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Compiled By: Erika McGinty


physical, medical, emotional

... human behavior, language

social mores and morality

Engineering Pharmaceuticals

From 90.1 WFYI Public Radio | 59:06

Engineering Pharmaceuticals explores one of the major causes of rising health care costs – development of new drugs. It can cost up to a billion dollars to bring a new drug to market. This program goes behind the curtain and shows how drugs are created and looks at efforts to bring down the cost.


Engineering Pharmaceuticals explores one of the major causes of rising health care costs – development of new drugs.  It can cost up to a billion dollars to bring a new drug to market. This program goes behind the curtain and shows how drugs are created and looks at efforts to bring down the cost.


Engineering Pharmaceuticals takes a step back and explains what, exactly, drugs do; how they actually act to attack diseases.  We hear the sound of pharmaceutical scientists making new drug compounds as they explain the process and where its costs lie.  And we learn how engineers are helping redesign the drug manufacturing process to try and bring costs down.  We also learn the ramifications of these high costs in places where people can barely afford food, let alone much-needed pharmaceuticals.


We hear the story of a college freshman who suffered a rare brain tumor at age 13 and is now living with the consequences of his treatment.  We hear about his struggles and triumphs as he lives every day with the after-effects of his adventure in the world of pharmaceuticals.


Engineering Pharmaceuticals produced by Richard Paul and hosted by Barbara Bogaev, is part of the Grand Challenges Series from the Purdue University School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Science and the Purdue College of Engineering

A Look at the For Profit Health Insurance Industry

From AARP Radio | Part of the Prime Time Radio series | 59:54

Wendell Potter and Susan Garland, this week on Prime Time Radio.

Mike_ptr_thumb_small First, in "Deadly Spin", author and insurance company insider, Wendell Potter, speaks out on how corporate PR is killing health care and deceiving Americans. Since Wendell Potter walked away from his executive position at a top health insurance company in May of 2008, he has worked tirelessly as an outspoken critic of corporate PR and the distortion and fear manufactured by America's health insurance industry. A PR juggernaut funded by millions of dollars, the health insurance industry bankroll rivals lobbying budgets and underwriting many "non-partisan" grassroots organizations.

Then, Susan Garland, executive editor of the Kiplinger Retirement Report, says a decline in the ability to handle finances well could be an early sign of Alzheimer's disease making older Americans more vulnerable to money scams. The health care costs of retirement for a 65-year-old living until 92 will likely pay $400,000 in out-of-pocket medical costs. Tips on how to prepare to pay the tab, from buying special types of annuities to using reverse mortgages.

Wendell Potter and Susan Garland, this week on Prime Time Radio.

The Recovery Room (Series)

Produced by WDAV Classical Public Radio

Most recent piece in this series:

The Recovery Room 018: Electronic Health Records, Medical Liability

From WDAV Classical Public Radio | Part of the The Recovery Room series | 28:58

Podcast_logo_small Segment 1: Abysmal Adoption Rates for Electronic Health Records
Guest: Dr. Ashish Jha,
Bio: Dr. Jha is an associate professor of health policy and management at the Harvard School of Public Health. He is also a practicing general internist and a senior adviser to the under secretary for Health at the Veterans Administration. He co-authored the recent progress report on Electronic Health Records that was published in Health Affairs. 

Is there any aspect of our lives that hasn't gone digital? Many of us carry around weeks worth of entertainment on portable devices that fit in a purse or a pocket; we communicate almost exclusively by e-mail, text and cell phone; even our most private transactions are done online: shopping, banking, stock trading.

So what's the big deal with electronic health records? Is the health care industry really so far behind the rest of the world in making the digital transition?

According to a recently published progress report, the answer is a definitive "yes." According to the report, only 12% of U.S. hospitals had adopted basic electronic health records by the end of 2009. Next year, the federal government will start awarding 27 billion dollars in incentives that promote electronic health record (or EHR) adoption and usage. But that 27 billion dollars will only be distributed to hospitals that meet "meaningful use" requirements - that is electronic health record usage that achieves significant improvements in care.  According to that same progress report, less than 2%  - yes, 2% - of US hospitals currently meet these standards.

Segment 2: The Cost of the Medical Liability System
Guest: Dr. Michelle Mello
Bio: Professor of law and public health at the Harvard School of Public Health. Dr. Mello was the lead author of "National Costs of the Medical Liability System," published recently in Health Affairs.

The political battle over health reform was fought on many fronts. Among them, the country's costly medical liability system. Estimates about the costs of medical liability have varied widely, specifically the cost of doctors practicing defensive medicine. Some have placed the cost in the hundreds of billions of dollars, approaching 20% or more of total health care spending. A recent report published in Health Affairs puts the cost of medical liability closer to two and a half percent. But even that figure would amount to an estimated $55 billion spent every year on medical liability, $46 billion of which is being spent on defensive medicine - unnecessary tests and procedures prescribed by doctors in an effort to avoid lawsuits. Democrats and Republicans disagree about the best way to curb defensive medicine spending, with most Republicans - and physicians - favoring tort reform like caps on damages.

