Coming Up On Radio Health Journal

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Late Effects of Childhood Cancer Treatment: Doctors can cure cancer in children better than ever, but decades later, many survivors suffer from serious, chronic disease as a result of powerful cancer treatments. Often those survivors don’t get screening and treatment for late effects. Experts and survivors discuss how treatments influence life decades later, how survivors can get treatment they need, and new ways of treatment can lessen late effects.

Doing Too Much For Terminal Patients: Doctors often take extreme measures to save patients who are dying, and who might wish to die in peace. A critical care physician discusses how doctors are learning to resist their impulses to over-treat.

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17-17 Segment 1: Penicillin Allergy? Probably Not

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Millions of Americans believe they are allergic to penicillin. However, most of them are wrong. Experts discuss how these misdiagnoses happen and what results when so many of us avoid the most effective, yet cheapest antibiotic.

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17-17 Segment 2: Multiple Myeloma – Why is Iceland So Important?

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Scientists are tapping the entire adult population of Iceland for a clinical test for treatments for multiple myeloma, a blood cancer. An expert explains the disease and how a whole country is pitching in to fight it.

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Medical Notes 17-17

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Medical Notes this week…

We’ve reported on how dogs can sniff out a variety of diseases in people with scientists trying to create a mechanical nose to do the same thing. Now a study presented to the American Chemical Society shows they’re making progress. Researchers have identified a signature odor in 90% of cases of prostate cancer and have developed a chemical test to detect it. Doctors are looking for an alternative to the PSA test to detect prostate cancer because of the high proportion of false positives.

People who are depressed have a surprisingly high risk for heart disease. A new study in the journal Atherosclerosis shows that depression is just as much of a cardiovascular risk as obesity and high cholesterol. The 10-year study finds that depression is to blame for about 15% of all heart disease deaths, a rate exceeded only by smoking and high blood pressure. About 350 million people around the world suffer from depression.

It might be easier to get into an argument when you’re tired because you’re misreading the emotions of other people. A study in the journal Neurobiology of Sleep and Circadian Rhythms shows that sleepy people have trouble interpreting some emotions in the faces of others compared to those who are well rested. Tired people can read fear and anger in others’ faces but more subtle emotions are misinterpreted far more often.

And finally, slightly more than half of parents give sports the green light for their kids but about one in every six completely rule them out. The reason? Concussions. The rest of parents, about a third of them, allow participation on a sport by sport basis, according to a Harris survey for the American Osteopathic Association. About two thirds of parents say basketball and baseball are ok for kids. But less than 20% approve of their children playing football.

And that’s Medical Notes this week.

17-16 Segment 1: Moderate Exercise – It’s Better For You

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Studies are showing that people who train hard and long at running have death rates similar to couch potatoes, while those who exercise moderately or even lightly are likely to live much longer. Experts discuss how much exercise is enough and how to make the most of light exercise.

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17-16 Segment 1: Workplace Genetic Testing

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Workers are currently protected from having to take genetic tests for employers. However, a bill under consideration in the US House—HR1313—would allow corporate wellness plans to ask workers for a test, and penalize them through markedly higher health insurance premiums if they refuse. The bill also provides no protections against how or to whom the information is distributed.

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Medical Notes 17-16

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Medical Notes this week…

Most of the attention on concussions in sports has centered on football, but a new study presented to the American Academy of Neurology shows that female athletes are more likely than men to suffer a concussion, even when football is considered. A study of 228 college athletes shows that 23% of women and 17% of men suffered concussions during their careers. Symptoms were similar except that men suffered more amnesia and women suffered more insomnia.

People who live extremely healthy lifestyles and have no family history, yet still develop cancer may wonder, “why me?” The answer? It’s a typo. A study in the journal Science finds that DNA typos are responsible for nearly two-thirds of the genetic changes that cause cancer, far more than those triggered by heredity or the environment. Researchers say overall, 66% of cancer mutations result from copying errors, 29% are due to lifestyle or the environment, and 5% are inherited.

And finally, firstborn children get all of their parents’ attention, at least for awhile, and don’t have to wear hand-me-downs. Now a study in the Journal of Human Resources finds that firstborns are also typically smarter than their younger siblings. Researchers say the results show up as early as age 1 and result from more parental engagement with the first-born child.

And that’s Medical Notes this week.