, abdominal obesity, and immune cell aging, and whether interventions can reverse stress related tendencies and damage. Research shows that different kinds of suffering can lead to shorter telomeres. She is particularly interested in innovative solutions to the stress epidemic using cultural change and mobile technology for impacting daily life and for connecting people.