Dr. Michelle Mello is the lead author of the recent study that appeared in Health Affairs. She's described the medical malpractice system as "deeply flawed," but has also questioned the emphasis on tort reform as the best solution to the problem.

When Medicine Kills

From Voices of Our World | 28:00

The pharmaceutical industry is a business and sometimes generating profit could mean developing medicines with high dose of drugs that could increase the risk of death.


WHEN MEDICINE KILLS    part 1      Today’s edition of Voices of Our World is not intended to get you to stop taking your medicine.  To the contrary, we simply hope to help you be a better steward of your health and a more vigilant consumer.  The pharmaceutical industry is just that, an industry, a business.  And as often occurs in business, when the choice is between acting ethically or generating higher profit, usually profit wins.  Today we bring you a real-life cautionary tale that includes: a blood-building drug, 2 major drug companies, 2 whistleblowers, fraud, bribery and patient deaths.  Listen to our interview with journalist, Kathleen Sharp, author of Blood Feud: The Man Who Blew the Whistle on One of the Deadliest Prescription Drugs Ever.    



WHEN MEDICINE KILLS    part 2    According to a report in the Journal of the American Medical Association, even properly prescribed medications may kill more than 100,000 patients a year.  Prescribed medications, taken as instructed, kill more people per year than traffic fatalities, Diabetes and Pneumonia.  In 2004, pharmaceutical giant Merck had to stop selling Vioxx when it was shown to double the risk of heart attacks and strokes.  Blood Feud revolves around the marketing of anti-anemia drug Procrit by Johnson and Johnson and under a different name by Amgen.  When these practices began to involve Medicaid fraud and risky higher doses, salesman Mark Duxbury sounded a warning and was fired!  We return to our interview with the author of Blood Feud, Kathleen Sharp.            

The Unreal World of Narcissists and Sociopaths

From Jari Chevalier | 47:10

Narcissists and Sociopaths have always been among us and yet recent research brings us new understanding of just what these serious emotional disabilities are; what causes them, how prevalent they are, and how studying them helps us to draw the connections between psyche and society. .

The_brain_of_a_sociopath_small Narcissists and Sociopaths have always been among us and yet recent research brings us new understanding of just what these serious emotional disabilities are; what causes them, how prevalent they are, and how studying them helps us to draw the connections between psyche and society.

Join host/producer Jari Chevalier as she talks with experts Dr. Nina W. Brown, Dr. Linda Martinez-Lewi, social worker Lisa Charlebois, Dr. Philip Zimbardo, Gabor Mate, MD, Dr. Sandy Hotchkiss, Dr, Scott Baum, and Dr, Martha Stout. Narration includes in-depth research and synthesis of the work of these and many researchers and healers.

Learn just how and why narcissists and sociopaths might be a bigger part of your life than you imagined. We focus on the many factors of unreality inherent in these personality structures and how they spin unreality into the world.

The Gift of Thanks

From Canadian Broadcasting Corporation | 54:35

Cultural anthropologist Margaret Visser about her book The Gift of Thanks.

The_gift_of_thanks_small Most of us say "thank you" dozens of times a day, but how often do we really mean it?   And why do we feel so hurt if we're not thanked?
In this week of giving thanks, we present Margaret Visser discussing her book The Gift of Thanks. Visser discusses how and why we're taught to say thanks, how different cultures express thanks, and she offers a brief history of

Has thank you lost its meaning?

From Canadian Broadcasting Corporation | 55:00

We all say "thank you" a lot. We thank people for holding doors open for us. We thank the person who hands us our morning coffee. We thank the cashier when she hands us our change. And real keeners even send thank you notes to people who've given them a present. But if you were to
keep track of now many times a day you say "thank you," how often would you really mean it? So we ask the question: has thank you lost its meaning?

Promo-dnto-sm_small So, let me ask you, how many times have you said "thank you" today? Maybe 10 times or
more?  Has "thank you" become a hollow phrase in our lexicon that's overused and undervalued?  Today on the program, we present an award-winning episode of the CBC Radio program "Definitely Not the Opera" that considers if thank you has lost its meaning.

My Lobotomy

From Sound Portraits | 28:33

One man's quest to uncover the hidden story behind the lobotomy he received as a 12-year-old child.

Howardduring_small On January 17, 1946 a psychiatrist named Walter Freeman launched a radical new era in the treatment of mental illness in this country. On that day he performed the first-ever transorbital -- or "ice pick" -- lobotomy in his Washington, D.C. office. Freeman believed that mental illness was related to overactive emotions, and that by cutting the brain he cut away these feelings.  

Freeman was equal part physician and showman and became a barnstorming crusader for the procedure. Before his death in 1972, he performed ice pick lobotomies on no less than 2,500 patients in 23 states.

One of Freemen's youngest patients is a 56-year-old bus driver living in California. Over two years he has embarked on a quest to discover the story behind the procedure he received as a 12-year-old.

