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
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. […]

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 […]

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 […]

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: […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

For centuries, people have been using home remedies as their first treatment for common ailments. With easy access to over-the-counter drugs, though, people have turned away from home remedies in the last several decades. There are still plenty of inexpensive options that work well, however. Which are your favorite home remedies? Apple Cider Vinegar: One […]

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 […]

At a time when opinions about nearly everything are highly polarized, how can you have a civil discussion? What do we do when we encounter a person who is extremely angry? For that matter, how do we handle our own emotions? What works to defuse anger and what sorts of responses just make it worse? […]

If you like to cook, you are no doubt aware that favorite recipes change with the times, just like fashions in clothing. But a lot of Americans don’t like to cook. They may not have tried acquiring the skills or even more likely, they don’t have the time to do anything very complicated in the […]

Many indigenous peoples around the world have developed traditional uses for psychedelic compounds. In Western medicine, these were mostly unknown until Albert Hoffmann synthesized LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) in 1938. He later tried to figure out how it might be used after having an extraordinary personal experience. By the mid to late 1960s, psychedelic drugs […]

Last summer, a major review of research on supplements to improve heart health concluded that most do nothing to prevent heart attacks, strokes or premature death from cardiovascular causes (Annals of Internal Medicine, Aug. 6, 2019). In other words, they are a waste of time and money. (The possible exceptions include omega-3 fats and folate.) […]

The People’s Pharmacy radio show and podcast are supported in part by sponsorship. One of our sponsors is KayaBiotics, a German company that makes high-quality probiotics from all-organic ingredients. Germany has rigorous oversight of supplement manufacturing, and we are pleased that such products are available to our listeners.  The Benefits of Probiotics:  Most people think […]

When you get sick, you need a diagnosis. If the diagnosis is wrong, the treatment won’t be appropriate. What happens when doctors make diagnostic errors? We talk with a leader in the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine about his recent research. What Diagnostic Errors Are Most Serious? Clinicians make an estimated 12 million diagnostic […]

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 […]

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. […]

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 […]

Do you enjoy a glass of wine from time to time? If so, were you alarmed to read headlines last fall announcing that ANY amount of alcohol is problematic? Here’s how those headlines came about. The researchers wrote in The Lancet (Sept. 22, 2018), in their interpretation of their meta-analysis of the health risks, world-wide, […]

More than 50 million adult Americans have been diagnosed with arthritis. While osteoarthritis is the most common form, there are many others, including rheumatoid arthritis, gout, psoriatic arthritis and even fibromyalgia. What are the similarities and differences between these various inflammatory conditions? What are the best ways to manage arthritis pain? How Does Arthritis Affect […]

For years, people were urged to take calcium supplements to avoid losing bone density. This advice was aimed particularly at menopausal and postmenopausal women because they are especially susceptible to bone fragility and fractures. All the same, calcium supplements were often recommended to all older adults. Will taking calcium pills really keep your bones strong? Seniors […]

Yoga has become extremely popular over the last few decades. You have probably seen photographs of fit-looking young people in stretchy clothing and improbable poses and wondered why they are so enthusiastic about this practice. However, yoga is not about extreme poses or looking good. Practicing yoga is a path to good health. What exactly […]

Viagra became a household name almost as soon as the drug was introduced. Before that, though, few men were willing to talk about erectile dysfunction. When it comes to women’s sexual health, we seem to still be in the whispering stage. The only drug to have been approved for women’s sexual function, Addyi, is largely […]

Americans take a lot of medications. We appear to have adopted the advertising-based attitude that there is a pill for every ill. But while some medicines may be helpful or even essential in some circumstances, a lot of people end up taking too many of them. Sometimes doctors end up prescribing one drug to counteract […]

Doctors have been advocating evidence-based medicine for a few decades, but a surprising amount of medical practice is based on tradition. How can you sort out the value of evidence-based medicine from eminence-based medicine? (That is, what the most influential experts recommend, based on their own experience or beliefs.) The Fate of Medical Mythbusters: Collecting […]

Nails rarely get much medical attention. They just don’t seem as urgent as high blood pressure or diabetes. Despite this, nails are part of the way we present ourselves socially. Consequently, most people are quite concerned about the appearance of their nails. What should you know about keeping them healthy? Nail Problems as Red Flags: […]

High blood pressure is an important risk factor for heart attacks and strokes. A recent change in guidelines urges doctors to treat people whose blood pressure would not have been considered particularly high a few years ago. (Here is a link to the guidelines, published in March 2018.) Most of the time, that treatment consists […]

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 […]

At one time, doctors believed that celiac disease was extremely rare, that the few children who had it would outgrow it and that the symptoms were primarily digestive. We now know that none of these axioms are true and the story on celiac disease is different. What is it now, and why does it matter? […]

