The People's Pharmacy
Joe and Terry Graedon
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
Every day, an average of 750 senior Americans are hospitalized as a result of medication reactions and interactions. Part of the problem is that as we grow older and accumulate more health conditions, we also end up with longer lists of prescription drugs for them. In addition, many of us also take medicines to prevent […]

Marvelous technology like CT and MRI imaging, genotyping and microbiome analysis have given health professionals more power than ever to learn what is going wrong with an individual. Special tools like robotic surgery can help doctors treat complex problems. Highly advanced prosthetics can help people recover from devastating accidents or radical operations. Problems with Technology: […]

Do your feet hurt? Foot problems can interfere with both work and leisure time activities. You won’t want to walk the dog or go dancing, not to mention stand at a cash register or move about a clinic with foot pain. What can you do about it? How Dangerous Could a Pedicure Be? A pedicure […]

Does medicine mean “drugs and surgery” to you? That is certainly how a lot of people see it. However, physical activity–exercise–has powerful abilities to help us heal. How can we use exercise as medicine? What does it mean to use exercise as medicine? The concept may seem a bit strange unless you have encountered cardiovascular […]

Do you love your hair the way it is? Many of us wish our hair were different–curlier, straighter, darker or lighter. But what people worry about most with their hair is when they lose it. Can you keep your hair from falling out? Why does hair loss affect some people, including women as well as […]

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 […]

Have you ever had horrible heartburn or a really bad bellyache? Most of us have experienced digestive distress at one time or another. When do you need to seek medical attention for your problem? What Causes Digestive Distress? When the gastrointestinal tract is working as it should, you chew your food and swallow it. Then […]

Pain is a difficult topic. To begin with, the experience of pain is completely subjective. There are no independent objective measures that doctors can use to assess a patient’s pain. They have to take her word for it. Second, pain has a very significant emotional component that must be addressed along with any physical causes. […]

Are there toxins in your home? As it turns out, many houses hold furniture, electronics and other products that have been treated with toxic chemicals such as stain repellents and flame retardants. Some of these are there because of misguided legislation requiring them in the past. What are the consequences of chronic exposure to compounds […]

Can you tell what your dog is thinking? Chances are, you have a good idea much of the time. And likewise, your dog pays close attention to your expressions and behaviors to decipher your mood. What are the health implications of our relationships with animals? Empathy Cements Our Relationships with Animals: The capacity for empathy […]

We invite you to learn more about our sponsor, Verisana Lab. We have long been advocates of home testing to monitor your health. This German-based clinical laboratory makes it easy for you to learn about many hitherto hidden aspects of your health. You can listen to our interview with the CEO, Christian Ziegert. He will […]

When a doctor is diagnosed with cancer, you can bet he will try to find the best possible treatments for the disease. Dr. Timothy McCall has long added yoga and Ayurvedic medicine to his standard medical toolkit. So when he was diagnosed with neck cancer and couldn’t schedule the first allopathic (Western medicine) treatment right […]

Have your summer evenings outside been spoiled by the whine of a mosquito coming in for a bite? How do you deal with the resulting itch? Mosquito bites usually itch for a while and then go away, but some people suffer excessively. Do you have skeeter syndrome? Although it sounds fanciful, we actually found this […]

Diabetes has nearly become an epidemic, both in the US and around the world. This metabolic disorder interferes with the way the body processes energy and affects more than 30 million Americans. That’s approximately one person out of every ten. Type 1 and Type 2: Do you know the difference between type 1 diabetes (once […]

The distinction between pleasure and happiness might seem like a philosopher’s quibble. Fat Chance author Dr. Robert Lustig tells us why this difference is vitally important to our national wellbeing. Corporations are hacking the American mind because of our ignorance about the difference between them. Pleasure vs. Happiness: Dr. Lustig describes the neurochemical foundations behind […]

Antibiotics are crucial for treating serious infections, but the specter of bacterial resistance to antibiotics is scary. Many public health experts have called for more diligent antibiotic stewardship to protect the usefulness of these medication. How Might Antibiotics Affect Your Brain? Some physicians point to other, equally compelling reasons to use antibiotics more judiciously. They […]

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 […]

Diverticulitis can cause excruciating pain. What causes this problem, and how can you prevent it? As we grow older, many of us acquire little pouches, pockets or potholes in the large intestine. Doctors have a term for the presence of these diverticula: they call the condition diverticulosis. However, if food or feces get trapped in […]

Have you ever wondered how your immune system manages to ward off infections? This “elegant defense” is sometimes described as though it were an army fending off all invaders, but that metaphor can be misleading. Perhaps we’d do better to think of immune system cells as a peacekeeping force. Maybe they act as bouncers for […]

You may not be aware that the vast majority of medications Americans take are generic drugs. This helps hold down the costs that patients have to pay, especially if you are taking one of the medicines offered for an extra-low rate, like $4 a month, at a big-box store. That certainly sounds great, unless you […]

When you think about heart health, you may not think about any gender differences in symptoms or treatment. Most doctors don’t, so why would patients? However, women don’t always experience the classic symptoms of crushing chest pain that we expect from tales of men’s heart attacks. Sometimes, they may be bothered with back or jaw […]

For some years, emergency doctors and allergists were puzzled by people who started having extremely serious allergic reactions in the middle of the night, a long time after they had eaten or drunk anything or had any contact with obvious allergens. Smart sleuthing from our guest and his colleagues determined that a tick bite can […]

Do you sniffle through spring or feel crummy in the fall? Many people suffer with seasonal allergies, and trying to figure out which medicines make sense is no easy task. To start with, how do you know if you are sneezing from a cold or from hay fever? Why does the answer change the kind […]

