Cover image of The People's Pharmacy
(636)
Kids & Family
Alternative Health
Health & Fitness

The People's Pharmacy

Updated about 1 month ago

Kids & Family
Alternative Health
Health & Fitness
Read more

Empowering you to make wise decisions about your own health, by providing you with essential health information about both medical and alternative treatment options. 921997

Read more

Empowering you to make wise decisions about your own health, by providing you with essential health information about both medical and alternative treatment options. 921997

iTunes Ratings

636 Ratings
Average Ratings
473
75
39
27
22

Outstanding

By SC-Sammy - Aug 22 2019
Read more
Thanks so much Joe & Terry!

People’s Pharmacy

By gtgnnc - Aug 22 2019
Read more
Honest news about drugs. Thanks

iTunes Ratings

636 Ratings
Average Ratings
473
75
39
27
22

Outstanding

By SC-Sammy - Aug 22 2019
Read more
Thanks so much Joe & Terry!

People’s Pharmacy

By gtgnnc - Aug 22 2019
Read more
Honest news about drugs. Thanks
Cover image of The People's Pharmacy

The People's Pharmacy

Latest release on Jul 03, 2020

Read more

Empowering you to make wise decisions about your own health, by providing you with essential health information about both medical and alternative treatment options. 921997

Rank #1: Show 1101: How You Can Use Essential Oils for Better Health (Archive)

Podcast cover
Read more
Plant-based oils often carry the scent of the plant. Plants may use them to attract insects, but people have found numerous uses for them as well. Some can be used in skin care, while others may be used for relaxation or to improve digestion. What Are Essential Oils? The volatile aromatic compounds found in plants […]

Aug 30 2018

58mins

Play

Rank #2: Show 1078: How to Have Good Digestion Without Heartburn Drugs (Archive)

Podcast cover
Read more
Millions of people take medicines like Prevacid, Prilosec or Nexium every day. But while such proton pump inhibitors may ease symptoms of heartburn, they can also lead to serious side effects. Dr. Philip Gorelick, spokesperson for the American Heart Association, describes the research linking these heartburn drugs to an increased risk of stroke. Alternatives to PPIs? What […]

Dec 20 2018

57mins

Play

Rank #3: Show 1099: How to Recognize and Overcome Eating Disorders (Archive)

Podcast cover
Read more
What could be more natural than eating when you are hungry and stopping when you are full? That simple approach is far from easy for many people. Hunger and eating get disconnected in eating disorders. How can these complex problems be recognized and treated? How Common Are Eating Disorders? Many people think of anorexia nervosa […]

Jun 28 2018

58mins

Play

Rank #4: Show 1114: How Health Care Became Big Business (Archive)

Podcast cover
Read more
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 […]

Jul 04 2019

58mins

Play

Rank #5: Show 1104: Why Compassion Is Key to a Good Life (Archive)

Podcast cover
Read more
In a cruel world, compassion might seem like a frivolous pursuit. But our guest expert argues convincingly that we need this emotion now more than ever, if only to keep from falling into despair. What is compassion, and what does science have to do with it? The Science of Compassion: Compassion is a response to […]

Nov 22 2018

58mins

Play

Rank #6: Show 1020: How to Lose Weight Without Feeling Hungry (Archive)

Podcast cover
Read more
Many of us are aware we could be at a healthier weight. Perhaps we’ve even tried to drop some pounds but found that we were always feeling hungry and grumpy on a diet. Perhaps counting calories could help us lose weight for a while, but we gained it back again. Why Is a Low-Fat Diet […]

Apr 13 2017

Play

Rank #7: Show 1132: Are Infections to Blame for Alzheimer Disease? (Archive)

Podcast cover
Read more
With nearly six million Americans living with Alzheimer disease, this condition is a serious public health problem. It robs people of their memories, their ability to function independently and even their very identities. When Alois Alzheimer published the first report on the brain disease that was later named for him, he described distinctive plaques and […]

Apr 09 2020

55mins

Play

Rank #8: Show 1160: How Good Is the Evidence for Cutting Salt?

Podcast cover
Read more
For decades, public health experts have been admonishing Americans to cut the salt in our diets. In fact, the American Heart Association recommends that we limit ourselves to 2,300 mg of sodium daily. That’s about one teaspoon. Ideally, the AHA says, we would get less than 1,500 mg of this crucial mineral every day.  Should […]

Apr 12 2019

1hr

Play

Rank #9: Show 969: Magnesium the Neglected Mineral

Podcast cover
Read more
Are you deficient in magnesium? Chances are you’ve never thought about it. Magnesium is a fascinating mineral that every cell in the body uses for a variety of activities. Yet very little attention is paid to this nutrient. Learn why magnesium is so vital and how to tell if your levels might be low. Which […]

Nov 06 2014

58mins

Play

Rank #10: Show 1161: What Is the Evidence for Food as Medicine? (Archive)

Podcast cover
Read more
Angiogenesis–the growth and development of blood vessels in the body–may seem like an obscure topic. However, angiogenesis is a critical phase in the development of tumors. If it can be blocked when it is inappropriate, we don’t get cancer. If not, we may need all the resources of modern oncology to help us recover. Is […]

Dec 27 2019

55mins

Play

Rank #11: Show 1073: How Can You Change the Way Your Genes Behave? (Archive)

Podcast cover
Read more
Why do some people appear to age more rapidly than others? Not only might they look older, they actually feel older as well. A check of their telomeres indicates that they are aging more rapidly at the cellular levels. Their telomeres are shrinking. Small telomeres foretell a shortened healthspan. Learning About Telomeres: So what is […]

Mar 29 2018

58mins

Play

Rank #12: Show 1118: What You Should Know About Lithium

Podcast cover
Read more
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 […]

Apr 20 2018

58mins

Play

Rank #13: Show 1002: How Bowel Bacteria Affect the Brain

Podcast cover
Read more
Until fairly recently, no one was really interested in the denizens of the digestive tract except for a few gastroenterologists and a few more microbiologists. But now research has shown that the bacteria in our bowels form complex ecological systems, and interest in the microbiome has gone mainstream. Bowel Bacteria as a Source of Inflammation: […]

Aug 06 2015

Play

Rank #14: Show 1158: Will Hormone Disruptors Affect Your Children’s Health?