Nearly 40 million Americans know the nausea and throbbing pain of migraine headaches. This debilitating condition that can create one-sided head pain may make it difficult or impossible to carry on with work or everyday tasks. How Can You Prevent Migraine Headaches? There are drugs that can be used to treat migraine headaches, but the […]

Do you know where your medicines come from? It can actually be something of a challenge to find out, because unlike shirts or apples, drugs do not have to be labeled with country of origin. As it turns out, over the past two decades, the pharmaceutical manufacturing industry has followed the same route as many […]

Have you ever thought of your body as a machine and the doctor as its mechanic? It’s a common metaphor, but one that can get us into a lot of trouble. Machines can’t heal themselves, but our bodies have superb capacities to do so, if we help them. It turns out that there is more […]

Complementary medicine has become popular in the US. Many people pay out of pocket for treatment by Ayurveda practitioners, massage therapists or chiropractors. Others take a range of herbs and other natural products as dietary supplements. Some of these practices are controversial, but conventional physicians are beginning to integrate some ideas, such as dietary advice […]

If you’ve spent time out in the woods this summer, or if you hope to hike or bike outside, you need to know about ticks. Ticks are not just icky; they can also carry dangerous diseases. In fact, tick-borne diseases are increasing as ticks increase their range. Tick-Borne Diseases: Not all tick bites lead to […]

Since 1995, the world has experienced twenty of the hottest years on record. The wildfires raging across western states are expected to burn more acreage than last year’s devastating fires. Hurricanes like Sandy, Harvey, Irma and Maria have caused enormous destruction. And less conspicuously but just as ominous, carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have […]

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 […]

People around the world have learned how to use the plants in their vicinity to heal themselves and make life better. Not surprisingly, many cultures have found plants that can improve your sex life. What are they? The Medicine Hunter: Our guest is Chris Kilham, known as the Medicine Hunter. He travels to remote locations […]

People get excited about their favorite diets. Maybe you do, too. Are you a low-carb champion or a low-fat fan? Which one really is your best diet? The DIETFITS Study: A big study from the Stanford Prevention Research Center assigned 600 people to either a healthy low-fat diet or a healthy low-carb diet. (No junk […]

What is the value of vitamin supplements? There is no consensus on whether most people would benefit. Much of the research on multivitamins does not show a strong effect in preventing cardiovascular disease or cancer. Consequently, doctors often conclude that vitamin supplements are unnecessary. What Is a Well-Balanced Diet? Instead, they suggest that everyone follow […]

Medical devices are far more common than you might imagine. One American in ten has an implanted defibrillator, pacemaker, artificial hip or knee joint, surgical mesh or other device. How rigorously are such devices tested before they can be used? How Does the FDA Regulate Medical Devices? You would imagine that the Food and Drug […]

Fast food is taking over the American diet, and the effects are deadly. Processed meats, such as pepperoni or bologna, could be considered carcinogenic. Moreover, highly processed foods and fried foods set us up for heart disease and dementia. All the foods in bags and boxes with white flour and synthetic ingredients are a major […]

Since the middle of the last century, more than 85,000 chemicals have been developed and used. In many cases, they persist in the environment long after their immediate utility has vanished. The World Health Organization attributes more than one-third of childhood mortality to environmental causes. Are environmental poisons contributing to the troublesome rise in childhood […]

Prescription drugs cost more in the US than in any other country. Prices have been rising far more quickly than the cost of living, and the proportion people must pay out of pocket has also been increasing. As a result, many patients are finding it difficult to afford their medicines. Are you among them? Is […]

Chances are you know someone who has had difficulty conceiving a child, though you may not be aware of their struggle. Endocrine disruptors are widespread in our environment, and may be affecting sperm counts or female fertility. Modern medicine has a lot to offer couples who are having trouble with fertility. Men with low sperm […]

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 […]

More Americans are living to old ages, but frequently their later years are plagued with chronic diseases. Is there a way to stay healthy into the ninth and tenth decade of life? To find out, we take a virtual trip to visit centenarians in a remote village in southern China. Visit to Longevity Village: Dr. […]

About 15 percent of American adults have problems with their balance. Even children are not exempt, with about 5 percent suffering from dizziness. What causes dizziness, and what can be done about it? A Definition of Dizziness: Dizziness is a terrible term because it doesn’t actually tell the doctor what the patient is feeling. It […]

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 […]

Americans love laxatives. Millions of people rely on such products to stay regular. But you can conquer constipation without depending on these medications. Medications That Cause Constipation: A surprising number of common medicines can cause constipation as a side effect. Opiates are notorious for this, of course, but people may not think about the antihistamine […]

It is hard to feel good if your feet hurt. Dancing, running, playing golf or tennis and many other forms of recreation are no fun if you have painful bunions or plantar fasciitis. So how can you keep your feet happy and healthy? And what can you do about common foot problems? Ask the Podiatrist: […]

