The People's Pharmacy Radio Program Everything from home remedies to the latest breakthrough drugs are discussed on The People's Pharmacy. Pharmacologist Joe Graedon and medical anthropologist Terry Graedon talk to leading experts to discuss issues relating to drugs, herbs, home remedies, vitamins and related health topics.
The People's Pharmacy Radio Program

The People's Pharmacy Radio Program

From North Carolina Public Radio

Everything from home remedies to the latest breakthrough drugs are discussed on The People's Pharmacy. Pharmacologist Joe Graedon and medical anthropologist Terry Graedon talk to leading experts to discuss issues relating to drugs, herbs, home remedies, vitamins and related health topics.More from The People's Pharmacy Radio Program »

Most Recent Episodes

Show 1118: What You Should Know About Lithium

Lithium rich water from hot springs such as those at Lithia Springs, GA, have long been sought after for their healing properties. This element was used for decades to treat some forms of mental illness, but high doses can be dangerous. As a result, this treatment fell out of favor although it can be effective for problems such as bipolar disorder. Low-Dose Lithium: Some psychiatrists are resurrecting the use of lithium to treat mental illness. They are prescribing low-dose lithium for depression and attention disorders as well as for bipolar disorder. What kind of results do they get? How does lithium compare to newer medications? Find out what a patient should know before agreeing to use low-dose lithium. Pros and Cons of Lithium: Jaime Lowe has intimate experience with lithium. She developed bipolar disorder as an adolescent. Lithium at standard doses was the medication that helped stabilize her life, but it also wrecked her kidneys. She became fascinated with the compound and dug deep into its story. She even traveled to a famous place in Bolivia, Salar de Uyuni, where it is mined. Find out what it feels like to experience a bipolar episode and how lithium helped Ms. Lowe. Learn More: You can read what we have written previously about this medication here. The New York Times article is here. Recent scientific articles have been published in Neuropsychopharmacology, April 2018; Expert Opinion on Drug Metabolism & Toxicology, Nov. 2017; Bipolar Disorders, Nov. 2017; and Bipolar Disorders, Nov. 2017 for the study on drinking water. This Week's Guests: Nassir Ghaemi, MD, MPH, is an academic psychiatrist specializing in mood disorders, depression and bipolar illness. He is editor of a monthly newsletter, The Psychiatry Letter (www.psychiatryletter.org). Dr. Ghaemi is professor of psychiatry at Tufts Medical Center in Boston, where he directs the Mood Disorders Program. He is also a Clinical Lecturer at Harvard Medical School and teaches at the Cambridge Health Alliance. The photograph of Dr. Ghaemi was taken by Martha Stewart. His website is http://www.nassirghaemi.com. Jaime Lowe is a writer living in Brooklyn and is a frequent contributor to The New York Times magazine. She has also written for New York magazine, Esquire, Sports Illustrated, Maxim, Gawker, The Village Voice, LA Weekly, and ESPN.com. Lowe is the author of two books: Digging for Dirt: The Life and Death of ODB, a biography of Ol' Dirty Bastard, a founding member of the Wu-Tang Clan, and most recently Mental: Lithium, Love and Losing My Mind. Listen to the Podcast: The podcast of this program will be available the Monday after the broadcast date. The show can be streamed online from this site and podcasts can be downloaded for free. CDs may be purchased at any time after broadcast for $9.99. Buy the CD Download the mp3

Show 1117: What Can Chinese Centenarians Teach You About Long Life?

More Americans are living to old ages, but frequently their later years are plagued with chronic diseases. Is there a way to stay healthy into the ninth and tenth decade of life? To find out, we take a virtual trip to visit centenarians in a remote village in southern China. Visit to Longevity Village: Dr. John Day, an interventional cardiologist fluent in Mandarin, became concerned about his own health prospects in his mid-40s. At the same time, he began learning about a village in rural China where centenarians were unusually common and exceptionally healthy. What was going on there to explain this? He and his wife Jane set out with their family to find out. Lessons of Longevity: Once the Day family got to Bapan (no mean feat), they were amazed by the vitality of the elders there. These centenarians were happy to teach them their secrets of a long healthy life: good food, a positive mind-set, staying in motion, connecting with community, following your own rhythm and living with purpose. How can Americans incorporate this wisdom into their own lives? The Days tell us how we can benefit from what they have learned. This Week's Guests: John Day, MD, is a cardiologist and medical director of Heart Rhythm Services at Intermountain Medical Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. He earned his medical degree at Johns Hopkins University and completed his cardiology training at Stanford University. Dr. Day is a former president of the Heart Rhythm Society and is currently president of the Utah Chapter of the American College of Cardiology. His website is DrJohnDay.com. He and his wife Jane are co-authors, with Matthew LaPlante, of The Longevity Plan: Seven Life-Transforming Lessons from Ancient China. Jane Day has master's degrees from the Georgetown School of Foreign Service and from the University of California at Santa Cruz. She has a passion for international living and business strategy. Ms. Day is also enthusiastic about healthy comfort foods and hiking in the mountains with her family and dog. Listen to the Podcast: The podcast of this program will be available the Monday after the broadcast date. The show can be streamed online from this site and podcasts can be downloaded for free. CDs may be purchased at any time after broadcast for $9.99. Buy the CD Download the mp3

