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.

Most Recent Episodes

Show 1191: What Are Your Favorite Home Remedies?

For centuries, people have been using home remedies as their first treatment for common ailments. With easy access to over-the-counter drugs, though, people have turned away from home remedies in the last several decades. There are still plenty of inexpensive options that work well, however. Which are your favorite home remedies? Apple Cider Vinegar: One ever-popular remedy, apple cider vinegar, starred in a mid-20th century book, Folk Medicine: A Vermont Doctor's Guide to Good Health. In it, Dr. Jarvis promoted the use of apple cider vinegar and honey. Although he was perhaps the most enthusiastic proponent of this remedy, he learned about it from his patients. They, in turn, had learned about it from their parents and grandparents. The use of apple cider vinegar as a home treatment for a range of ills can be traced back to colonial times in New England. Although most doctors have not embraced vinegar of any sort, many people still maintain that it can be helpful. We talk with Rosemary Gladstar, an herbalist and author of Fire Cider!: 101 Zesty Recipes for Health-Boosting Remedies Made with Apple Cider Vinegar. In it, she describes multiple uses of apple cider vinegar, especially in combination with hot peppers (fire cider). These strong flavors may not be for everyone, but some people swear by fire cider. How do they use it? What Are Your Favorite Home Remedies? We'd like to hear about your favorite home remedies, whether you are using an herbal tea to soothe indigestion or have found a creative use for a drugstore product. (Lots of people tell us they put Vicks VapoRub on the soles of their feet to calm a nighttime cough. We first heard about this unorthodox use from a listener more than a decade ago.) Call In Your Questions and Stories: After you listen to Rosemary Gladstar, we invite you to tell us about your favorite home remedies. Joe and Terry will respond. Our lines are open for your questions and comments this week. Call 888-472-3366 between 7 and 8 am EDT on Saturday, December 7, 2019. You can also reach us by email: radio@peoplespharmacy.com. This Week's Guest: Rosemary Gladstar is a star figure in the field of modern herbalism, internationally renowned for her technical knowledge and stewardship in the global herbalist community. She has been learning, teaching and writing about herbs for over 40 years and is the author of eleven books. Her work includes Herbs for Common Ailments, Medicinal Herbs, a Beginners Guide, Herbal Healing for Women, Rosemary Gladstar's Herbal Recipes for Vibrant Health, and The Science and Art of Herbalism, an extensive in depth home study course. She is the Founding President of United Plant Savers, former director of The New England Women's Herbal Conference and founder and past director of the International Herb Symposium. Her newest book is Fire Cider!: 101 Zesty Recipes for Health-Boosting Remedies Made with Apple Cider Vinegar The photograph of Rosemary Gladstar is by Jason Houston. 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 1154: How to Take Good Care of Your Eyesight (Archive)

A national survey just a few years ago showed that Americans fear losing their vision more than they fear losing a limb, their hearing, their ability to speak or even their memory (Scott et al, JAMA Ophthalmology, October 2016). What do you know about how to take good care of your eyesight? What Can You Do About Dry Eyes? Dry eye is a very common condition with multiple possible causes. Tears have three different components. One is the liquid water phase. There is also a lipid phase that prevents rapid evaporation. In addition, a mucus phase helps the tears spread evenly over the surface of the eye. It is not just the quantity of tears but also their quality that matters. What can affect this? In certain conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or acne rosacea, dry eye syndrome signals a systemic problem. Medications such as antihistamines may also cause dry eyes. In addition, people staring at their computer screens or phones may forget to blink. This can quickly dry eyes out as well. Blinking more often can help, as can hot compresses. Our guest shared a home remedy for a stye on the eyelid: Microwave a small potato, wrap it in a dishtowel and hold it to the inflamed spot for 15 or 20 minutes. It stays hot much longer than a wet washcloth does. In addition, a Mediterranean diet rich in fish and olive oil provides dietary support to prevent dry eyes. Tips to Take Good Care of Your Eyesight: Ophthalmologists recognize diabetic retinopathy as the leading cause of visual impairment among working-age Americans. As a result, anyone with diabetes or pre-diabetes should see their eye doctor for regular screening. Among older adults, the leading cause of vision problems is age-related macular degeneration. In this condition, damage to the center of the retina impairs central vision, making it hard to read, play golf or even recognize friends' faces. Advances to Help You Take Good Care of Your Eyesight: Pharmacological advances have improved treatment of both age-related macular degeneration and another disease that becomes more common with aging, glaucoma. Glaucoma is often linked to increased pressure in the eye. In this condition, vision begins to fail at the periphery first. Unfortunately, people may not even notice the problem until it becomes fairly severe. That's why ophthalmologists measure eye pressure at every visit. Learn More: You can learn more about how to take good care of your eyesight, reduce the likelihood of nearsightedness in children, use optical coherence tomography (imaging of the retina) to detect early Alzheimer's disease by listening to the interview. Additionally, the podcast also includes information on vitamins to slow the progression of age-related macular degeneration and a discussion of cataract prevention and treatment. This Week's Guest: Peter J. McDonnell, MD, is the director of the Johns Hopkins Wilmer Eye Institute and professor of ophthalmology at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. 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 (Where it says "Choose CD or MP3 Version" above the "Add to Cart" button, select mp3.)

