1/26/15 Panel

Jan 26, 2015

  The Roundtable Panel: a daily open discussion of issues in the news and beyond.

Today's panelists are WAMC’s Alan Chartock, WAMC Newsman Ray Graf and University at Albany Journalism Professor and Investigative Reporter, Rosemary Armao.

Topics include: President Obama in India, Elections in Greece, Blizzard, Reactions to American Sniper, and Medical Treatments Tailored to Patient's DNA.

  We are very happy to continue our regular feature – Ideas Matter: Checking in with the Public Humanities. It is our chance to check in with the Humanities Councils throughout our 7-State area to discuss important ideas and why they do indeed matter.

Today we check in with MASS Humanities and learn about “Literature, Medicine and the Experience of War” - a six-month, scholar-led, humanities reading and discussion program for health professionals and staff in medical facilities administered by the US Department of Veterans Affairs and/or veterans and military service organizations.

Exercise Will Hurt You

Nov 25, 2014

  When was it decided that exercise could only be good for you? Leading neurosurgeon Dr. Steve Barrer argues, based on his extensive career treating exercise-related injuries, a cornucopia of his own personal injuries from exercise over the years, and ample scientific data, that we ought to change the way we think about exercise.

Instead of succumbing to what Barrer calls “the cult of exercise” that follows the mantra “no pain, no gain,” how about some common sense? His book is Exercise Will Hurt You.

  In 2006 when he was 50 years old, Michael Kovarik of Greenwich was a third-grade teacher in a South Colonie School when he felt a lump in his left breast. He never thought he would develop breast cancer, but he did.

Although male breast cancer is rare, it exists. Nationally, the American Cancer Society predicts 2,360 men will develop the disease this year and 430 will die from it. Contrast that with the 232,670 new cases in women and the prediction that 40,000 will die.

Kovarik has been working to raise awareness about male breast cancer and has written a book about his experience, Healing Within: My Journey with Breast Cancer.


  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.

  Deborah Harkness is a scholar and writer specializing in the history of science and medicine. She has received numerous awards, including Fulbright, Guggenheim, and National Humanities Center fellowships. Currently a professor of history at the University of Southern California, she is the author of the New York Times bestselling All Souls Trilogy, and the final book in that trilogy, The Book of Life, is out today.

Studying the area surrounding a cancerous tumor may provide new medical insights.

Dr. Marco Bisoffi, associate professor of biological sciences at Chapman University, is studying field cancerization to help treat the deadly disease.


    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.

With Ben Goldacre’s characteristic flair and a forensic attention to detail, Bad Pharma: How Drug Companies Mislead Doctors and Harm Patients reveals a shockingly broken system and calls for regulation. This is the pharmaceutical industry as it has never been seen before.

    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.

In Knocking on Heaven's Door: The Path to a Better Way of Death, award-winning journalist Katy Butler ponders her parents’ desires for “Good Deaths” and the forces within medicine that stood in the way.

   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.