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Health & Fitness

The People's Pharmacy

Updated 4 days ago

Rank #142 in Health & Fitness category

Kids & Family
Alternative Health
Health & Fitness
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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

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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

604 Ratings
Average Ratings
453
72
37
24
18

Outstanding

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

People’s Pharmacy

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

iTunes Ratings

604 Ratings
Average Ratings
453
72
37
24
18

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 Feb 14, 2020

All 272 episodes from oldest to newest

Show 1200: Making Sense of Changing Nutritional Guidelines

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Why is nutrition advice so controversial? Often, it seems as if food fights are the fiercest disagreements in medicine. Have you had trouble making sense of changing nutritional guidelines?

Changing Nutritional Guidelines:

For years, nutrition scientists have been telling us that people who eat red meat are putting their health in danger. Then a few months ago, researchers published a handful of articles reviewing the literature on red meat and concluding that meat-eaters are not running much risk, if any at all. (Processed meats such as bacon or hot dogs do appear to be linked to some risk.) What is the bottom line? How do smart people use the same data to come to different conclusions? The papers were published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Understanding Risk:

When we discuss studies that are supposed to show whether or not eating red meat will put you in danger, we need to understand the difference between relative risk and absolute risk. Dr. Aaron Carroll explains this and discusses how nutritional guidelines might change with new data.

Vitamin D and Fish Oil:

Numerous studies have shown that people who have low levels of vitamin D are more vulnerable to a range of health problems. It makes sense that vitamin D supplements would reverse that, but many clinical trials have produced disappointing results. We talk with Dr. JoAnn Manson about the VITAL study she led and what we should conclude from the results.

VITAL tested fish oil as well as vitamin D supplements. The findings on fish oil suggest that, at the appropriate dose, omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil can help protect the heart.

How Are Changing Nutritional Guidelines Shaped by Research?

Dr. Manson has served on panels that offered nutritional guidelines. She shares how they may change as new data from studies become available.

This Week’s Guests:

Aaron Carroll, MD, is Regenstrief Foundation Professor of Pediatrics and Associate Dean for Research Mentoring at Indiana University’s School of Medicine. He is also Director of the Center for Pediatric and Adolescent Comparative Effectiveness Research. His research focuses on the study of information technology to improve pediatric care, health care policy, and health care reform.

In addition to his scholarly activities, he has written about health, research, and policy for CNN, Bloomberg News, the JAMA Forum, and the Wall Street Journal.

He has co-authored three popular books debunking medical myths, has a popular YouTube show called Healthcare Triage, and is a regular contributor to the New York Times’ The Upshot.

Dr. Carroll’s most recent book is The Bad Food Bible: How and Why to Eat Sinfully.

The photo of Dr. Carroll is by Marina Waters.

JoAnn Manson, MD, DrPH, is Chief of the Division of Preventive Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital. She is also Professor of Medicine and the Michael and Lee Bell Professor of Women’s Health at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Manson is the c0-principal investigator of the VITAL trial. Here is a description of the VITAL trial. Results were recently published in JAMA Oncology (Nov. 21, 2019) and Circulation Research (Jan. 3, 2020)

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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Previous Interviews:

Both Dr. Carroll and Dr. Manson have been interviewed on The People’s Pharmacy before. Look for Show 1112, Show 1153, Show 1160  and Show 1124.

Feb 14 2020

55mins

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Show 1199: The Life-Saving Science of Spontaneous Healing

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Doctors rarely study spontaneous remissions from serious diseases. Why not? They are unpredictable, for one thing. For another, they are said to be exceedingly rare. Despite this, Dr. Jeffrey Rediger has found that most of his colleagues are aware of at least one case that defies explanation by conventional science. He set out to learn more about the survivors whose extraordinary recoveries might teach us something about the science of spontaneous healing.

Is There a Science of Spontaneous Healing?

Dr. Rediger has collected case histories of “ultimate achievers” in health: people who not only failed to die of their terminal illnesses, but managed to recover and thrive, at least for a significant time. He has found a number of commonalities in their approaches.

For many of these people, receiving a serious diagnosis was the impetus to change things in their lives. Some (though not all) of them changed the way they ate. Likewise, many changed their work and their relationships so that they were focused every day on the things that had the most meaning for them. Every survivor examined their beliefs, reclaimed their true identity and took massive responsibility for their own healing.