Show 1190: The Best Way to Deal With Anger

At a time when opinions about nearly everything are highly polarized, how can you have a civil discussion? What do we do when we encounter a person who is extremely angry? For that matter, how do we handle our own emotions? What works to defuse anger and what sorts of responses just make it worse? We'll find out how to deal with anger. Can You Listen? Dr. Christian Conte has worked with angry people in many different situations. The first step in an interaction with someone who is extremely upset is simple to explain, but it is hard to do: you have to really listen. Then you have to find a way to let that person know that you have actually heard them. This takes discipline! Most of us get defensive when we are criticized. Sometimes people get angry. Is there a way to frame criticism so that it is less likely to arouse ire and more likely to lead to a change in behavior? These are skills that coaches and teachers use all the time. To Deal with Anger, Practice Peace: If you want to practice peace, don't try to do it in the middle of an argument when both of you are emotional and irrational. Instead, start earlier, before anyone feels angry. Learn how to put yourself in another person's shoes and appreciate their position, even if you don't agree with it. Above all, stay authentic. This Week's Guest: Dr. Christian Conte is a professional counselor and a certified Domestic Violence counselor. He has been certified a Level V (highest level) Anger Management Specialist by the National Anger Management Association. His Yield Theory training has generated successful results for family therapy, professional athletes and violent criminals. In July 2015 he conducted the TEDX talk, "Why I Chose to Go to Prison." His new book is Walking Through Anger: A New Design for Confronting Conflict in an Emotionally Charged World. His website is http://www.drchristianconte.com The photograph of Dr. Conte is by Candace Lang. 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 1189: What the Heck Should We Be Eating?

If you like to cook, you are no doubt aware that favorite recipes change with the times, just like fashions in clothing. But a lot of Americans don't like to cook. They may not have tried acquiring the skills or even more likely, they don't have the time to do anything very complicated in the kitchen. Relying on processed foods may be convenient, but it isn't very healthy. Is there a way for families to enjoy food that nourishes them without spending a great deal of time or money? What should we be eating? Food: What the Heck Should We Be Eating? Dr. Mark Hyman has been a leader of functional medicine for quite some time, which means he's been paying attention to how people eat and how that influences their health. His own epiphany came a few decades ago when he experienced mercury poisoning. How did he heal himself, and how has that influenced his approach to healthcare? Dr. Hyman's new cookbook, Food: What the Heck Should I Cook? is just out. In it, he outlines his food philosophy, explains what a Pegan diet is (a mashup of Paleo and vegan) and most importantly, offers clear delicious recipes that don't contain gluten or unhealthy fats. Imagine a Poached Egg Power Bowl, Chicken and Apple Salad, Blushing Beet Dip or Butternut Taco Wraps. This is just a smidgeon of the recipes you'll find in his book. Find out why he thinks of food as information. Helping Children Eat a Variety of Foods: Sometimes children make a fuss about what's on their plates. Whether they are veggie avoiders or chicken cheaters, picky eaters can make life hard on their parents and stressful for everyone. How can we raise kids to be joyful and adventurous eaters who learn to love a wide range of healthful foods? Dr. Nancy Zucker will offer advice. She helped advise Dr. Yum on her program of teaching children to appreciate a variety of foods. How should we be eating in our families to promote children's love of new tastes? This Week's Guests: Nancy L. Zucker, PhD, is Associate Professor in Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences and Associate Director of Graduate Studies at Duke University. She is a Child and Family Clinical Psychologist and an eating disorders specialist. Mark Hyman, MD, is the director of The Cleveland Clinic Center for Functional Medicine, president of clinical affairs on the board of the Institute for Functional Medicine, and founder and director of The Ultra Wellness Center. He is an eleven-time New York Times bestselling author. His most recent book is Food: What the Heck Should I Cook? His website is: drhyman.com Dr. Hyman's photograph is copyright Nicole Franzen, 2019. 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 1188: The Healing Potential of Psychedelic Drugs