Mediating Conflict in the Workplace (Peace Talks Radio) [29:00]

From Good Radio Shows, Inc. | Part of the Peace Talks Radio - Series of Half-Hours series | 28:54

We meet a couple of mediators who help employees learn how to communicate better with each other and deal with conflict in the workplace. Workplace mediators Cynthia Olson and Philip Crump. Suzanne Kryder hosts.

Peacerocksmall_small We meet a couple of mediators who help employees learn how to communicate better with each other and deal with conflict in the workplace.  Workplace mediators Cynthia Olson and Philip Crump. Suzanne Kryder hosts.

The Emotion Roadmap: How to improve your relationship with a supervisor or manager

From Chuck Wolfe | Part of the The Emotion Roadmap: Take the Wheel & Control How You Feel series | 20:00

Want to know why smart people get stuck? It is almost always because of emotional issues or challenges in them, or in someone, or some group, they are dealing with? Are you emotionally stuck? Do you know someone who is? Would you like to get yourself, or them, unstuck? Listen to my weekly radio show “The Emotion Roadmap: Take the Wheel and Control How You Feel” on WPKN, 89.5 FM in Bridgeport, CT or streaming at wpkn.org every Wednesday, Noon to 1 PM ET.

Chuck_and_daphne_small This 20 minute piece is all about the show, how the Emotion Roadmap works, a case study about how to get along at work, some music about feelings, and an invitation to listen regularly. If you listen and like the show, please comment so we that we can reach more people and help the world to be a better place, a more emotionally intelligent place!

Psychedelics: Uniquely Useful Tools?

From Burton Cohen | 59:39

Results of recent conference of medical professionals on the subject

-_0__small Brushed aside for decades, a recent conference of scientists focused on the potential uses of LSD and other psychedelics. On this edition of The Burt Cohen Show, guest Randolph Hencken of Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) discusses Psychedelic Science for the 21st century. If carefully controlled, should LSD and other psychedelic drugs become available as a tool for addressing psychological problems? If it can be of significant benefit to humankind, why not prescribe?

The Neuroscience of Getting Along (Peace Talks Radio) [29:00]

From Good Radio Shows, Inc. | Part of the Peace Talks Radio - Series of Half-Hours series | 29:01

Why are people so reactive to one another? Why is it challenging to keep peace in our families and workplaces? Two psychologists and authors, Daniel Goleman and Rick Hanson, explain the brain’s role in social intelligence and how we can manage our brains to be more peaceful in social interactions. Suzanne Kryder hosts with Paul Ingles.


Why are people so reactive to one another? Why is it challenging to keep peace in our families and workplaces? On this edition of Peace Talks Radio, we’ll explore the field of social intelligence - or a person’s ability to understand his or her environment optimally and react appropriately for peaceful outcomes. Suzanne Kryder talks with two authors who will explain the brain’s role in social intelligence and how we can manage our brains to be more peaceful in social interactions. Dr. Daniel Goleman is an author, psychologist, and science journalist. For twelve years, he wrote for The New York Times, specializing in psychology and brain sciences. Goleman authored the two best-selling books, Emotional Intelligence and Social Intelligence. In 2009 he published Ecological Intelligence: How Knowing the Hidden Impacts of What We Buy Can Change Everything. We’ll also speak with Dr. Rick Hanson, a neuropsychologist and co-author of the book, Buddha's Brain: The Practical Neuroscience of Happiness, Love and Wisdom.

There is a 59:00 and 54:00 version of this program


Loneliness and How it Affects Us

From Barry Vogel | Part of the Radio Curious series | 29:00

How many of us are lonely? What is loneliness and how does it affect us? William Patrick, the founding editor of The Journal of Life Sciences and co-author of “Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection,” discusses loneliness and its impacts.

Radio-curious-logosmall_small How many of us are lonely? What is loneliness and how does it affect us? Approximately 25 years ago, when asked the number of friends in whom we could confide, most people in the United States said “three.” When that question was asked recently most people said “none.”

Inquires reveal that twenty per-cent of people, -- 60 million in the Untied States alone – are feeling lonely at any given moment. And, it appears that chronic loneliness may well compete with smoking, obesity and lack of exercise as a significant health risk.

In this edition of Radio Curious we visit with William Patrick, the founding editor of The Journal of Life Sciences and co-author of “Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection,” along with University of Chicago psychology professor John Cacioppo.

My conversation with William Patrick, recorded on October 13, 2008, began when I asked him to define loneliness as used in their book.

The book William Patrick recommends is “The Lost Gospel: The Book of Q and Christian Origins,” by Burton Mack.

Life of the Law #11 - Without Means

From Life of the Law | Part of the Life of the Law series | 10:30

More than 30,000 people died by guns in 2011 in the US. Of those, close to 20,000 died by suicide. Many still do not make a connection between gun availability and suicide rates, but a growing body of research suggests otherwise. What role do these “other” gun deaths play in our discussion of gun laws?


