17-40 Segment 1: A Possible Treatment For Fetal Alcohol Syndrome



Fetal Alcohol Syndrome can cause many physical and mental problems that last a lifetime.  Dr. Eva Redei, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences at Northwestern University, says that most children who grow up with fetal alcohol syndrome usually never live independently because their neurodevelopment was stalled, and if they make it to adulthood they will require help. Babies with the most severe form of FAS are characterized by wide-set eyes, a flattened crease above the upper lip, a low IQ, and other cognitive and behavioral issues. About one percent of children born in the US have a severe form of fetal alcohol syndrome, with two to five percent falling on the fetal alcohol spectrum. But because there is no definitive test, some children are never diagnosed on the spectrum.

Dr. Joanne Rovet of Hospital for Sick Children explains that adults with fetal alcohol syndrome are at risk for mental illness. They also have an increased chance of getting in trouble with the law. About fifty percent of juvenile delinquents had prenatal alcohol exposure.

A study conducted by Dr. Redei on rats indicates that FAS can be treated at birth. Rats were given alcohol and split into two groups, with one group’s babies given a thyroid drug or a diabetic drug like metformin. The other group of babies which wasn’t given medication showed signs of FAS. Both drugs were shown to reduce or reverse the effects of prenatal alcohol exposure. Dr. Redei is now working on starting a human trial.


  • Maggie, parent of son with fetal alcohol syndrome
  • Dr. Eva Redei, Professor of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences, Northwestern University
  • Dr. Joanne Rovet, Senior Scientists, Hospital for Sick Children, Toronto, and Senior Professor of Psychology, University of Toronto

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16-48 Segment 1: Inflammation and Depression

woman in deep depression lying alone


Doctors have long known that people feel depressed when they’re ill with a cold or the flu. But it may be more than simply feeling bad. Inflammation, which is part of many illnesses and infections, has been found in brain cells and is being implicated as a cause of depression., one of the world’s most debilitating disorders. This creates the possibility of treatment with anti-inflammatory medications. Experts on the frontlines of this research discuss.

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16-42 Segment 2: Brain Injury and Homelessness

homeless man sitting on the chair


Research is showing that a remarkably high proportion of homeless men have suffered a traumatic brain injury in the past, raising the possibility that TBIs may cause behaviors directly leading to homelessness. Experts discuss their research.

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16-03 Segment 2: Lactivism


Synopsis: Many women who can’t or don’t want to breastfeed their newborns are pressured into trying anyway. An expert and author discusses the political forces creating unusual unanimity behind the issue, and the truth of health claims on breastfeeding’s benefits.

Host: Nancy Benson. Guest: Dr. Courtney Jung, Professor of Political Science, University of Toronto and author, Lactivism: How Feminists and Fundamentalists, Hippies and Yuppies, and Physicians and Politicians Made Breastfeeding Big Business and Bad Policy

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15-17 Story 2: Neuroplasticity


Synopsis: Since the dawn of medicine, doctors have believed that, once injured, the brain could not heal. Now they’ve learned that the brain can heal, and are beginning to tap ways to make it heal better and faster. Experts explain.

Host: Nancy Benson. Guests: Dr. Norman Doidge, Professor of Psychiatry, University of Toronto, Columbia University Center for Psychoanalytic Training and Research and author, The Brain’s Way of Healing: Remarkable Discoveries and Recoveries From the Frontiers of Neuroplasticity; Dr. Edward Taub, Professor of Psychiatry, University of Alabama, Birmingham and Director, UAB Taub Training Clinic

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15-16 Story 1: Too Many Vitamins?


Synopsis: Vitamins are essential to our health, and most of those we need we can get through our diets. Many foods are fortified today. Standards for dietary minimums help prevent deficiency diseases, but little is known about whether it’s possible to consume too many vitamins.

Host: Reed Pence. Guests: Catherine Price, author, Vitamania: Our Obsessive Quest for Nutritional Perfection; Dr. Valerie Tarasuck, Professor of Nutritional Sciences, University of Toronto; Dr. Mara Vitolins, Professor of Epidemiology and Prevention, Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center Links for more information:

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