Nutrition experts have demonized a lot of foods over the past several decades. Eggs, shrimp, butter, cheese and meat were all taken off the table because they are rich in fat and cholesterol. No cholesterol, but too much fat doomed nuts, coconut and avocados. More recently, wheat and foods made from it, like bread, crackers, […]

How should you be keeping your heart healthy? Recent headlines have brought some controversies in cardiology to public attention. Defining High Blood Pressure: The American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association issued guidelines on blood pressure control in 2017 (Hypertension, online Nov. 13, 2017). These cardiology groups recommend that anyone with blood pressure […]

Many families struggle to get their children and teens to follow healthful diets. But there is a good reason that grandmothers have been urging kids to eat their vegetables, going back at least a century. Poor eating habits contribute to many health problems. How can we get children to love healthy food? Dr. Yum to […]

When you go to see the doctor because you are sick, the first order of business is to get a diagnosis. How does the doctor arrive at that? What does she need to know? And is there any way you can help your doctors with diagnostic challenges? Meeting Diagnostic Challenges: Getting the right diagnosis is […]

Do you wish you could hear better? Do you have trouble hearing what others are saying? Many people find it difficult to follow a conversation with multiple voices, especially in a crowded restaurant. In fact, by 2060, more than 70 million Americans will probably be experiencing hearing loss. Most of them will be over 70. […]

When a child is diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), many parents are faced with a difficult dilemma. They want their child to be able to focus in school and at home, but they may be uneasy about the medications the doctor is prescribing. While stimulant medicines can sometimes be very helpful for people […]

Experts agree that exercise is crucial for good health, especially when it comes to preventing chronic diseases. Movement helps every bodily system function better. So why do so many people find it difficult to make the time to exercise? Our technology has lured many of us into a sedentary lifestyle sitting at a computer. Dr. […]

Spine surgeon David Hanscom does some of the most complicated surgery you can imagine on bad backs. But his patients get even more relief from chronic pain by employing the nonsurgical techniques he offers them in preparation for surgery. Sometimes they feel so much better they don’t even need to go under the knife. How […]

At midcareer, neuroscientist Wendy Suzuki had numerous scientific awards and accomplishments. She was studying what makes a brain healthy. But she didn’t have much of a life outside of the lab, and she wasn’t happy. She decided to make some changes, starting with a stop at the gym. How Does Moving Your Body Make Your Brain […]

For decades, we’ve been told that we need to avoid fat if we want to lose weight. So Americans turned to highly-processed low-fat foods that are full of sugar. Is it a coincidence that we are fatter than before? More than two-thirds of American adults are overweight or obese. Turning the Food Pyramid Upside Down: […]

Why do some relationships last for decades and just seem to get stronger, while others wither? Is there a secret to lasting relationships? Kindness, Generosity and Science: Decades ago, psychologist John Gottman began studying how newlyweds interacted with each other. He and his colleagues created a “Love Lab” in which they took careful notes and […]

Sperm counts have been falling around the world for the last several decades. In some regions, such as Europe and North America, the counts are down as much as 60 percent. What could account for this dramatic drop? Are Endocrine Disruptors to Blame? Compounds in many ubiquitous products, such as the BPA found in hard […]

Dr. Allan Hamilton is a neurosurgeon, a teacher and a horse trainer. Those activities may not seem to have much to do with each other, but Dr. Hamilton has found that horses have a lot to teach us about life and health. Lead with Your Heart: His book on the wisdom of horses, Lead with […]

For years, we’ve been hearing from listeners who swallow a shotglass of pickle juice or a spoonful of yellow mustard to make a muscle cramp disappear. They often report relief within a few minutes. How could such a weird remedy work so quickly to alleviate muscle contraction? Muscle Cramps Strike at Sea: Neurobiologists Rod McKinnon […]

Consumer Reports recently had a cover story on “Too Many Meds? America’s Love Affair with Prescription Medication.” It turns out that half of American adults take at least one prescription drug. Actually, the average number of prescriptions is four. That’s a lot more pills than people in other countries, and it is more than we […]

Although lifespans have been increasing, so has the burden of chronic disease. When a person is diagnosed with a serious illness such as cancer, cirrhosis, kidney disease, heart failure or Parkinson’s, medical science may not have a cure. But doctors shouldn’t say, there’s nothing more we can do. Instead, they should ask, how can we […]

Being able to see is something most of us treasure, especially if we imagine being deprived of good vision. But do we know how to take care of our eyes to keep them healthy and working well? Our guest, Dr. Peter McDonnell, is an ophthalmologist. He describes the most common problems that can rob us […]