Many indigenous peoples around the world have developed traditional uses for psychedelic compounds. In Western medicine, these were mostly unknown until Albert Hoffmann synthesized LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) in 1938. He later tried to figure out how it might be used after having an extraordinary personal experience. By the mid to late 1960s, psychedelic drugs like LSD or psilocybin had become a cultural phenomenon. By 1970, medical research on such drugs was essentially shut down. Current Research on Psychedelic Drugs: Over the past decade or so, investigators have been conducting research on the healing potential of psychedelic drugs. Dr. David Nichols, an international authority on these compounds, describes the history of this research. His son Charles Nichols, a pharmacologist, studies the molecular and behavioral effects of hallucinogens in animal models. The Healing Potential of Mystical Experience: Dr. Matthew Johnson, associate director of the Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, has conducted a number of clinical trials utilizing psilocybin. He and his colleagues have been exploring the possible uses of psychedelic drugs as medicines for people with life-threatening cancer. They have also examined the possible benefits of a single dose of psilocybin for smoking cessation and overcoming alcohol misuse. Their research was recently highlighted in an episode of the CBS television show "60 Minutes." How Psychedelic Drugs Affect Existential Crises: When people are diagnosed with terminal cancer or other life-threatening conditions, many become extremely anxious or depressed. While this reaction may seem rational in the face of a frightening diagnosis and foreshortened life expectancy, it can interfere with people actually appreciating the days, weeks or months they have left. Dr. Johnson and other scientists have found that a session with psilocybin that results in a mystical experience can alter people's lives dramatically. They have far less anxiety and depression and seem to find more purpose in their lives, along with other positive changes. How does this work? Dr. Johnson's most recent publication (with colleagues) explores the nature of these mystical experiences (PLoS One, April 23, 2019). This Week's Guests: David Nichols, PhD, is an adjunct professor at the Eshelman School of Pharmacy at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. David Nichols had an active research program at Purdue University for 38 years prior to his retirement in June 2012. His research interests focused in two areas: the study of hallucinogens (psychedelics), where he was recognized as an international authority, and also discovery of novel D1 dopamine receptor full agonists, which showed efficacy comparable to levodopa in both animal models of Parkinson's disease, and in human Parkinson patients. In 1993 he founded the Heffter Research Institute, which has encouraged and supported modern clinical studies of the psychedelic agent psilocybin (from "magic mushrooms") for treatment of depression, anxiety, and various addictions. His general interests continue in the medicinal chemistry and pharmacology of CNS-active agents. Charles Nichols, PhD, is Professor of Pharmacology at Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans. As David Nichols' son, he did not begin his career with the intention of studying hallucinogens. However, his current research interests include the molecular and behavioral effects of such compounds on the brain. Matthew W. Johnson, PhD, is Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Associate Center Director of the Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. The photograph of Dr. Johnson is courtesy of Johns Hopkins Magazine. The website is https://hopkinspsychedelic.org 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 1187: Are Supplements Really a Waste of Time?

