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Sarah LaDuke: May is Mental Health Awareness Month - and it seems like the topic of mental health and mental health treatment is surging to the forefront of many conversations as we face ... I don't think I really need to restate what we, as a planet, are facing.

What follows is an honest discussion about depression and suicide.

My younger sister, Jen, has been living with severe depression for years, possibly for her entire life. She's had some counseling, tried medication, and leaned hard on primarily our mother. Before I continue, I did ask her if I could talk about her in the context of this interview on the radio - and she said, "Sure, I struggle with this every day. Tell some people."

Americans care about their health. Americans pay lots of money in hopes of maintaining their health. So why are Americans so unhealthy?

The reason is simple: as a country, the United States overinvests in medical care at the expense of the social, economic, and cultural forces that produce health.

The authors are Michael Stein, Professor and Chair of Health Law, Policy and Management of the School of Public Health at Boston University and Sandro Galea, Robert A. Knox Professor and Dean of the School of Public Health at Boston University.

Michael Stein joined us.

Saul J. Weiner, MD is a professor of medicine, pediatrics, and medical education at the University of Illinois at Chicago, the deputy director of the Veterans Health Administration's Center of Innovation for Complex Chronic Healthcare, and the cofounder of the Institute for Practice and Provider Performance Improvement (I3PI). He is the coauthor of "Listening for What Matters: Avoiding Contextual Errors in Health Care."

Medical students and physicians-in-training embark on a long journey that, although steeped in scientific learning and technical skill building, includes little guidance on the emotional and interpersonal dimensions of becoming a healer. Written for anyone in the health care community who hopes to grow emotionally and cognitively in the way they interact with patients, "On Becoming a Healer" explains how to foster doctor-patient relationships that are mutually nourishing.

Renowned radio host Diane Rehm joins us this week to discuss her new book, “When My Time Comes,” which addresses the urgent, hotly contested cause of the Right-to-Die movement, of which she is one of the most inspiring champions.

Dr. Matt McCarthy is the author of two national bestsellers, "The Real Doctor Will See You Shortly" and "Odd Man Out." He is an assistant professor of medicine at Weill Cornell and a staff physician at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, where he serves on the Ethics Committee.

In his new book "Superbugs: The Race to Stop an Epidemic," McCarthy shares the story of cutting-edge science and the race against the clock to find new treatments in the fight against the antibiotic-resistant bacteria known as superbugs.

McCarthy is on the front lines of a groundbreaking clinical trial testing a new antibiotic to fight lethal superbugs, bacteria that have built up resistance to the life-saving drugs in our rapidly dwindling arsenal.

Founded in 2010 in Kingston, New York by a small group of artists-activists, doctors and a dentist, O+ is now a national nonprofit working in cities around the country.

The group builds long-term relationships between creatives and health and wellness providers to help strengthen local communities. Their year-round efforts culminate in one-day and weekend-long celebrations, during which underinsured artists and musicians create and perform in exchange for a variety of services donated by doctors, dentists and complementary care providers.

Dance-punk band !!! (Chk Chk Chk) will play the 10th annual O+ Kingston festival of art, music and wellness beginning October 11-13 along with folk-rocker Elvis Perkins, cabaret-punk band The World/Inferno Friendship Society, Tall Juan, neo-soul band Lady Moon & The Eclipse and 40 more solo artists, bands and ensembles representing a wide cross-section of musical genres and styles.

This morning we are joined by O+ Executive Director Joe Concra, RN and Artists’ Clinic Director Shannon Donnell, and co-chair of the O+ Kingston music committee Mike Amari.

David K. Randall is a senior reporter at Reuters and The New York Times best-selling author of "Dreamland" and "The King and Queen of Malibu."

For Chinese immigrant Wong Chut King, surviving in San Francisco meant a life in the shadows. His passing on March 6, 1900, would have been unremarkable if a city health officer hadn’t noticed a swollen black lymph node on his groin: a sign of bubonic plague.

Empowered by racist pseudoscience, officials rushed to quarantine Chinatown while doctors examined Wong’s tissue for telltale bacteria. If the devastating disease was not contained, San Francisco would become the American epicenter of an outbreak that had already claimed ten million lives worldwide.

In "Black Death at the Golden Gate: The Race to Save America from the Bubonic Plague," Randall shares this little known story of an avoided epidemic.

