The People's Pharmacy

By Joe and Terry Graedon

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Category: Alternative Health

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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

Episode Date
Show 1132: Are Infections to Blame for Alzheimer Disease?
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 […]
Aug 10, 2018
Show 1131: Was Your Medicine Made in China?
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 […]
Aug 03, 2018
Show 1130: Exploring the Hard Science of Self-Healing
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 […]
Jul 27, 2018
Show 1129: Is Complementary Medicine Good for Children?
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 […]
Jul 19, 2018
Show 1128: What You Need to Know About Tick-Borne Diseases
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 […]
Jul 13, 2018
Show 1127: The Health Impact of Environmental Disaster
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 […]
Jul 06, 2018
Show 1099: How to Recognize and Overcome Eating Disorders (Archive)
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 […]
Jun 28, 2018
Show 1089: How Plants Can Improve Your Sex Life (Archive)
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 […]
Jun 23, 2018
Show 1126: Can You Find Your Best Diet?
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 […]
Jun 14, 2018
Show 1125: How Can You Find Your Sleep Solution?
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 […]
Jun 08, 2018
Show 1124: Should You Be Taking Vitamin Supplements?
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 […]
May 31, 2018
Show 1123: What Are the Unexpected Dangers of Medical Devices?
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 […]
May 24, 2018
Show 1122: Can You Keep Fast Food from Killing You?
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 […]
May 18, 2018
Show 1121: How Can We Protect Children from Environmental Poisons?
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 […]
May 11, 2018
Show 1120: How Can You Save Money on Medicines?
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 […]
May 03, 2018
Show 1119: What Can You Do to Facilitate Fertility?
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 […]
Apr 26, 2018
Show 1118: What You Should Know About Lithium
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 […]
Apr 20, 2018
Show 1117: What Can Chinese Centenarians Teach You About Long Life?
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. […]
Apr 12, 2018
Show 1116: What You Can Do About Dizziness
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 […]
Apr 06, 2018
Show 1073: How Can You Change the Way Your Genes Behave? (Archive)
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 […]
Mar 29, 2018
Show 1115: How You Can Conquer Constipation
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 […]
Mar 22, 2018
Show 1114: How Health Care Became Big Business
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 […]
Mar 16, 2018
Show 1113: How to Keep Your Feet Happy and Healthy
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: […]
Mar 09, 2018
Show 1112: How and Why to Eat Sinfully
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, […]
Mar 02, 2018
Show 1111: What Should You Know About Controversies in Cardiology?
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 […]
Feb 21, 2018
Show 1110: Terrific Tips to Help Kids Love Healthy Food
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 […]
Feb 15, 2018
Show 1109: How Do Doctors Overcome Diagnostic Challenges?
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 […]
Feb 09, 2018
Show 1108: Surprising Solutions to Help You Hear Better
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. […]
Feb 01, 2018
Show 1107: How to Manage ADHD Naturally
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 […]
Jan 25, 2018
Show 1106: How to Find Time to Exercise
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. […]
Jan 19, 2018
Show 1071: How You Can Get Relief from Chronic Pain (Archive)
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 […]
Jan 11, 2018
Show 1105: How to Keep Your Nails Healthy and Beautiful
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: […]
Jan 04, 2018
Show 1040: How to Make Your Brain Healthy for a Happy Life (Archive)
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 […]
Dec 29, 2017
Show 1030: Dr. Mark Hyman on How to Eat Fat & Get Thin (Archive)
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: […]
Dec 22, 2017
Show 1104: Why Compassion Is Key to a Good Life
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 […]
Dec 15, 2017
Show 1103: What Is the Science of Lasting Relationships?
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 […]
Dec 08, 2017
Show 1102: How Do Endocrine Disruptors Affect Your Health?
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 […]
Dec 01, 2017
Show 1062: Lead with Your Heart in the Horse Pen and in Your Life (Archive)
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 […]
Nov 23, 2017
Show 1101: How You Can Use Essential Oils for Better Health
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 […]
Nov 16, 2017
Show 1100: What Is the Story on Celiac Disease?
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? […]
Nov 09, 2017
Show 1054: The Scientific Explanation for a Weird Remedy (Archive)
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 […]
Oct 26, 2017
Show 1098: Are You Taking Too Many Prescriptions?
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 […]
Oct 20, 2017
Show 1097: What Can Be Done to Help When the Prognosis Is Poor
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 […]
Oct 12, 2017
Show 1050: How to Protect Your Vision (Archive)
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 […]
Oct 05, 2017
Show 1096: What You Need to Know About Treating Thyroid Disease
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 […]
Sep 29, 2017
Show 1095: How Do You Cope with Changing Recommendations?
