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 1146: Why You Should Share Your Stories

Facts are essential for scientific understanding. Stories are critical for wisdom, understanding the arc and meaning of our lives. Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen, author of two wonderful books about stories, describes how some stories can diminish us and our view of ourselves. Others give us strength and hope. Stories can reveal deep meaning in our ordinary lives and relationships. How can we change a story that is not serving us well? Changing Our Stories: Dr. Remen relates how her own story changed after a diagnosis of Crohn's disease. Instead of being an invalid destined for an early death, she became a race car driver with her mother's help. She looks back now on a life story radically different from the severely restricted life the doctors said would be hers at the age of fifteen. As it turns out, you can't know your own story until you have lived it. Counting Our Blessings: As Dr. Remen notes, sometimes a blessing doesn't look like one when it arrives. It may instead look like an obstacle, a challenge or a disappointment. Only in hindsight can we see how it may have contributed to our resilience or our coping ability. We may also have an impact on someone else's story without even realizing it. Dr. Remen believes we have all blessed many more people than we realize. Finding Patience: When a serious medical problem arises, we may need more patience than we expect to be able to get to the bottom of it. But with patience, it will be revealed. We also hear from Dr. Remen about her work with Commonweal Cancer Help Program and the role of stories in healing, even when the condition cannot be cured. This Week's Guest: Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen is Founder and Founding Director of The Remen Institute for the Study of Health and Illness (RISHI) at Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine in Dayton, Ohio. Dr. Remen is also Professor of Family Medicine at the Boonshoft School of Medicine and Clinical Professor of Family Medicine at UCSF School of Medicine in San Francisco, California. Dr. Remen's best-selling books of stories, Kitchen Table Wisdom: Stories that Heal and My Grandfather's Blessings: Stories of Strength, Refuge and Belonging have been translated into 23 languages and have sold over a million copies. Since 1991, her course for medical students, The Healer's Art, has been taught in more than a hundred medical schools and completed by more than 21,000 medical students both here and abroad. 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 (Choose mp3 from the pulldown menu above the "Add to Cart" button)

Show 1145: Are Big Corporations Hacking the American Mind?

The distinction between pleasure and happiness might seem like a philosopher's quibble. Fat Chance author Dr. Robert Lustig tells us why this difference is vitally important to our national wellbeing. Corporations are hacking the American mind because of our ignorance about the difference between them. Pleasure vs. Happiness: Dr. Lustig describes the neurochemical foundations behind the difference between pleasure, fueled by dopamine, and happiness, powered by serotonin. He attributes the negative extremes of addiction, due to an overload of dopamine, and depression, from too little serotonin, to the ways that corporations have manipulated Americans with marketing. That's why he titled his book The Hacking of the American Mind. How Does Neuro-Marketing Enable Hacking the American Mind? Dr. Lustig details how neuro-marketing plays into the sad state of affairs that has resulted in too many Americans ending up fat, sick, broke, stupid, depressed, addicted or unhappy. How has our government enabled these developments? What roles have our educational systems played? And most importantly, how can we break out of this vicious cycle? To dampen dopamine and increase serotonin for more lasting contentment, we need to pay attention to the four Cs: Connect, Contribute, Cope and Cook. Learn about the science behind the corporate takeover of our minds. This Week's Guest: Robert H. Lustig, MD, MSL, is professor of pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology and a member of the Institute for Health Policy Studies at the University of California, San Francisco. Dr. Lustig consults for several childhood obesity advocacy groups and government agencies. Dr. Lustig is the author of Fat Chance: Beating the Odds Against Sugar, Processed Food, Obesity, and Disease, and his latest book, The Hacking of the American Mind: The Science Behind the Corporate Takeover of Our Bodies and Brains. 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 1144: New Ways to Heal Your Digestive Tract

