Medical Notes 19-07

Medical Notes this week…

A cancer diagnosis can create stress that goes beyond the breaking point. A new study in the journal Nature Communications shows that people with cancer are more than four times more likely to commit suicide compared to other people. White men and people who receive a diagnosis at a younger age are most likely to complete suicide, along with people who are diagnosed with lung, head and neck, and testicular cancers. Researchers say that even though cancer is a major cause of death in the U.S., most cancer patients survive it and die of other causes.

Electric scooters are a rapidly rising cause of injury, and a new study shows that one in three people involved in an e-scooter accident is injured badly enough to need treatment in the E.R. The study in the journal JAMA Network Open shows that 40 percent of those hurt had head injuries and another 32 percent had fractures. Only four percent of those hurt were wearing a helmet at the time of the crash. Falls rather than collisions made up nearly three-quarters of the accidents.

And finally… it turns out that people who are good navigators are almost always good at identifying smells as well. A study in the journal Nature Communications finds that the same area of the brain is used for both of these two very different tasks, and that the brain region is bigger in people who are good at them. Scientists admit the finding surprised them.

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17-51 Segment 1: Staying Calm in Stressful Times


Meditation and mindfulness could be in even more demand as civility declines and stress increases. An expert explains how it works.


  • Dr. Richard Davidson, Professor of Psychology and Psychiatry and founder and director, Center for Healthy Minds, University of Wisconsin-Madison, and co-author, Altered Traits: Science Reveals How Medication Changes Your Mind, Brain, and Body

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17-34 Segment 2: Multitasking: Practically Impossible


Do you consider yourself a multitasker? Are you reading this while you watch the news? Although you might think you are good at multitasking, research shows around 97.5% of the population is actually bad at doing two things at once.

University of Utah Professor Dr. David Strayer says that while everyone thinks they are good at multitasking, it actually blinds us to what we’re doing. For example, if you drive while talking on the phone, you might not remember the full conversation because you needed to focus on the road. Multitasking places demands on certain areas of the brain, and most of the time the brain cannot accept two demands at once. Researchers also found those who frequently multitask tend to be more impulsive and sensation-seeking.

Researchers call people who can actually multitask “supertaskers.”  Supertaskers’ brains  allow them to efficiently carry out two activities at once, and they develop this talent at birth.


  • Dr. David Strayer, Professor of Cognition Neurosciences, University of Utah

  • Dr. Jason Watson, Associate Professor of Psychology, University of Utah

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16-25 Segment 1: Waking Up In The Future

losing memory like dementia or forgetting bad memories


It’s a rare thing for people to lose their memory of past events. An expert discusses why doctors believe it may occur, and a woman to whom it happened recounts her experience.

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15-30 Segment 1: Your Brain With Tinnitus


Synopsis: Scientists have discovered that tinnitus, or “ringing in the ears,” involves many more areas of the brain than just those involved with hearing. Experts explain why the findings mean it will be difficult to develop treatments for tinnitus, and what sufferers can do now.

Host: Reed Pence. Guests: Dr. Richard Salvi, Distinguished Professor of Communicative Disorders and Sciences, University at Buffalo; Dr. Phillip Gander, University of Iowa

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