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 […]
Sep 22, 2017
Show 1094: Does It Matter When You Eat?
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 […]
Sep 14, 2017
Show 1093: How to Keep Your Bones Strong
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 […]
Sep 05, 2017
Show 961: Botanical Treatments in Dermatology (Archive)
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 […]
Aug 31, 2017
Show 1092: How Can You Overcome Alzheimer Disease?
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 […]
Aug 24, 2017
Show 1091: Unexpected Remedies to Soothe Your Summertime Woes
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 […]
Aug 17, 2017
Show 1090: How Intense Exercise Benefits Parkinson Patients
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 […]
Aug 11, 2017
Show 1088: How Good Communication Makes Health Care Better
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 […]
Jul 28, 2017
Show 1087: Change Your Perspective from Half-Empty to Half-Full
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 […]
Jul 20, 2017
Show 1086: Why Dogs Are Good for Babies’ Health
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 […]
Jul 13, 2017
Show 1085: The Statin Standoff and New Drugs for the Heart
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 […]
Jul 07, 2017
Show 1047: How to Sync Your Body Clock to Get the Sleep You Need (Archive)
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: […]
Jun 29, 2017
Show 1084: Psilocybin, Cancer & Spiritual Awakening
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. […]
Jun 22, 2017
Show 1083: Should You Be Worried About Salt or Sat Fat for Your Heart?
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 […]
Jun 15, 2017
Show 1082: How Does Being in Nature Make You Healthier?
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 […]
Jun 08, 2017
Show 1081: What Do You Need to Know About Lyme Disease?
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 […]
Jun 02, 2017
Show 1033: How to Stay Healthy with Principles of Ayurvedic Medicine (Archive)
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 […]
May 25, 2017
Show 1080: What Works for Pain Relief and Why
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 […]
May 19, 2017
Show 1079: What Is the Science Behind Fabulous Foods for Health?
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 […]
May 12, 2017
Show 1078: How to Have Good Digestion Without Heartburn Drugs
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 […]
May 04, 2017
Show 1077: Dr. Andrew Weil on Drug-free Alternatives to the Meds You Take
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 […]
Apr 27, 2017
Show 1076: Finding New Ways to Ease Joint Pain
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 […]
Apr 21, 2017
Show 1020: How to Lose Weight Without Feeling Hungry (Archive)
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 […]
Apr 13, 2017
Show 1075: Are Drugs for Mental Illness Safe and Effective?
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 […]
Apr 07, 2017
Show 1074: Surviving Medical Errors and Seeking the Truth
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 […]
Mar 31, 2017
Show 1072: How to Improve Your Motivation-Ask Dan Ariely!
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 […]
Mar 16, 2017
Show 1070: How You Can Keep Your Feet Happy & Healthy
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 […]
Mar 02, 2017
Show 1069: What Is the Clubhouse Model for People with Mental Illness?
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 […]
Feb 23, 2017
Show 980: Brain, Mind and Body in Healing from Trauma (Archive)
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 […]
Feb 17, 2017
Show 1068: What Do You Know about the Secret Life of Fat?
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 […]
Feb 10, 2017
Show 1067: Should You Worry about OTC Sleeping Pills?
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 […]
Feb 02, 2017
Show 1066: How to Fight Overmedication with Deprescribing
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 […]
Jan 26, 2017
Show 1065: How Can Yoga Benefit Everyone, Fit and Flexible or Not?
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 […]
Jan 19, 2017
Show 1064: How Can You Avoid Hazardous Drug Interactions?
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 […]
Jan 12, 2017
Show 1063: How to Apply Emotional First Aid
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? Your Emotional First Aid Kit: […]
Jan 05, 2017
Show 1018: How to Have Healthier Habits in the New Year (Archive)
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 […]
Dec 29, 2016
Show 1014: Dr. Andrew Weil on Good Food Fast (Archive)
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 […]
Dec 23, 2016
Show 1061: Which Popular Drugs Can Do Unexpected Harm?
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. […]
Dec 09, 2016
Show 1060: How to Keep Your Relationship Healthy
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 […]
Dec 02, 2016
Show 1027: How One Doctor Changed His Mind about Medical Marijuana (Archive)
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 […]
Nov 23, 2016
Show 1059: What Are the Sacred Cows of Marriage?
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 […]
Nov 17, 2016
Show 1058: Health News Update-Cranberry Pills Fail to Prevent Infection
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 […]
Nov 10, 2016
Show 1057: How Can You Improve Your Immune Response?