Heartburn is a common problem. Many people take powerful acid-suppressing drugs like Nexium or Prilosec every day to treat gastro-esophageal reflux disease or GERD. If untreated, chronic irritation of the swallowing tube can lead to Barrett's esophagus. Do you have to take medications forever to treat this condition? Are there better ways to heal your digestive tract? How Often Do You Need Colonoscopy? Dr. Nicholas Shaheen has written about finding the right balance of endoscopy so that intestinal cancers are detected early enough for treatment and patients are not exposed to undue risks from overly-frequent screening. Colonoscopy is effective for detecting colon polyps before they become cancerous. Having colonoscopies at the correct interval can prevent or greatly reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. What interval is correct for you? In the esophagus, chronic exposure to stomach acid can lead to changes doctors call Barrett's esophagus. This is a pre-cancerous condition. How often does someone with this disorder need upper GI endoscopy to screen for esophageal cancer? Just what is the risk of esophageal cancer? New Ways to Heal Your Digestive Tract from Barrett's Esophagus: When gastroenterologists perform endoscopies and discover the beginnings of a tumor in the esophagus, they can remove it then and there. The procedure is called endoscopic mucosal resection. A new technique, ablation, to heal Barrett's esophagus shows great promise. It may often reverse the problem indefinitely. Find out how you can deal with heartburn and how you can heal your digestive tract if you have chronic reflux. How Can You Heal Your Digestive Tract from C Diff? Antibiotic treatment can frequently disrupt the balance of bacteria in the colon. The consequence may be a C diff infection that can cause severe diarrhea. The usual treatment for C diff is additional antibiotic therapy, but that isn't always effective. The FDA has approved fecal transplants for treating C diff infections. What are they, and how do they work? What other conditions might respond to fecal transplants designed to re-establish a normal microbial balance in the digestive tract? This Week's Guests: Nicholas J. Shaheen, MD, MPH, is the Bozymski-Heizer Distinguished Professor of Medicine at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine, and Chief of the Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology at UNC. Dr. Shaheen is a recognized expert in esophageal diseases and endoscopy. He is author of multiple treatment guidelines for gastrointestinal illnesses. The photograph is of Dr. Shaheen. His article on "Less Is More: A Minimalist Approach to Endoscopy" was published in Gastroenterology in May 2018. Michael Bretthauer, MD, PhD,is Professor of Medicine at the Institute of Health and Society at the University of Oslo and the Department of Transplantation Medicine in Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway. He is also President of the Frontier Science Foundation in Brookline, MA. Hi article on "Fecal Microbiota Transplantation for Primary Clostridium difficile Infection" was published in the New England Journal of Medicine on June 28, 2018. 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 (Choose mp3 on the pulldown menu above "Add to Cart")

Show 1143: Can You Control Your Blood Sugar by Fasting?

Type 2 diabetes has reached epidemic levels in the US and around the world. Although endocrinologists consider it a chronic, progressive disorder, some experts have seen that it is potentially reversible and may be preventable. What approaches are helpful? What role could fasting play? Nephrologist Jason Fung, MD, says that you can't manage a dietary disease without considering diet. There are two important considerations. Dietary Considerations: What Do You Eat? First, how much sugar is in the diet? Fructose, which is part of sugar, can contribute to problems with insulin and blood sugar. A diet low in refined carbohydrates is less likely to contribute to trouble controlling insulin and blood sugar. Should You Be Fasting? Second, when do you eat? A schedule that restricts eating to no more than six or eight hours a day has been shown to help restore metabolic health. Fasting for two or three days a week can even reverse insulin resistance, as Dr. Fung and his colleagues documented in the case studies they published recently (BMJ Case Reports, Oct. 9, 2018). Three people with diabetes who had required insulin were able to reduce their HbA1c, their waist circumference and their weight. As a result of therapeutic fasting, they no longer need insulin to control their blood sugar. This Week's Guest: Dr. Jason Fung is a Canadian nephrologist. He's a world-leading expert on intermittent fasting and low-carbohydrate diet, especially for treating people with type 2 diabetes. He has written three bestselling health books and co-founded the Intensive Dietary Management program. Dr. Fung's latest book is The Diabetes Code, Prevent and Reverse Type 2 Diabetes Naturally. His website is www.IDMprogram.com 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 1142: What Is the Science Behind Home Remedies?