Cathy Barber is a researcher who studies violent deaths and injuries. A number of years ago, she was helping to develop a new system for the federal government called the National Violent Death Reporting system.

“In the process of doing that, I would read through thousands of suicides, little thumbnail sketches of suicides,” Barber recalls. “I was surprised at how many suicides involved some sort of triggering event on the same day as the suicide—like an argument, or an arrest, or somebody getting kicked out of school.”

Barber was surprised because, like many others, she assumed that suicide is deliberative, something people plan. But these little sketches showed people acting impulsively.

Barber got curious. She found some research on people who survived a nearly fatal suicide. They were asked how long it was between the time they decided to attempt suicide and the moment they tried it.

“Twenty-four percent said less than five minutes, two-thirds said under an hour, [and] only 16 percent said a day or more.  You’d think, ‘This is such a huge decision.’ You’d think it would be a more deliberative one,” she says.

Barber says these people may have suffered long battles with depression, but the decision to go through suicide is fast, and it passes quickly.

This matters, Barber says, because if people could get through that tiny window of time and not complete a suicide, then they would have a chance. Many people never re-attempt suicide, although that’s a common assumption.

So Barber came to conclusion that is so simple, it’s surprising we don’t’ talk about it more. Harmful things—easily available harmful things—are what matter in that little tiny window.

“There is a huge difference across methods of suicide in how likely they are to actually kill,” Barber says. “Firearms are actually at the top of the heap.”

When you try to kill yourself with a gun, you almost always die. By contrast, poisoning, for instance, hardly ever works.

Gun deaths add up. In 2011, of the 30,867 gun deaths in the U.S., 19,766 were suicides. So public health researchers like Barber have started to think about guns in terms of something called “means restriction.”

The term comes from the U.K., where gas—sticking your head in the oven—was once a leading means of suicide.

“Back in the 1960s, they started replacing the source of gas with a non-toxic source, and suddenly suicides in Great Britain went down by a third,” Barber says. “And so that’s when we started realizing means restriction actually can save lives.”

But of course, with guns in the U.S., “means restriction” is not so simple.

Most of the gun laws currently under debate address homicide, not suicide. Laws that restrict the overall availability of guns in a home might curb suicides, but those kinds of laws are unlikely to ever be on the table.

Episode11-gun suicides-poster

So Barber’s approach is to provide crucial people with information and resources about firearm suicide. Her project, based at Harvard University, is called Means Matters. She focuses on developing leadership with gun owners. For example, one project equips gun shop owners in suicide intervention.

But our nation’s strong feelings about gun laws sometimes spill over to affect these public health approaches.

Dr. Joseph O’Neil lives in Indiana. He used to work as a family doctor. As part of his regular checkup routine, he’d ask about general health and safety concerns.

“When I was talking about car seats, when I was talking about seatbelt use, I often asked families if there was a firearm in the house. And I had several families take exception to that,” O’Neil recalls.

Some patients were so upset with the question about guns that they switched doctors, he says. But O’Neil didn’t stop asking. He’d had patients injured by firearms. And he didn’t feel like he was doing his job if he didn’t bring up the question of guns in the home.

O’Neil later went on to become part of the Indiana Violent Death Prevention project.

They trained clergy in suicide prevention. Most of the clergy said they had counseled a suicidal person before. More than a third said they had actually lost someone in their congregation to suicide.

“Clergy felt more empowered to say, ‘By the way, I know you feel this way. Is there a gun in the home, would you be willing to get it out of the house?’” O’Neil says.

But O’Neil’s group never got the chance to follow up to see how well the project worked. Their funding, which was from a private foundation, ran out.

Funding is scarce for research on firearm injuries. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) funds research on causes of death and injury. But since 1996, the US Congress—under pressure from the National Rifle Association—has restricted most CDC research on firearms. And the Consumer Product Safety Commission, which researches and legally regulates most household products, doesn’t oversee firearms.

O’Neil says compared with vehicles or toys, there just isn’t the same oversight or information on firearms.

“Since 1975, we’ve reduced the number of infants killed in motor vehicle accidents by 75 percent. For toddlers, [by] 50 percent. I wish we could do that for firearm injuries,” he says.

But for now, O’Neil said the restrictions on funding make it hard for him and others to develop the good kind of public health approaches that would get those results. “It’s sort of like going without a compass. We don’t know where we’ve been and we don’t know where we are going unless we have the data.”

O’Neil is passionate about addressing firearm suicides in his state. He says it can be really frustrating to see the need and not be able to provide any solutions.

Harvard researcher Cathy Barber has faced similar issues. She says that while homicides often get public attention, suicides are kept quieter.

“I think what looms so large in people’s eyes is the thing you can’t control—the stranger who is trying to rob you,” she says of the public debate about guns. “Whereas you think, ‘Well, I am not going to commit suicide and my family is not.’”

But for Lindsay Van Sickle, it’s no longer possible to think that way.