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 […]
Nov 03, 2016
Show 1056: Longevity, Spice and Diet-Secrets Italians Know That You Don’t
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? […]
Oct 27, 2016
Show 1055: What Are the Best Treatments for Headaches?
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 […]
Oct 20, 2016
Show 1053: How to Have a Healthy Heart
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? […]
Oct 06, 2016
Show 1052: The Challenge of Antibiotic-Resistant Superbugs
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 […]
Sep 28, 2016
Show 1051: How Can Vegetarians Get All the Nutrients They Need?
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? […]
Sep 22, 2016
Show 1049: Do You Need a Gluten-Free Diet?
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 […]
Sep 08, 2016
Show 1048: How to Revive the Recently Dead
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 […]
Sep 01, 2016
Show 989: The Mediterranean Zone Diet (Archive)
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 […]
Aug 18, 2016
Show 1046: How to Save Money on Prescription Drugs
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 […]
Aug 11, 2016
Show 1045: How to Design Your Diet for Better Health
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 […]
Aug 05, 2016
Show 1044: The Truth about Statins and Heart Disease
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 […]
Jul 28, 2016
Show 1043: How to Strengthen Bones and Fix Your Body with Yoga
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 […]
Jul 21, 2016
Show 1042: How Acupuncture Can Help You Overcome Health Challenges
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 […]
Jul 14, 2016
Show 1041: What Are Your Favorite Home Remedies for Summer?
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. […]
Jul 07, 2016
Show 1009: The Upside of Stress (Archive)
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 […]
Jun 30, 2016
Show 1039: How to Reduce Your Risk from Breast or Prostate Cancer
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 […]
Jun 16, 2016
Show 1038: Should You Be Cutting the Salt in Your Diet?
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 […]
Jun 09, 2016
Show 1037: What Is the Dirt Cure?
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 […]
Jun 03, 2016
Show 1036: How to Prevent Diabetes by Changing Your Life
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 […]
May 26, 2016
Show 996: Mystery and Lyme Disease Misdiagnosis (Archive)
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 […]
May 19, 2016
Show 976: Intimacy and Eroticism (Archive)
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 […]
May 12, 2016
Show 1035: How to Understand Medical Flip-Flops
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 […]
May 05, 2016
Show 1034: How to Stay Healthy with Minimal Medications
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 […]
Apr 28, 2016
Show 1032: How to Use Products of the Bee Hive for Healing
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 […]
Apr 14, 2016
Show 1031: Could a Tick Bite Make You Allergic to Burgers?
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 […]
Apr 07, 2016
Show 1029: How to Mobilize the Immune System to Fight Cancer
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 […]
Mar 24, 2016
Show 1028: How Animals Can Help Us Heal
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 […]
Mar 17, 2016
Show 994: Learn How One Doctor Is Reversing Alzheimer’s (Archive)
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 […]
Mar 04, 2016
Show 1026: What Should Women Do to Protect Their Heart Health?
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 […]
Feb 25, 2016
Show 1025: Get SuperBetter: How Games Can Improve Your Health and Your Life
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 […]
Feb 19, 2016
Show 1024: Could Popular Heartburn Drugs Destroy Your Kidneys?
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 […]
Feb 11, 2016
Show 1023: How to Rebalance Your Digestive Tract Bacteria
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 […]
Feb 04, 2016
Show 1022: How to Pick Dietary Supplements That Make Sense for You
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 […]
Jan 28, 2016
Show 1021: If You Are in Pain, You Are Not Alone!
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 […]
Jan 21, 2016
Show 1019: Trade In Bad Habits for Better Ones
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 […]
Jan 07, 2016
Show 939: The Health Benefits of Chocolate (Archive)
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 […]
Dec 24, 2015
Show 1017: How to Avoid Weight Gain Over the Holidays
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 […]
Dec 17, 2015
Show 1016: Rosita Arvigo Recommends Remedies from the Rainforest
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 […]
Dec 10, 2015
Show 1015: Thyroid Mysteries, Controversies and the Latest Research
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 […]
Dec 03, 2015
Show 951: Why We Eat More Than We Think (Archive)
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 […]
Nov 27, 2015
Show 1013: Bacon Causes Cancer! How Good Is the Science Behind the Headlines?
