June 7th: What's On Today's Show : Blog Of The Nation In the first hour of Talk of the Nation, U.S. relationship with Saudi Arabia, and why most childhood memories vanish. In the second hour, the latest in advances in the treatment of cancer.
NPR logo June 7th: What's On Today's Show

June 7th: What's On Today's Show

In our first hour, we'll explore a recent study that examines why most childhood memories vanish, and why others stick. IStockphoto.com hide caption

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Saudi Arabia
Revolt continues to pressure governments along Saudi Arabia's borders, but the kingdom has so far avoided the political turmoil roiling much of north Africa and the Middle East. The Saudi government is a close ally of the United States, the world's largest oil producer and is often seen as a lynchpin of stability in the region. The Arab Spring puts Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah in a difficult position, though. He ordered Saudi troops to help put down protests in neighboring Bahrain, attempted to broker an end to the political standoff in Yemen, and, some observers argue, stoked sectarian tensions within his own borders. While the Obama administration voiced support for anti-government movements in Egypt and elsewhere in the Middle East, it has remained largely silent on the role — and poor human rights record — of Saudi Arabia. Neal Conan speaks with Saudi Arabia experts Bernard Haykel and Toby Jones about the country's role in the Middle East, the effect of the Arab Spring on Saudi society and government and what the turmoil across the Middle East may mean for the U.S.-Saudi relationship.

Childhood Memories
Researchers have long been puzzled by the fact that most adults can't remember anything before age 3 or 4, a phenomenon known as infantile amnesia. Some researchers believe that advanced language skills are related to the ability to store memories, other studies suggest that culture and parenting styles are major factors. A recent study in Canada showed that some young children can remember events even before age 2, only to forget those events several years later. Host Neal Conan talks with Melinda Beck, senior editor and "Health Journal" columnist for The Wall Street Journal, about why most childhood memories vanish — and what makes some stick.

Cancer Update
The announcement of new personalized cancer therapies at this past weekend's American Society of Clinical Oncology conference offers signs of hope — but no cure yet — to many suffering from the disease. Two treatment options may potentially prolong the lives of patients with melanoma, a deadly form of skin cancer. There are also hormone-blocking pills that may prevent breast cancer in millions of women at high risk. While studies back the positive effects of the new drugs, many cancer experts question the cost and the difficulty in creating and testing individualized drugs. Host Neal Conan talks with Matthew Herper of Forbes Magazine and Dr. Ora Gordon of Cedars-Sinai Hospital about the promise and reality of the latest advances in the war on cancer.

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