19-10 Segment 1: Fibbing to Your Doctor

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New surveys show that as many as 80 percent of people omit information, stretch the truth or outright lie to their doctors. Experts discuss why it happens, consequences, and methods that might reduce the amount of less-than-truthful answers to doctors’ questions.


  • Dr. Andrea Gurmankin Levy, Associate Professor of Psychology, Middlesex Community College
  • Dr. Marícela Moffitt, Professor of Medicine and Director, Doctoring Curriculum, University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix

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Medical Notes 19-03

Medical Notes this week…

Folate, or vitamin b-9, is an essential nutrient, especially for pregnant women. Folic acid is often added to bread, flour, cereal, and pasta to help eliminate deficiencies. Now new research shows supplementation is more important than we thought, because once somebody is short on folate, the damage can’t be fixed. The study in the journal PNAS shows that folate deficiency triggers errors in chromosomes that are passed on as the cell divides. Once those changes occur, they’re permanent.

If you’ve ever fibbed to your doctor, you’re not alone. In fact, a study in the journal JAMA Network Open finds that between 60 and 80 percent of people are less than forthcoming to their doctors about things that could affect their health. People apparently want to avoid being judged or lectured by doctors… or sometimes, they’re simply too embarrassed to tell the truth.

Various forms of dementia are increasing… and now scientists have found that a single specific mutation in one gene can cause one of them. “Frontotemporal dementia” accounts for about 20 percent of all early-onset forms of the disease…. which can affect people as young as their 40’s. A study in the journal Translational Psychiatry has tracked down a single mutation as the cause… and researchers say the finding could be important for both treatment and in research on Alzheimer’s disease.

And finally… a new study shows that forcing kids to apologize usually backfires. The study in the journal Merrill-Palmer Quarterly finds that children who receive an insincere apology dislike the apologizing kid even more than they did before. Transgressors feel worse, too… and don’t learn to have empathy for their victim.

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18-44 Segment 2: The Surprising Importance of Tickling

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Tickling is a unique application of the sense of touch that surprisingly has developmental and cultural importance. Experts discuss the science and sociology of tickling.


  • Dr. David Linden, Professor of Neuroscience, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and author, Touch: The Science of Hand, Heart and Mind
  • Dr. Robert Provine, Professor of Psychology & Neuroscience, University of Maryland, Baltimore County and author, Curious Behavior: Yawning, Laughing, Hiccupping, and Beyond 

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16-37 Segment 2: Gossip

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Synopsis: Most people regard gossip with disdain. While backbiting, vicious slander is usually disruptive, researchers have found that informational gossip has benefits for society by keeping people in line with societal norms. Experts discuss.

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