Last summer, a major review of research on supplements to improve heart health concluded that most do nothing to prevent heart attacks, strokes or premature death from cardiovascular causes (Annals of Internal Medicine, Aug. 6, 2019). In other words, they are a waste of time and money. (The possible exceptions include omega-3 fats and folate.) This meta-analysis got an enormous amount of attention, mostly of the "told you so!" variety. The view that dietary supplements result only in expensive urine has been prevalent in medicine for some time. But should we dismiss all supplements as ineffective? Or are there situations where certain supplements could be useful? Dr. Low Dog Presents Some Alternatives: Dr. Tieraona Low Dog is one of the country's leading experts on the science behind dietary supplements. What does she think about the conclusions of the recent meta-analysis? Does she agree that supplements really are a waste of time? What are the limitations on this type of research? Is a Strict Diet a Waste of Time for Heart Health? The meta-analysis was not limited to individual supplements. In addition, the scientists evaluated certain diets that have been recommended for improving heart health. They found that a low-salt diet could help people avoid premature death from cardiovascular causes, especially people with high blood pressure. Other widely recommended diets didn't fare so well, however. Are low-fat diets really ineffective at preventing heart disease? What about a Mediterranean style diet with lots of vegetables, fruits and olive oil and very little meat or sugar? The investigators found that this well-studied eating plan was also a waste of time. Call in Your Questions About Supplements: After you listen to Dr. Low Dog, you may have observations or questions you want to share. Joe and Terry will respond. Our lines are open for your questions and comments this week. Call 888-472-3366 between 7 and 8 am EDT on Saturday, November 2, 2019. You can also reach us by email: radio@peoplespharmacy.com. As we mentioned during the show, we have written about some of the contradictory research on fish oil to help against heart disease. Here is one article, from late last year; here is the subsequent one in which the scientists announce that fish oil has benefits. The Problem with Zantac: For more than a year, you have heard about recalls of blood pressure medicines like valsartan, losartan and irbesartan. The makers of the raw materials used procedures that resulted in contamination of these drugs with nitrosamine compounds that are probable carcinogens. Recently, a mail-order pharmacy called Valisure announced that ranitidine carries large quantities of one such compound, NDMA. This results, apparently, not from contamination but from the inherent makeup of the molecule. Listen to the founder and CEO of Valisure, David Light, describe why his pharmacy tests every drug they dispense and how the problem with ranitidine (Zantac) came to light. What might you use instead? This Week's Guests: Dr. Tieraona Low Dog is a founding member of the American Board of Physician Specialties, American Board of Integrative Medicine and the Academy of Women's Health. She was elected Chair of the US Pharmacopeia Dietary Supplements/Botanicals Expert Committee and was appointed to the Scientific Advisory Council for the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Her books include: Women's Health in Complementary and Integrative Medicine; Life Is Your Best Medicine; and Healthy at Home. Her latest is Fortify Your Life: Your Guide to Vitamins, Minerals and More. Her website is drlowdog.com. (The People's Pharmacy is pleased to offer Fortify Your Life in a paperback edition.) David Light, a biotech entrepreneur and scientist, is the founder and CEO of Valisure, an online pharmacy that puts medications through rigorous chemical analysis before sending them to consumers. The website is www.valisure.com. Listen to the Podcast: The podcast of this program will be available the Monday after the broadcast date. This podcast contains some questions for David Light that wouldn't fit in the broadcast interview. The show can be streamed online from this site and podcasts can be downloaded for free. CDs of the broadcast may be purchased at any time after broadcast for $9.99. Buy the CD Download the free mp3

All About KayaBiotics

The People's Pharmacy radio show and podcast are supported in part by sponsorship. One of our sponsors is KayaBiotics, a German company that makes high-quality probiotics from all-organic ingredients. Germany has rigorous oversight of supplement manufacturing, and we are pleased that such products are available to our listeners. The Benefits of Probiotics: Most people think of probiotics as having benefits for the digestive tract. Indeed, there are many studies indicating that people can use probiotics for relief from diarrhea and other gastrointestinal problems (Minerva Gastroenterologica e Dietologica, Dec. 2015). Numerous studies indicate that probiotics, alone or in combination with prebiotics, can reduce the risk of postoperative infections after people undergo abdominal surgery (Annals of Surgery, online Aug. 28, 2019). The usefulness of probiotics is not limited to digestive difficulties, however. Research indicates that people taking probiotics lose less time to flu-like illnesses. Other studies suggest that probiotics may help people overcome metabolic syndrome (Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, online Oct. 30, 2019). Probiotic foods such as yogurt may even lower the risk of developing lung cancer. What About KayaBiotics? With so much promise on probiotics, we thought you might want to learn more about KayaBiotics. We interviewed the founder and CEO, Christian Ziegert, to get his perspective on organic ingredients, German manufacturing and why probiotics are so exciting. We invite you to listen. If you decide you would like to try KayaBiotics, please visit the website KayaBiotics.com and use the discount code "PEOPLE" for $10 off your first purchase.

Show 1186: What Happens When Doctors Make Diagnostic Errors?