An estimated 20 million Americans have trouble with their thyroid glands. Doctors have become accustomed to making the diagnosis of hypothyroidism based on a single blood test. Often they prescribe just one medication for treating thyroid disease. But does that work equally well for everyone? Genetic Variations That Make a Difference: New research shows that […]

Heart Disease and Inflammation: Is cholesterol the main problem leading to clogged arteries and heart attacks? It certainly is important, but a brand-new study suggests that inflammation may also be critical. The study was called CANTOS (for Canakinumab Antiinflammatory Thrombosis Outcome Study). Canakinumab (Ilaris) is a medication that is approved for treating inflammatory diseases such […]

For decades, epidemiologists have noted that people who eat breakfast seem to weigh less and live longer. But it hasn’t been clear if eating breakfast helps people stay healthy, or if healthy people tend to eat breakfast. How much does that matter when people in the US appear to have switched from eating three meals […]

Osteoporosis, weakened bones, affects about 10 million Americans. But low bone density is even more common. According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, about half of adults over 50 are at risk for a fracture. How can you minimize your risk and keep your bones strong? Preventing Osteoporosis: Some of the factors that lead to osteoporosis […]

Do home remedies have a role in skin care? Dan Siegel, MD, says that dermatologists can find a lot of medicinal uses for botanical products, and that helpful home remedies are great. Hemp Oil for the Skin: Find out about the benefits of hemp oil. Although it is related to marijuana, this product is not […]

More than 5 million Americans have Alzheimer disease and are gradually losing their abilities to think and remember. Most of the medications that are available to treat this degenerative condition are unimpressive at best. Is there any way to overcome Alzheimer disease? The Shortcomings of Medication for Alzheimer Disease: Most of the medicines that doctors […]

Summer is a great time to enjoy being outdoors. But vacation travel and playing in the back yard both offer potential hazards, such as sunburn, bug bites, poison ivy or blisters. How do you handle such everyday problems? We’ll take your calls and questions about common summertime troubles and home remedies that can help ease […]

Parkinson’s disease makes it difficult for people to move. In addition to tremors or twitches, people with Parkinson’s often feel stiff and find it difficult to walk easily. Their handwriting shrinks, and their voice may become hoarse or soft. How Intense Exercise Affects Symptoms: While there are medications to treat Parkinson’s disease, recent research suggests […]

When your doctor speaks, do you understand what you are hearing? Do you know how to describe your health problem so your doctor will “get it”? Why Communication Is Critical: Communication between doctors and patients is at the heart of health care. It is essential for accurate diagnosis, and crucial for patients to understand the […]

If you’ve ever found yourself ruminating over mistakes you made during the day and wishing for a do-over, you might want to change your perspective. In traditional psychiatry, you might focus on problems in your relationship and learn how to fight fair. Positive psychology, a science supporting health and wellness, would teach you how to […]

Dogs and Babies’ Health: Most young kids love their dogs. New research shows that even babies too young to play with the pet benefit from a dog in the house. What is the story on pets as probiotics? How do dogs affect the microbiome of a household, and how does that help babies’ health? What Are […]

Cardiologists agree that we should all be getting regular exercise and eating a healthful diet with lots of vegetables and fruits. But they don’t agree on which of us should be taking statins to protect our hearts. Just how much do these cholesterol-lowering drugs actually reduce the risk of a heart attack? The answer to […]

Our daytime functioning depends in large measure on the sleep we get at night. No doubt that helps explain why we spend approximately 36 percent of our lifetimes sleeping. How can we embrace bedtime instead of resenting it? Can you reset your body clock along with your alarm clock? How to Set Your Body Clock: […]

People facing a life-threatening cancer diagnosis may struggle with more than the medical treatment. They sometimes experience an existential crisis, in which life loses its meaning. In such situations, anxiety and depression may overwhelm and paralyze them. To address this problem, some psychiatrists decided to see whether the hallucinogenic compound psilocybin could make a difference. […]

You’ve probably heard that lifestyle is the most important factor in keeping your heart healthy. Don’t smoke, exercise, and eat right seem simple. But what does it really mean to eat right? Should you be avoiding sat fat? How Big a Problem Is Sat Fat? Experts have been telling us for decades that we must […]

When you listen to bird song, smell pine needles or watch tree branches swaying in the wind, what is happening in your brain? For that matter, what is happening in your body? Does your level of stress drop when you are out in nature? The Nature Fix: When writer Florence Williams moved from Boulder, Colorado, to […]

There’s been a big increase in mouse populations in many places over the past year. As a result, the number of ticks is booming, and you have a greater chance of being bitten when you go outside. Could a bite put you in danger from Lyme disease? The Basics of Lyme Disease: Lyme disease is […]

Most Americans are not familiar with the principles of Ayurvedic medicine. Despite its thousands of years of tradition, it seems exotic and possibly irrelevant for today. How Ayurvedic Medicine Principles Can Be Integrated into Neurology: Learn how a neurologist re-discovered the importance of Ayurvedic approaches when she found that her own migraines did not respond […]