Over the years, we have heard about scores upon scores of home remedies for everything from arthritis to warts. Some make sense intuitively, while others seem silly. Most have never been subjected to scientific scrutiny. Is there any science behind home remedies? We may never know the full answer to that question, but occasionally we learn years later that there are scientific explanations. Several years ago, as we began to learn about transient receptor potential (TRP) channels in cells, a number of seemingly unrelated and otherwise inexplicable home remedies began to fall into place. Why does a spoonful of yellow mustard stop muscle cramps so quickly? How does pickle juice work for the same problem? Could a bar of soap under the bottom sheet really help prevent nighttime leg cramps? What Is the Science Behind Home Remedies? One of the appeals of home remedies is that you can do your own experiments at home. One mother wrote to us about testing the efficacy of putting Vicks VapoRub on the feet to calm a nighttime cough. Both her twins had bad colds, but she had only enough Vicks to treat one of them. The other twin coughed all night, while the treated twin slept soundly. The following night, having acquired more Vicks, she treated the other twin and left the originally-treated girl untreated for that night as part of a natural experimental control. Once again, the child who had been treated didn't cough, and the untreated one did. It's too small to be considered a scientific experiment, yet she proceeded scientifically in a spirit of inquiry. N of 1 Experiments on the Science Behind Home Remedies: It is always interesting to read about home remedies. What you really want to know, most likely, is "Will it work for me?" The only way to find out is to conduct an N of 1 experiment: try it. The N stands for the number of people in the trial–just you. You'll get more information and your story will be more believable if you try to control as many factors as possible. You may not end up with an explanation, but you'll know whether or not the remedy is reliable for you. We have discussed a number of remedies that work for so many people that we feel we can count on them even though we still can't explain them. Coconut (in cookies or on its own) seems to be good for stopping diarrhea. Soy sauce on a burn seems to ease the pain and reduce the redness. Do you have favorite home remedies that you rely on? Here are a few studies you might find interesting on ginger, cinnamon and thyme. What Are Your Questions About the Science Behind Home Remedies? On this live show, we welcome your questions about home remedies. You can reach us by email at radio@peoplespharmacy.com, or call between 7 and 8 am EST on Saturday, November 10, 2018: 888-472-3366. This Week's Guests: This week, we revisit briefly some interviews we have done previously with renowned experts. Bruce Palmer Bean, PhD, is the Robert Winthrop Professor of Neurobiology at Harvard Medical School. He helped develop HotShot. Tieraona Low Dog, MD, is an internationally recognized expert in the fields of integrative medicine, dietary supplements, herbal medicine and women's health. Her latest book is Fortify Your Life: Your Guide to Vitamins, Minerals and More. For more information, see her website: drlowdog.com 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 1141: Which Health Risks Should You Worry About?

Do you enjoy a glass of wine from time to time? If so, were you alarmed to read headlines last fall announcing that ANY amount of alcohol is problematic? Here's how those headlines came about. The researchers wrote in The Lancet (Sept. 22, 2018), in their interpretation of their meta-analysis of the health risks, world-wide, of alcohol consumption: "the level of consumption that minimises health loss is zero." How Do You Evaluate Health Risks? Obviously, people who consume excessive amounts of alcohol are putting their health at risk. But maybe those who drink only occasionally don't need to freak out. Dr. Aaron Carroll, pediatrician and research mentor, explains just why. You can read his article in The New York Times Upshot, but you should also listen to our interview. In it, he explains the basic statistics you need in order to understand this and similar research and make choices about which health risks you should worry about. Part of the problem is due to the study methodology. Observational studies may find associations that don't have a causal connection. But part of the problem may also be due to how studies are presented in the media. Exciting findings make good headlines. Negative results may be good science, but they don't attract attention. Nutritional studies have been especially prone to flip-flops. One month you may read that coffee is bad for your heart; the next month you might read that it will protect you from heart failure and help you live longer. At one time, Americans were advised to avoid eggs if they wanted to be healthy, but more recent data have exonerated eggs, even for people with diabetes. How Does the Cookie Crumble? Studying Nutritional Health Risks: Dr. Carroll has pointed out the weaknesses of research design in a study that claimed kids eat more fruit if the apples are decorated with cartoon characters. Why was this study retracted? And how, really, can you get kids to make healthier food choices? How Safe and Effective Are Medications? All drugs are supposed to be safe and effective, but how exactly do we define safe and effective? Research design also has an impact on the medications that FDA approves for use, such as antidepressants. What do you need to know about the benefits and harms of the drugs you take? How can you figure out if an article is describing absolute risk or relative risk–and relative to what? This is crucial in evaluating which health risks you should worry about. Why Unlearning Is a Problem: You can teach old dogs new tricks; the trouble is in teaching them to give up their previous tricks. The same is true for all of us, including doctors. As a result, the doctor may recommend a treatment that is no longer state-of-the-art. It may even have been shown to be inappropriate in most cases. However, if ear tubes, for example, are what a pediatrician has been recommending for decades, he or she may continue to recommend them. How does this impact you and your children? This Week's Guest: Dr. Aaron Carroll is a 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 photograph of Dr. Carroll is copyrighted by Marina Waters. 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 free mp3 (choose mp3 from the pulldown menu just above the "Add to Cart" button)

Show 1140: How Can You Manage Arthritis Pain?