Show 1116: What You Can Do About Dizziness

About 15 percent of American adults have problems with their balance. Even children are not exempt, with about 5 percent suffering from dizziness. What causes dizziness, and what can be done about it? Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo: This condition with the long and complicated name is the most common cause of balance difficulties. In it, the tiny crystals in the inner ear become unmoored and move out of place. What triggers that, and how can it best be treated? Who is most susceptible to BPPV and how is the diagnosis made? Meniere's Disease: What is Meniere's disease and who is most likely to be affected? What can be done to correct this condition? Call in Your Questions: Dr. David Kaylie will be in our studio to answer your questions about balance disorders from 7 to 8 am on April 7, 2018. Have you been diagnosed with otoliths? Do you take a medication such as gentamycin that can cause dizziness? Give us a call to learn what you can do about dizziness: 888-472-3366 or email us: radio@peoplespharmacy.com This Week's Guest: David M. Kaylie, MD, FACS, is Associate Professor of Surgery in the Division of Head and Neck Surgery & Communication Sciences at Duke University Medical School. He is also Medical Director of the Duke Vestibular Disorders Clinic, the Duke Otolaryngology Clinic and the Duke Skull Base Center. Dr. Kaylie's research interests are in balance disorders after cochlear implant surgery as well as hearing preservation in skull base surgery. He serves on several committees of the American Academy of Otolaryngology. Listen to the Podcast: The podcast of this program will be available the Monday after the broadcast date. The show can be streamed online from this site and podcasts can be downloaded for free. CDs may be purchased at any time after broadcast for $9.99 Buy the CD

Show 1115: How You Can Conquer Constipation

Americans love laxatives. Millions of people rely on such products to stay regular. But you can conquer constipation without depending on these medications. Medications That Cause Constipation: A surprising number of common medicines can cause constipation as a side effect. Opiates are notorious for this, of course, but people may not think about the antihistamine in their cold medicine or OTC sleep aid. Antidepressants, motion sickness medicines, blood pressure pills and even iron supplements may contribute to this problem. Check your medicine chest for possible culprits if you are frequently troubled with constipation. Eat Leaves and Stems: To get your colon to behave properly, you need to treat its denizens right. What should you feed your millions of microbes to keep them happy so that your digestive tract will function as it should? As much as possible, avoid processed foods. A menu with plenty of fiber-rich plant foods will be most helpful, including vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Don't throw away the stems to those veggies. They are rich in fiber and can be delicious. Stems are great for growing a good gut garden. What about fiber supplements? When do they make sense? Probiotics to Help You Conquer Constipation: Fermented foods like sauerkraut and kimchi can be helpful, perhaps in part because they are vegetables and rich in fiber. Sometimes supplements like magnesium will also be useful. Find out which is most appropriate for the problem at hand. When to Check with Your Doctor: Most of the time, constipation is a nuisance, but occasionally it is a red flag that something is very wrong. A sudden change in bowel habits should prompt a check-in. Likewise, if you have pale stool and dark urine, it's time to schedule an appointment to evaluate your liver health. Floating stool is not usually a problem, but if you are feeling ill, floating poop could be a sign of pancreatic problems. Most of the time, constipation can be corrected by changing your diet, increasing your exercise and adjusting your medicines. If those measures don't work, your health care provider will want to look for more sinister causes. This Week's Guest: Robynne K. Chutkan, MD, is on faculty at Georgetown Hospital and is the founder of the Digestive Center for Wellness in Chevy Chase, Maryland. She did her medical training at Columbia University and is board certified in gastroenterology. She has written three books on digestive health: Gutbliss, The Microbiome Solution, and The Bloat Cure. Courses: www.gutbliss.com/courses Her website is: http://gutbliss.com/blog/ Listen to the Podcast: The podcast of this program will be available the Monday after the broadcast date. The show can be streamed online from this site and podcasts can be downloaded for free. CDs may be purchased at any time after broadcast for $9.99. Buy the CD Download the mp3