Pain is one of the most common reasons people seek medical care. But physicians often face a dilemma when they treat joint pain, back pain or muscle spasms with prescription pills. Drugs that relieve pain effectively frequently carry frightening side effects, especially over the long term. Problems with NSAIDs for Pain Relief: Doctors usually rely on a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory […]

Which fabulous foods can make a difference for our health? There might be too many to count. For this show, we are focusing on the science supporting the health benefits of just three power-packed foods: olive oil, curcumin and cherries. Extra-Virgin Olive Oil Is One of the Fabulous Foods: Olive oil is a pillar of the Mediterranean […]

Americans are taking more pills than ever before. Last year we shelled out more than $400 billion for prescription drugs alone. Over-the-counter medicines are also extremely popular. But all those drugs also carry some risks. Around half a million people suffer serious adverse drug reactions every year. Are there drug-free alternatives that would help many common […]

Stiff painful joints can interfere with activities like gardening, cooking, playing tennis, climbing stairs or walking the dog. While we think of osteoarthritis as a condition that primarily affects older people, it turns out that most people with this condition aren’t yet eligible for Medicare. As many as 30 million people may suffer with this condition. How […]

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 […]

The FDA is charged with making sure that prescription drugs are both safe and effective. But questions have been raised about antidepressants and other drugs for mental illness. Exactly how effective are these medications to treat psychiatric conditions? Are they safe? How Well Do Antidepressants Work? Dr. Peter Gøtzsche, a founder of the nonprofit Cochrane […]

Medical errors and misadventures account for surprisingly high mortality in the U.S. Some experts estimate that they should be considered the third leading cause of death in this country. Many such mistakes could be prevented. How can you protect yourself or a family member from becoming a victim of medical errors? Many major causes of […]

Dan Ariely is a behavioral economist with a genius for figuring out why we do the things we do. His popular column in The Wall Street Journal is called “Ask Dan.” Listeners have the chance to do just that this week. What’s Your Motivation? Dr. Ariely’s latest book is Payoff: The Hidden Logic That Shapes […]

We rely on our feet to carry us throughout life, every day. What should we do to keep them from complaining? Taking Care of Your Feet: Podiatrist Georgeanne Botek explains how to manage warts, bunions, hammertoes and other common foot problems. Plantar fasciitis is a common cause of heel pain. What causes it, and how can […]

The treatment of mental illness has a discouraging history in this country. Even in the 21st century, psychiatrists rely principally on antipsychotic medications without much else in the way of support. These drugs have serious side effects, and although they are helpful for those who truly need them, they are too often prescribed inappropriately. Finding […]

We often associate the term “Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder” with military veterans. Indeed, war creates many traumatic experiences, but it is not the only source of reactions that may cause people to shut down or blow up. Car, train or plane crashes, a life-threatening illness episode, family violence or other events can create a dysfunctional reaction […]

If you were to list the organs of the body, would it occur to you to include fat? Most people think of fat as a nuisance, an intruder or even an enemy to be overcome. But fat is crucial for normal physiological processes. What should you know about the secret life of fat? Discovering the […]

In this show, we explore the stories behind some health headlines: the drawbacks of OTC sleeping pills and the best way to use them; whether arthritis drugs cause heart attacks; and how to afford a drug with a narrow therapeutic index. When researchers discovered that the pain reliever Vioxx was associated with an increased risk of […]

Have you ever started taking a medication and discovered that it produced an unpleasant side effect? That’s not uncommon. Sometimes the doctor responds by prescribing an additional drug to manage a side effect from the first one. Occasionally a person will get caught in a cascade that results in several drugs to treat side effects caused […]

The idea of yoga classes usually brings to mind images of young, fit people twisting their bodies into difficult poses while breathing deeply. But does yoga benefit people who don’t fit that stereotype? Yoga for People with Pain or Disability: Both our guests teach yoga to people who are neither young nor fit. These are […]

Medications are often crucial for maintaining our health, but every drug you take has potential side effects and may interact with other medicines. What do you know about these hazards? Understanding Benefits and Risks: Our guest, Dr. Russ Altman, suggests that physicians should exercise more restraint in prescribing and patients should ask more questions about […]

Habits-things you do on a regular basis without even thinking about them-can have a huge impact on our health. But it isn’t easy to drop old habits that aren’t serving us well, like eating a pint of ice cream every night. Nor is it always easy to adopt healthier habits that could be more helpful, like […]

Dr. Andrew Weil, the country’s leading expert in integrative medicine, believes that good health begins in the kitchen. It’s hardly revolutionary to propose that diet matters when it comes to our health, but so many people feel that eating delicious, healthy home-cooked meals isn’t possible for them. They don’t have time, they say, or they […]