Boosting the Immune System:

Around the turn of the 20th century, Dr. William Coley discovered how to use the power of fever to treat patients with cancer. Injecting a bacterial toxin revved up the immune system so that it addressed tumors that had previously grown unopposed. Although Dr. Coley’s work was ignored for much of the past century, it has recently been re-discovered. According to Dr. Rediger, understanding the role of immune system is an important part of the science of spontaneous healing.

Stress and Spontaneous Healing:

A serious diagnosis is extremely stressful. However, for many of the individuals that Dr. Rediger has studied, life before diagnosis was also filled with stress. Learning new ways to manage it, by activating the parasympathetic nervous system through meditation or other means, apparently contributed to their recoveries.

Listen to learn what the rest of us can learn about staying healthy from those who have experienced unusual spontaneous remissions. We don’t want to give anyone false hope. Why should we be just as concerned about false hopelessness?

This Week’s Guest:

Jeffrey Rediger, MD, MDiv, is on the faculty of Harvard Medical School, the Medical Director of McLean SE Adult Psychiatry and Community Affairs at McLean Hospital, and the Chief of Behavioral Medicine at Caritas Good Samaritan Medical Center.

A licensed physician and board-certified psychiatrist, he also has a Master of Divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary. Dr. Rediger has been studying spontaneous healing since 2003, pioneering the use of science to investigate recoveries from incurable diseases.

He is the author of Cured: The Life-Changing Science of Spontaneous Healing.

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

Feb 07 2020

55mins

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Show 1198: How You Can Age Better

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Whoever said growing old isn’t for sissies really got it right. But not everyone has the same experience with aging. Why do some people do well up to and into their 90s, while others are over the hill in their 70s? Genetics certainly plays a role, but it is not the whole story by any means. How can you age better?

Starting to Age Better Before You Get Old:

If you wait until you already feel old, whether you are 60, 70 or 80, you will have more difficulty achieving a healthy old age. Instead, starting in your 30s and 40s gives you a better chance for success. But even adopting strategies to age better when you already have decades of life experience can give the rest of your life more zest.

Research has shown the epigenetic changes related to smoking, diet, exercise and other factors can have a profound influence on how we age. Scientists know what to do to make old mice behave like younger mice. Will these techniques work for people as well? What is the significance of Yamanaka genes and how can we reset them?

The Mystery of Rapamycin:

Years ago, scientists discovered a compound made by a soil microbe on Easter Island. This agent (named rapamycin for the Polynesian name of Easter Island, Rapanui) has become an important drug for preventing the rejection of organ transplants. But it has also played an important role in aging research, clarifying why we age and how we can age better. Rapamycin has a lot of side effects and isn’t suitable for widespread use to slow the progression of aging. But there are other medicines, such as metformin and aspirin, as well as supplements such as resveratrol, that may act on some of the same targets. Learn about Dr. Sinclair’s recommendation for six simple things you can do to age better.

Because we couldn’t fit all of our interview with Dr. Sinclair into the on-air broadcast, we have created an extended interview for you. In this podcast, Dr. Sinclair discusses the supplements he and his father take and describes how they could be helpful. You’ll want to be sure to listen!

This Week’s Guest:

David Sinclair, PhD, is a professor in the Department of Genetics at Harvard Medical School & Co-Director of the Paul F. Glenn Center for the Biological Mechanisms of Aging. Dr. Sinclair is a co-founder of several biotechnology companies (Sirtris, Ovascience, Genocea, Cohbar, MetroBiotech, ArcBio, Life Biosciences, Liberty Biosecurity) and is on the boards of several others. He is also co-founder and co-chief editor of the journal Aging.

His work is featured in five books, two documentary movies, 60 Minutes, Morgan Freeman’s “Through the Wormhole” and other media. He is an inventor on 35 patents and has received more than 25 awards and honors. Dr. Sinclair’s latest book is Lifespan: Why We Age – and Why We Don’t Have To

His website is https://genetics.med.harvard.edu/sinclair/people/sinclair.php

The photo of Dr. Sinclair is by Brigitte Lacombe.

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 extended podcast

Jan 31 2020

1hr 11mins

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Show 1197: How You Can Save Money on Medicines

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Have your pharmacy bills been going up? When Consumer Reports surveyed its readers, 30 percent of them reported that their cost for a drug they take on a regular basis rose during 2019. About 12 percent of readers said their costs had soared by at least $100. What is going on here, and how can you save money on medicines that you need?