Show 1114: How Health Care Became Big Business

The American health care system is a $3 trillion mess. Although it has significant technological sophistication, this big business doesn't seem consistently able to get appropriate treatments to the patients who need them. Millions of people have no insurance, or the insurance they have doesn't cover the care they need. Increasing premiums and unexpected bills can put families under great economic pressure. Medicine as Big Business: We look at the business of medicine and how it evolved. Health care was once considered a nonprofit industry. How did profit come to dominate it so thoroughly? Now, some cancer centers may charge nearly half a million dollars for a new treatment. Few individuals can afford that, and eventually insurance companies will find it challenging to pay. Is there anything that can be done to change this situation? An American Sickness: Dr. Elisabeth Rosenthal has examined the conditions that culminated in our current health care system. She has also looked at the consequences for American health. You'll definitely want to hear about the rules that the dysfunctional economic system of health care uses. In addition to analysis, she offers suggestions for both individual and collective action to turn health care around. How can you make sense of your hospital bills? What can you do to reduce the chance of an unexpected out-of-network charge? Learn what political action could take health care back from big business. This Week's Guest: Elisabeth Rosenthal, MD, is editor in chief of Kaiser Health News, an independent newsroom focusing on health and health policy journalism. Before that, Dr. Rosenthal earned her medical degree from Harvard Medical School and practiced as an emergency physician. She spent twenty-two years as a reporter, correspondent and senior writer at The New York Times. Her book, just out in paperback, is An American Sickness: How Health Care Became Big Business and How You Can Take It Back. The photo of Dr. Rosenthal is by Nina Subin. Listen to the Podcast: The podcast of this program will be available the Monday after the broadcast date. The show can be streamed online from this site and podcasts can be downloaded for free. CDs may be purchased at any time after broadcast for $9.99. Buy the CD

Show 1113: How to Keep Your Feet Happy and Healthy

It is hard to feel good if your feet hurt. Dancing, running, playing golf or tennis and many other forms of recreation are no fun if you have painful bunions or plantar fasciitis. So how can you keep your feet happy and healthy? And what can you do about common foot problems? Ask the Podiatrist: Our guest, Dr. Jane Andersen, can tell you what the most common foot problems are and how we can avoid them. How should you select shoes that will be good for your feet? Are there special considerations if you have a particular foot condition? Learn about hammertoes, bunions, corns and calluses as well as toenail fungus and athlete's foot. You'll also find out how to care for temporary setbacks such as sprains and strains and how chronic conditions such as diabetes or psoriasis can affect the feet. Your Calls Are Welcome: If you have a question about how to keep your feet happy and healthy, tune in Saturday, March 10, 2018, from 7 to 8 AM EST. You can call 1-888-472-3366. You can also reach us through email (radio@peoplespharmacy.com) or Twitter @peoplespharmacy. This Week's Guest: Jane Andersen, DPM, is a board-certified podiatrist. She practices at InStride Chapel Hill Foot and Ankle Associates. Dr. Andersen is the President of the North Carolina Foot and Ankle Society. Links To the state society: http://www.ncfootandankle.org To the American Podiatric Medical Association: https://www.apma.org To the APMA Seal program: https://www.apma.org/Patients/content.cfm?ItemNumber=1108&navItemNumber=24202 Listen to the Podcast: The podcast of this program will be available the Monday after the broadcast date. The show can be streamed online from this site and podcasts can be downloaded for free. CDs may be purchased at any time after broadcast for $9.99. Buy the CD Download the mp3