Occasionally a medication that has been on the market for some time is found to do unexpected harm. That happened with Vioxx, and led researchers to take a closer look at all NSAIDS. A large trial showed that the NSAID pain reliever celecoxib (Celebrex) is no worse than naproxen in raising the risk of heart attacks. […]

When two people join to form a family, they bring with them lots of habits and expectations based on the families they grew up in. Sometimes these constitute big differences, but more often they are little things. Who does the dishes? Do you agree on how that should be done? How can you keep those […]

In the recent election, voters in several more states approved the use of medical marijuana. Now more than half the states in the US accept the medicinal use of cannabis, but the federal government does not. As a recent New York Times article about a cannabis company in California illustrates, that creates a certain amount […]

Nearly half of all marriages end in divorce, if we are to believe the statistics. Despite that, there is significant social pressure on married couples to stay together, even though the relationship may be unraveling. What Are Sacred Cows? Our guests examine the rationalizations the friends and family members often employ when a marriage starts […]

This show will be broadcast live on November 12, 2016, at 7 am EST.  We discuss a number of fascinating health news stories from recent weeks. Fidgeting: If you find yourself tapping your foot or jiggling your knee, you just might be doing your legs a favor. We talk with a researcher who found that […]

The original air date for this radio show is November 5, 2016, at 0700 EDT. In this season of colds, do you know how to improve your immune response and lower your susceptibility? Dr. Tieraona Low Dog discusses a wide range of natural approaches to improving your immunity to respiratory viruses. You could start with simple steps like […]

Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme: Could rosemary in your food be part of the secret to long life? Will sage make you smarter? Will garlic, leeks and onions help you keep your heart healthy? Cinnamon, fenugreek and turmeric all appear to help regulate blood sugar. Could they be useful in warding off type 2 diabetes? […]

Do you know how to treat a headache, beyond taking aspirin or acetaminophen? Can you get into trouble by taking your medication too frequently? (The answer is yes; this can make headaches worse.) Ways to Treat Serious Headaches: Cluster Headaches: Cluster headaches recur with such extreme pain that they are sometimes termed “suicide headaches.” There are […]

There is considerable confusion over cholesterol and its connection to heart health and longevity. Should cholesterol be lowered at all costs? We’ll discuss the evidence for and against focusing on cholesterol. We also get good advice on the best lifestyle practices for maintaining a healthy heart. What Are the Benefits and Risks of Statin Drugs? […]

Ever since penicillin was discovered, scientists have realized that bacteria could develop resistance to antibiotics. In the last decade or so, these fears have become more acute. Many dangerous pathogens have evolved to become resistant to multiple antibiotics. Some have become impervious to drugs that are generally reserved for last-resort use. With the common use of many antibiotics to promote […]

Research makes it clear that what we eat makes a difference for our health. But there are many different diet patterns that have been promoted as healthy. Some people are vegetarians, while others embrace a high-fat, low-carb Atkins-type eating pattern. Is there one that is optimal for you? What Should Vegetarians Consider for Complete Nutrition? […]

Years ago, doctors thought that celiac disease was incredibly rare among Americans. In this auto-immune condition, exposure to gluten found in barley, rye and wheat causes the body to attack the lining of the digestive tract. The damage that is done interferes with the ability of the intestines to absorb nutrients properly and that can […]

For millennia, when people stopped breathing, they stopped living. The classic test for determining whether people were asleep or dead was whether they could fog a mirror. Resuscitating the Drowned: In the eighteenth century, the citizens of Amsterdam became alarmed at the number of residents perishing by drowning in the canals. They started a Society for […]

The Zone diet popularized by Dr. Barry Sears was one of the earliest to emphasize the importance of balancing protein, fat and carbohydrate consumption at every meal. Dr. Sears pioneered the idea that the food we eat is more powerful than any drug in controlling the activity of multiple hormones in our bodies. Many studies […]

Prescription medications cost more in the US than anywhere else in the world. What’s behind the high cost of these drugs? How are insurance companies and other payers coping with costs? Is there any way to save money on a prescription? How Can You Save Money on Your Prescriptions? With the price of medicines rising […]

Montmorency cherries are rich in polyphenols. Scientists in England have been studying their ability to help athletes recover more quickly from strenuous exercise. The latest research was conducted with soccer players and published in Nutrients (online July 22, 2016). Do you ever get muscle cramps, either during athletic activity or in the middle of the […]

What do you know about the popular cholesterol-lowering drugs known as statins? Are they miracle medicines that save lives, or do they represent a menace to health because of possible side effects? Get the truth on statins and heart disease. Two Views on Statins: We speak with two experts on statins and heart disease to get […]