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 […]
Nov 12, 2015
Show 1012: What to Do About a Ghost in Your Brain
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 […]
Nov 05, 2015
Show 1011: Sports and Concussions
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 […]
Oct 30, 2015
Show 990: Diet and Lifestyle as Gene Therapy (Archive)
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 […]
Oct 22, 2015
Show 1010: Beating Sugar Addiction
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 […]
Oct 15, 2015
Show 1008: Overcoming Autism
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 […]
Oct 01, 2015
Show 1007: Coming Clean on Medical Mistakes
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 […]
Sep 24, 2015
Show 1006: Surviving Allergy Season
Once fall begins, lots of Americans start to suffer. Up to a third of us struggle with sneezing, sniffling, congestion, itchy eyes and post-nasal drip as a result of hay fever (really ragweed pollen reaction) or other allergies. Avoiding Allergy Triggers: The best chance for managing allergies is to identify and avoid the triggers. But […]
Sep 17, 2015
Show 1005: Balancing Benefit & Risk for Pain Relief
Millions of Americans rely on popular pain relievers such as celecoxib, diclofenac, ibuprofen, meloxicam, naproxen and other NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). The fact that some of these medications are available without prescription in products such as Advil, Aleve or Motrin IB gives many of us the impression that they must be safe. Balancing Benefit & […]
Sep 10, 2015
Show 162: In Memory of Oliver Sacks
Dr. Oliver Sacks was much more than a neurologist. In his books, he invited us to imagine the world from wildly different perspectives than our own. When he described individuals with neurological differences (that would be termed “deficits” by most doctors and other people), he helped his readers recognize the special gifts these people were […]
Sep 03, 2015
Show 1004: Doctors’ Secret Language
Have you ever wondered about the big words your doctor uses? Physicians have a language all their own. Not only do they have specialized technical terminology, but they also have their own slang. What Should Patients Know About Doctors’ Secret Language? Find out about the argot, jargon and slang that abounds in hospital settings. What […]
Aug 28, 2015
Show 931: How to Stay Healthy at Home with Simple Herbal Remedies (Archive)
If you have ever wondered whether there is a good way to take fewer prescription medicines and treat more of your everyday ailments with natural approaches, Dr. Tieraona Low Dog has good news for you. She reviews the evidence on herbal and botanical remedies and reassures us that many common health complaints are best treated […]
Aug 20, 2015
Show 1003: From Lyme to Alpha-Gal: The Latest on Tick-Borne Diseases
Tick-borne diseases are extremely widespread, but they seem to be difficult to diagnose and hard to treat. Science has now recognized many more conditions that result from tick bites than were known even a decade ago. Lyme Disease: The diagnosis and treatment of Lyme disease, caused by Borrelia burgdorferi and transmitted by a deer tick […]
Aug 13, 2015
Show 1002: How Bowel Bacteria Affect the Brain
Until fairly recently, no one was really interested in the denizens of the digestive tract except for a few gastroenterologists and a few more microbiologists. But now research has shown that the bacteria in our bowels form complex ecological systems, and interest in the microbiome has gone mainstream. Bowel Bacteria as a Source of Inflammation: […]
Aug 06, 2015
Show 1001: Natural Approaches to Summer Skin Care
People have been using plants to take care of skin problems for hundreds or thousands of years. Which natural products really work? Our expert guests discuss the power of a fresh aloe vera leaf to help soothe a burn, including a sunburn. You’ll also find out how to prevent sunburn naturally. Some plants (tomatoes, chocolate, […]
Jul 30, 2015
Show 1000: Celebrating Home Remedies and Common Sense Health Advice
This is the thousandth episode of The People’s Pharmacy, and we are celebrating. We invited local listeners who support our host station, North Carolina Public Radio, WUNC, to join us for a live performance of the show. BJ Leiderman Played our Theme: Adding to the celebratory mood, we were joined by noted NPR composer BJ […]
Jul 23, 2015
Show 999: Meditation and Yoga as Tools for Health
At one time, most Americans were mystified by meditation and wary of yoga. There is now increasing recognition that both meditation and yoga can have profound health effects. Meditation and the Brain How does meditation alter the brain? Our expert guests explain the significant physiological changes that happen at the level of the neurons, genes […]
Jul 16, 2015
Show 906: The New Germ Theory of Disease (Archive)
Inflammation is a primary cause of many chronic conditions, from Alzheimer’s disease and arthritis to asthma and inflammatory bowel disease. But what causes the inflammation? Could infectious agents be the root of most of our chronic disease–including cancer? The New Germ Theory: Find out about the new germ theory linking infections and mental illness. Is […]
Jul 09, 2015
Show 881: The Art of Diagnosis (Archive)
Diagnosis is the very foundation of medical care. Without an accurate diagnosis, doctors have no way of determining the appropriate treatment. Decades ago, doctors used to rely heavily on the patient’s account of her problem (called the “history”) and the doctor’s direct physical examination of the patient. Medical students still learn these skills, but in […]
Jul 01, 2015
Show 998: The Health Effects of Touch