Podcast cover
Read more
Over the last several decades, our environment has changed enormously. Comparing a playground in 1962 to the same playground in 2019 gives some sense of how thoroughly we have surrounded ourselves and our children with chemicals that may have profound impacts on the hormones in our bodies. As just one example, bisphenol A found in […]

Mar 21 2019

58mins

Play

Rank #15: Show 1023: How to Rebalance Your Digestive Tract Bacteria

Podcast cover
Read more
What do you know about your digestive tract bacteria? Normally, a wide range of bacteria helps us digest our food and works together to keep us healthy. But when infections or antibiotics intervene, the variety of beneficial bacteria drops and undesirable strains like Clostridium difficile can gain the upper hand. What About Probiotics? Could probiotics […]

Feb 04 2016

58mins

Play

Rank #16: Show 1180: How to Eat to Nourish Your Brain

Podcast cover
Read more
You know your body needs food to fuel it. You’ve probably thought about whether you should be eating more fat or less, how much protein you might need and if you are getting enough vegetables and fruits. But have you thought about how you should eat to nourish your brain? Managing Your Mood: Millions of […]

Sep 12 2019

1hr

Play

Rank #17: Show 987: Benefits of Coffee, Tea & Chocolate

Podcast cover
Read more
Heated disagreements about whether or not Americans all need to reduce their salt intake have reached the Wall Street Journal. Many public health agencies recommend that we cut back on salt to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes. But how well does that approach work? We talk with contrarian […]

Mar 26 2015

58mins

Play

Rank #18: Show 837: Prostate Cancer Puzzle

Podcast cover
Read more
One American man in every six is diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point, so it is not surprising that proposed changes to prostate cancer screening have created controversy. When the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended dropping the PSA (prostate specific antigen) test as a routine measure, many urologists and their patients protested. The […]

Dec 03 2011

57mins

Play

Rank #19: Show 992: Overcoming Vertigo

Podcast cover
Read more
Dizziness is a common problem, but not easily diagnosed. A little lightheadedness could be a reaction to dehydration or blood pressure medication. But when the room is spinning, walking can become difficult or even dangerous. A fall, especially for an older person, can have very serious consequences. When Is Dizziness Dangerous? When does vertigo signal […]

May 07 2015

58mins

Play

Rank #20: Show 988: Spices for a Healthy Life

Podcast cover
Read more
Turmeric, the yellow spice in curry and yellow mustard, has an active component called curcumin. This compound is the subject of more than 7,500 studies that show it has anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer activity. How Does Curcumin Work? Recently scientists discovered exactly how it boosts the activity of a treatment for colorectal cancer. We talk with […]

Apr 09 2015

58mins

Play

Show 1155: Can Bacteriophages Save Your Life? (Archive)

Podcast cover
Read more

Antibiotic-resistant bacteria have been cropping up around the world. These superbugs cause serious problems, especially when they fail to respond to increasingly potent medications. One approach may be to put a very old, natural treatment to work. The theory is that the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Enlist viruses that infect these bacteria. How well do such bacteriophages work for killing superbugs?

Killing Superbugs with Bacteriophages:

The use of viruses for killing superbugs got its start many decades ago, even before there were superbugs. Researchers in the former Soviet Union (especially in the Soviet state of Georgia) developed bacteriophages to treat serious bacterial infections. Western countries were developing antibiotics at the same time, so they paid little attention to these viruses.

Now, however, as bacteria have developed resistance to many antibiotics, researchers in the US are taking a second look at using bacteriophages for killing superbugs. We hear from a scientist at the University of California, San Diego, who is developing phage mixtures to treat multidrug-resistant pathogens.

Saving Her Husband’s Life:

We also speak with an epidemiologist and public health expert who mobilized a last-ditch effort using bacteriophages for killing superbugs that threatened her husband’s life. He had gone into a coma and was facing death because no antibiotics were working. So Dr. Steffanie Strathdee sought out bacteriophage researchers who could help. The effective strain of bacteriophage virus came from purified sewage from Texas. The UCSD team that saved his life has established a center further refining the use of these viruses.

This Week’s Guests:

Steffanie A. Strathdee, PhD, is Associate Dean of Global Health Sciences and Harold Simon Professor in the Department of Medicine at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine. She is also an Adjunct Professor at Johns Hopkins and Simon Fraser Universities. She co-directs the UCSD Global Health Institute and the International Core of the University’s Center for AIDS Research. She is also co-director of UCSD’s new center for Innovative Phage Applications and Therapeutics (IPATH)   https://ipath.ucsd.edu  To email IPATH: IPATH@ucsd.edu

Dr. Strathdee’s TEDX talk is here. She is the author, with Tom Patterson, of the just-released The Perfect Predator: A Scientist’s Race to Save Her Husband from a Deadly Superbug: A Memoir.
You’ll find more information about the UCSD program on bacteriophages here.  

Saima Aslam, MD, MS, is a board-certified infectious disease specialist. Her expertise is in caring for solid-organ transplant candidates and recipients as well as other immunocompromised individuals. Dr. Aslam directs UC San Diego Health’s Solid Organ Transplant Infectious Diseases Service, which provides expert care in the prevention and management of infectious diseases in organ transplant donors and recipients.