She says her father was a fun loving guy who had plenty of friends.  He was very outgoing, loved Jimmy Buffett, and was always the life of the party. “And I guess this kind of comes up with his death, but one of his hobbies was collecting guns and going to the shooting range,” she says.

Lindsay Van Sickle’s dad shot himself in July of 2011. A few years earlier, her mother had died in a traffic accident. Both deaths were sudden and difficult for Van Sickle. But she says the feelings of being a suicide survivor are unique, unlike anything else.

Lindsay Van Sickle with her father. Van Sickle says her father was outgoing and affectionate.  Courtesy of Lindsay Van Sickle

Lindsay Van Sickle with her father. Van Sickle says her father was outgoing and affectionate.
Courtesy of Lindsay Van Sickle

She remembers lying and saying her dad died of a heart attack, just so she wouldn’t have to explain what really happened.

“Because you don’t know what to say… I’ve told people my dad took his life. They give this shocked look. At least if it was cancer, you can at least [say] ‘Oh, I am so sorry.’ But what do you say [when someone tells you] ‘Oh yeah, my dad shot himself?’”

Van Sickle says her dad grew up hunting. He collected guns from World War II. And she says he was always very responsible, stressing safety, locking things properly. His cousins and friends, who also were gun hobbyists, were shocked that he’d use something he loved and respected so much to end his own life.

It’s only now that anyone can imagine the gun as something that would end up hurting him.

“If you have a gun, even if it’s for hunting or protection, there may come a time in your life that you may be depressed. And that may be a means to take your life. So, yeah, I am definitely more nervous and scared about guns now based on what my dad did to himself,” Van Sickle says.

For the most part, she tries not to wonder about what could have gone differently. It’s just too hard, she says. But watching the national conversation about guns, she does think about what place suicide has as we talk about firarms. And waits for the rest of us to ask that question too.

This story was produced with help from Kaitlin Prest, Julia Barton, and Nancy Mullane in collaboration with WBEZ’s Front and Center series on guns.

I'm Not a Doctor, but I Play One at the Holiday Inn

From Lu Olkowski | 16:30

A former heroin addict realizes that he wants to help other addicts kick their habits. The problem is, he wants to do this using a hallucinogenic drug - Ibogaine - that is completely illegal, and which requires medical expertise he doesn't have.

409pxbayerheroinbottle_small This piece is close-up portrait of a community that most people and frankly, most news organizations would rather not look at, much less empathize with. We focus on Dimitri, a former heroin addict who was cured by controversial substance called Ibogaine. It's a drug that promises to take away intense cravings for heroin and also suppresses the withdrawal symptoms. It's Illegal in the U.S., so Dimitri has become a part of the "Ibogaine Underground," a group of people, with little to no medical training, trying help their fellow junkies. Dimitri isn't a doctor, but he plays one at the Holiday Inn. Gold Medalist in the 2007 New York Festivals Awards for Best Human Interest Story. Originally aired on "This American Life" on December 1, 2006.

Tempering Travel Rage (Peace Talks Radio) [29:00]

From Good Radio Shows, Inc. | Part of the Peace Talks Radio - Series of Half-Hours series | 28:44

Travel isn't always a peaceful experience - whether on a bus, train, plane or automobile. We've heard the terms Road Rage, Air Rage and Line Rage - whatever you call it, when people travel, our patience is tested, conflicts arise, and keeping the peace within a traveling community can be a challenge. This time on Peace Talks, a discussion on Tempering Travel Rage.


Travel isn't always a peaceful experience - whether on a bus, train, plane or automobile. We've heard the terms Road Rage, Air Rage and Line Rage - whatever you call it, when people travel, our patience is tested, conflicts arise, and keeping the peace within a traveling community can be a challenge. This time on Peace Talks , a discussion on Tempering Travel Rage.

According to the US Bureau of Transportation Statistics, Americans travel over 500 million air miles and over 4 billion highway miles in a typical year. But how many of those miles were peaceful? On this edition of Peace Talks, we explore the causes of travel rage and specific ways to prevent or at least control it. Our two guests help us learn to stay calm as we co-create traveling communities with fellow voyagers. We talk with Diana Fairechild, an aviation health & safety author and expert witness who was an international flight attendant for 21 years and Dr. Leon James, expert and author on Road Rage who is a Professor of Psychology at the University of Hawaii.

116: The Truth about Organic Foods

From America's Test Kitchen Radio | Part of the America's Test Kitchen Radio series | 53:59

PLEASE NOTE: Program-specific and generic promos available now. Full show available Thursday, May 10th.

This time on America’s Test Kitchen, we’ll be in search of what the term organic really means. What is organic food and how is that definition still changing? How do farmers, experts, and the USDA make sense of the fast-growing world of organics? Then we’ll travel back in time to learn the origins of an old American recipe: Chicken and Slicks. We’ll head into the test kitchen for a butter tasting, and we’ll learn the best method for making quick, no-stir polenta at home. And of course, we’ll be taking your calls to answer all of your cooking questions.

