Dr. Harvey Simon– “Healthy Men”

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The Harvard Medical School Guide to Men’s Health

Dr. Harvey B. Simon is the author of “The Harvard Medical School Guide to Men’s Health” and the founding editor of the Harvard Men’s Health Watch newsletter. His book discusses a multitude of health issues that are unique to men and some are common to women as well.

Dr. Harvey Simon recommends “An Equal Music,” by Vikram Seth.

Originally Broadcast: December 31, 2002

Dr. Frank Vertosick — “Evolutionary Intelligence”

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In this program we visit concepts of evolution and intelligence, some of which were raised after our series on near term human extinction.

What is intelligence?  What kind of intelligence do non human creatures have?  What are the different levels of intelligence that can be found in single cells, or invertebrates, up to human beings?

Neurosurgeon Dr. Frank Vertosick, author of “The Genius Within: Discovering the Intelligence of Every Living Thing,” discusses these and other questions about learning among all species.   He talks about the learning that occurs through evolution or alteration of the genetic structure and about the learning, of the way we commonly think of it, by studying or by experience.

When Dr. Frank Vertosick and I visited by phone from his office in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in early October 2002, we began when I asked him to describe the different levels of intelligence and the development of intelligence in invertebrates.

The book Dr. Frank Vertosick recommends is “Linked: How Everything is Connected to Everything Else and What it Means for Business, Science, and Everyday Life,” by Albert-Lasio Barabasi.

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Douglas Starr– “Blood: A History”

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Blood, an Epic History of Medicine and Commerce

Human blood has been compared historically and sociologically to a river that defines human society over the millennia. That river has been charted in a recent book and television series entitled, “Blood, an Epic History of Medicine and Commerce,” by Douglas Starr. This work traces the history of blood in medical, political and economic terms, from the earliest days of bloodletting to the era of AIDS.

Douglas Starr recommends “Instance of the Finger Post,” by Ian Beers.

Originally Broadcast: September 14, 2002

Eric Schlosser- “Do You Really Want to Eat That?”

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Fast food is what many people eat in America, and increasingly in other countries. It is advertised to be fun, tasty, and easily available. Americans spend more money annually on fast food than is spent on higher education.

Eric Schlosser is our guest in this archive edition.  He’s the author of Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal. Schlosser writes that it is not only what is served for human consumption that is the problem, but the art of mass-marketing to children through organized promotions and ads for the products—in school busses, hallways, and even bathroom stalls—has serious side effects on society.

Working conditions for employees at meat-packing plants and the resulting contamination of the product resulted in the July 19th, 2002 recall of 19 million pounds of beef. In addition to the acute health hazards of contamination, a fast food meal often contains more fat in one meal than the average person needs in a day.

I spoke with Eric Schlosser, the author of Fast Food Nation, in mid-summer 2002, we began with his description of the problem of excess fat in fast food.

Eric Schlosser is the author of Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal. The book he recommends is “Newjack: Guarding Sing Sing,” by Ted Conover.

“Glenn Langer – Enhancing Education and Heart Disease”

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Understanding Disease, How Your Heart, Lungs, Blood, and Blood Vessels Function and Respond to Treatment

In this two-part series with Dr. Glenn Langer, former Professor of Medicine, specializing in Cardiology, at UCLA we discuss the Partnership Scholars Program and heart disease. In the first interview Dr. Langer describes the Partnership Scholars Program and how attention and exposure to new ideas can create a whole new world for children, whose life experiences might otherwise be forever limited. In the second program, we discuss folklore, literature, psychology as they relate to cardiology and the heart. Dr. Langer is the author of “Understanding Disease, How Your Heart, Lungs, Blood, and Blood Vessels Function and Respond to Treatment,” a book attempting to demystify medicine. Both parts of this program were originally broadcast in October of 2000.

Glenn Langer recommends “Ship of Gold in the Deep Blue Sea,” by Gary Kinder and “Eleanor of Aquitaine: A Biography,” by Marion Meade.

Originally Broadcast: October 24, 2000 and October 31, 2000

Nuland, Sherwin: What Is It About Our Species That Allows Us to Learn So Much About Ourselves.

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The Wisdom of the Body

From developmental perspectives, both in individuals and in mankind as a whole, the brain, language, and civilization have separated our species from the rest of the animal kingdom. In May of 1997, I discussed these issues with Sherwin Nuland, a professor of Medical History at Yale University Medical School and author of many books, including Wisdom of the Body.