In the U.S., 10,000 baby boomers turn 65 every day; by the time a person reaches 85, their chances of having dementia approach 50 percent. And the truth is, there is no cure, and none coming soon, despite the perpetual promises by pharmaceutical companies that they are just one more expensive study away from a pill.

Despite being a physician and a bioethicist, Tia Powell wasn't prepared to address the challenges she faced when her grandmother, and then her mother, were diagnosed with dementia; not to mention confronting the hard truth that her own odds aren't great.

With her book, "Dementia Reimagined," Dr. Powell's goal is to move the conversation away from an exclusive focus on cure to a genuine appreciation of care, what we can do for those who have dementia, and how to keep life meaningful and even joyful.

Anne Harrington is the Franklin L. Ford Professor of the History of Science and faculty dean of Pforzheimer House at Harvard University.

In "Mind Fixers," Harrington, explores psychiatry’s repeatedly frustrated struggle to understand mental disorder in biomedical terms. She shows how the stalling of early twentieth century efforts in this direction allowed Freudians and social scientists to insist, with some justification, that they had better ways of analyzing and fixing minds.

The new book, "The Art of Dying Well: A Practical Guide to a Good End of Life," is about living as well as possible for as long as possible and adapting successfully to change. Journalist and prominent end-of-life speaker Katy Butler shows how to thrive in later life, how to get the best from our health system, and how to make your own “good death” more likely.

The book is a handbook of step by step preparations; practical, communal, physical, and sometimes spiritual; to help us make the most of our remaining time, be it decades, years, or months.

As the American born daughter of immigrants, Dr. Sunita Puri knew from a young age that the gulf between her parents' experiences and her own was impossible to bridge, save for two elements: medicine and spirituality.

And it was that tension that eventually drew Puri, a passionate but unsatisfied medical student, to palliative medicine: a new specialty attempting to translate the border between medical intervention and quality-of-life care.

Puri's new book, "That Good Night," is a meditation on impermanence and the role of medicine in helping us to live and die well. Sunita Puri is an assistant professor of clinical medicine at the University of Southern California, and medical director of palliative medicine at the Keck Hospital and Norris Cancer Center.

Dr. Sandeep Jauhar is the Director of the Heart Failure program at the Long Island Jewish Medical Center. He is Author of "Doctored: The Disillusionment of an American Physician" and "Intern: A Doctor's Initiation". Dr. Sandeep Jauhar is a frequent contributor to The New York Times. His latest book is "Heart: A History" where he tells the story of the thing that makes us tick, the heart our most vital organ.

Dawn Raffel's new book, "The Strange Case Of Dr. Couney: How A Mysterious European Showman Saved Thousands Of American Babies" tells the extraordinary tale of how a mysterious immigrant "doctor" became the revolutionary innovator of saving premature babies--by placing them in incubators in World's Fair side shows and on Coney Island and Atlantic City.

How Dr. Couney became the savior to families with premature infants, known then as "weaklings"--while ignoring the scorn of the medical establishment and fighting the climate of eugenics is one of the most astounding stories of modern medicine.

Chris McGreal is a reporter for the Guardian and former journalist at the BBC. He was the Guardian's correspondent in Johannesburg, Jerusalem and Washington DC, and now writes from across the United States.

The opioid epidemic has been described as "one of the greatest mistakes of modern medicine." But calling it a mistake is a generous rewriting of the history of greed, corruption, and indifference that pushed the US into consuming more than 80 percent of the world's opioid painkillers.

His new book is entitled "American Overdose: The Opioid Tragedy in Three Acts." Journeying through lives and communities wrecked by the epidemic, Chris McGreal reveals not only how Big Pharma hooked Americans on powerfully addictive drugs, but the corrupting of medicine and public institutions that let the opioid makers get away with it. The starting point for McGreal's deeply reported investigation is the miners promised that opioid painkillers would restore their wrecked bodies, but who became targets of "drug dealers in white coats."

A few heroic physicians warned of impending disaster. But American Overdose exposes the powerful forces they were up against, including the pharmaceutical industry's coopting of the Food and Drug Administration and Congress in the drive to push painkillers--resulting in the resurgence of heroin cartels in the American heartland. McGreal tells the story, in terms both broad and intimate, of people hit by a catastrophe they never saw coming. Years in the making, its ruinous consequences will stretch years into the future.