(AIR WINDOW: May 10-17, 2012)


America's Test Kitchen Show 116: The Truth about Organic Foods


In this hour:


—Host Christopher Kimball investigates the truth behind the term “organic.” What is organic food and how is that definition still changing?


—Call-Ins with Host Christopher Kimball and Culinary Expert Bridget Lancaster: Chris and Bridget take calls from listeners and answer their cooking questions.

—Taste of America: Host Christopher Kimball takes us back in time to explore the origins of Chicken and Slicks.

—Taste Test with Jack Bishop: Tasting expert Jack Bishop challenges host Christopher Kimball to a tasting of butter.

—Recipe Challenge: Test cook Dan Souza uncovers the secrets to making quick, no-stir polenta.

The Recovery Room 013: All The News That's Flawed To Print - The Good, The Bad and The Future of Health Journalism

From WDAV Classical Public Radio | Part of the The Recovery Room series | 29:00

Is health news … bad for your health? According to Health News Review dot org, 70% of health reporting fails to meet basic journalistic standards. On today’s show, the publisher of the media watchdog explains how to be a smart consumer of health news (here’s a hint: turn off your tv). And later in the show, a day in the life of a health news veteran.

Podcast_logo_small Segment 1: The Watchdog
Guest: Gary Schwitzer, Publisher, Health News Review Dot Org

A friend e-mails you a recent New York Times article about a new generation of pacemakers that communicate directly with doctors. The headline reads "New Tools for Helping Heart Patients." It sounds cool.    

But would you read the article differently if you knew that Health News Review only gave the article a two-star rating ... out of a possible five?

Since 2006, Health News Review has acted as a kind of watchdog on the health journalism industry, focusing on news stories that make a therapeutic claim about specific treatments, tests, products and procedures. The non-profit's two dozen reviewers - all of them practicing physicians, journalists or experts in public health - use a set of 10 standardized criteria to evaluate each article; and each article is reviewed by up to three different members of the Health News Review team. Among the criteria reviewers use: does the article discuss costs; is there evidence of disease mongering or conflict of interest; and does the story appear to rely solely on an industry news release.

In the case of the New York Times article about pacemakers, Health News Review determined that the story failed to adequately discuss the new devices' benefits versus their potential harm; and didn't give a realistic evaluation of the costs.  

Gary Schwitzer is the publisher of Health News Review. He's worked as a journalist and educator for more than three decades, including 14 years as a television medical news reporter. Until earlier this year, Schwitzer was on the faculty of the University of Minnesota's School of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Segment 2: The Veteran
Guest: Scott Hensley, Host of NPR's Health Blog "Shots"

So what's it like to be on the receiving end of a Health News Review ... review? Is the site's criteria fair? Is it helpful?  Among the news outlets that publisher Gary Schwitzer praises for consistently good health reporting is National Public Radio. Joining us now is Scott Hensely. A veteran health reporter, Hensley is the host of NPR's health blog, "Shots." He's also a former reporter at The Wall Street Journal.

Rape Culture

From WHJE | 07:53

Rape and rape glamorization is something that is splashed across cinema screens and adult magazines to earn a profit, but at the same time is also a topic that schools and families don’t educate their children about. Rape is something that is talked about, but never really talked about.

Rape Culture

Hudson_rape_culture_picture_small Rape culture stems from these twisted ideas because too many people accept that the objectification and degradation of women from peers and the media is the societal norm. Americans don’t believe that this is wrong; rather they believe that if they keep quiet about the crimes done to them, or to others, the crimes will simply go away. But more and more people, almost exclusively women, believe that rape is something that is unavoidable. Rape culture is not just about rape; it’s about the growing idea that women are objects to be used once and then thrown away, which then creates the concept that sexual assault is normal and even expected.    

There's No Miss Manners for the iPhone

From WNPR | Part of the Colin McEnroe Show: Fresh Voices series | 03:00

Essayist Tracy Wu explains why we need an Emily Post for the digital age ...


We've all been taught to say please and thank you, and not to eat with our elbows on the table, but when Mom was teaching us to mind our Ps and Qs, she had no idea that one day we'd be able to broadcast what were were doing at given moment to everyone we know...or run a small country from our telephone. Technology brings all sorts of conveniences to our lives but it also allows us to be obnoxious, rude, and downright stupid in all sorts of bold new ways. And as much as I love Dear Prudence, I'm thinking we need an Emily Post for the digital age.


Within the past few weeks I've sat through dinner while the guy behind me carried on a speaker phone conversation while his dinner companion sat on and watched, and listened to a girl in the bathroom stall at the movies exclaim, “OMG! I got 3 comments on my status!”


Our state of constant connectedness brings up all new issues when it comes to good manners. No one would think twice about having a conversation with a dinner companion, but what if that dinner companion is on the other end of a phone? And is it actually rude to check Facebook while sitting on a public toilet, or is it just gross?


Since there is no Miss Manners for the iPhone, I figure if we should all agree to adhere to a few simple rules for the sake of civilization.