No Caps on Drug Prices:

An article in the January issue of Consumer Reports points out that there are no laws or regulations that would cap drug prices. Manufacturers get to charge whatever they think they can make. Until recently, most consumers had no idea how much their medicines cost, because they owed only a modest copay. Now, though, many insurance companies are demanding that patients pay more, possibly as much as 20 to 30 percent of the retail price. That can add up fast when a drug costs hundreds or thousands of dollars a month.

We spoke with the author of the article, Lisa Gill, about how you can save money on medicines. She shared plenty of good ideas you won’t want to miss. It makes sense to ask your doctor how much the treatment will cost. Sometimes a nonprescription medication will work nearly as well as the prescription your doctor is about to write. However, the physician may not be fully aware of the price.

Another option you may not have considered is negotiating with the pharmacist. Sometimes paying cash, without using your insurance, results in a lower bill. Websites like GoodRx.com or BlinkHealth.com can give you comparative shopping information as well as discount coupons.

Share Your Tips on Making Medicines Affordable:

We are certain that our listeners have also found plenty of ways to make their medicines more affordable. Email us or call in your suggestions Saturday, January 25, 2020, between 7 and 8 am EST. The number is 888-472-3366. Be sure to listen, as you may hear some ideas on saving money that you hadn’t considered before.

This Week’s Guest:

Lisa Gill is deputy content editor of Best Buy Drugs for Consumer Reports. The website is www.consumerreports.org/cro/health/prescription-drugs/best-buy-drugs/index.htm

Her article is here: https://www.consumerreports.org/drug-prices/the-shocking-rise-of-prescription-drug-prices/

You may also find our eGuide to Saving Money on Medicines of interest.

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

Jan 24 2020

55mins

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Show 1196: What to Do If Thyroid Treatment Doesn’t Work for You

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Low thyroid function is a very common problem, affecting an estimated 20 million Americans. That is nearly 12 percent of the population. Most doctors are convinced that all they need is one lab test–TSH–and one medication–levothyroxine–to treat hypothyroidism. Why don’t all patients agree?

The Problem with Thyroid Treatment:

The thyroid gland produces at least two essential hormones that your body needs every day. The primary hormone is T4, also known as levothyroxine. This hormone contains four atoms of iodine as part of its molecular make-up. The thyroid also makes small amounts of T3, or tri-iodothyronine. There are three iodine atoms in this molecule, which serves as the active form of the hormone in body tissues.

In the early 1970s, when doctors first realized that the body could convert T4 to T3 by knocking one atom of iodine off the molecule, they embraced synthetic levothyroxine (Synthroid). Around the same time, the radio-immunoassay for TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) became available. This laboratory test soon gained prominence as the main and sometimes the only measure of how well the thyroid gland was working.

Genetic Differences:

Only recently have investigators identified the genetic basis for some variation in how well different people convert T4 to T3. These variations may help explain why a proportion of hypothyroid patients complain that they are still suffering symptoms despite taking their levothyroxine. Dr. Antonio Bianco, one of the leaders of this research program, discusses when and why certain individuals might feel better with combination therapy.

An Ayurvedic Approach to Thyroid Treatment:

Symptoms of thyroid dysfunction are, unfortunately, common and not very specific. Problems such as fatigue, constipation and muscle weakness could signal a number of illnesses. Even dry skin, weight gain and sensitivity to cold are not completely diagnostic for hypothyroidism. Nonetheless, the ancient Indian medical tradition of Ayurveda has been treating people with symptoms suggestive of hypothyroidism for centuries if not millennia.

Dr. Marianne Teitelbaum, a chiropractor who has been studying the use of Ayurvedic principles for decades, describes how she has adapted them for thyroid treatment. Ayurveda emphasizes the use of diet and herbs for treating imbalances. The Ayurvedic approach also calls for individualizing thyroid treatment for each patient, since the source of an imbalance are unique to every person.