Kurt Eichenwald is the New York Times bestselling author. His second book, "The Informant," was made into a movie starring Matt Damon and directed by Steven Soderbergh. In addition to his distinguished work as a senior writer at Newsweek and a contributing editor at Vanity Fair, Eichenwald spent two decades as a senior writer at The New York Times, where he was a two-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. He is also a two-time winner of the George Polk Award, as well as the winner of the Payne Award for Ethics in Journalism and an Emmy Award nominee.

As a college freshman, Eichenwald awoke one night on the floor of his dorm room, confused and in pain. In the aftermath of that critical moment, his once-carefree life would be consumed by confrontations with medical incompetence, discrimination that almost cost him his education and employment, physical abuse, and dark moments when he contemplated suicide.

"A Mind Unraveled: A Memoir" is the story of one man’s battle to pursue his dreams despite his often incapacitating epilepsy.

Joselin Linder has been on a quest to uncover the truth about her likely fatal genetic disorder that opens a window onto the explosive field of genomic medicine. Linder’s new book is “The Family Gene: A Mission to Turn My Deadly Inheritance into a Hopeful Future.”

Samuel Harrington, MD, an honors graduate of Harvard College and the University of Wisconsin Medical School, concentrated his clinical practice at Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington, DC. There he served as a medical staff leader, a trustee, and as Sibley's representative to the Johns Hopkins Quality and Safety Board Committee. This work and his service on the board of trustees of a nonprofit hospice brought Dr. Harrington into the discussion of end-of-life medical care.

Most people say they would like to die quietly at home. But overly aggressive medical advice, coupled with an unrealistic sense of invincibility or overconfidence in our health-care system, results in the majority of elderly patients misguidedly dying in institutions. Many undergo painful procedures instead of having the better and more peaceful death they deserve.

Dr. Harrington's new book "At Peace: Choosing a Good Death After a Long Life" outlines specific active and passive steps that older patients and their health-care proxies can take to ensure loved ones live their last days comfortably at home and/or in hospice when further aggressive care is inappropriate.

Richard M. Cohen is the author of two New York Times bestsellers: a memoir, "Blindsided," detailing his struggles with MS and cancer and his controversial career in the news business; and "Strong at the Broken Places," following the lives of five individuals living with serious chronic illnesses. His distinguished career in network news earned him numerous awards, including three Emmys and a Peabody.

After more than four decades living with multiple sclerosis, New York Times bestselling author Richard M. Cohen finds a flicker of hope in a groundbreaking medical procedure. His new book is "Chasing Hope."

Even with Congress’s failure to officially repeal the Affordable Care Act, our healthcare system is desperately broken. No proposed reforms have addressed the fact that the cost of medical care in the U.S. has grown far beyond what most people can afford, and pharmaceutical giant CVS’s recent acquisition of Aetna only underscores what Americans have known for years: Our healthcare system is now in the money-making business and not the healing one.

As a Harvard-trained medical doctor and veteran journalist, first with the New York Times and now as editor-in-chief of Kaiser Health News, Dr. Elisabeth Rosenthal has witnessed firsthand how healthcare has become a business. Her new book is: "An American Sickness: How Healthcare Became Big Business and How You Can Take It Back."

The Mystery Of Sleep

Feb 28, 2018

We spend a third of our lives in bed, but how much do we really understand about how sleep affects us? In the past forty years, scientists have discovered that our sleep (or lack of it) can affect nearly every aspect of our waking lives. Poor sleep could be a sign of a disease, the result of a vitamin or iron deficiency, or the cause of numerous other problems, both sleeping and waking. Yet many people, even medical personnel, are unaware of the dangers of poor sleep.

Enter Dr. Meir Kryger, a world authority on the science of sleep, with a comprehensive guide to the mysteries of slumber that combines detailed case studies, helpful tables, illustrations, and pragmatic advice.

The book is The Mystery of Sleep: Why a Good Night's Rest Is Vital to a Better, Healthier Life.

nycedc.com

  Our tech guru Jesse Feiler joins us this morning to talk about health tech.

Jesse Feiler is an app developer, author, and consultant specializing in small business and nonprofit organizations. His most recent books are “The Nonprofit Risk Book: Finding and Managing Risk in Nonprofits and NGOs” written with Gail B. Nayowith and “Learn Computer Science with Swift.” His most recent apps are “CyberContinuity,” a free app to learn about your vulnerabilities and “The Nonprofit Risk App,” a companion to the book.

Dr. Atul Gawande helped transform the conversation about aging and death in his book, Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End.