Sherwin Nuland recommends “The Meaning of Yiddish,” by Benjamin Harshav.

Originally Broadcast: May 21, 1997

Grealy, Lucy: What is Ugly

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The Autobiography of a Face

Lucy Grealy, a victim of Ewing’s Sarcoma, beginning when was nine years old suffered from a cancer of the jaw that is 90% fatal in the first few years. In Lucy’s case, it was not fatal. Rather it brought about many intense and emotional experiences that most of us could not imagine. She had a large part of her lower jaw removed when she was about nine and half and for two and a half years had weekly chemotherapy treatments. Throughout her teenage years, she had multiple surgeries to reshape her jaw. Her book, “Autobiography of a Face,” reveals her experiences, her mistaken conflation of beauty and love, and what she learned about emotions, both her own and other people’s.

Lucy Grealy recommends “100 Years of Solitude,” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

Originally Broadcast: December 5, 1994

Vogel, Lillian: Secrets of a Long Life: In Memory of Dr. Lillian Brown Vogel

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This program is presented in honor of my mother, Lillian Brown Vogel, whose vivacious 39,549 days finally caught up with her on December 29, 2017. She died at her home here in Ukiah, California at the age of 108. Smiling until she closed her eyes for the last time, she cherished her well lived life. I dedicate this program to everyone who seeks to lead a long, active and happy life.

My mother played the piano almost daily for 104 years. She voted in every election since 1930, the year she began medical school. She earned a Master’s Degree in 1933 and Ph.D. in 1961, both in psychology. She worked as a clinical psychologist, retiring in 2005, at the age of 96. In response to many queries about the secret of her long life, she published her memoir, “What’s My Secret?  One Hundred Years of Memories and Reflections,” on her 100th birthday in 2009.

My mother was driven by her curiosity and joy of life. She was able to get to the heart of most any matter with a few simple questions.  And then always wanted to know more.

This interview, originally recorded on October 31, 2009, was poetically updated, as you’ll hear, on September 9, 2014.
Now this edition of Radio Curious begins when I asked Dr. Lillian Brown Vogel, my mother and my initial mentor on how to be curious: ‘Mother dear, what makes you curious?’

The book Lillian B. Vogel recommended in 2009, is “The Blue Tattoo: The Life Of Olive Oatman,” by Margot Mifflin.

Patrick, William: Loneliness and How it Affects Us

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How many of us are lonely? What is loneliness and how does it affect us? Approximately 25 years ago, when asked the number of friends in whom we could confide, most people in the United States said “three.” When that question was asked recently most people said “none.”

Inquires reveal that twenty per-cent of people, — 60 million in the Untied States alone – are feeling lonely at any given moment. And, it appears that chronic loneliness may well compete with smoking, obesity and lack of exercise as a significant health risk.

In this edition of Radio Curious we visit with William Patrick, the founding editor of The Journal of Life Sciences and co-author of “Loneliness: Human Nature and the Need for Social Connection,” along with University of Chicago psychology professor John Cacioppo.

My conversation with William Patrick, recorded on October 13, 2008, began when I asked him to define loneliness as used in their book.

The book William Patrick recommends is “The Lost Gospel: The Book of Q and Christian Origins,” by Burton Mack.

Originally broadcast October 18th, 2008.

Fogg, Laura: Traveling Blind

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The ways different creatures, especially us humans, use our senses to guide ourselves through life has long attracted my curiosity. I’ve often wondered how blind people seem able to orient themselves, and also wondered about their dreams.

From time to time, over the years, I would see an attentive woman walk past my office window next to a young person of student age. They would walk together talk, and the young person almost always carried a white cane with a red tip. Laura Fogg is this woman, the author of “Traveling Blind: Life Lessons from Unlikely Teachers,” and our guest in this archive edition of Radio Curious.

Laura Fogg worked as a Mobility and Orientation Instructor for the Blind in Mendocino County for over 35 years beginning 1971. She pioneered the use of the red tipped white cane with very young blind students some of whom had multiple impairments. She traveled long distances over the rather spectacular back roads of Mendocino County to work with each student his or her home.

When she visited the studios of Radio Curious on December 1, 2008, I asked her about the lessons that she learned that have changed her life.

The book Laura Fogg recommends is “My Year of Meats,” by Ruth Ozeki. Published in 1999.