This Week’s Guests:

Antonio Bianco, MD, PhD, is a Professor in the Section of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism at the University of Chicago Department of Medicine. The review he co-authored of combination therapy in thyroid treatment was published in Frontiers in Endocrinology (July 9, 2019)

Marianne Teitelbaum, DC, has been incorporating the principles of Ayurveda, a 5,000-year-old tradition of holistic medicine that comes from India, in her practice for over 30 years. Dr. Teitelbaum lectures and writes extensively about Ayurvedic treatments for all diseases. Her latest book is Healing the Thyroid with Ayurveda: Natural Treatments for Hashimoto’s, Hypothyroidism, and Hyperthyroidism. Her website is http://drmteitelbaum.com/

You may find our eGuide to Thyroid Hormones of interest.

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

Jan 17 2020

57mins

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Show 1195: Do You Need Spine Surgery?

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People who have suffered with back pain for a long time may be told that spine surgery is their last resort. But far too often, spine surgery does not relieve back pain. Sometimes, people even feel worse afterwards. How can you tell if spine surgery would be right for you?

Mark Owens’s Story:

Mark Owens lived a life of adventure as a wildlife scientist in remote regions of Africa. But when he returned to the US, he suffered a broken spine in a riding accident. The aftermath of that event left him with crippling back pain for years, during which he went through numerous back surgeries. Finally, seeking a second opinion, he saw Dr. Hanscom, who recommended an expressive writing exercise instead of surgery. He was astonished when this exercise reduced his pain more than all of his previous treatments.

Expressive Writing:

Before Dr. Hanscom retired from his practice doing complex orthopedic surgery on spinal deformities, he would have his patients prepare with an expressive writing exercise. Writing down all your negative thoughts, longhand, for 15 minutes a day, and tearing them up as soon as they are written, is surprisingly effective at managing anxiety, pain and stress. Some people, like Mark Owens, find that the expressive writing exercise alone manages their pain very well. For others, reducing the pain circuits and the anxiety before a surgical procedure improves the prospects of a desirable outcome.

When Do You Need Spine Surgery?

When there is an anatomical deformity in the spine causing the symptoms, surgery can help. However, people with ordinary lower back pain are not likely to benefit from spine surgery.

Instead, boosting positive emotions such as gratitude and forgiveness and managing negative emotions such as anxiety, fear or despair through expressive writing can provide relief. Learning to play can be extremely helpful, not just for back pain, but for many different types of painful conditions.

Direct Your Own Care:

Dr. Hanscom is a proponent of patients learning to direct their own care. Following the DOC principles can help people out of chronic pain and into healing.

This Week’s Guests:

Mark Owens worked for more than two decades as a wildlife scientist in some of the most remote parts of Africa. During that time he survived a plane crash, charging lions, leopards, elephants and Cape buffalos, as well as ivory poachers who repeatedly tried to kill him. Then in 2006 after he had returned to the USA, a horse-riding accident broke his back and crushed his chest, leaving him in acute chronic pain for the next nine years. When Mark met Dr. David Hanscom, he found an alternative to yet another spinal surgery–and may well have saved his life.

Dr. David Hanscom is an orthopedic complex spinal deformity surgeon who was based in Seattle, WA. He retired in 2018 after 32 years in practice. Today, Dr. Hanscom’s mission is to re-introduce true healing into medicine. He feels that doctors should be given the time to listen and understand their patients. He is the author of Back in Control : A Surgeon’s Roadmap Out of Chronic Pain, and his most recent book is Do You Really Need Spine Surgery? Take Control with Advice from a Surgeon. His website is www.backincontrol.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 or use the dropdown to load the mp3

Jan 09 2020

1hr

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Show 1194: How You Can Discover the Joy of Movement

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Do your New Year’s resolutions include getting more exercise? By now, everybody knows exercise is good for us. But a lot of people view it as a chore or a bore instead of a delight. How can you experience the joy of movement?

Humans are built to move, and anthropologists have offered a hypothesis that the “runners high” helped our species survive at a time when hunting and gathering both required sustained physical activity. Getting a reward from activity itself helped people do what they needed to do to find food to keep their communities alive.

Finding the Joy of Movement:

Not everyone loves running, but running is not the only activity that can make you feel good. Some people swim, others dance, and many play sports like tennis or soccer. Have you found the activity that lets you experience the joy of movement? Do you have a special playlist that lifts your spirits while you work out? What about a group of people that like to join you when you are active? It could be your workout class, your team or a group of friends who enjoy walking with you. All of you encourage each other and provide social support as well as an incentive to keep moving.