More than 50 million adult Americans have been diagnosed with arthritis. While osteoarthritis is the most common form, there are many others, including rheumatoid arthritis, gout, psoriatic arthritis and even fibromyalgia. What are the similarities and differences between these various inflammatory conditions? What are the best ways to manage arthritis pain? How Does Arthritis Affect the Body? We think of arthritis as affecting the joints, and most forms of arthritis do indeed produce joint pain. However, some consequences of inflammation reach well beyond arthritis pain in the joints. Occasionally, people with rheumatoid arthritis complain of brain fog, and doctors may also see the results of inflammation in tissues such as the lungs, eyes and heart. Certain other conditions may increase the risk for arthritis. How can you reduce that risk as much as possible? How Will You Manage Arthritis Pain? Doctors usually recommend pain relievers such as NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). These may be prescription medicines such as diclofenac or meloxicam, or over-the-counter products such as ibuprofen or naproxen. What are the benefits and risks of such medications to manage arthritis pain? Are there other approaches to reducing inflammation and joint pain? We'll consider what an anti-inflammatory diet might look like and how well it could work. Do stress and sleep deprivation increase the likelihood that you might experience arthritis? What Questions Do You Have About How to Manage Arthritis Pain? On this live show, we welcome your questions about arthritis pain and how to manage it. You can reach us by email at radio@peoplespharmacy.com, or call between 7 and 8 am EDT on Saturday, October 27, 2018: 888-472-3366. This Week's Guest: Beth Jonas, MD, is the Reeves Foundation Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Chief of the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology at the Medical School of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is also a rheumatologist with the UNC Thurston Arthritis Research Center and Director of the UNC Rheumatology Fellowship Training Program. 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 free mp3 (Choose mp3 from the pulldown menu just above the add to cart button)

Show 1139: Will Supplements Keep Your Bones Strong?

For years, people were urged to take calcium supplements to avoid losing bone density. This advice was aimed particularly at menopausal and postmenopausal women because they are especially susceptible to bone fragility and fractures. All the same, calcium supplements were often recommended to all older adults. Will taking calcium pills really keep your bones strong? Seniors were also supposed to take vitamin D pills so that they could avoid going out in the sun. Sun exposure is a double-edged sword, after all: it can lead to vitamin D production, which may help keep your bones strong. On the other hand, it also increases your chance of developing skin cancer. Weighing pros and cons is difficult, so many experts prefer to sidestep the question and recommend pills instead. Will Vitamin D and Calcium Pills Keep Your Bones Strong? In December 2017, a meta-analysis published in JAMA demonstrated no benefit from vitamin D or calcium supplementation. People taking the supplements were just as likely to break a bone as people taking placebo pills. Those on vitamin D pills were at higher risk for kidney stones, though. To make sense of this research, we talked with two experts: one, a researcher who specialized in studying bone strength and osteoporosis, and the other a leading nutrition scientist. They explain how we can make sense of the confusion. Are placebo-controlled trials the best way to learn about nutritional supplements and their value? How can you tell if your vitamin D levels are low? Are there supplements you might consider to keep your bones strong? Other Studies: Since the 2017 study appeared, scientists have published additional research results that bear on whether vitamin D and calcium supplements can keep your bones strong. One was another meta-analysis published in JAMA in April 2018. Like the previous meta-analysis, it showed no reduction in fractures for people taking supplements. Even more recently, investigators in New Zealand systematically reviewed randomized controlled trials of vitamin D supplements for preventing fractures (The Lancet, Oct. 4, 2018). They found no notable benefits. Both of these are meta-analyses, however, and subject to the criticisms our guests offer for such studies. This Week's Guests: Robert R. Recker, M.D., M.A.C.P., F.A.C.E. is the O'Brien Professor of Medicine and Chief of the Division of Endocrinology at Creighton University Medical Center. He is also the Director of the Osteoporosis Research Center. He's a Master of The American College of Physicians and Fellow of the American College of Endocrinology. Walter Willett, M.D., Dr.P.H., is Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition at Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health and Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Willett (with Patrick Skerrett) is the author of Eat, Drink and Be Healthy, The Harvard Medical School Guide to Healthy Eating, Updated and Expanded (September 2017). The photograph is of Dr. Willett. 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 1138: What Are the Health Benefits of Yoga?

