Clinical Trials Test MDMA as PTSD Treatment

Artwork credit: MDMA trial participant Allison Heistand-Phelps

Artwork credit: MDMA trial participant Allison Heistand-Phelps

This week on How on Earth host Susan Moran interviews two investigators of FDA-approved clinical trials testing the efficacy and safety of the illegal drug MDMA — known in an altered form as Ecstasy or Molly — as a treatment (along with psychotherapy sessions) for Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Our guests are Marcela Ot’alora and Bruce Poulter, investigators of the Colorado trial. Marcela is a licensed psychotherapist and Bruce is a registered nurse with a masters degree in public health

PTSD is an anxiety disorder that affects up to one in 12 people in the United States, and it’s at least as common in some other countries. It is a serious, and costly, public health problem. If the trials are successful,  MDMA, which has its critics, could become commercially available as a medically prescribed treatment by 2021. The trials are being funded by a nonprofit organization, the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), which promotes careful and beneficial uses of psychedelics and marijuana.

Hosts: Susan Moran, Joel Parker
Producer: Susan Moran
Engineer: Joel Parker
Executive Producer: Joel Parker

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Methane Emissions From Natural Gas

Oil and gas wells in Four Corners region. Credit: NASA

Methane Madness (start time: 2:20)  More than a decade ago, scientists noted that the area where Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah meet, known as Four Corners, appeared to be emitting a curiously large amount of methane. In a new study, a team of scientists have traced the source: more than 250 gas wells, storage tanks, pipelines and processing plants associated with oil and gas development in the San Juan Basin. The basin is one of many places where new drilling technologies, including horizontal drilling and hydraulic fracturing, have propelled a boom in natural gas extraction. The boom has transformed the U.S. energy mix. Our two guests discuss with hosts Daniel Glick and Susan Moran the science and public health aspects of this study as well as the human side of living near natural gas wells in Colorado. Dr. Colm Sweeney co-authored the recent Four Corners study. He is the lead scientist for NOAA’s Earth System Research Lab Aircraft Program, and he is a research scientist with the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, or CIRES, at the University of Colorado Boulder. Our other guest, Dr. Christopher Clack, is a physicist and mathematician with CIRES whose research focuses on renewable electricity. He shares his personal experience with and documentation of natural gas extraction.

Hosts: Daniel Glick, Susan Moran
Producer: Susan Moran
Executive Producer: Susan Moran
Engineer: Maeve Conran
Contributor: Joel Parker

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Hunter Lovins – Regenerative Economics Extended Version

Hunter Lovins - Natural Capitalism Solutions

Hunter Lovins – Natural Capitalism Solutions

Hunter Lovins – Regenerative Economics EXTENDED VERSION.  This is the extended version of the fall 2015 talk by Hunter Lovins, recorded by Shelley Schlender. Lovins heads up Natural Capitalism Solutions, and she’s a sought after speaker around the world, as well as here in Colorado. She gave this talk, including visuals, and called it Regenerative Economics.  This talk was recorded in Boulder as part of the Colorado Chautauqua Events series, in conjunction with the Boulder City Club.

For the broadcast version of this talk, GO HERE.

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Gold King Spill, Mining Prospects

Animas_RiverHugger_CC-e1439587777279-600x694

Contaminated Animus River following Gold King Mine spill.
Photo credit: RiverHugger/Creative Commons

Science and Politics of Mining (start time: 6:49)  On August 5 an inactive mine named Gold King, which had been leaking toxins for years, spewed more than 3 million gallons of toxic sludge into a creek that feeds into the Animus River in southwest Colorado. Its neon orange path of wastewater was shocking. But also shocking is the long history of acid mine drainage pollution and the lax regulations that allow mining companies to basically walk away from their disasters. Dr. Mark Williams, a professor of geography at CU Boulder, and an expert in mountain hydrology and hydrochemistry., has worked on remediation of several mines in the state. He speaks with How On Earth host Susan Moran about the anatomy of mines, how this disaster happened, what it suggests about the many other precarious mines in the state, and what should be done to prevent such disasters from happening.

Hosts: Susan Moran, Joel Parker
Producer: Susan Moran
Engineer: Joel Parker
Headline Contributors: Kendra Krueger, Joel Parker, Daniel Strain
Executive Producer: Susan Moran

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Do Fathers Matter Pt. 2 // Mercury in Water

fathers1Do Fathers Matter? (start time: 3:07) If you’re a father or a son or daughter – which pretty much covers everyone – this interview should hit home.  Science journalist Paul Raeburn’s latest book — “Do Fathers Matter? What Science Is Telling Us About the Parent We’ve Overlooked” – explores  what seems like a no-brainer question. But the answers he discovers surprised even him. After last week’s pledge drive teaser, we now offer the extended version of host Susan Moran’s interview with Raeburn.