Do you think of yoga as exercise? Many people don’t. Yoga doesn’t seem like exercise that can combat osteoporosis. Yet physiatrist Loren Fishman, MD, has shown that certain yoga poses can improve bone mineral density and reduce fractures. People do need to practice these poses conscientiously. When they do, they experience virtually no side effects-except they stand […]

An ancient Chinese medical modality is gradually gaining converts in the US. In acupuncture, a skilled practitioner inserts thin needles into specific points on the body. The problems that may be treated this way range from allergies and sinusitis to heartburn, PMS, menstrual problems and hot flashes. In addition, this approach is frequently helpful for painful conditions such as headaches, tender […]

If you are hiking in the hinterlands this summer, what first aid should you take along? We talk with Dr. Jim Hubbard, author of The Survival Doctor’s Complete Handbook, about what to do when you can’t get to the doctor. Home Remedies for Summertime Maladies: Dr. Hubbard also shares some of his favorite home remedies. […]

Stress is bad for our health, isn’t it? It has been linked to everything from psoriasis to asthma to heart disease. It may even make us more susceptible to cancer. Is the Emphasis on Stress Reduction Misplaced? It is no wonder, then, that wellness advocates emphasize stress reduction, whether it is yoga, meditation, a walk […]

As we grow older, the risk of two different cancers looms ever larger: breast cancer for women and prostate cancer for men. Whether you are a woman or a man, how can you reduce your risk from breast or prostate cancer? Unscrambling the Controversies: There have been controversies over the best methods for detecting and […]

Americans have been admonished to reduce the amount of sodium in our food. In fact, the American Heart Association has said that all of us should be cutting the salt we eat and aiming for 1500 mg of sodium daily, if not less. That is an amount that is achieved by only a few hardy […]

More children than ever suffer with allergies, asthma, ADHD or eczema. Sometimes these allergies can affect their ability to focus in school or get along with friends. It might be hard to see what is causing these problems. Could it be something they are eating? Do they need the dirt cure? A pediatric neurologist who […]

An increasing proportion of Americans are at risk for type 2 diabetes. In 2012, 86 million adults had prediabetes, which is elevated blood sugar that doesn’t quite reach the cut-off for a diabetes diagnosis. Frequently, people with prediabetes go on to develop type 2 diabetes, but they don’t have to. You can reverse prediabetes by […]

People who have had difficulty getting an accurate diagnosis of their ailments may feel that their doctors are not taking them seriously. Perhaps if they had MD degrees themselves, they imagine, the diagnostic process would be more productive. A Medical Mystery This is not always the case, however. Our guest, Neil Spector, MD, is a […]

Why do couples who love each other often experience diminished desire? Relationship expert Esther Perel says that achieving intimacy sometimes removes the mystery that makes sex so exciting. Keep the Spark: Drawing upon her decades of experience as a couples and family therapist, the author of Mating in Captivity tells how to keep the spark […]

Why can’t the medical experts make up their minds? That’s a question we hear often when the guidelines for eating a healthy diet, treating high blood pressure or lowering the risk of heart attacks suddenly change. Many people complain about medical flip-flops. How Medical Flip-Flops Affect Medical Practice: It isn’t only patients who become frustrated about […]

Americans take a lot of pills with the goal of staying healthy-pills to lower cholesterol, pills to control blood pressure, even pills to keep bones strong. How can we use fewer pills but still maximize our health? What Is Exercise Good For? It shouldn’t be surprising to learn that both diet and exercise are important […]

You may not think of bees as domestic animals, but any beekeeper would set you straight. Bees range far and wide when they forage for nectar and pollen, but they return home to the bee hive. Products of the hive have long been used for healing. Healing with Products of the Bee Hive: We get […]

How Helpful Is Lowering Cholesterol? This week, the American College of Cardiology met and revealed surprising data on some new studies. What is the best way to lower cholesterol? Do healthy people get any benefit from taking cholesterol-lowering drugs? How did doctors determine that some patients really do suffer from muscle problems when they take […]

Our immune systems are supposed to protect us from attack. Viruses, bacteria and fungi that try to invade can all trip alarm signals that awaken the body’s natural defenses. Cancer is not an invader, however. A tumor is made of our own cells, although they are growing out of control. Sparking the Immune System into Action […]

How can animals break through the barriers created by traumatic events and help people heal? We’ll learn about horses that interact with people with dementia, and dogs who visit patients in hospitals. Therapy Animals and Service Dogs: We’ll also find out how service dogs can improve life for people with disabilities. If you have a story […]

Alzheimer’s disease is a prospect as frightening to many of us as cancer, and the treatment options are not promising. Most of the costly medications used in treating this type of dementia do little more than delay its progression by a few weeks or months. The idea that anything might be done to turn back […]