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

Jul 03 2020

59mins

Play

Show 1218: How Industry Manipulates Science to Downplay Risks

Podcast cover
Read more

For decades, the tobacco industry was able to ward off anti-smoking policy by claiming that science did not support it. In hindsight, it is clear that most epidemiologists came to the conclusion that smoking is bad for health without much delay. But tobacco companies were able to exploit disagreements over a few facts to sow doubt that held up public health policy for a long time. Our guest describes how industry manipulates science to downplay the risks to the public.

Science for Hire:

Evidence-based medicine is supposed to be based on science. We may think of scientists as secluded in academic laboratories, striving to uncover the truth. In fact, however, many scientists work for corporations and in industries where exposing the truth might interfere with profits.

How does the struggle between the desire to protect profits and the need for transparency play out? Our guest suggests that industry manipulates science as it did in the case of bisphenol A. This compound was found in plastic containers, the linings of cans or cash register receipts. Millions of people are exposed to products like BPA every day. Even when the hazards come to light, the compounds chosen as replacements may not be safe.

According to our guest, Dr. David Michaels,

“These deceptions affect every part of American life: the air we breathe, the water we drink, the food we eat, the cars we drive, and the sports our children play.”

When Industry Manipulates Science to Produce the Opioid Epidemic:

The opioid epidemic is a particularly harsh example of this phenomenon. The companies producing narcotic painkillers knew quite well that their drugs would be addictive. But they took advantage of an informal observation–not a study–published years ago to suggest that, when used to alleviate pain, these medicines are not actually addictive. We have seen the dire consequences of manufacturers promoting this idea while pharmacies and healthcare providers accepted it uncritically: uncounted lives destroyed in every part of the country.

“Junk Science:”

Big Pharma, Big Ag and Big Food are following the trail that Big Tobacco blazed. One of the weapons that they use to protect themselves from studies that show harm from their products is to declare them “junk science.” Research showing problems with the pesticides glyphosate and chlorpyrifos has been declared junk science. So have studies on asbestos in talcum powder, not to mention traumatic brain injury in football players.

Capturing the Regulators:

You probably imagine that organizations like the Food and Drug Administration or the Environmental Protection Agency are watching out for us. After all, their mission is to keep the American public healthy. However, here is another way industry manipulates science. Unfortunately, many industries have figured out how to take over the regulatory agencies that are supposed to protect the public. Because industry pays better, it isn’t unusual for staffers to take high-powered positions in industry. How does that impact the effectiveness of those who stay behind? 

This Week’s Guest:

David Michaels, PhD, MPH, is Professor of Environmental and Occupational Health at the George Washington University Milken Institute School of Public Health. He served as Assistant Secretary of Labor for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) under President Barack Obama from 2009 to 2017, the longest serving administrator in the agency’s history. Prior to that, he served under President Bill Clinton as Assistant Secretary of Energy for Environment, Safety, and Health, charged with protecting the workers, community residents and environment in and around the nation’s nuclear weapons facilities. Professor Michaels is the author of Doubt Is Their Product and The Triumph of Doubt: Dark Money and the Science of Deception.

Listen to the Podcast:

The podcast of this program will be available Monday, June 29, 2020, after broadcast on June 27. 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. The podcast contains additional information on sugar and how that industry manipulated science. We also discuss the conflicts of interest that arise regarding drug research funded largely by the pharmaceutical industry. How do we decide that research has provided adequate information for action?

Buy the CD

Download the free podcast

Jun 26 2020

1hr 8mins

Play

Show 1217: Natural Ways to Keep Your Immune System Strong

Podcast cover
Read more

The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the importance of having a healthy immune system. It appears that more than three-fourths of the people who contract the infection recover without hospitalization or obvious lingering effects. The others, however, get really sick. We can assume that our immune systems mediate our response to the virus. We want it to be able to beat the infection back. On the other hand, we don’t want it to overreact and create a cytokine storm. Are there ways you can keep your immune system strong?

Our guest, Dr. Tieraona Low Dog, is one of the country’s leading experts on scientific studies of botanical medicines and other supplements. She suggests that there are some vitamins and minerals you need to optimize if you want to keep your immune system healthy.

Vitamin D:

One of these is vitamin D. A new study shows that 95 percent of Americans don’t get adequate vitamin D from their diets. Some individuals may be getting plenty of vitamin D from exposure to sunlight, while others are careful to avoid sunshine unless wearing sunscreen. Apparently, people with inadequate levels of vitamin D are more susceptible to infection with SARS-CoV-2 as well as other pathogens. People with the lowest vitamin D levels have the poorest outcomes. Are you getting enough vitamin D to keep your immune system in shape? Dr. Low Dog suggests between 2,000 and 4,000 IU of vitamin D3 daily to ensure you can make antimicrobial peptides that ward off pathogens.

Vitamin A:

Nearly half of the American adults participating in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey from 2005 to 2016 did not get enough vitamin A in their diets. Green leafy vegetables as well as orange or yellow vegetables are great sources. Getting enough vitamin A is critical for good respiratory health.

Other Vitamins:

Vitamin C and the B vitamins are also crucial for your immune system function. Dr. Low Dog recommends that we get between 200 and 400 mg of vitamin C daily when faced with a challenge like COVID-19. You’ll also want to make sure you are getting good amounts of vitamin B12, B6 and folate.

Zinc:

You may not have thought much about zinc, but it is essential to maintain your immune system functioning well. Low levels of zinc are linked to a reduced ability to fight off infection. What are the clues? Sometimes, a loss of the senses of smell or taste may signal that a person has inadequate zinc. You should try to get about 20 mg a day, though elderly individuals might need 30 to 40 mg daily during an infection. (Losing the sense of smell could also be an early symptom of COVID-19.)