Show 1112: How and Why to Eat Sinfully

Nutrition experts have demonized a lot of foods over the past several decades. Eggs, shrimp, butter, cheese and meat were all taken off the table because they are rich in fat and cholesterol. No cholesterol, but too much fat doomed nuts, coconut and avocados. More recently, wheat and foods made from it, like bread, crackers, pretzels and pizza, have come under fire because they contain gluten. We couldn't blame you for wondering if there is anything left to eat. How did the concept of "bad foods" acquire moral connotations? Are you ever tempted to eat sinfully? Dr. Aaron Carroll is a pediatrician who is very well aware of the problems that poor nutrition can cause. Nonetheless, he says we are getting too worked up about a number of foods. Conventional wisdom may say they are "bad," but eating an occasional steak or drinking Scotch once in a while does not really make a significant difference in our health, says Dr. Carroll. The Bad Food Bible: How and Why to Eat Sinfully Starting back in 1894, nutrition guidelines stressed a varied diet. Nutrition science was in its infancy. But by the 1970s, experts were putting together guidelines on what Americans should eat based on what they thought was healthful. There wasn't much, if any, evidence involved. Dr. Carroll hunts down the evidence behind bad foods to tell us exactly how much harm they will do. In most cases, it is less than you would think, so long as you are guided by moderation. Tune in to find out why you don't need to get too excited about a recent study that declared alcohol causes cancer. Calculating the actual risk shows that it is extremely modest. Dr. Carroll explains why we should stop worrying about "eating clean" and fretting about food. What should you remember? Don't smoke Don't drink too much Exercise Eat sensibly This Week's Guest: Aaron Carroll, MD, MS, is Professor of Pediatrics and Associate Dean for Research Mentoring at Indiana University's School of Medicine, and Director of the Center for Pediatric and Adolescent Comparative Effectiveness Research. His research focuses on the study of information technology to improve pediatric care, health care policy, and health care reform. In addition to his scholarly activities, he has written about health, research, and policy for CNN, Bloomberg News, the JAMA Forum, and the Wall Street Journal. He has co-authored three popular books debunking medical myths, has a popular YouTube show called Healthcare Triage, and is a regular contributor to The New York Times' The Upshot. Dr. Carroll's most recent book is The Bad Food Bible: How and Why to Eat Sinfully. The photo of Dr. Carroll is by Marina Waters. More info about Aaron: About Aaron Listen to the Podcast: The podcast of this program will be available the Monday after the broadcast date. The show can be streamed online from this site and podcasts can be downloaded for free. CDs may be purchased at any time after broadcast for $9.99. Buy the CD

Show 1111: What Should You Know About Controversies in Cardiology?

How should you be keeping your heart healthy? Recent headlines have brought some controversies in cardiology to public attention. Defining High Blood Pressure: The American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association issued guidelines on blood pressure control in 2017 (Hypertension, online Nov. 13, 2017). These cardiology groups recommend that anyone with blood pressure above 130/80 should be considered hypertensive. That means about 46 percent of American adults fall into that category. While not everyone should be prescribed medication to lower their blood pressure into the target range, far more people will be on antihypertensive drugs than previously. What are the pros and cons of this policy? How Much of a Difference Do Stents Make? Every year, more than half a million people in North America and Europe get a stent in a coronary artery. Most of these patients expect that a stent will significantly improve their quality of life. But a recent study, called ORBITA (for Objective Randomised Blinded Investigation with optimal medical Therapy of Angioplasty), calls this assumption into question (The Lancet, Jan. 6, 2018). This study was unusual because it had a control group of people who received sham angioplasty. The actual stent was no more effective than the placebo at improving exercise. The topic of stents is one of the current controversies in cardiology. A Placebo Group for Surgery? We discuss the use of placebo in studies of surgical interventions, who will actually benefit from stents, how blood pressure treatment can prevent strokes, and why cardiologists (and other humans) tend to cling to their conceptions of what works and what doesn't. How can we evaluate such controversies in cardiology? This Week's Guests: Steven Nissen, MD, is chairman of the Robert and Suzanne Tomsich Department of Cardiovascular Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic. He is the co-author, with Mark Gillinov, MD, of Heart 411: The Only Guide to Heart Health You'll Ever Need. The photo is of Dr. Nissen. You can listen to previous People's Pharmacy interviews with Dr. Nissen here, here and here. Robert DuBroff, MD, is Clinical Professor of Medicine in the Division of Cardiology at the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, NM. He is board-certified in internal medicine and cardiology and has a specialty in lipidology. His article on confirmation bias was published in QJM, Nov. 2, 2017. Listen to the Podcast: The podcast of this program will be available the Monday after the broadcast date. The show can be streamed online from this site and podcasts can be downloaded for free. CDs may be purchased at any time after broadcast for $9.99. Buy the CD Download the mp3

