19-15 Segment 1: The Miracle of Transplants

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Organ transplantation has dramatically changed lives and is raising hopes it could do even more for millions of people. But getting where we are has not been easy. A transplant surgeon traces the history of transplant research and notes the courage to fail among pioneering researchers and patients.

Guest:

  • Dr. Josh Mezrich, Associate Professor of Surgery, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, and author, When Death Becomes Life: Notes From a Transplant Surgeon

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19-15 Segment 2: Friends–The Most Powerful Influence on Our Lives

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Research shows that friends are the most powerful people in our lives, influencing our behavior, attitudes and health even more than our parents or spouses. An expert discusses the many ways friends determine our destinies.

Guest:

  • Carlin Flora, author, Friendfluence: The Surprising Ways Friends Make Us Who We Are

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Medical Notes 19-15

 

Medical Notes this week…

Millions of Americans take a low-dose aspirin every day in hopes of preventing a heart attack or stroke. But now the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart Association say to stop taking it if you have no history of heart attack or stroke. The new recommendation comes in the wake of a major study showing that a daily aspirin does nothing to prolong life and increases the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding. Experts say doctors should limit aspirin to people at high heart risk who also have a low risk of bleeding.

We’ve told you about the stroke risk connected to drinking lots of diet soda among post-menopausal women, now there’s another study showing that soda with sugar is also connected to heart death. The study in the journal Circulation finds that the risk of premature death goes up by 63 percent in women who drink more than two sodas per day and 29 percent among men. Sugary sodas increase cancer risk by 18 percent.

Nobody likes to get caught in traffic caused by road repairs but a new study in the International Journal of Sustainable Transportation finds that preventive road maintenance saves a lot of money, time, and pollution. Researchers say performing maintenance when a road is in its early failure stage ends up saving 10 to 30 percent in cost and saves drivers two to five percent in fuel consumption, tire wear, and vehicle repairs. Keeping roads in good shape also cuts greenhouse gases by as much as two percent.

And finally, you have to be nuts to maintain your brain function as you age or, more correctly, you have to eat nuts. A study in the Journal of Nutrition, Health, and Aging shows that eating at least two teaspoons of nuts each day can boost brain function by 60 percent, equivalent to putting off two years of brain aging.

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19-14 Segment 1: Examining “Medicare For All”

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Two Congressional plans, one from each side of the political spectrum, are competing to blow up the current healthcare system. Here experts examine one of them—the left’s bid to replace private insurers with a government-run single-payer plan labeled “Medicare for All.” Alternatives may include bolstering the Affordable Care Act, or getting rid of it completely.

Guests:

  • Dr. Paul Ginsburg, Director, USC-Brookings Schaeffer Initiative for Health Policy
  • Deborah Burger, RN, President, National Nurses United
  • Dr. Ken Thorpe, Professor of Health Policy, Emory University
  • Lauren Crawford Shaver, Executive Director, Partnership for America’s Health Care Future

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19-14 Segment 2: Symptom Searching on the Internet

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One of the most popular searches on Google is for symptoms and what they mean. It’s created a much more well informed patient population, but one that may panic at the least pain or discomfort. Two experts discuss how to think of symptoms and how to search for them.

Guests:

  • Dr. Mark Eisenberg, Associate Professor of Medicine, Columbia University, co-author, Am I Dying: A Complete Guide to Your Symptoms and What to Do Next
  • Dr. Christopher Kelly, Senior Clinical Fellow, Columbia University, co-author, Am I Dying: A Complete Guide to Your Symptoms and What to Do Next

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Medical Notes 19-14

 

Medical Notes this week…

The average American eats three or four eggs a week, and that’s enough to raise your risk for heart attack and death by six to eight percent. Cholesterol is the reason according to a large new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association. It shows that each additional 300 milligrams of cholesterol in your daily diet raises the risk of both heart disease and premature death by about 17 percent. One large egg has about 185 milligrams of cholesterol. However, since eggs have lots of other nutrients, researchers say not to cut them out of the diet, just eat them in moderation.

Common heartburn medications are being linked to kidney failure and chronic kidney disease. The medications are called proton pump inhibitors and are sold under brand names like Prevacid, Prilosec, and Protonix. A study in the journal Pharmacotherapy finds that PPIs increase the risk of chronic kidney disease by as much as 20 percent and quadruple the risk of kidney failure. People over 65 are at highest risk.

And finally, a large new study shows that your Apple watch might be able to detect an irregular heartbeat. The study presented to the American College of Cardiology shows that the watch can flag apparently healthy people who may have atrial fibrillation. Doctors say about a third of the people the watch indicated were in danger actually did have AFib when they later received EKG monitoring. Researchers admit using the watch of an AFib diagnosis is far from perfect.

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19-13 Segment 1: “Difficult” Patients: Questioning Authority

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Patients used to accept doctors’ orders without question. Today, more are asking questions and challenging their doctors’ opinions. However, even those who do it politely are likely to be labeled “difficult.” A doctor whose late wife nearly made a career of being a difficult patient discusses how patients can do it respectfully and fruitfully.

Guest:

  • Dr. William Steinbach, Professor, Chief of Pediatrics & Infectious Diseases, Duke University

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