Herbs and Other Supplements:

Medicinal Mushrooms:

You might be surprised at the idea that mushrooms can contribute to the health of your immune system. However, mushrooms like reishi, cordyceps and maitake are rich in compounds called beta-glucans. These can really improve your ability to meet pathogenic challenges.

Probiotics:

Another supplement to consider is a probiotic. The gut microbiota serve as a signal hub for the immune system, and probiotics appear to help keep them alert and functioning well. The website Dr. Low Dog mentioned is usprobioticguide.com. She also mentioned a study published in The BMJ on June 13, 2018

Traditional Chinese Herbs:

Astragalus is an herb from traditional Chinese medicine that has shown antiviral activity. It appears to help modulate the immune system for an appropriate response to pathogens. Garlic and licorice are two other herbs from the Chinese tradition that appear to benefit immune response.

Other Herbs and Supplements:

Other herbs from different regions of the world are also supported by studies: Andrographis, Eleuthero (which has shown activity against influenza in at least 30 studies), curcumin and elderberry. Moreover, you might want to consider N-acetylcysteine (or NAC) and quercetin (500 mg twice daily).

This Week’s Guest:

Tieraona Low Dog, MD, is an internationally recognized expert in the fields of integrative medicine, dietary supplements, herbal medicine and women’s health. Dr. Low Dog has served as the elected Chair of the US Pharmacopeia Dietary Supplements and Botanicals Expert Information Panel. She was appointed to the Scientific Advisory Council for the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 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 Monday, June 22, 2020, after broadcast on June 20. 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

Jun 19 2020

1hr 9mins

Play

Show 1216: How Sugar Interferes With Healthy Decisions

Podcast cover
Read more

The telomeres that cap our chromosomes are a good way to gauge biological aging. Dr. Elissa Epel, who studies aging and metabolism at UCSF, has found a link between soda consumption and cellular aging, even in young children (Childhood Obesity, April 2018). She and her colleagues took advantage of a natural experiment at the University of California, San Francisco, to see if making sugary beverages less accessible made a difference for people’s health.

Quite a few of the people who had been accustomed to consuming at least one sugary beverage daily had prediabetes. When the vending machines in their workplace no longer offered soda, many of them experienced lower insulin resistance, an indicator of better metabolic health. Drinking less (or no) soda would benefit our health. Many people have trouble overcoming a soft drink habit, though, since sugar can interfere with healthy decisions in subtle ways.

How We Make Decisions:

Neurologist David Perlmutter and his son, Austin Perlmutter, MD, have teamed up to write Brain Wash: Detox Your Mind for Clearer Thinking, Deeper Relationships, and Lasting Happiness. They describe the three layers of the brain and the importance of the prefrontal cortex for decision making. But can we make healthy decisions when sugar is appealing to an older, deeper brain layer we may not even be aware of?

In addition, advertisers of products for children may take advantage of the lure of sweets. Are they brainwashing American kids? What could we do about that?

Bringing Your Brain Back into Balance:

Phineas Gage was a 19th century railroad foreman who survived a dramatic accident after an iron rod went through his skull. This story illustrates the importance of the prefrontal cortex. His was destroyed in the accident, and shortly after that, he acted quite differently. Reportedly, his friends hardly recognized him as the same man. However, later in life he partially regained his previous skills and temperament. That demonstrates our brains’ plasticity.

How can we use that adaptability to overcome the siren song of sugar in the supermarket? In summary, the doctors Perlmutter offer us some simple steps to help us make healthy decisions. And, finally, they offer us a peek into their own grocery carts.

We did not discuss any connection with COVID-19 with the Perlmutters or Dr. Epel. However, you may be interested in Dr. Roger Seheult’s recent episode of MedCram.com (#83) in which he connects the hypothetical dots between a high fructose intake and greater susceptibility to a severe infection. 

This Week’s Guests:

Elissa Epel, PhD, is a Professor in the Department of Psychiatry, at University of California, San Francisco. Her research aims to elucidate mechanisms of healthy aging, and to apply this basic science to scalable interventions that can reach vulnerable populations. She is the Director of the Aging, Metabolism, and Emotions Center, and the current President of the Academy of Behavioral Medicine Research. Her research on a workplace sales ban on sugar-sweetened beverages was published in JAMA Internal Medicine on Oct. 28, 2019.

David Perlmutter, MD, is a Board-Certified Neurologist and five-time New York Times bestselling author. He serves on the Board of Directors and is a Fellow of the American College of Nutrition. Dr. Perlmutter is also the recipient of numerous awards, including the Linus Pauling Award for his innovative approaches to neurological disorders; the National Nutritional Foods Association Clinician of the Year Award; the Humanitarian of the Year Award from the American College of Nutrition; and most recently the 2019 Global Leadership Award from the Integrative Healthcare Symposium. Dr. Perlmutter is the author of several books, including Grain Brain, Brain Maker, and his most recent book, Brain Wash. His website is https://www.drperlmutter.com/

Austin Perlmutter, MD, is a board-certified internal medicine physician and New York Times bestselling author. His focus is in helping others to improve decision-making and quality of life. He is also interested in methods of understanding and reducing burnout in the medical field. Dr. Perlmutter is the co-author, with his father, of Brain Wash. He writes for Psychology Today on his blog, The Modern Brain.

Listen to the Podcast:

The podcast of this program will be available Monday, June 8, 2020, after broadcast on June 6. 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

Jun 11 2020

1hr 1min

Play

Show 1215: Chasing a Cure for the Cytokine Storm of COVID-19

Podcast cover
Read more

Dr. David Fajgenbaum was a medical student in excellent health when he was struck with a mysterious disease. He nearly died before his doctors finally diagnosed him with a rare condition known as idiopathic multicentric Castleman disease. They hardly knew anything about it, and the few treatments that were available didn’t work for him. So he dedicated himself to finding a medication that did work. It turned out that an existing immune-suppressing drug called sirolimus was successful at suppressing the cytokine storms that put his life at risk.