Tapping Physical Activity for Healing:

Cancer patients who are physically active improve their odds of surviving longer. They also enjoy a better quality of life while undergoing treatment. That’s why our friend Tom Ferguson (Doc Tom) brought a stationary bike into his hospital room when he underwent a bone marrow transplant for multiple myeloma. The data are strong enough that cancer programs should consider including exercise oncology as part of their offerings.

Movement can also benefit people with many other serious conditions. You might not think that patients with Parkinson disease would be able to experience the joy of movement since moving is difficult for them. However, being able to move can feel wonderful and help alleviate symptoms.

Changing our Stories Through the Joy of Movement:

How do you think of yourself? Just moving your body can give you feedback: you are strong, you are graceful, you are quick. You may not get this wonderful feedback the first time you try an activity. It takes time to learn to do any new movement with the proper form and with power. Figure on six weeks to learn to enjoy a new way of moving. Find out how you can learn to appreciate the joy of movement and incorporate it into your life every day.

This Week’s Guest:

Dr. Kelly McGonigal is a health psychologist and lecturer at Stanford University who specializes in understanding the mind-body connection. As a pioneer in the field of “science-help,” her mission is to translate insights from psychology and neuroscience into practical strategies that support personal well-being and strengthen communities.She is the best-selling author of The Willpower Instinct and The Upside of Stress. Her latest book, The Joy of Movement, explores why physical exercise is a powerful antidote to the modern epidemics of depression, anxiety, and loneliness.
https://www.amazon.com/Joy-Movement-exercise-happiness-connection/dp/0525534105/
http://kellymcgonigal.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

Jan 03 2020

55mins

Play

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

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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 there a way we can use food as medicine to regulate angiogenesis?

Oncologists haven’t always been able to suggest things patients can do to help themselves recover from cancer. Lately, however, they have made progress in learning how we can recruit our own immune systems to fight off cancer. They have discovered that our gut microbiota, the balance of bacteria living in our large intestines, can have a significant impact on how well immunotherapy works against certain cancer. 

How Do We Influence Our Gut Microbiota?

Perhaps the most important influence on the microbiota within us is how we feed them. Fortunately, many of the foods they prefer are also beneficial for our own bodies and can help regulate angiogenesis–slow it when it is trying to feed a tumor or speed it up a bit when we need it for healing. There’s quite a bit of evidence for this way of using food as medicine.

Food as Medicine to Prevent Cancer:

Dr. William Li wants us to understand that health is an active process. In addition, in his TED talks and his book, he tells us how we can eat to beat disease. Which foods will inhibit angiogenesis and which one promote it? How can our diet suppress the development of cancers? How can we utilize our microbiota as a defense system? He also has focused on how our body can regenerate itself, at least in part, and how our DNA repairs itself. What can we do to encourage and enhance these defense systems?

Some of the foods that Dr. Li discusses in this interview include broccoli sprouts, mushrooms (including ordinary white button mushrooms) and barley, rich in beta-glucans. Both green and black tea as well as stone fruits like plums, peaches, nectarines and apricots are great food as medicine. Onions and garlic are other foods that can activate the immune system. Here is our favorite mushroom-barley soup recipe.

Helen Graedon’s Mushroom Barley Soup is more or less a no-recipe recipe, in the grand tradition of experienced cooks. Sauté chopped onion, about a cup, in your favorite oil. Add about half a cup each of chopped carrot and celery and a cup and a half of chopped fresh mushrooms. When the onions are soft and the mushrooms beginning to turn golden, add about two quarts of broth. Helen usually used homemade beef broth, but chicken or vegetable broth also works. Add about a cup of barley and around two ounces of dried mushrooms, soaked, and simmer until the barley is done. (This might take 40 minutes, depending on whether the barley is pearled or not.) Add a good big handful of chopped parsley before serving. If Helen had leftover peas, green beans or lima beans, she’d add them towards the end of the cooking. Season to your taste with salt and pepper.

This Week’s Guest:

William W. Li, MD, is an internationally renowned, Harvard-trained medical doctor, researcher, and president and a founder of the Angiogenesis Foundation. His groundbreaking work has led to the development of more than 30 new medical treatments, has impacted more than 50 million people worldwide, and covers more than 70 diseases including cancer, diabetes, blindness, heart disease, and obesity. His TED Talk, “Can We Eat to Starve Cancer?” has garnered more than 11 million views. Dr. Li has served on the faculty of Harvard Medical School and presented at the Vatican’s Unite to Cure conference.