Show 1110: Terrific Tips to Help Kids Love Healthy Food

Many families struggle to get their children and teens to follow healthful diets. But there is a good reason that grandmothers have been urging kids to eat their vegetables, going back at least a century. Poor eating habits contribute to many health problems. How can we get children to love healthy food? Dr. Yum to the Rescue: Dr. Nimali Fernando is a pediatrician who found that many of her young patients had conditions such as constipation or bed-wetting that would be greatly improved with a more balanced diet. And yet their parents often felt helpless to get their children to love healthy foods or change what the family was eating. Many had an idea that kid-friendly foods high in salt, fat and sugar were all that their children would agree to eat. She found that teaching both parents and children how to prepare more healthful foods had benefits for the whole family. That's why she founded the Dr. Yum project. She set up a kitchen to demonstrate basic cooking techniques. Initially, the classes focused on making baby food and parenting for wellness. Then she started teaching the children themselves. They responded well to the edible garden that taught them how vegetables grow and what they taste like when they are fresh. Tiny Tasters: Dr. Fernando enlisted the help of neighborhood youngsters to determine which recipes were truly appealing to young palates. These Tiny Tasters developed an adventurous approach to trying new foods that has stood them in good stead as they move through adolescence and into young adulthood. With childhood obesity at epidemic levels in this country, isn't it time we devoted energy to teaching our kids how to love healthy food? Dr. Fernando has found that teaching young people to cook is a great way to unleash their creativity in the kitchen. This Week's Guests: Nimali Fernando, MD, MPH, FAAP, is a board-certified pediatrician practicing in Fredericksburg, VA, and founder of the website doctoryum.org and The Doctor Yum Project, a nonprofit organization that empowers families with information on illness prevention through a healthy diet. Dr. Fernando is the co-author (with Melanie Potock) of Raising a Healthy, Happy Eater, Parents' Handbook, A Stage-by-Stage Guide to Setting Your Child on the Path to Adventurous Eating. Her web site is https://www.doctoryum.org/ Zane Fernando, Nimali's son, is now 15. Zane started tiny tasting at age 8 and has helped Nimali by starring in several videos, doing data entry for the Dr. Yum preschool program, maintaining the garden, and teaching classes. Noah Swartz is one of the original tiny tasters. Noah started as a taster at 13 and became a volunteer cooking instructor, now a full cooking instructor, and is going to VCU to pursue a career in Health Sciences. Listen to the Podcast: The podcast of this program will be available the Monday after the broadcast date. The show can be streamed online from this site and podcasts can be downloaded for free. CDs may be purchased at any time after broadcast for $9.99. Buy the CD

Show 1109: How Do Doctors Overcome Diagnostic Challenges?

When you go to see the doctor because you are sick, the first order of business is to get a diagnosis. How does the doctor arrive at that? What does she need to know? And is there any way you can help your doctors with diagnostic challenges? Meeting Diagnostic Challenges: Getting the right diagnosis is crucial to getting the proper treatment. For many conditions, the diagnosis is pretty straightforward. But sometimes it can be quite complicated. The doctor may need to figure out which of many different diseases is causing the problems. When symptoms are not very specific, pinning down the diagnosis is a challenge. But diagnosis can also be difficult if the symptom is very specific but unfamiliar, like a black thumb on a gardener. Diagnostic Challenges of Psychiatric or Physiological Causes: It can be tricky to distinguish between a physiological condition that causes psychiatric symptoms and a psychiatric disorder that causes real physical symptoms. Find out how to get a truly independent second opinion, and why you should keep your primary care provider in the loop. When is it helpful to search the internet, and when might that be useless? Here are some lists from our book, Top Screwups Doctors Make and How to Avoid Them. Top Ten Reasons for Diagnostic Errors: Overconfidence Information overload Going it alone Tunnel vision Time pressure Missing test results Ignoring drug side effects Follow-up failure Hurried hand-offs Communication breakdown Top 10 Questions to Ask to Reduce Diagnostic Disasters: What are my primary concerns and symptoms? How confident are you about this diagnosis? What further tests might be helpful? Will the test you are proposing change the treatment plan? Are there any findings or symptoms that don't fit your diagnosis or that contradict it? What else could it be? Can you facilitate a second opinion? When should I expect to see my test results? How will they be delivered? What resources do you recommend for me to learn more about my diagnosis? May I contact you by email/phone/text if my symptoms change or if I have an important question? If so, what is the contact info? This Week's Guest: Lisa Sanders, MD, is a clinician educator in the Primary Care Internal Medicine Residency Program at Yale School of Medicine. In addition to her work as a physician and teacher, she writes the popular Diagnosis column for the New York Times Magazine. Her column was the inspiration for the Fox program "House MD" (2004-2012) and she served as a technical adviser to the show. Her books include Every Patient Tells a Story: Medical Mysteries and the Art of Diagnosis. Listen to the Podcast: The podcast of this program will be available the Monday after the broadcast date. The show can be streamed online from this site and podcasts can be downloaded for free. CDs may be purchased at any time after broadcast for $9.99. Buy the CD Download the mp3

Back To Top