What Does Cytokine Storm Have to Do With COVID-19?

One way that COVID-19 is killing people in this pandemic is by triggering the immune system. When it overreacts, the result is what doctors call cytokine storm. This causes high fevers, lung damage and terrifying respiratory distress. Cytokine storm or a similar immune overreaction may also help bring on MIS-C. (Multisystem Inflammatory System in Children) This is a complication affecting babies, children and young adults, in which multiple organ systems begin to fail. When immune system cells release a lot of cytokines, these pro-inflammatory compounds can also push blood to clot and harm organs throughout the body.

Are There Drugs That Can Calm Cytokine Storm?

Dr. Fajgenbaum has been leading a collaborative that is doing research on treatments for Castleman disease. He found himself thinking that someone should apply that research to help treat severe cases of COVID-19. When he didn’t see anyone else doing so, he realized he and his team had the skills and knowledge needed. Consequently, following his motto of turning hope into action, they went to work. Dr. Fajgenbaum shares this perspective and the progress they have made so far.

This Week’s Guest:

David Fajgenbaum, MD, MBA, MSc, is an assistant professor of medicine in the department of Translational Medicine & Human Genetics at the University of Pennsylvania. In addition, he is Associate Director for Patient Impact of the Orphan Disease Center at the University of Pennsylvania. His book is Chasing My Cure: A Doctor’s Race to Turn Hope Into Action. The photograph of Dr. Fajgenbaum is by Rebecca McAlpin.

A patient who has experienced five cytokine storms similar to those caused by COVID-19 before identifying a drug to save his life, Fajgenbaum is also the Executive Director of the Castleman Disease Collaborative Network (CDCN) and Principal Investigator of the CORONA project. Dr. Fajgenbaum’s work has been highlighted extensively, including a cover story in the New York Times and the Forbes “30 Under 30” list. The website for the book is https://chasingmycure.com/ while the website for the CORONA project is https://cdcn.org/corona/

Listen to the Podcast:

The podcast of this program will be available Monday, June 8, 2020, after broadcast on June 6. 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

Jun 08 2020

1hr 1min

Play

Show 1214: How to Defend Your Brain During the Pandemic and Beyond

Podcast cover
Read more

For decades, neurologists have been telling us that Alzheimer disease is driven largely by the accumulation of beta-amyloid plaque in the brain. They have suspected that this is determined in large measure by genetics, and they’ve been searching for medications that can clear beta-amyloid out of the brain. But what if beta-amyloid is actually an innocent bystander doing its best to shield neurons from infection? Find out how to defend your brain from COVID-19 and other insults.

What Is the Role of Beta-Amyloid in the Immune System?

Scientists have now accumulated significant evidence that beta-amyloid, also referred to as A-beta, is an important part of the innate immune system. If it is, will it ramp up when a person becomes infected with SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19? How does COVID-19 affect the nervous system? Vascular complications and oxygen restriction could put the brain under significant stress.

Bolstering Our Defense Against COVID-19:

Even before the pandemic started, scientists were paying attention to the effects of infections and toxins on the brain. To defend your brain, you will of course need a good diet. But you may also want to add a few supplements that you didn’t know much about beforehand. How much zinc is appropriate? Should you be taking glutathione or AHCC? Dr. Bredesen describes a beneficial regimen.

Measuring Your Micronutrients:

Calculating whether your diet is actually optimal to protect your brain can be tough. Dr. Bredesen suggests an app called Cronometer.  It can help you track your micronutrient consumption as well as your exercise to figure out how well you are doing in following a brain-bolstering eating pattern. You’ll want to make sure you are getting plenty of flavonoids. People who eat the most of these plant compounds from colorful veggies and fruits have the lowest risk of developing dementia.

Drugs and the Brain:

What in the world could a heartburn medicine have to do with your brain health? It turns out, according to scientists in Sweden, that drugs like lansoprazole (Prevacid) or rabeprazole (AcipHex) block the enzyme that the brain uses to make acetylcholine. This compound is a crucial neurotransmitter. There are dozens of other medications that can interfere with its activity. When people have too many of these anticholinergic drugs on board, it can seriously affect their cognitive capacity. That’s why reducing the anticholinergic burden is an important step to defend your brain.

People also need to be aware of the toxins they encounter, from mold to heavy metals like mercury or lead. Find out how to take good care of your brain and reduce your risk of Alzheimer disease even in the face of the pandemic.

This Week’s Guest:

Dale Bredesen, MD, is an expert in aging and neurodegenerative diseases. He is a Professor of Molecular and Medical Pharmacology at UCLA. Dr. Bredesen is also the founding President and CEO of the Buck Institute for Research on Aging and the Co-founder of MPI Cognition. Dr. Bredesen is the author of the New York Time’s best seller The End of Alzheimer’s: The First Program to Prevent and Reverse Cognitive Decline. His new book, The End of Alzheimer’s Program: The First Protocol to Enhance Cognition and Reverse Decline at Any Age, will be available on 8-18-20.

Listen to the Podcast:

The podcast of this program will be available Monday, June 1, 2020, after its broadcast on May 30. 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

May 29 2020

1hr 21mins

Play

Show 1213: How Does COVID-19 Affect Your Heart?

Podcast cover
Read more

What comes to mind when you think of COVID-19, the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus? Chances are, you think of the lungs. There’s been a tremendous amount of attention to the breathing difficulties the disease can cause. Hospitals in northern Italy and New York City have been overwhelmed because they didn’t have enough ventilators. But this disease is by no means limited to the lungs. It affects almost every part of the body, including the cardiovascular system. How might COVID-19 affect your heart?

How Does COVID-19 Affect Your Heart Health?