We don’t always pay attention to our sense of touch, though it is critical to survival. Sensations of pain, heat or cold protect us from injury. But the importance of touch goes far beyond that. Pain and Pleasure: Our sense of touch also provides us with great pleasure. Caress is an essential element of bonding […]
Jun 25, 2015
Show 997: Big Pharma and Health Care
Dr. Peter Gøtzsche worked for the pharmaceutical industry years ago supervising clinical trials and working in regulatory affairs. But this industry insider has become the toughest of critics. Dr. Gøtzsche is concerned about the impact that big pharma exerts on health care. Pharmaceutical firms are among the most profitable in the world. In the US […]
Jun 18, 2015
Show 995: Changing Your Life to Improve Your Health
Most of us know what we should do to clean up our lifestyles–eat right, exercise, get enough sleep, and so on ad nauseum. You’ve heard it all before. But we don’t necessarily do the things we know that we ought to. Perhaps we think it doesn’t really matter for us, at least not right now. […]
Jun 04, 2015
Show 993: Obamacare Successes and Failures
Americans frequently boast that we have the best health care in the world. While that may be debated in some quarters, no one doubts that our health care system is the most expensive. What makes American health care so pricey, and is there anything that could be done about it? Evaluating Obamacare One approach that […]
May 14, 2015
Show 992: Overcoming Vertigo
Dizziness is a common problem, but not easily diagnosed. A little lightheadedness could be a reaction to dehydration or blood pressure medication. But when the room is spinning, walking can become difficult or even dangerous. A fall, especially for an older person, can have very serious consequences. When Is Dizziness Dangerous? When does vertigo signal […]
May 07, 2015
Show 991: New Dietary Guidelines for Americans
Every five years, the US Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services collaborate on producing Dietary Guidelines for Americans. These are supposed to tell us what we should be eating. They are also used to shape institutional food choices, such as those in schools or prisons. Changes Expected Will there be any changes in […]
Apr 30, 2015
Show 988: Spices for a Healthy Life
Turmeric, the yellow spice in curry and yellow mustard, has an active component called curcumin. This compound is the subject of more than 7,500 studies that show it has anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer activity. How Does Curcumin Work? Recently scientists discovered exactly how it boosts the activity of a treatment for colorectal cancer. We talk with […]
Apr 09, 2015
Show 959: Farmacology-What Farmers Can Teach Us About Health (Archive)
An ever-increasing appreciation of the complexity of ecosystems has begun to change farming practices so that they become more sustainable. Science is demonstrating that our human bodies are also complex ecosystems, made up of more microbes than human cells. Could some of the principles of sustainable farming help us stay healthy too? Dr. Daphne Miller […]
Apr 04, 2015
Show 987: Benefits of Coffee, Tea & Chocolate
Heated disagreements about whether or not Americans all need to reduce their salt intake have reached the Wall Street Journal. Many public health agencies recommend that we cut back on salt to lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes. But how well does that approach work? We talk with contrarian […]
Mar 26, 2015
Show 986: Treating ADHD Naturally
An amazing number of American youngsters is considered to have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). In some states, CDC data show that more than 10 percent of school children carries this diagnosis. You will find a thorough discussion of the symptoms, diagnosis, treatment and potential consequences of ADHD here. Alternatives to Ritalin The usual treatments for […]
Mar 19, 2015
Show 985: Herbal Supplements Put to the Test
A recent investigation by the New York Attorney General’s office provoked scandalized headlines. They indicated that important herbal supplements from four major retailers did not actually contain the herbs they purported to provide. What was detected by the DNA barcode test was rice, soy or wheat, possibly used as fillers. But was the DNA barcode […]
Mar 12, 2015
Show 984: Less Medicine, More Health
Americans tend to equate more tests and more aggressive treatment with better quality care. This approach does result in more expensive care. The US spends more on health care per capita than any other country in the world. But we lag behind other industrialized nations on important measures of public health. Challenging Assumptions Many of […]
Mar 05, 2015
Show 983: Intriguing Approaches to Overcoming Depression
Antidepressant medications have become part of popular culture ever since Prozac came on the market in the mid-1980s. Only those who have weathered a suicidal crisis themselves or watched a loved one face such an emergency may truly appreciate how inadequate our current antidepressants are in such circumstances. Ketamine An old drug, ketamine, is now […]
Mar 01, 2015
Show 982: Smart Phone Medicine — A Doctor in Your Pocket
Many people currently carry around tiny but powerful computers in their hip pockets or pocketbooks. We use our smart phones to check our bank accounts, keep up with our friends or get a weather report. Apps are also proving as good as dedicated fitness trackers at telling us how much we are moving. Before long, […]
Feb 19, 2015
Show 981: Old-Fashioned Food
For decades, the diet dictocrats have warned us to back away from the butter, minimize the meat and skimp on the salt. The recommended menu might not taste terrific, but it was supposed to prevent heart disease, diabetes and other chronic conditions. Unfortunately, the evidence to back these dietary policies up has never been supported […]
Feb 12, 2015
Show 979: Health News Update on Defending the Brain