Yoga has become extremely popular over the last few decades. You have probably seen photographs of fit-looking young people in stretchy clothing and improbable poses and wondered why they are so enthusiastic about this practice. However, yoga is not about extreme poses or looking good. Practicing yoga is a path to good health. What exactly are the health benefits of yoga? What Are the Health Benefits of Yoga? Regular yoga practice reduces cardiovascular risk, so that people are less likely to experience a heart attack or stroke. It can help control back or neck pain. In addition, people who practice yoga improve their strength, flexibility, endurance and balance. These benefits can reduce the risk of a dangerous fall. Mental Health Benefits of Yoga: Research has shown that people who practice yoga on a regular basis are less anxious and less likely to become depressed. Some people find yoga helpful in strengthening their coping strategies as they undergo treatment for breast cancer or prostate cancer. Yoga practice can also improve people's self-perception and enhance their confidence. Does Yoga Have Age Limits? You are never too old to benefit from yoga. If you can breathe, you can derive health benefits of yoga, whether or not you can touch your toes. Likewise, even young children can learn simple poses and get benefit from their yoga practice. This Week's Guest: Carol Krucoff is co-director of the Integrative Yoga for Seniors teacher training, offered at Duke Integrative Medicine and the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, designed to help yoga instructors safely adapt the practice to older bodies, minds and spirit. A frequent contributor to Yoga Journal, Carol served as founding editor of the Health Section of The Washington Post, where her syndicated column, Bodyworks, appeared for twelve years. She has written for numerous national publications, including The New York Times, Reader's Digest and The Huffington Post. Carol is the author of several books, including her most recent book (with Kimberly Carson): Relax into Yoga for Seniors: A Six-Week Program for Strength, Balance, Flexibility, and Pain Relief. Her previous book was Yoga Sparks: 108 Easy Practices for Stress Relief in a Minute or Less. Her websites are www.healingmoves.com and www.yoga4seniors.com. 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 1137: What Should You Know About Women's Sexual Health?

Viagra became a household name almost as soon as the drug was introduced. Before that, though, few men were willing to talk about erectile dysfunction. When it comes to women's sexual health, we seem to still be in the whispering stage. The only drug to have been approved for women's sexual function, Addyi, is largely unknown. What could account for a lack of sexual desire? How can low libido be addressed? Is Testosterone Important for Women's Sexual Health? We usually think of testosterone as a male hormone. However, women also make testosterone and require it for healthy libido and sexual function. Are testosterone supplements safe? What are the risks? Root Cause Analysis: To address complicated problems like sexual dysfunction, you need to find out what is at the root of the problem. A root cause analysis can help. Find out about cases where this approach made a difference. Trouble with Antidepressants: Even though drugs for mood disorders can be lifesavers in some situations, people should know that these medicines can also have a powerful impact on sexual interest and performance. What are the sexual side effects of SSRI drugs like Prozac? How can they be addressed? Vaginal Discomfort: After menopause, many women complain of vaginal dryness that can make intercourse extremely uncomfortable. Some premenopausal women also suffer from this problem as a side effect of oral contraceptives. Vaginal estrogen, lubricants and moisturizers can all help. Yes, Virginia, there is sex after menopause–if you choose it. Individual preference is very important when it comes to women's sexual health. This Week's Guest: Sara Gottfried, MD, is a Harvard-educated board-certified gynecologist who takes an integrative approach. A wife and mother to two teenaged daughters, she says that, as a woman she knows what it's like to constantly feel tired, cranky, chunky, and sometimes overwhelmed. Dr. Gottfried's books include The Hormone Cure, The Hormone Reset Diet and Younger. Her website is: https://www.saragottfriedmd.com/ Photo credit: Lesley Bohm 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

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