First and foremost, if you are in the presence of an actual human being, he or she is automatically more important than your phonecalls, texts, or cyberfriends.


Second, phones are not for use in public restrooms – even if you're just using them to surf the internet. This is both courteous and hygienic. But it is also because I don't want to listen to your business while I'm taking care of mine.


Third, we all need to remember that what we type online will get around--especially if it's salacious or insulting. If you choose to express yourself in this way, you are not allowed to be surprised or upset at the repercussions.


Fourth, pictures posted online of others should not be incriminating or unflattering, if you wish to stay in the good graces of your friends and family. While you may look hot, your best friend may not be too happy about having a picture of her with her eyes half closed and spinach in her teeth for all the world to see. So, get familiar with photo cropping software.


Fifth, speaker phone is for use in private areas--your car, your home, your office. It's not to be used in a restaurant, store, or library. If you do use it in these public forums, I reserve the right to butt in on the conversation you are so thoughtlessly sharing with me.


I think these five rules lay a strong foundation for our emerging etiquette needs. Should you break any of these rules, you are fully subject to dirty looks, rude comments, loss of friends, and being labeled as a jerkface, and you forfeit all right to complain. Now, go forth and communicate...politely.

Music Bed 2:40 OUT 

States of Mind: Mental Illness in America

From BackStory with the American History Guys | Part of the BackStory with the American History Guys: Full Episodes series | 54:00

The American Psychiatric Association just released its latest Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) – a manual that says as much about how we view the mind today, as it does about particular mental conditions. This week's BackStory takes a longer view, exploring the history of mental illness in America - and the ever-shifting line between normality and "madness."


The American Psychiatric Association just released the 5th version of its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) – a manual that says as much about how we view the mind today, as it does about particular mental conditions. Indeed, latest estimates suggest that more than 50% of Americans will suffer from a "mental disorder" at some point in their lifetime, making the once "abnormal" - well, normal.

So in this episode of BackStory,  the American History Guys look back over the history of mental illness in America - exploring how the diagnostic line between mental health and "madness" has shifted over time, and how we’ve treated those on both sides of it. We’ll hear how the desire of slaves to escape bondage was once interpreted as a psychological disorder, how a woman’s sleepwalking landed her in the state asylum, and how perspectives on depression altered in the 1970s. Plus, the Guys walk us through a mid-century quiz that promised to identify a new kind of mental “disorder” - our susceptibility to fascism.   All this and more on this week’s BackStory.

Guests include:

  • Katherine Bankole-Medina , Coppin State University, on the supposed mental condition afflicting runaway slaves.
  • Allan Horwitz , Rutgers University, on the DSM-III and its “depression checklist” – where symptoms alone ruled the day.
  • Jonathan Metzl , Vanderbilt University, on the medicalization of black protest.
  • Jamie Cohen-Cole , George Washington University, on post World War II ideas connecting an “authoritarian personality” to authoritarian politics.
  • Benjamin Reiss , Emory University, on Jane Rider, a sleepwalking servant girl whose case captured public – and psychiatric – attention.
  • Elyn Saks , University of Southern California, on her own experience with schizophrenia.


Minds Over Money

From Voices of Our World | 27:59

Join us as we hear first hand how psychiatry has become a big business, often with little results.




Non-material aid is becoming a growing factor in how humanitarian organizations attempt to address problems throughout the world as they discover that financial donations alone cannot help the mental anguish of those suffering from rape, violence and disease.  As the need to help victims of mental trouble grows, the need for qualified Psychiatric professionals grows as well.  Sadly, as our guest today, Psychiatrist Daniel Carlat, demonstrates in his new book, Unhinged: The Trouble With Psychiatry – A Doctor's Revelations About A Profession In Crisis, there are some deeply disturbing issues currently plaguing his profession, issues that prevent Psychiatrists from healing their suffering patients in order to maximize profits.




The Recovery Room 017: "A Watershed Moment for Health Care Accountability"

From WDAV Classical Public Radio | Part of the The Recovery Room series | 29:00

If you’ve ever tried to find consumer ratings for a surgeon the way you might compare plumbers or car mechanics, you know that the information is almost impossible to find. How many patients survive surgery? How many went home with complications? Performance data for surgeons or surgical groups - or hospitals, for that matter - when it exists at all – hasn’t been available to the public. That’s starting to change.

On today’s show, we talk with Dr. Dave Shahian from the Society of Thoracic Surgeons. The Society of heart and lung specialists recently released performance data for the first time in what some are calling a “watershed moment” for health care accountability. The resulting ratings of surgical groups is currently available in the most recent issue of Consumer Reports and on the magazine’s website. Later in the show, we’ll speak with John Santa. He’s the director of Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center.

Podcast_logo_small Segment 1: Pulling Back The Curtain
Guest: Dr. David Shahian, Chair of Society of Thoracic Surgeons' Quality Management Taskforce

If you need heart bypass surgery, would it help to know that one surgical group has a 24 percent chance of providing recommended drugs when you leave the hospital versus another surgical group that provides the drugs 92 percent of the time?