Taking medications that affect brain chemicals can alter our risk of developing dementia. Find out which prescription and over-the-counter drugs are associated with a greater risk of an Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis. There is a list of common anticholinergic drugs here. Stroke Treatment A Dutch study last month showed that using a special device to reach […]
Jan 29, 2015
Show 978: Protecting Our Eyesight
We often take our sight for granted, and wrongly assume that there is nothing that can be done to keep vision problems from occurring. Our guest has combed the medical literature to find ways to prevent or even reverse conditions such as cataracts, macular degeneration and glaucoma with natural approaches. Myopic Youngsters Around the world, […]
Jan 22, 2015
Show 977: Fighting the Flu and Coping with Anxiety
The flu season started early this year and is now in full swing. What do you need to know about influenza to keep from becoming a sad statistic? Anti-Anxiety Medicines and the Alternatives Doctors prescribe anti-anxiety drugs in huge numbers. When does anxiety need treatment, and what can be done besides take a pill? What […]
Jan 15, 2015
Show 975: Boosting Testosterone Naturally
Television ads warning men of the dangers of “low T” (inadequate testosterone) have become commonplace, but they rarely explore the risks of taking testosterone replacement medications. That may be partly because, like hormone replacement therapy for women years ago that supplied estrogen and progesterone, testosterone treatment has not been fully studied. It isn’t necessary to […]
Jan 01, 2015
Show 886: Finding the Courage to Connect
We often think of vulnerability as a weakness, but being open and vulnerable with those we care about actually requires courage and strength. When we manage it, vulnerability also strengthens our most precious human connections. Dr. Brené Brown has inspired millions of people with her TED talks on the power of vulnerability. Learn why striving […]
Dec 25, 2014
Show 974: Toxin ToxOut
Living in the modern world means being exposed to a great many chemical compounds, from those in our shampoo to the ones that make up that unforgettable new-car smell. The safety of many of these compounds is unknown, but others have recognized toxicity. And simple actions, like eating soup from a can, could raise our […]
Dec 18, 2014
Show 973: The Pros and Cons of Generic Drugs
The FDA has insisted for years that generic drugs are identical to their brand-name counterparts. Physician and medical historian Jeremy Greene writes: “Generic drugs never were–and still are not–exactly the same as their brand-name counterparts, but they are similar in ways we deem to be important.” We discuss the value of generic drugs and the […]
Dec 11, 2014
Show 972: New Pathways to Overcome Chronic Back Pain
At some point during our lives, most of us will have at least one episode of back pain. Sharp or dull, the pain can come on at an unexpected moment and dominate our lives for days or weeks, until it disappears as mysteriously as it came. When Pain Becomes Chronic For some people, however, low […]
Dec 04, 2014
Show 804: The Power of Rest
Is rest a waste of time? Many of us think so, but burning the candle at both ends has its costs. Eventually, the result is burnout along with physical and emotional exhaustion. Balancing Rest and Activity While sleep is crucial for good health, sleep alone may not suffice to restore health. Dr. Matthew Edlund believes […]
Nov 26, 2014
Show 971: Conquering the Root Causes of Chronic Disease
According to a new global survey, older adults in the United States take more drugs for more chronic health problems than seniors in ten other countries. Why do so many people suffer with chronic illnesses as they age? The diseases that afflict them are due in part to genetic susceptibility for heart disease, diabetes or […]
Nov 20, 2014
Show 970: Health News Update on Hydrocodone and Vitamin D
Hydrocodone Painkillers Last month, the Drug Enforcement Administration changed its classification of hydrocodone containing pain relievers. The new rules will make it more difficult for some patients to get their medications. What will they mean for you? Movember By now, everyone is pretty well aware that October is colored pink to draw attention to breast […]
Nov 13, 2014
Show 969: Magnesium the Neglected Mineral
Are you deficient in magnesium? Chances are you’ve never thought about it. Magnesium is a fascinating mineral that every cell in the body uses for a variety of activities. Yet very little attention is paid to this nutrient. Learn why magnesium is so vital and how to tell if your levels might be low. Which […]
Nov 06, 2014
Show 968: Strategies for Overcoming Infertility
Many couples struggle to conceive. Even healthy young couples may be less likely to have success with conception than is commonly believed. Without using protection of any kind, such a couple might expect to conceive in one cycle out of five. While most healthy couples do manage a pregnancy over the course of a year, […]
Oct 30, 2014
Show 967: Technology for Better Hearing
More than 30 million Americans have trouble hearing as well as they would like. Some assume there is nothing that can be done to help them, while others imagine that their hearing loss is not so great that it needs to be addressed. Are they mistaken? Hearing aids are expensive and somewhat mysterious. Technological Advances […]
Oct 23, 2014
Show 966: The Benefits of Butter
For decades, Americans have been warned to step away from the cheese and leave the butter untouched. Saturated fat was believed to clog the arteries and lead to heart attacks and early death. But what was the basis for those admonitions?   Where’s the science? The science of the popular prescriptions for a low-fat diet […]
Oct 15, 2014
Show 965: Is Your Doctor Lying to You?
