We like to imagine that medicine is based on evidence and the results of fair testing and clinical trials. In reality, those tests and trials are often profoundly flawed. We like to imagine that doctors who write prescriptions for everything from antidepressants to cancer drugs to heart medication are familiar with the research literature about a drug, when in reality much of the research is hidden from them by drug companies.
Out of 238 million American adults, 100 million live in chronic pain. And yet the press has paid more attention to the abuses of pain medications than the astoundingly widespread condition they are intended to treat.
Ethically, the failure to manage pain better is tantamount to torture. When chronic pain is inadequately treated, it undermines the body and mind. Indeed, the risk of suicide for people in chronic pain is twice that of other people.
Far more than just a symptom, writes author Judy Foreman, chronic pain can be a disease in its own right -- the biggest health problem facing America today.
Katy Butler was living thousands of miles from her vigorous and self-reliant parents when the call came: a crippling stroke had left her proud seventy-nine-year-old father unable to fasten a belt or complete a sentence. Tragedy at first drew the family closer: her mother devoted herself to caregiving, and Butler joined the twenty-four million Americans helping shepherd parents through their final declines.
Showtime's dramatic series Masters of Sex, starring Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan, is based on this real-life story of sex researchers William Masters and Virginia Johnson.
Convincing hundreds of men and women to shed their clothes and copulate, the pair were the nation’s top experts on love and intimacy. Highlighting interviews with the notoriously private Masters and the ambitious Johnson, critically acclaimed biographer Thomas Maier shows how this unusual team changed the way we all thought about, talked about, and engaged in sex while they simultaneously tried to make sense of their own relationship.
This morning we’ll discuss MassHumanities Literature & Medicine: Humanities at the Heart of Health Care – it’s a six-month long program that allows medical professionals to reflect on their work through the power of literature. Hospitals host scholar-led discussion groups and together they explore works of fiction, poetry, drama, and nonfiction that illuminate issues central to caring for people, whether they are well, sick, or dying.
Our guests are Pleun Bouricius, Director of Grants and Programs for MASSHumanities, and Robert Meagher, Professor of Humanities at Hampshire College.
The Alliance is looking to advocate for public health dollars for research for cheap, widely available early detection like a blood or urine tests, and provide patient support services. And they look to triple lung cancer survivorship by 2020. Joining us to tell us more:
Dr. Hilton Hossanah is here, he is a Thoracic Surgeon and Assistant Professor at Albany Medical Center. We also welcome Betsy McPhail: She built a network of support as a caregiver, which gave her the support she needed to get through. Her 20's something sister was diagnosed and died from lung cancer. And Phyllis Goldstein is Director of Lung Cancer Alliance New York and a never smoker survivor who found the path of advocacy to honor the death of her best friend and her father to lung cancer.
A long time ago when I was about to apply to medical school and struggling with college courses in organic chemistry and calculus and the like, a friend pointedly mocked my desire to become a physician.