Our guest, Dr. Steve Nissen, is a leading cardiologist at the Cleveland Clinic. How has the pandemic affected cardiac care at the clinic? Doctors are concerned because some people have stayed at home despite symptoms that might signal a heart attack or stroke. Learn what you should do if you are experiencing problems.

Drugs to Treat COVID-19:

No drugs have been shown to cure COVID-19, but a few have earned an emergency use authorization from the FDA. Some of these have become quite controversial because of the paucity of conventional randomized controlled trials to test their efficacy. What is the story on hydroxychloroquine and azithromycin? Some cardiologists worry about this combination because the medications have the potential to exacerbate a long QT interval. What is that, and why might it be a problem?

The ACE2 receptor is one of the gateways the SARS-CoV-2 virus uses to get into human cells. What does that mean for blood pressure medicines like ACE inhibitors or ARBs?

Another drug that is being used to treat COVID-19 is remdesivir. The controlled trial was stopped early when an interim analysis showed that people taking the drug were able to leave the hospital earlier. Dr. Nissen has been critical of that decision by the NIH, and he explains his stance.

Science During a Pandemic:

Do the criteria for clinical trials change during a pandemic? Clinical investigators have found that much of their research has had to be put on hold or stopped completely during this time. Providing for safe physical distance for participants has been too challenging in many cases. But trials related to prevention and treatment of COVID-19 have high priority. How can one conduct careful research at a time like this?

Stents and Heart Health:

Until fairly recently, people looked upon stents as a sort of magic bullet for the heart. When a coronary artery becomes blocked, the heart may go without blood to nourish it. A stent inserted into that artery can prop it open where the blockage was. The idea that this will “fix the problem” is alluring, but research does not support it. Instead, it appears that stents are life-saving for someone who is having a heart attack. They make no difference for a person with predictable chest pain (what the cardiologists call “stable angina”).

Taking Care of Your Heart:

Could the stress of being isolated during COVID-19 affect your heart? What should people do to take care of their hearts, regardless of the circumstances?

Probably all of us should follow Dr. Nissen’s good example. He walks every day, usually getting in 16,000 to 17,000 steps. He follows a sensible Mediterranean diet, with an emphasis on fish and vegetables instead of meat and potatoes. What are you doing for your heart?

This Week’s Guest:

Steven Nissen, MD, is Chief Academic Officer of the Sydell and Arnold Miller Family Heart, Vascular & Thoracic Institute at the Cleveland Clinic, where he holds the Lewis and Patricia Dickey Chair in Cardiovascular Medicine. He is the co-author, with Mark Gillinov, MD, of Heart 411: The Only Guide to Heart Health You’ll Ever Need.

You can find him online at  https://my.clevelandclinic.org/staff/1185-steven-nissen

Listen to the Podcast:

The podcast of this program will be available Monday, May 25, 2020, after broadcast on May 23. 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

May 22 2020

1hr

Play

Show 1212: Should You Worry About Forever Chemicals?

Podcast cover
Read more

Do you know who tests the chemicals we use to see if they are safe or harmful? The profession of toxicology focuses on these questions. Our guest is one of the country’s leading toxicologists.

National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences:

One of the Institutes under the umbrella of the US National Institutes of Health studies whether man-made compounds in our environment have deleterious effects on our health. The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences strives to understand how the environment affects human disease so that it can promote human health. Until her recent retirement, Dr. Linda Birnbaum directed the NIEHS.

Forever Chemicals:

Many scientists are concerned about a class of chemicals called PFAs. That’s short for poly- or perfluoroalkyl substances. Chemists have nicknamed these compounds the forever chemicals, because they can persist in the environment for decades.

These compounds have many uses: they keep food from sticking to cookware, help clothes and carpets resist stains, and create effective firefighting foam. There are thousands such chemicals in use, and they accumulate in our bodies after we ingest them through water or food. Find out what the concerns are and how we might approach these compounds differently.

Does Dose Matter?

The sixteenth-century alchemist Paracelsus famously said, “Solely the dose determines that a thing is not a poison.” In most cases we are familiar with in everyday life, a lower dose of a dangerous compound might be less dangerous. Is that true for the PFAs, or could they still cause trouble even at low levels?

Other Compounds in Our Daily Lives:

Scientists have studied one chemical very well. Bisphenol A was first synthesized more than a hundred years ago. Its estrogenic activity was noted in the 1930s. But it wasn’t until about three decades ago that scientists realized the BPA used in hard clear plastics like laboratory flasks and baby bottles was leaching into the foods and liquids in these containers. Because it can mimic estrogen, it has the potential to disrupt the balance and activity of hormones in the human body.

Consumer alarm has led many manufacturers to replace BPA in their polycarbonate containers with other compounds. Are they any safer?

The Precautionary Principle:

Many European countries utilize the precautionary principle when regulating manmade compounds. Manufacturers are expected to demonstrate that a compound is actually safe before large groups of people are exposed. In the US, on the other hand, scientists or the government have to demonstrate that a compound is harmful before it is regulated.

Other Compounds of Concern:

Toxicologists are examining other agents beyond BPA and the forever chemicals. They have been debating the safety of the herbicide glyphosate (known by its trade name Roundup). An insecticide known as chlorpyrifos has also generated controversy. How do scientists assess the benefits and harms of such chemicals?

This Week’s Guest:

Linda S. Birnbaum, Ph.D., D.A.B.T., A.T.S, is Scientist Emeritus (Retired) and Former Director of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences and the National Toxicology Program. In addition, Dr. Birnbaum served previously as president of the Society of Toxicology. She was elected to the Institute of Medicine in 2010.