Dishonesty in Health Care Health care, it seems, is not immune to the dishonesty that prevails in many other parts of society, whether it is the polite lie that someone looks good (despite a hospital pallor) or a more serious deception or omission, such as a provider’s financial relationship with a drug or device manufacturer. […]
Oct 09, 2014
Show 964: Should You Go Gluten Free?
Gluten has become a household name in the last few years, with many crackers, cereals and other food products advertised as gluten free. What is gluten, and should you be avoiding it? In the past, the only people who paid much attention to gluten were those with celiac disease. This condition was thought to be […]
Oct 01, 2014
Show 963: Easing Joint Pain without Surgery
Playing a sport, leading an active lifestyle or taking an unexpected tumble can lead to joint injuries such as a sprained ankle or a torn rotator cuff in the shoulder. Sometimes joints just start complaining because of accumulated wear and tear. Sports medicine specialists often need to evaluate the best methods for overcoming pain and […]
Sep 25, 2014
Show 962: Taming the Beast in the Belly (Inflammatory Bowel Disease)
More than a million Americans suffer from inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis are usually considered autoimmune conditions, although it is not necessarily clear what may trigger the immune system to attack the lining of the digestive tract. Find out about the symptoms of IBD and how it is distinguished from IBS, […]
Sep 22, 2014
Show 960: Mastering the Maze of Health Care Bureaucracy
Most of us have experienced the frustration of a phone tree that seems designed to keep us from speaking to the person who could actually do what needs to be done. Have you ever considered the impact of an insurance pre-authorization requirement on a physician’s work day? We speak with Dr. Danielle Ofri about a […]
Sep 06, 2014
Show 907: Ticks, Fleas & Mystery Disease
Most people are familiar with tick-borne diseases such as Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever or Lyme disease. But other diseases transmitted by ticks and fleas and biting flies may be flying under the radar. One such organism is called Bartonella. More Than Cat Scratch Fever Bartonella is known as the cause of cat scratch fever, but […]
Aug 30, 2014
Show 958: Flipping the Food Pyramid Upside-Down
People often hold fast to their favorite dietary dogma and get annoyed if it is challenged. But lately there has been a great deal of controversy about the best diet for good health, especially for people with diabetes or heart disease. One sign of a possible paradigm shift is the publication of three different articles […]
Aug 16, 2014
957 Help and Hope for ALS
Tune in to our radio show on your local public radio station, or sign up for the podcast and listen at your leisure. Here’s what it’s about: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is better known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. What does a diagnosis of ALS mean, and how do doctors and patients work together to improve […]
Aug 09, 2014
956 Beat the Heat and Stay Healthy This Summer
Tune in to our radio show on your local public radio station, or sign up for the podcast and listen at your leisure. Here’s what it’s about: Hot summer temperatures can be uncomfortable for anybody, but for some folks they may be downright dangerous. Which drugs require extra caution because they make a person more […]
Aug 02, 2014
Show 955: Surviving Cancer Against All Odds (Archive)
What can we learn from people who have experienced spontaneous remissions of serious cancers? Doctors recognize that such remissions sometimes occur, but they rarely study them. The problem is that remissions are uncommon and unpredictable, and consequently difficult to study. The Research Psychotherapist Kelly Turner interviewed more than a thousand people who had undergone a […]
Jul 26, 2014
948 Superbugs, Stethoscopes and New Technologies to Prevent the Spread of Infection
Tune in to our radio show on your local public radio station, or sign up for the podcast and listen at your leisure. Here’s what it’s about: Do you take antibiotics for granted? Many of us do. After all, these drugs have been saving lives for decades, servings as magic bullets against deadly infections such […]
Jun 07, 2014
Show 945: Vitamin Pills and Aspirin for Prevention: A Smart Move or a Waste of Money?