He is a surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, a professor at Harvard Medical School, and a staff writer at The New Yorker.

Taking Charge Of Cancer

Aug 28, 2017

Radiation oncologist and cancer researcher, Dr. David Palma joins us to discuss his new book, Taking Charge of Cancer. The book offers an insider’s guide to understanding and receiving the best treatment options, choosing the right medical team, and approaching this difficult time with knowledge and hope. 

Taking Charge of Cancer is a different type of book for cancer patients—one that goes beyond the cancer information that is currently available, allowing you to truly take control of your cancer treatment. You’ll learn how to obtain and understand medical records, and why these records are critical to your care.

#1 New York Times–bestselling author Robin Cook is the master of the medical thriller and this year marks the 40thanniversary of his breakthrough novel Coma, which changed the public’s image of medicine.

Now in his new thriller, CharlatansCook is back with another blend of cutting edge science, technology, and suspense. 

Prescription drug use in America has increased tenfold in the past 50 years, and over-the-counter drug use has risen just as dramatically. 

 In addition to the dozens of medications we take to treat serious illnesses, we take drugs to help us sleep, to keep us awake, to keep our noses from running, our backs from aching, and our minds from racing. Name a symptom, there's a pill to suppress it. In Mind over Meds, bestselling author Dr. Andrew Weil alerts readers to the problem of overmedication.

The prospect of entering treatment is overwhelming for anyone facing a diagnosis of cancer. While patients have access to a vast amount of medical information online, this advice is often unreliable or confusing. In their new book, Living with Cancer, Drs. Vicki Jackson and David Ryan have crafted a step-by-step guide aimed at helping people grasp what’s happening to them while coping physically and emotionally with cancer treatment. 

The book is designed to be a resource full of patient stories, teaching patients and caregivers how to ask the right questions to get the best possible care - beginning at the moment of diagnosis. They also explain how to work with a team of doctors and nurse practitioners to minimize symptoms and side effects while living as fully as possible in the face of cancer.

Until the late 1960s, tens of thousands of American children suffered crippling birth defects if their mothers had been exposed to rubella, popularly known as German measles, while pregnant; there was no vaccine and little understanding of how the disease devastated fetuses. In June 1962, a young biologist in Philadelphia, using tissue extracted from an aborted fetus from Sweden, produced safe, clean cells that allowed the creation of vaccines against rubella and other common childhood diseases. Two years later, in the midst of a devastating German measles epidemic, his colleague developed the vaccine that would one day wipe out homegrown rubella. The rubella vaccine and others made with those fetal cells have protected more than 150 million people in the United States, the vast majority of them preschoolers. 

Meredith Wadman covered biomedical research politics from Washington for twenty years. She is a reporter at  Science and has written for NatureFortune, the New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal. A graduate of Stanford and Columbia, she began medical school at the University of British Columbia and completed her medical degree as a Rhodes scholar at the University of Oxford.

Her new book is The Vaccine Race: Science, Politics, and the Human Costs of Defeating Disease

Five Star Urgent Care ribbon cutting
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Five Star Urgent Care expanded to its tenth location in New York state this week, opening a facility in Plattsburgh.  WAMC North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley toured the new facility as officials cut the ribbon to begin operations.

Dr. Jessica Nutik Zitter is one of only a handful of physicians in the United States double board certified to practice both pulmonary/critical care medicine AND palliative care medicine. In other words, she’s the doctor who will save you when you are admitted to the ICU with a gunshot wound, but she is also the doctor who can help you navigate a peaceful and easy way to the end when the end really arrives.

In her new book - Extreme Measures – we learn about a framework for a better way to exit life that will change our medical culture at the deepest level, and will perhaps leave you pondering, when ‘the end is near’, in our zeal to save life, are we often just worsening death?

It's happened to all of us: our cheeks flush red when we say the wrong thing, or our hearts skip a beat when a certain someone walks by. But few of us realize how much more dramatic and extreme our bodies' reactions to emotions can be. Many people who see their doctor have medically unexplained symptoms, and in the vast majority of these cases, a psychosomatic cause is suspected. And yet, the diagnosis of a psychosomatic disorder can make a patient feel dismissed as a hypochondriac, a faker, or just plain crazy.
 
In Is It All in Your Head?: True Stories of Imaginary Illness, Suzanne O'Sullivan, MD, takes us on a journey through the world of psychosomatic illness.

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