Ryan 2011-06 With Jack Webster Four Mile Canyon Burn Continuing Ed Catalog

Joe Ryan (left) with Jack Webster.
Credit: CU Boulder

Mercury in Waterways (start time: 15:20) Next time you take a sip of mountain spring water or catch a wild trout, you might be getting a bit more than you bargained for. Scientists have found mercury in Colorado waterways and in the fish that swim in them. And recent research shows that wildfires in recent years may have added to the problem.  How on Earth’s Jane Palmer talked with Joe Ryan, an environmental engineering professor at the University of Colorado. Dr. Ryan also directs AirWaterGas, a project studying the impacts of oil and gas drilling on the environment.

Hosts: Ted Burnham, Susan Moran
Producer: Susan Moran
Engineer: Ted Burnham
Executive Producers: Jane Palmer and Kendra Krueger

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Greenback Cutthroat Trout // Migraines

serverGreenback Cuttthroat Trout (starts at 6:06)  Colorado has always been a state of nature lovers, which is why, in the era of our great great grandfathers, citizens even designated an official state fish. It’s the Greenback Cutthroat Trout that thrived in the mountain streams above Boulder and Denver. Colorado wildlife officials had long assumed that Greenback Cuttthroat Trout still live in our mountain streams. The problem is, they were wrong. Through a complex set of Sherlock Holmes investigations begun in recent years, scientists at CU-Boulder figured out a “fish switch” decades ago, meant Greenback Cutthroat Trout were missing from our streams, and possibly extinct. Since then, we have much better news about the fish that “almost” got away.  In this feature, How on Earth’s Shelley Schlender, speaks with CU-Boulder biologist, Jessica Metcalf. (To access photos of greenback cutthroat trout go to http://photography.colorado.edu/res/sites/news/ and type “cutthroat” in the search box.)

mmmMigraines (starts at 14:28) One of the most painful conditions to suffer through is a migraine headache.  Sometimes, these headaches begin with strange visual auras or loss of vision; sometimes they’re accompanied by nausea.  Most of all, they’re a head-splitting pain.  Interestingly, these headaches are rare among the world’s few remaining hunter-gatherer populations.  In contrast, they’re common in modern western life.  Roughly 10% of Americans have suffered from a migraine headache.  One of the people who used to suffer from them frequently is a medical doctor with advanced degrees in neurology.  He’s Doctor Josh Turknett.  Dr. Turknett used to get 60 migraines a year – on average, that’s over one a week.  As a board certified neurologist, Turknett treated the migraines of his clients, and his own migraines, in typical medical ways – urging people to drink enough water, get enough sleep, avoid too much stress, try to figure out triggers, such as maybe foods or smells, and to take strong medications when the headaches got unbearable.  For Turknett, his whole life changed dramatically when he made a basic lifestyle change that he believes many neurologists and migraine sufferers overlook.  In his own case, his change meant that the number of migraines he suffers these days has gone from around 60 headaches a year, down to only two or three. While his approach is controversial, Turknett believes it could help many, perhaps most, migraine sufferers.  How on Earth’s Shelley Schlender caught up with Turknett this weekend at the Ancestral Health Symposium in Berkeley, California, where Turknett was a speaker.  Up next, here’s Neurologist and former big time migraine sufferer, Josh Turknett.

Hosts: Kendra Krueger, Joel Parker
Producer & Engineer: Joel Parker
Additional Contributions: Beth Bennett, Shelley Schlender
Executive Producer: Joel Parker

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Baseball Vision // Emerald Ash Borer

Today, April 29th, we offer two features:
baseball - sports-glasses (1)Baseball Vision (starts at 5:42): The major league baseball season is now in full “swing.” Fans may  take it for granted that these professional athletes are in top physical condition.  What’s less known is how important it is for baseball players to have perfect eyesight.  Batters in particular have some of the best vision in the world.  To find out how scientists know this, and study it, and even make it better, How on Earth’s Shelley Schlender last month headed down to spring training in Arizona.  There, she caught up with two of the nation’s top experts on the science of vision, and sports.

emerald ash borer, courtesy Encyclopedia of Life

emerald ash borer, courtesy Encyclopedia of Life

Emerald Ash Borer (starts at 11:21): It’s been called the most destructive looming pest blight to hit Colorado in ages. The perpetrator in question is the emerald ash borer, a small shimmery green beetle. It is believed to have hitchhiked to the U.S. and Canada on cargo ships, or airplanes, from its native Asia, in 2002. Since then it has wiped out  millions of ash trees in many states. Last September, the ash borer was first found in Colorado. Ash trees have had no time to develop resistance against the exotic invader.  And meanwhile, the ash borer has no predators here to keep it in check. Dr. Whitney Cranshaw, an entomologist at Colorado State University, talks with host Susan Moran about what we should know about the emerald ash borer.

