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Only Human

Only Human is a show about health that we all can relate to. Because every body has a story.

Weekly hand curated podcast episodes for learning

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Me and My Therapist

We have this idea of what therapy is supposed to look like. There’s a couch. An objective therapist sitting across the room scribbling notes. But of course it’s not that simple. In this episode, six short stories, many from our listeners, looking at how the role of patient and therapist can get... complicated.


9 Aug 2016

Rank #1

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If you’ve ever worried about catching a cold from a co-worker who came into work when he (or she) should’ve taken a sick day, then this episode is for you.


22 Mar 2017

Rank #2

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Trans Kids Update: Dating, PMS, And, Yeah, Bathrooms

When North Carolina passed HB2 last year — a controversial law also known as the "bathroom bill" — it seemed to many that the rights of transgender people in that state were under threat. Now that the bathroom bill has been repealed, we wanted to check in with three young people we met last summer at one of the few clinics for transgender kids in the south. About a year after starting therapy, they tell us how the shifting political climate is affecting their personal lives.


5 Apr 2017

Rank #3

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Just Put Some Vicks On It

A granddaughter sets out to find the roots of her grandmother’s obsession with Vicks Vaporub. The little blue jar ends up changing their relationship.  


8 Mar 2017

Rank #4

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Doctor Stories: The Patient I’ll Never Forget

Doctors listen to stories from patients all the time. This week, we give them the mic to hear about the patients who left a lasting impression on their lives.


12 Apr 2016

Rank #5

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Don't Count on the Calorie

Calories, the longstanding building blocks of a diet, can be sneaky. It turns out that measuring what we eat through these units of energy isn’t as foolproof as we thought. We team up with the podcast Gastropod to find out the truth about calories, and how to burn them.


9 Feb 2016

Rank #6

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Your Brain On Sound

When Rose was growing up, she knew something wasn't quite right about how she heard the world. But every time she got a hearing test at the audiologist's office, she aced them. It took her years to figure out what was happening — until she met Professor Nina Kraus. What began as a quest to solve a mystery about one woman’s hearing lead to a discovery not about faulty ears, but about how all of our brains process sound.


1 Dec 2015

Rank #7

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Why is Healthcare So Expensive? We Ask an Expert

We all know the cost of healthcare is staggering in this country — but is there anything you can do about it? Dr. Zeke Emanuel talks about how we can be a smarter consumers of healthcare, and the ways the system might be slowly changing to help all of us — doctors, hospitals, insurers, and patients — understand cost better.


29 Dec 2015

Rank #8

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The Science of Turning Her On

The new “female Viagra” has been underwhelming. But researcher Nicole Prause is on a mission to find out what it takes for women to have better sex.


8 Mar 2016

Rank #9

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The Crowd Made You Do It

Who knew counting a crowd would be so… political? If the election felt contentious, the inauguration seemed to make the country even more divided, between "us" and "them." After many gathered on the Washington Mall for President Trump's inauguration and the Women’s March the following day, Only Human looks to social psychology to explain what happens to us as individuals when we become part of a crowd.


25 Jan 2017

Rank #10

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Let's Talk About Death

Bishop Gwendolyn Phillips Coates is on a mission. She’s a preacher in a small church in South L.A., and she’s made it her job to get her congregation prepared for the end of life. Bishop Coates is trying to make conversations about death easier because she knows first hand that being prepared for the end can make living better too.


8 Dec 2015

Rank #11

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Dreaming of a Deaf Utopia

As a kid, Marvin Miller dreamed of starting an all sign language town. A place where deaf would be the norm and everyone from the garbage man to the mayor would sign. Ten years ago he found the land to build it.


10 Nov 2015

Rank #12

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I’d Rather Have a Living Son Than a Dead Daughter

Earlier this year, North Carolina passed HB2, the so-called "bathroom bill." But the state is also home to one of the few clinics for transgender kids in the South. This week, we spend some time in that clinic, at Duke University's Children's Hospital, to find out how these patients are coping.


2 Aug 2016

Rank #13

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How a Prenatal Test Is Transforming Modern Medicine

Prenatal screening keeps getting more precise, more accessible, and less stressful -- at least in terms of the basic procedure. But what happens when these tests catch something? This week, the life and death decisions that come with genetic information.


26 Apr 2016

Rank #14

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The Prank Your Body Plays On Life

Poet Max Ritvo is back on our show this week, for what he’s calling his “farewell tour".The 25-year-old has spent years living with terminal cancer and says he’s now at the end of his road. But in typical Max fashion there are as many laughs as there are tears.


12 Jul 2016

Rank #15

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The Realness Ep1: This Sunny Day Right Here

Prodigy and Havoc begin laying down rhymes together in high school. When their first album flops, they come up with a new sound that's directly influenced by P's sickle cell, and it helps define a generation of hip hop. Plus: Big Twins talks about the sickle cell attack he’ll never forget. Explore More: One of the interviews we didn’t get a chance to use was this appearance Prodigy made on The Breakfast Club a while back. About 12:40 in, he talks about how sickle cell influenced his music, and says “a lot of the pain that comes out of me” is from having sickle cell.   If you ever needed proof that Prodigy was hella influential, this tribute show Hot 97’s Peter Rosenberg put out after P’s death proves it. Eminem and Kendrick Lamar (who later gave Prodigy a shout out on the BET awards) make guest appearances, rapping some of P’s most famous lines. Finally, check out the music video for Peer Pressure, one of Mobb Deep’s first singles. In it, Havoc and Prodigy are carrying sickles. A producer who worked with them told us they were meant to represent P’s sickle cell. LANGUAGE WARNING: The Realness contains strong language that some listeners may find offensive.  WNYC’s health coverage and The Realness by Only Human is supported in part by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Jane and Gerald Katcher and the Katcher Family Foundation, Science Sandbox, an initiative of the Simons Foundation, and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.  Audio of Prodigy on Questlove Supreme is provided by Pandora, which also has a recording of Mobb Deep's classic hit "Shook Ones (Part II)" performed by Nas.


27 Jul 2018

Rank #16

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Putting Care Back in the ICU

Does a more humane hospital equal a safer one? That’s a question Johns Hopkins is grappling with — and Dr. Peter Pronovost believes the answer is yes. His Project Emerge aims to reengineer the way patients are cared for in the ICU.


15 Dec 2015

Rank #17

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The Man Who Cured Everything

In the early 1900s, an eccentric fitness guru named Bernarr Macfadden discovered what he believed was a treatment for everything: fasting. In this episode, how Macfadden’s miracle cure got big, was forgotten and came back nearly a century later.


22 Mar 2016

Rank #18

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A Doctor’s Love Affair with Vicodin

Peter Grinspoon spent years addicted to painkillers – as a successful physician who also prescribed them. He kept his addiction secret and often shared pills with his patients, until he was caught. In this episode, the author of “Free Refills” talks about his lifelong infatuation with drugs, and his eventual recovery.


16 Feb 2016

Rank #19

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When Life's a Medical Experiment

Ever since Susannah Ludwig was born without an esophagus, her life has been a series of medical experiments. In this episode, the Academy Award-nominated movie producer talks about the uncertainty of living with a rare condition, and the optimism that moves her forward.


19 Jan 2016

Rank #20