Heart disease is still the number one killer of women in the US, though the words “heart attack” usually conjure up an image of a gray-haired man. The symptom of chest pain or tightness is the most common signal of a heart attack in either males or females, but the American Heart Association says women […]

When computer game expert Jane McGonigal suffered a concussion, she had a hard time recovering from the constant headaches, fatigue, confusion and depression. To give herself achievable goals and make her recovery more attainable, she invented a game she calls SuperBetter. The Benefits of a Gameful Mindset: You can use the gameful approach she describes […]

America’s most popular heartburn drugs might be harming our kidneys. Research published in the February issue of JAMA Internal Medicine suggests that regular use of drugs like Nexium, Prevacid or Prilosec is associated with a higher risk of chronic kidney disease. While the research shows an association and doesn’t establish that the drugs are causing kidney […]

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 […]

Are you getting all the nutrients you need from the food you eat? We are often advised to eat a well-balanced diet, but many people find that difficult. In today’s fast-paced world, it can be hard even to know what it means. Should You Take Dietary Supplements? Dr. Tieraona Low Dog suggests that many of […]

Chronic pain is often invisible, but it undermines the quality of life of a hundred million Americans. Many of these people face a terrible dilemma: without medication, they suffer dreadfully. But if they use narcotics to control chronic pain, they may be treated with suspicion or disdain. Measures designed to reduce drug abuse put many […]

As we start the new year, many of us use the opportunity to try to change the habits that affect our health. Last week we heard from Gretchen Rubin, author of the book Better Than Before. How to Change Our Bad Habits: This week, we touch base with Dr. Wendy Wood, whose research focuses on […]

Chocolate has long been considered a sinful indulgence, definitely not a food that belongs in any “healthy” diet. But over the past few decades, evidence has been building that consuming chocolate actually offers specific health benefits. What are they, and what is the best way to get your dose of beneficial cocoa compounds? What Are […]

We are accustomed to hearing, “Eat this, don’t eat that.” Nearly everyone who makes such a pronouncement is convinced that he or she has discovered the one and only diet that will solve the problem of obesity in America and help all of us avoid weight gain. If only it were that simple! The US […]

The tropical rainforest of Belize is full of medicinal plants. The knowledge of these plants and their uses has been considered secret, closely guarded by the traditional Mayan practitioners of shamanism. Rosita Arvigo and Remedies from the Rainforest: But several decades ago, an inquisitive, well-prepared and persistent American woman showed up and became a shaman’s […]

The thyroid medicine levothyroxine (Synthroid) is among the top ten drugs dispensed in the US. The inevitable conclusion is that thyroid malfunction is extremely common. Even after diagnosis and treatment, however, many people continue to feel bad. Research has found a genetic basis that explains some people’s problems with levothyroxine. Would a new approach to […]

Does your mood affect how much you eat? While serious depression or anxiety are known to change appetite, even milder changes in mood can have surprising effects. You might be surprised to learn that food rituals, such as saying grace, can also alter our eating behavior. Expressing gratitude before starting a meal helps people moderate […]

Bacon and Cancer: Not long ago, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Cancer Research stirred up a lot of controversy by announcing that processed meats such as bacon or hot dogs should be classified as human carcinogens. What does this pronouncement actually mean? Has it changed the way you cook or eat, and should […]

Head injuries are all too common, affecting millions of Americans every year. They can result in brain injury if the brain gets jostled inside the skull. This can be a problem even if the incident did not result in a loss of consciousness (a “blackout”). Around 5,000 people daily experience a concussion as a result […]

Sports are a great way for kids to get physical activity and learn teamwork. But how vulnerable are kids’ brains when they play sports? In many popular sports such as football, soccer or lacrosse, players may collide with each other or with the ball. How could a bump on the head affect the brain? What […]

We air this show in memory of Dr. Mitchell Gaynor, who died last month. He was a frequent guest on The People’s Pharmacy and we are sorry to learn of his unexpected death. Genetic Destiny: We are all born with certain genes that help determine our height and the color of our eyes as well […]

It may sound far-fetched to propose that someone has an addiction to candy or soft drinks. But brain scans show that some of the reward pathways associated with a sweet taste are very similar to those linked to addictive substances. Might you be addicted to sugar? People at Risk for Sugar Addiction: Dr. Jacob Teitelbaum […]

The proportion of children with autism has increased dramatically over the last several decades. The CDC estimates that 1 out of every 68 American youngsters could be diagnosed as belonging on the autism spectrum. While most parents assume that this disorder is irreversible, there are some children who no longer fit the diagnostic criteria after early, intensive […]

The Institute of Medicine released an important report on diagnostic error this week, Improving Diagnosis in Medicine. The issue of medical mistakes is a serious problem that has not disappeared. Admitting Medical Mistakes: If a doctor or a hospital makes a mistake, will it be admitted? Research shows that many health care providers are not […]