Thanks to data released by the Society of Thoracic Surgeons to Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports, it's possible to compare surgical groups for the very first time. The ratings of 221 surgical groups - but not individual surgeons - from 42 states are currently available to subscribers of Consumer Reports on the magazine's website. The information will be available to the public on the Society's website in a couple of months. The scores assigned by Consumer Reports are based on complication and survival rates, whether the groups used the best surgical technique and whether patients are sent home with medicine that has been proven to be beneficial after heart surgery. Surgical groups were assigned a rating of one to three stars - above average, average, or below average.  

This publication of surgical group ratings is a significant first step toward industry transparency; but it's a tentative one. Of the thousand-plus cardiac surgery groups in the country, 90% submit performance data to the Society of Thoracic Surgeons; but only about a quarter of them allowed their results to be published. And only five of the 221 surgical groups reviewed by Consumer Reports received a below average rating.

Even before their decision to allow the publication of surgical group ratings, the Society of Thoracic Surgeons - or STS - had earned a reputation as an industry leader in the collection of performance and outcomes data. It's been tracking its member surgeons' performance for over twenty years.

Segment 2: The Reputation
Guest: Dr. John Santa. Director of the Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center

According to Dave Shahian, it was the reputation of Consumer Reports that allowed the Society of Thoracic Surgeons to make its groundbreaking release of performance data. We wanted to take a look behind the scenes at the magazine, so we invited John Santa to join us. Dr. Santa is the Director of the Consumer Reports Health Ratings Center in Yonkers, NY.

Owsley is Gone: New Future for LSD?

From Burton Cohen | 59:22

The man who delivered clean LSD to the Dead just died. Now
a SF psychiatrist argues for proper use of psychedelics.

Burt_cohen_formerly_sr_n_1d_small Owsley, the man who provided high quality LSD to the Grateful Dead and untold thousands of others, recently died in a car crash. Today, some 45 years after its then-legal popularization, there is renewed interest in what today's guest psychiatrist Dr Phil Wolfson calls, in his article in Tikkun magazine: Psychedelics, Spirituality, and Transformation. Tune in!

This I Believe - Eve Ensler

From This I Believe | Part of the This I Believe series | 04:01

The Vagina Monologues playwright Eve Ensler believes naming things can break taboos and shatter silences.

Tiblogobluesmallrgb_small HOST INTRO: Eve Ensler is a writer and activist living in New York. Her play ?The Vagina Monologues? has been translated into 35 languages and performed more than 2,000 times in 2004 alone. It is not surprising when a writer believes in the power of words, but for Eve Ensler, the belief is rather specific, and her experience has supported her conviction. Here is Eve Ensler with her essay for This I Believe. ESSAY TEXT: I believe in the power and mystery of naming things. Language has the capacity to transform our cells, rearrange our learned patterns of behavior and redirect our thinking. I believe in naming what's right in front of us because that is often what is most invisible. Think about the word vagina. I believe that by saying it 128 times each show, night after night, naming my shame, exorcising my secrets, revealing my longing, was how I came back, into my self, into my body. By saying it often enough and loud enough in places where it was not supposed to be said, the saying of it became both political and mystical and gave birth to a worldwide movement to end violence against women. The public utterance of a banished word, which represented a buried, neglected, dishonored part of the body was a door opening, an energy exploding, a story unraveling. When I was finally able as an adult to sit with my mother and name the specific sexual and physical violence my father had perpetrated on me as a child, it was an impossible moment. It was the naming, the saying of what had actually happened in her presence that lifted my 20-year depression. By remaining silent, I had muted my experience, denied it, pushed it down. This had flattened my entire life. I believe it was this moment of naming that allowed both my mother and I to eventually face our deepest demons and deceptions and become free. I think of women naming the atrocities committed against them by the Taliban in Afghanistan, or women telling of the systematic rapes during the Bosnian war, or just recently in Sri Lanka after the Tsunami, women lining up in refugee camps to name their nightmares and losses and needs. I have traveled through this world and listened as woman after woman tells of being date raped, or acid burned, genitally mutilated, beaten by her boyfriend or molested by her stepfather. Of course the stories are incredibly painful. But I believe as each woman tells her story for the first time, she breaks the silence, and by doing so breaks her isolation, begins to melt her shame and guilt, making her experience real, lifting her pain. I believe one person's declaration sparks another and then another. Helen Caldicott naming the consequences of an escalating nuclear arms race, gave rise to an anti-nuclear movement. The brave soldier who came forward and named the abuses at Abu Ghraib prison, was responsible for a sweeping investigation. Naming things, breaking through taboos and denial is the most dangerous, terrifying and crucial work. This has to happen in spite of political climates or coercions, in spite of careers being won or lost, in spite of the fear of being criticized, outcast or disliked. I believe freedom begins with naming things. Humanity is preserved by it.