Listen to the Podcast:

The podcast of this program will be available Monday, May 18, 2020, after broadcast on May 16. 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

May 15 2020

55mins

Play

Show 1211: A Conversation With the Coronavirus Hunter

Podcast cover
Read more

Dr. Ralph Baric has been studying coronaviruses for 35 years and is one of the world’s leading experts on these pathogens. In this interview, you will learn how the virus jumped from bats to people and how it replicates. Moreover, Dr. Baric was already studying remdesivir, a medication being utilized against this infection. He will explain how it works and why another drug may be even better. Is this coronavirus hunter optimistic that we will be able to overcome the pandemic? Get the ultimate insider’s expertise on this deadly infection.

The History of SARS-CoV-2:

Early this year, reports of a mysterious illness began emerging from China. People were coming down with severe respiratory infections in the centrally-located city of Wuhan in Hubei province. They didn’t have flu, but doctors weren’t sure what they had caught. Early on, an ophthalmologist warned his colleagues that the disease was behaving like SARS, an early 21st century infection due to coronavirus. Scientists in China soon identified the pathogen as a coronavirus and sequenced its genome. While most Americans were taken by surprise, some infectious disease experts had long been dreading such an outbreak. One, Dr. Ralph Baric, is known as the coronavirus hunter.

The Coronavirus Hunter:

By mid-January, the coronavirus had a name: SARS-CoV-2. (Some scientists simply call it SARS-2.) The disease it causes had been named COVID-19 because the virus came to attention and started causing trouble late in 2019. Before long, with modern air travel and global trade, the disease was spreading around the world.

Where Did SARS-2 Come From?

The coronavirus hunter Ralph Baric and his colleagues all agree that this pathogen originated in bats. As it happens, numerous other coronaviruses that infect people have also come from from bats. Today, several of those have co-evolved so that they cause only mild illnesses generally classified as colds. However, SARS-2 only recently jumped from bats to humans, so nobody has resistance to it. As a consequence, this coronavirus could infect nearly everyone in the world.

How to Study Coronaviruses:

Because these pathogens are potentially so dangerous, the laboratories that study them need to be specially equipped. Dr. Baric’s lab at the University of North Carolina is a Biosafety Level 3. He describes what that means and the safety precautions that go into it. He also discusses what we know about the BSL3 laboratory in Wuhan.

How Does SARS-CoV-2 Spread?

This pathogen replicates itself efficiently. Moreover, it spreads very readily from one person to another, often before the infected individual even has symptoms. That is how it has caused a world-wide pandemic. The viruses can remain viable on surfaces for many hours, up to a few days, depending on the surface, the temperature, exposure to light, etc. One controversial topic is whether the SARS-CoV-2 virus is transmitted by the aerosol route. Research suggests that that is possible.

Drugs to Treat COVID-19:

As the coronavirus hunter, Dr. Baric has been involved in studying medications that might be useful against emerging coronaviruses. That’s why the Gilead drug remdesivir was ready to go into clinical trials against COVID-19 fairly quickly. Recently, investigators have seen results in placebo-controlled trials of remdesivir that have earned it the FDA’s Emergency Use Authorization.

Remdesivir is injectable, so doctors administer it only in a hospital setting. Dr. Baric’s group and their colleagues at Emory University and elsewhere have been developing an oral medication, EIDD-2801. Dr. Baric refers to it as NHC, and he explains how it is similar to and how it differs from remdesivir. (For more information, see the publication noted below.)

This Week’s Guest:

Ralph Baric, PhD, is the William R. Kenan, Jr. Distinguished Professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Professor in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He is a Harvey Weaver Scholar from the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and an Established Investigator Awardee from the American Heart Association. In addition, he is a World Technology Award Finalist and a fellow of the American Association for Microbiology.

He has spent the past three decades studying coronaviruses and is responsible for UNC-Chapel Hill’s world leadership in coronavirus research. For these past three decades, Dr. Baric has warned that the emerging coronaviruses represent a significant and ongoing global health threat, particularly because they can jump, without warning, from animals into the human population, and they tend to spread rapidly.

Dr. Baric’s team recently published a study on EIDD-2801 as a potential treatment for SARS-CoV-2 (Science Translational Medicine, April 29, 2020). An earlier study defined the way the virus interacts with host cells (Journal of Virology, March 17, 2020).

Listen to the Podcast:

The podcast of this program will be available Monday, May 11, 2020, after broadcast on May 9. It will include questions on antibodies to SARS-CoV-2 as well as on some other medications that are being tested.

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 podcast with the extra information

May 08 2020

1hr 5mins

Play

Show 1210: What Are the Health Benefits of Tea, Coffee and Chocolate?

Podcast cover
Read more

Are you drinking too much coffee? Is coffee actually bad for you anyway, or might a few cups have health benefits? Have you heard about the health benefits of tea? Dr. Tieraona Low Dog delves into the plant compounds contained in our favorite beverages. How do they affect our physiology?

Green, Black and White Tea:

Tea is one of the most popular beverages in the world. Like coffee, it contains caffeine. However, tea is also rich in L-theanine, a compound that tends to help people feel calm as they become more alert. Each of these different types of tea has a different profile of natural compounds as well as a different flavor. Because of the health benefits of tea, you can feel good about sipping a cup or two every day.

Health Benefits of Coffee:

You might think about coffee as an indulgence that doesn’t have much redeeming value besides helping you wake up in the morning. While coffee has plenty of caffeine, it can do more than open your eyes. It turns out that coffee is a rich source of antioxidants. However, there are significant differences in how people metabolize caffeine. Are you a fast metabolizer who could have a cup of espresso after dinner with no impact on your sleep? Or are you a slow metabolizer who needs to quit drinking regular coffee before lunch time or pay the price of tossing and turning all night? 