Hosts: Susan Moran, Joel Parker
Producer: Susan Moran
Engineer: Joel Parker
Executive Producer: Joel Parker

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China’s environmental impact // 100 Year Starship

Today, June 18, we offer two features interviews:
Feature #1 – China’s Environmental Impact (start time  4:46): China’s meteoric economic rise is causing harmful side effects, ranging from choking air pollution domestically to threatened forests, wildlife and air quality around the globe. Of course China’s per capita greenhouse gas emissions still pale in comparison to those in the United States, and roughly one-third of China’s CO2 emissions are generated to manufacture goods that are exported to the U.S. and other nations.  Craig Simons, a former journalist and author of a recently published book, The Devouring Dragon: How China’s Rise Threatens Our Natural World, discusses with co-host Susan Moran these critical issues, including coal mining in Colorado for export to China.

 

Feature #2 – 100 Year Starship (start time 15:35): Science and exploration tend to be long-term commitments. That’s well-known by fans of the “Hitchhiker’s Guide to The Galaxy” series, where the computer Deep Thought did calculations for 7.5 million years to find the answer to The Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and everything.  However, projects on our world tend to be limited by shorter-term political and funding cycles.  So it is hard enough to consider projects that require thinking a decade into the future, beyond many political lifetimes.  What about projects that require thinking a century or more into the future, many generations from now?  Well, that is exactly what one group of space exploration advocates is working toward.  The project is called the 100 Year Starship, which aims to create a long-duration mission sending humans to another star. Alires Almon, member of the project, talks with co-host Joel Parker about the challenges and the vision of 100 Year Starship.

Hosts: Susan Moran, Joel Parker
Producer: Susan Moran
Engineer: Joel Parker
Executive Producer: Joel Parker

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Colorado Drought // A More Perfect Heaven

A More Perfect Heaven: How Copernicus Revolutionized The Cosmos, by Dava Sobel

Colorado Drought Conference (start time 4:35): Experts are meeting at a conference in Denver this week to discuss the implications of prolonged drought conditions here in Colorado. How On Earth’ Susan Moran speaks with biologist Dr. Chad McNutt of the NOAA’s National Integrated Drought Information Center about wthe drought means for the ecosystem, and for Western cities — and how we can start to address the problem.

A More Perfect Heaven (start time 11:50): Joel Parker speaks with Dava Sobel, a science journalist and author who tells the stories of the science and the scientists from the past and how they connect to the present. Those stories reveal that the course of scientific progress is far from orderly — it often takes unplanned twists, has failures that require going back and starting over, and can be driven by the quirks of the personalities of individual scientists.

Today we hear about Sobel’s most recent book, A More Perfect Heaven: How Copernicus Revolutionized the Cosmos.  This book also contains the play And The Sun Stood Still, which will be presented in a free staged reading by the Boulder Ensemble Theatre Company this Thursday, September 20th at 6:30 at the Dairy Center for the Arts.

Hosts: Ted Burnham, Joel Parker
Producer:
Ted Burnham
Engineer: Jim Pullen
Executive Producer:
Susan Moran

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Public health risks of BPA

Dr. David Dausey, Director of the Mercyhurst Institute for Public Health

(start time: 5:50). We Coloradoans pride ourselves on our healthy habits — eating right, exercising, and paying attention to what’s in the food we eat. Yet many of the things we use everyday, like water bottles, sunscreens, makeup, and – OK, soda cans — are full of toxic chemicals. Many of them are untested, and may be insidiously making us sick. One of the more controversial compounds is BPA, which is used to make some hard plastic bottles and other food packaging. Today we have with us public health expert Dr. David Dausey to talk about BPA –bisphenol A — and other environmental toxins. He directs the Mercyhurst Institute for Public Health in Pennsylvania.

Hosts: Jim Pullen and Susan Moran
Producer: Jim Pullen
Engineer: Maeve Conran
Executive Producer: Susan Moran

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