Dr. Li is the author of Eat to Beat Disease: The New Science of How Your Body Can Heal Itself.

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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Dec 27 2019

55mins

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Show 1193: How a Doctor Faced Down His Rare Disease

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A healthy young medical student, David Fajgenbaum, had been a student athlete in college and maintained his extraordinary level of fitness through much of medical school. His friends called him The Beast because of his athleticism. When he suddenly found himself deathly ill with an undiagnosed condition, it was a real shock.

Eventually, his doctors figured out what was wrong with him. It was an unusual variant of a rare disease called Castleman disease. After it nearly killed him, he started studying idiopathic multicentric Castleman disease to find out what was known about it. He was dismayed to learn that very little is known, and hardly any researchers were working on developing a cure.

Turning Hopes and Prayers into Action:

Dr. Fajgenbaum realized that if he wanted to be able to achieve his life goals (starting with living another week), he would need to jump into research himself. The drug that the FDA had recently approved for Castleman disease did not benefit him for very long. This setback emphasized that was time to turn his hopes and prayers into action.

Dr. Fajgenbaum started the Castleman Disease Collaborative Network, to bring researchers working on the condition into contact with each other and with physicians and patients who need the fruits of their research. He also began his own research program at the University of Pennsylvania.

Putting an Old Drug to a New Use:

Dr. Fajgenbaum realized that a 25-year-old anti-rejection drug called sirolimus might be able to activate appropriate pathways in his body to fight Castleman disease. That turned out to be true. Now he is preparing to run a clinical trial to see if sirolimus can help others with this rare disease. The drug is also known as rapamycin. Dr. Fajgenbaum wants to turn hopes and prayers into action. Ultimately, he will not be the only one to benefit. So will many other patients who currently have nowhere else to turn.

This Week’s Guest:

David Fajgenbaum, MD, MBA, MSc, is a physician-scientist at the University of Pennsylvania, where he is one of the youngest individuals ever appointed to the faculty. Co-founder and executive director of the Castleman Disease Collaborative Network, Dr. Fajgenbaum is also a patient battling the same disease that he studies and is alive thanks to a drug that he identified and began taking. Dr. Fajgenbaum has been profiled on Forbes “30 Under 30” list and a cover story by the New York Times, among others. He is the author of Chasing My Cure: A Doctor’s Race to Turn Hope Into Action. You can visit https://chasingmycure.com/ for more information. The photograph of Dr. Fajgenbaum is by Rebecca McAlpin.

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

Dec 20 2019

56mins

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Show 1192: How a Scary Fungus Is Threatening the World

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You may have heard about antibiotic-resistant bacteria. They can greatly complicate the treatment of infections. But have you ever heard of antifungal-resistant fungus? Infectious disease experts knew nothing about a scary fungus, Candida auris, less than two decades ago. It has acquired resistance to a number of potent antifungal medications. Consequently, it now poses threats of hard-to-treat infections in many corners of the globe.

What Is Candida Auris?

New York Times journalist Matt Richtel was looking for a suitable topic for a series of in-depth reports. When he asked the experts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, they suggested he investigate Candida auris.  They were more worried about this scary fungus than about most other health problems, and when you listen to his story, we think you will be, too!

Candida auris was first identified in the ear of a Japanese woman about a decade ago. It wasn’t making her sick. Nonetheless, before long infectious disease experts started finding people who were very sick with this fungus. Because several strains have developed resistance to multiple common antifungal medications, the infections can be quite difficult to treat.

Who Is at High Risk?

People whose immune systems are compromised seem to be at highest risk. That includes the elderly, especially those living in nursing homes. However, millions of people taking medications that can suppress their immune systems are also in danger. These are drugs used to treat autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, inflammatory bowel disease or plaque psoriasis. What actions do we need to take to protect them? With the development of antifungal resistance, simple surgical procedures could pose life-threatening risks.

This Week’s Guest:

Matt Richtel is a reporter at the New York Times. He won the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting with a series of articles he expanded into his first nonfiction book. Ultimately, it became a New York Times bestseller, A Deadly Wandering.
Matt Richtel’s latest book is An Elegant Defense: The Extraordinary New Science of the Immune System: A Tale in Four Lives. His website is www.MattRichtel.com/ You can find his series on Candida auris at The New York Times.

The photograph of Matt Richtel is by Simona Deac.

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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Dec 13 2019

56mins

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