When you get sick, you need a diagnosis. If the diagnosis is wrong, the treatment won't be appropriate. What happens when doctors make diagnostic errors? We talk with a leader in the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine about his recent research. What Diagnostic Errors Are Most Serious? Clinicians make an estimated 12 million diagnostic errors every year, although the number might be even higher. As many as half a million to a million of these misdiagnoses result in serious patient harm. Dr. David Newman-Toker and his colleagues examined a database of settled malpractice claims to determine which conditions account for the preponderance of serious harms due to misdiagnosis. They found that the vast majority could be classified under one of three rubrics: cancer, cardiovascular events and infections. How Can Doctors Make Fewer Diagnostic Mistakes? Frequently, clinicians who have made diagnostic mistakes never hear about them. With an estimated 12 million misdiagnoses each year, however, we could count these errors among the leading causes of death in the US. Such blunders are rarely if ever listed on the death certificate as a cause of death. Would it help if they were? Should there be an Institute for Diagnostic Error Prevention among the National Institutes of Health? How Can Patients Help Doctors Avoid Diagnostic Errors? Systems errors that interfere with tests being done or the results reported in a timely fashion can contribute to diagnostic problems. However, many of the errors in diagnosis involve problems with clinical judgment–the way doctors approach the problem and the questions they ask, as well as the way they factor in the answers. One simple thing the patient can do is ask: "What is the worst thing this could be?" The appropriate follow-up question is: "Why do you think it is NOT that?" Patients should expect a serious answer based on their (accurately described) symptoms or lab work. A dismissive "I'm the doctor" answer is not adequate. Close collaboration between physicians and patients gives everyone the best chance of avoiding diagnostic mistakes. If the doctor does not have a reasonable response, seek a second opinion. What Patients Should Do to Help: Dr. Newman-Toker recommends that patients take the following steps to minimize the chance of being misdiagnosed. Before the visit, prepare a concise but complete list of symptoms, with a timeline. During the visit, ask questions about anything you don't understand. Be sure to ask what is the worst thing that the symptoms could signal and how the clinician will rule that out. After the visit, stay vigilant. If you don't get better, get back in touch with the health care provider. Instead of simply saying the treatment didn't work, suggest that you are not sure the diagnosis is correct because the treatment isn't working. If necessary, seek a second opinion. Top Ten Questions to Ask to Reduce Diagnostic Errors: What are my primary concerns and symptoms? (to make sure the doctor understood what you said) How confident are you about this diagnosis? What further tests might be helpful to improve your confidence? Will the test you are proposing change the treatment in any way? Are there any findings or symptoms that don't fit your diagnosis or that contradict it? What else could this be? Can you facilitate a second opinion by providing my medical records? When should I expect to see my test results? What resources can you recommend for me to learn more about my diagnosis? May I contact you by e-mail (or another method) if my symptoms change or if I have an important question? Contact information? You will find these questions and many more in our book, Top Screwups Doctors Make and How to Avoid Them. This Week's Guest: David Newman-Toker, MD, PhD, is Director of the Johns Hopkins Armstrong Institute Center for Diagnostic Excellence and Director of the Division of Neuro-Visual & Vestibular Disorders in the Department of Neurology. He is also Professor of Neurology at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He is a leader in the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine. The national conference is November 10-13, 2019. His article, "Serious misdiagnosis-related harms in malpractice claims: The "Big Three" – vascular events, infections, and cancers" was published in Diagnosis. The photo is courtesy of Johns Hopkins Medicine. 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.

Show 1185: What Are the Risks of Too Many Meds?