We all prefer to interact with people who are friendly, supportive and helpful. But when it comes to health care providers, does “bedside manner” really make a difference? Or is a doctor’s positive attitude irrelevant to the medical outcome? Does Your Doctor’s Positive Attitude Affect Your Health? We talk with a scientist who has looked […]

Dr. Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin in 1928, after observing horrific lethal infections on the battlefields of the first World War. It was the first antibiotic to defeat a wide range of terrifying diseases. Today, however, there are frequently shortages of this critical medication. In addition, penicillin and related antibiotics may not kill emerging superbugs. Less […]

Do you use mail order for your prescription drugs to get a better price? Many insurance companies strongly encourage people to order online from preferred sources so they can control how much they have to pay. Most of us like to save money. However, are there any downsides to getting your medicines mailed instead of […]

The thyroid gland on your neck is not very big, but it is super important. It secretes hormones that control the activity of every cell in your body. Consequently, the thyroid regulates your metabolism, your heart beats, your bowels and even your thinking. What happens when the thyroid doesn’t work as it should? How do […]

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 […]

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 […]

You may have read or heard that adequate sleep is a pillar of good health, like exercise and a healthy diet. Sleep affects blood pressure and heart disease, metabolism and obesity, the immune system, cognitive function and mood. But if you can’t get enough sleep, that information is more frustrating than helpful. What is interfering […]

The past few months have produced some fascinating science stories from international sources. We interviewed two scientists in far-flung places to learn more about unexpected ways that microbes interact with us and affect our health. One researcher has developed some unique ways to study the microbiome of our digestive tract. Another is examining whether the […]

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 […]

You may think your home is sparkling clean. But even a clean house harbors a host of small creatures that have a fascinating web of interactions with each other and with the humans who live there. What do you know about the ecology of your home? How does the dust that accumulates in the corners […]

Research over the past few decades has revealed that we humans host a bewildering variety of invisible creatures, our microbiota. We can almost envision the collective genome of all these microbes, the microbiome, as a sort of second genome for human individuals. Unlike our human genome, the microbiome can be altered based on our diet […]

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. […]

A national survey just a few years ago showed that Americans fear losing their vision more than they fear losing a limb, their hearing, their ability to speak or even their memory (Scott et al, JAMA Ophthalmology, October 2016). What do you know about how to take good care of your eyesight? What Can You […]

If you watch television, you can’t avoid TV drug commercials for maladies from type 2 diabetes to auto-immune diseases like psoriasis or rheumatoid arthritis to refractory cancers. Do you see these ads as providing the information you need about your medicines? Or do you perceive them as pushing viewers to request drugs that they may […]

Have you ever thought about how a bad habit gets started? You can blame the neural wiring and chemistry we share with all animals. When we do something that feels good in the moment, we remember it and are likely to repeat that action. But “feels good” doesn’t always translate into “good for you.” How […]

Back at the turn of the 20th century, the only treatment for most types of cancer was surgery. When a young New York doctor lost his first patient to sarcoma despite treating her by the book, he began to look for other approaches. What he came up with was actually the first immunotherapy for cancer. […]

Decades ago, the relationship between a patient and a doctor was often asymmetrical. The doctor decided what treatment was needed and issued “doctor’s orders.” Patients were expected to follow through, no questions. In most cases, they couldn’t ask questions because they didn’t have access to enough information to formulate reasonable queries. How 20th century! Today, […]

The diet wars have been raging for years. Each side has ardent proponents–those who insist that a low-fat diet is the best way to control weight and those who are convinced that a low-carb diet is better have had a hard time finding common ground. Even those who endorse a more moderate approach can be […]

Kidney stones afflict an estimated three million Americans each year, resulting in at least half a million trips to the emergency department. But what are they and what can you do about them? How do they form and how might you prevent them? We hear from a listener who has first-hand experience of the pain […]

What causes heart disease? There are a number of risk factors, including cigarette smoking, sedentary lifestyle, high blood pressure, diabetes and others. One well-known risk is high cholesterol. Has your doctor told you that you need to control your cholesterol? New Guidelines for Cholesterol Control: The principal cardiologists’ organizations in the US recently updated their […]

Life is never completely smooth and easy. Along with bruised shins and skinned knees, we all experience hurt feelings from time to time. Perhaps we got left out of the game, or our best friend decided to hang out with somebody else. What do you do in a situation like this? How can you learn to […]

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 […]

Facts are essential for scientific understanding. Stories are critical for wisdom, understanding the arc and meaning of our lives. Dr. Rachel Naomi Remen, author of two wonderful books about stories, describes how some stories can diminish us and our view of ourselves. Others give us strength and hope. Stories can reveal deep meaning in our […]

Heartburn is a common problem. Many people take powerful acid-suppressing drugs like Nexium or Prilosec every day to treat gastro-esophageal reflux disease or GERD. If untreated, chronic irritation of the swallowing tube can lead to Barrett’s esophagus. Do you have to take medications forever to treat this condition? Are there better ways to heal your […]

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 […]

Type 2 diabetes has reached epidemic levels in the US and around the world. Although endocrinologists consider it a chronic, progressive disorder, some experts have seen that it is potentially reversible and may be preventable. What approaches are helpful? What role could fasting play? Nephrologist Jason Fung, MD, says that you can’t manage a dietary […]

Over the years, we have heard about scores upon scores of home remedies for everything from arthritis to warts. Some make sense intuitively, while others seem silly. Most have never been subjected to scientific scrutiny. Is there any science behind home remedies? We may never know the full answer to that question, but occasionally we […]