Chocolate as a Healthy Food or Drink:

Like coffee, chocolate can be a healthful indulgence. But it needs to have the minimum amount of sugar to qualify. Cacao is full of plant compounds with antioxidant activity. In addition, it contains a compound called theobromine that can calm a cough better than the cough medicine dextromethorphan. (Of course, the taste is also much better!) To get the potential benefits of cacao flavanols, drink very lightly sweetened cocoa or seek out dark chocolate with very little sugar. You might even find that you could combine coffee and cacao in a delicious-tasting high-powered mocha beverage. Enjoy!

Learning about the health benefits of tea, cocoa and coffee should make you feel good about these beverages you can easily consume even under stay-at-home orders.

This Week’s Guest:

Tieraona Low Dog, MD, is an internationally recognized expert in the fields of integrative medicine, dietary supplements, herbal medicine and women’s health. Dr. Low Dog has served as the elected Chair of the US Pharmacopeia Dietary Supplements and Botanicals Expert Information Panel. She was appointed to the Scientific Advisory Council for the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. Her latest book is Fortify Your Life: Your Guide to Vitamins, Minerals and More. For more information, see her website: drlowdog.com

You may also be interested in her venture, Wildcrafter Botanicals, in which she blends standardized amounts of herbs with delicious organic coffee to provide a wonderful drink–all the health benefits of coffee and more! You can turn your morning cup into a healthy (and tasty) ritual. Visit Wildcrafter Botanicals to learn more and place your order: https://www.wildcrafter.com/peoples-pharmacy/

Listen to the Podcast:

The podcast of this program will be available Monday, May 4, 2020. 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

May 01 2020

55mins

Play

Show 1209: How a Doctor Confronts Medical Error

Podcast cover
Read more
When hospitals are overstressed and understaffed, as they have been during the COVID-19 pandemic, medical errors are hardly surprising. Back in 2016, a group of doctors published an analysis in the BMJ claiming that medical errors are the third leading cause of death in the US. Could this really be true? Learn how a thoughtful […]

Apr 23 2020

59mins

Play

Show 1208: Keeping Kids Healthy in the Age of Coronavirus

Podcast cover
Read more
Schools are closed and kids are home so that they don’t catch COVID-19 and spread it to family members. Of course, parents don’t want their children to get sick, either. How are we keeping kids healthy in the age of coronavirus? Why Are Children Less Likely to Become Very Ill? Most infectious diseases, especially respiratory […]

Apr 17 2020

54mins

Play

Show 1132: Are Infections to Blame for Alzheimer Disease? (Archive)

Podcast cover
Read more
With nearly six million Americans living with Alzheimer disease, this condition is a serious public health problem. It robs people of their memories, their ability to function independently and even their very identities. When Alois Alzheimer published the first report on the brain disease that was later named for him, he described distinctive plaques and […]

Apr 09 2020

55mins

Play

Show 1207: Can You Use Your Patient Portal for Better Health?

Podcast cover
Read more
Staying at home and maintaining safe physical distance means that some primary care practices are not functioning normally during the pandemic. However, you may still want to connect with your doctor. In fact, you may have urgent questions about how to stay healthy or what to do if you become ill. Do you have a […]

Apr 02 2020

55mins

Play

Show 1206: Live Coronavirus Update to Answer Your Questions

Podcast cover
Read more
Information on the coronavirus pandemic is changing hourly. The US now has more COVID-19 cases than any other country. For this live coronavirus update on March 28, 2020, we have asked infectious disease expert and epidemiologist Dr. David Weber to answer your questions about COVID-19. Learn how you can protect yourself and your family. To […]

Mar 27 2020

1hr 5mins

Play

Show 1205: How Do Patients’ Stories Shape Their Care?

Podcast cover
Read more
How do doctors figure out what is wrong with a person and how they can be treated effectively? Traditionally, medicine has put great emphasis on the patient’s history, which usually means the patient has to tell a story. What hurts? When did it start? What happened next? One drawback of the way medicine is currently […]

Mar 19 2020

55mins

Play

Show 1204: How Brain Function Affects Mental Illness

Podcast cover
Read more
Mental health problems cause widespread disability in today’s world. Large numbers of people suffer with depression or severe anxiety. While these ailments are real, we may not be considering their causes carefully enough. Our guest, Dr. Daniel Amen, suggests that the trouble underlying most mental illness is disrupted brain function–poor brain health. SPECT Scans of […]

Mar 13 2020

1hr

Play

Show 1203: How Yoga Can Help You Age Gracefully

Podcast cover
Read more
Stress is nearly ubiquitous in modern life. We all know it isn’t healthy, but we may not have a lot of tools for escaping or alleviating it. People under stress may feel they don’t have enough time for yoga. Just trying to meditate may send their minds spinning into overdrive about everything waiting to be […]

Mar 06 2020

55mins

Play

Show 1202: How Can We Fix Our Broken Food System?

Podcast cover
Read more
In our modern world, many people have become disconnected from the source of their food. Unlike our distant ancestors, who hunted and foraged for their meals, or even our great-grandparents who raised their food on farms, most folks now eat out of the supermarket. Following a diet full of highly processed foods can result poor […]

Feb 27 2020

55mins

Play

Show 1201: Hard-to-Diagnose Conditions Can Be Deadly

Podcast cover
Read more
Diagnosis is a crucial first step for medical treatment. In some situations, recognizing the condition as soon as possible makes a big difference in the outcome. However, doctors may have difficulty with certain diagnoses. If patients can help recognize when they are in trouble and ask questions, certain hard-to-diagnose conditions may be identified more quickly. […]

Feb 20 2020

55mins

Play

iTunes Ratings

636 Ratings
Average Ratings
473
75
39
27
22

Outstanding

By SC-Sammy - Aug 22 2019
Read more
Thanks so much Joe & Terry!

People’s Pharmacy

By gtgnnc - Aug 22 2019
Read more
Honest news about drugs. Thanks