Every day, an average of 750 senior Americans are hospitalized as a result of medication reactions and interactions. Part of the problem is that as we grow older and accumulate more health conditions, we also end up with longer lists of prescription drugs for them. In addition, many of us also take medicines to prevent problems, such as statins to lower our cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart disease. Are you taking too many meds? How Following Guidelines Can Lead to Too Many Meds: Clinical guidelines are designed to help standardize medical practice and make sure that all patients are getting appropriate treatment. However, in a time-pressured practice setting, some guidelines may end up being used as a way to evaluate doctors' performance. They were not developed for this purpose, and as a result, patients might end up taking too many meds that aren't essential for them so that the practitioner can "check the box." Are all of your prescriptions for drugs that you actually need? How can you find out? Moreover, if you don't need them all, what should you do about it? The Prescribing Cascade: Frequently, a patient sees a health care provider with a specific complaint. Ideally, the provider makes a diagnosis and prescribes the most appropriate treatment. Sometimes, however, even an appropriate medicine can cause side effects. The patient returns to report these new symptoms. Here is where it gets tricky. The health care professional may recognize them as reactions to the initial prescription and change the prescription. But too often, they may simply prescribe a new medicine to treat the symptoms caused by the first drug. If that medicine in its turn causes side effects, they too may be treated with an additional prescription. Before long, the patient can end up with too many meds. Can we short-circuit this process? Doctors Should Be Empowered to Deprescribe: Frequently, a primary care physician may be reluctant to discontinue a medicine initially prescribed by a specialist. What if the patient still needs it? Will PCPs get in trouble if they deprescribe medications? In addition, some drugs require specialized protocols for discontinuation so that the patient can stop taking them without suffering unpleasant or even unbearable withdrawal symptoms. How knowledgeable does the doctor feel about this procedure? The Culture of a Pill for Every Ill Encourages Too Many Meds: Over the last half-century or so, American culture has changed from one that emphasized self-reliance to one that envisions a pill for every ill. The plethora of drug ads on television all imply that anything that might be bothering you could be fixed with the right medication. No wonder people are so willing to take a fistful of pills, and doctors are so eager to prescribe them! How can we alter our culture to support deprescribing and encourage physicians to pare prescriptions to the minimum necessary? That way older Americans–and the rest of us–will be less likely to take too many meds. This Week's Guests: Shannon Brownlee is Senior Vice President of the Lown Institute, a non-partisan public policy think tank based in Boston. She is also Co-Founder of the Right Care Alliance, a grassroots organizing network of patients, clinicians, and community leaders advocating for a radically better health care system. Her groundbreaking book is Overtreated: Why Too Much Medicine Is Making Us Sicker and Poorer. The New York Times named it the best economics book of 2007. The Lown Institute report is "Medication Overload: How the Drive to Prescribe Is Harming Older Americans." Shannon Brownlee, Senior Vie President of the Lown Institute, author of Overtreated Cynthia Boyd, MD, MPH is a professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. She holds a joint appointment in health policy and management and epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Dr. Boyd is a core faculty member at the Johns Hopkins Center on Aging and Health, the Center for Transformative Geriatric Research and the Roger C. Lipitz Center for Integrated Health Care. Cynthia Boyd, MD, Professor of Medicine, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine 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 1184: How Technology Could Make Medicine More Humane

Marvelous technology like CT and MRI imaging, genotyping and microbiome analysis have given health professionals more power than ever to learn what is going wrong with an individual. Special tools like robotic surgery can help doctors treat complex problems. Highly advanced prosthetics can help people recover from devastating accidents or radical operations. Problems with Technology: However, both physicians and patients are often unhappy with the dominance of computers in healthcare today. Doctors feel like data clerks, and patients do not feel like their doctors are listening to them or really caring for them. Is there any way to make medicine more humane? Our guests have two very different–but not incompatible–approaches to this challenge. Why have electronic medical records been so disappointing? In large measure, these computerized tools were not developed to improve patient care or facilitate physicians' workflow. Instead, they were designed to be part of the billing process. Overall, that is a job they do reasonably well. How Could Technology Make Medicine More Humane? Can we re-imagine the use of computers and, more importantly, artificial intelligence, to make medicine more humane? Dr. Eric Topol, a champion of bringing big data to bear on personalized medicine, thinks that artificial intelligence (AI) can free doctors from menial tasks and point them to a deeper understanding of individual patients' problems. Is it realistic to expect use of AI to allow healthcare professionals to experience greater empathy with their patients? How Narrative Medicine Might Make Medicine More Humane: Dr. Sonia Rapaport sees narrative medicine as offering a lifeline for the human connection between patients and physicians. This movement highlights the importance of the patient's story. While doctors have recognized the centrality of the "patient history" for centuries, listening even beyond what is needed for diagnosis can help people heal from the traumatic events of their lives. Some of those traumas occur at the hands of our modern healthcare system. This Week's Guests: Eric Topol, MD, is a world-renowned cardiologist, executive vice president of Scripps Research and director of the Scripps Research Translational Institute. He holds the Gary & Mary West Endowed Chair of Innovative Medicine at Scripps Research. His work melds genomics, big data, and both information technologies and digital health technologies to advance the promise of personalized medicine. He is the author of The Patient Will See You Now and The Creative Destruction of Medicine. His latest book is Deep Medicine: How Artificial Intelligence Can Make Healthcare Human Again. Credit for Dr. Topol's photograph goes to Michael Balderas. Sonia Rapaport, MD, DABFM, DABIHM, DNBPAS, practices functional and integrative medicine at Haven Medical in Chapel Hill, NC. She treats medically complex patients with undiagnosed conditions and environmentally acquired illnesses such as mold illness, Lyme disease, mast cell activation syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome, EDS and POTS. She is the founding past president of the International Society for Environmentally Acquired Illness. Dr. Rapaport has an MFA in Creative Writing and has lectured nationally on Narrative Medicine. She is a Tea and Health expert and a WTA certified Tea Sommelier. 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

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