Over the last several months a number of studies have found that multivitamins are not an effective way to prevent Alzheimer’s or heart disease. But are they really a waste of money, as one editorial suggests? We talk with Dr. Tieraona Low Dog about the evidence base for vitamin use. How Scary Is Aspirin? Similar doubts have […]
May 10, 2014
943 When Less Is More in Medical Care
Tune in to our radio show on your local public radio station, or sign up for the podcast and listen at your leisure. Here’s what it’s about: The new guidelines brought forth by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology call for a large proportion of senior citizens to take statin-type cholesterol-lowering […]
Apr 26, 2014
Show 808: New Approaches to Treating Tinnitus (Archive)
Tinnitus, often referred to as ringing in the ears, can be a terrible problem. The sufferer hears a sound that no one else perceives, whether it is hissing, booming, buzzing, chirping or clicking. Treating tinnitus effectively is very difficult. People are rarely able to get the sound to stop and some victims find it is […]
Apr 19, 2014
940 Patient Safety Lessons from the Skies
Tune in to our radio show on your local public radio station, or sign up for the podcast and listen at your leisure. Here’s what it’s about: Worldwide attention has been riveted on the fate of a Malaysian Airlines jet with 239 people on board. Since flight 370 disappeared on March 8, more than 16,000 […]
Mar 22, 2014
938 FDA to Begin Monitoring Generic Drug Quality
Tune in to our radio show on your local public radio station, or sign up for the podcast and listen at your leisure. Here’s what it’s about: A number of foreign drug firms have been cited by the FDA for poor quality control (and in some cases data manipulation). Perhaps in response, the agency has […]
Mar 08, 2014
937 Paying Attention to Bladder Cancer
Tune in to our radio show on your local public radio station, or sign up for the podcast and listen at your leisure. Here’s what it’s about: We rarely hear about bladder cancer, but it is the fourth most common cancer of men in the U.S., and the toll it takes is underappreciated. We hear […]
Mar 01, 2014
Show 902: Staying Healthy on Vacation
Summer vacation is right around the corner. We hope you have delightful travel plans, whether they will take you across the country, around the world, or just beyond the back yard. What can you do to stay healthy while on vacation? Pack Your First-Aid Kit: What are the best first-aid items to tuck in your […]
May 04, 2013
Show 889: Fever and the Immune System
How do you handle the fever of flu? Many people turn to OTC flu remedies for symptom relief, but nearly all of them contain a fever reducing medication such as aspirin, acetaminophen or ibuprofen. While these may help you feel better temporarily, such medicines may prolong the infection or help it spread. The Benefits of […]
Jan 19, 2013
Show 864: Summertime Remedies
Summertime offers great opportunities to enjoy the outdoors, but sometimes there are risks that might be hard to avoid. Chiggers, ticks and mosquitos can make you miserable. What can you do to avoid them or manage the itch that results? Summertime Remedies: This summer has broken heat records in many places. Is your medication putting […]
Jul 12, 2012
Show 839: Sugar for Wounds Health News Update
Sugar for Wounds: Sugar seems like an improbable treatment for hard-to-heal wounds. But the ancient Egyptians used honey and animal fat for battle scars. How does that treatment hold up under modern scrutiny? Holiday Remedies: When friends and family gather for the holidays, little mishaps may happen. What home remedies can help ease minor problems […]
Dec 17, 2011
Show 837: Prostate Cancer Puzzle
One American man in every six is diagnosed with prostate cancer at some point, so it is not surprising that proposed changes to prostate cancer screening have created controversy. When the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force recommended dropping the PSA (prostate specific antigen) test as a routine measure, many urologists and their patients protested. The […]
Dec 03, 2011
Show 752: Bone Vitality (Archive)
For years, women have been admonished to drink milk and eat yogurt so that they will have enough calcium to keep their bones strong. Calcium supplements have become big business, and foods like orange juice have been fortified with calcium. How good is the science supporting all this calcium to fight bone loss? We talk […]
Sep 04, 2010
Show 680: Enjoying Sex After 50
Dr. Ruth Westheimer is America’s most renowned sex expert. She shares her decades of experience answering questions on sex. What are the most common concerns facing couples? Is there hope for sex after 50? Can Female Sexual Dysfunction Be Overcome? The husband and wife team of Irwin and Sue Goldstein have blazed a trail for […]
May 17, 2008