In the years ahead, doctors across the U.S. might be prescribing a currently illegal drug as therapy for the hard-to-treat condition known as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).The new “medicine” would be MDMA, an ingredient in the party drug ecstasy.The treatment is showing success for many of the study participants (go here for an extended interview with a study participant named Karen). The lead funder of these FDA approved studies is the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies, also known as MAPS (go here for more about MAPS, plus how to enroll or learn about the studies).
The Principal Investigator for the Boulder studies is psychotherapist Marcella Ot’Alora (go here for an extended interview with Ot’Alora.) On Ot’Alora’s team is Boulder psychiatrist Will VanderveerHow on Earth’s Shelley Schlender shares this in-depth interview with psychiatrist Will Vanderveer.
Roger the Fragrance Free Barber (Starts 3:25) Artificial fragrances in shampoos, colognes, lotions. deodorant, laundry detergent and more nearly led Roger the Barber, to give up his profession, due to his chemical sensitivities. Then he opened his own, fragrance free, shop. He caters to clients who prefer a fragrance free environment . . . and educates people about what fragrance free means.
Shelly Miller – Clean Indoor Air – (Starts 10:35) CU Boulder Professor Shelly Miller warns that ingredients in common consumer products sometimes add hazardous chemicals to indoor air. Miller discusses CU Boulder’s Fragrant Free Initiative and the six classes of chemicals that can be hazardous, whether they’re fragrant or odorless, including fire retardants in clothes and furniture.
Healthy . . . But Missing Gut Microbes (Starts 3:25) Practically everyone on the planet now knows that animals have microbes in their guts. This is a new field of exploration, and top researchers emphasize that we need to learn much more before making any blanket statements about the total effect of the gut microbiome.Nevertheless, it’s become politically correct to advocate specific diets to eat, for the sake of healthy gut microbes, and to assume that all animals “need” gut microbes. That’s one reason the research from CU-Boulder evolutionarybiologist Toby Hammer is so fascinating.Hammer has discovered a number of animals that probably don’t need microbes in their guts – ranging from some insects to some animals as large as, well, a panda bear. It all began with Hammer’s research into caterpillars . . .
Lancet Countdown on Climate Change (starts 3:45) Respectable science journals no longer debate whether human activity causes climate change, or even if it can be reversed to prevent human suffering. They now scramble to figure out what will be the cost and who will pay. The bill will be payable in lost lives and livelihoods. The British Medical Journal, The Lancet has assembled an interdisciplinary team of scientists to help tally this enormous global bill. On October 30th they released their 2017 Lancet Countdown on Health and Climate Change. The report concludes that the delayed response to climate change over the past 25 years has already jeopardized human lives and livelihoods, and the impacts must be assessed in terms of global public health. One of the contributors to that report is local climate scientist, Max Boykoff, a fellow at CIRES in Boulder, where he directs the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research.
Mutant Proteins and Protein Evolution (starts 4:42) CU School of Medicine professor David Pollock explains why he has devised a new way to identify and predict both the evolution of proteins and disease causing protein mutations. Pollock’s highly technical model uses an analogy about a physical model called the Stokes Shift to help explain the biochemical properties of how proteins change, for better or worse. Pollock’s study has just been published in the journal Nature Ecology and Evolution.Its title is “Sequence entropy of folding and the absolute rate of amino acid substitutions.” Additionally, he has written a “behind the paper” explanation for a more general audience to explain the concepts being explored in his ground-breaking research.
Soonish: Ten Emerging Technologies That’ll Improve and/or Ruin Everything (starts 15:00) Dr. Kelly Weinersmith is an adjunct assistant professor in the BioSciences Department at Rice University. She specializes in the study ofparasites. But her curiosity has taken her well beyond parasites to ask all-encompassing questions, such as, what will the future will look like – the future of space research, medicine, robots, and, well, humans. These topics are all part of Weinersmith’s new funny-serious book. It’s called Soonish: Ten Emerging Technologies That’ll Improve and/or Ruin Everything. Weinersmith co-authored the book with her husband, Zach. They’ll be at book signings this week Denver and Boulder.
Space Shield for Satellites (starts 1:00) An invisible radio wave pollution makes a “space shield” that protects orbiting satellites from Van Allen Belt radiation. Dan Baker, head of CU-Boulder’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) explains how his team figured out the man-made source of the mysterious space shield.
Virtual Colonoscopy Option Improves Cancer Screening Rates (starts 6:32) Colon cancer kills 50,000 Americans each year. Death rates would go down if more people did preventative screenings. But one out of three people balk at the traditional colonoscopy. According to a new study in the journal, Radiology, when insurance pays for either a regular OR a virtual colonoscopy, 48% of the people who avoid screenings agree to get tested. Lead author, University of Madison’s Dr. Maureen Smith, explains.
Virtual Colonoscopy – Dr. Bill Blanchet (starts 10:10) One of the earliest providers of virtual colonoscopies in the Rocky Mountain region is Bill Blanchet, Front Range Preventative Imaging. Blanchet explains why he offers this modern form of colon cancer screening to his patients.
Gold Lab Symposium (starts 1:00) Scientist and Entrepreneur Larry Gold shares what to expect in science and health at the annual Gold Lab Symposium, taking place this weekend at CU Boulder. This year’s theme is “From Lab to Living Room.” Go to the Gold Lab Symposium website to register for the conference and to hear recordings of the talks afterward.
Marc Bekoff – The Animals’ Agenda (starts 12:00) – Ecologist and philosopher Marc Bekoff talks about his new book, co-authored with bioethicist Jessica Pierce, titled, The Animals’ Agenda – Freedom, Compassion, and Coexistence in the Human Age.
500 Women Scientists (starts 3:01) Ecologist Jane Zelikova explains how an acquaintance while at CU-Boulder led to an open letter she co-authored with Kelly Ramirez about science . . . and this ultimately launched an advocacy group. Over 19,000 women scientists have joined 500 Women Scientists. They have on line and also local community face-to-face discussions, and they plan to be part of Earth Day’s March for Science.
The Nature Fix. (starts 1:50) In this spring pledge drive show, we revisit the science show interview about the benefits of getting out in nature.
The Case Against Sugar. (starts 9:40) Best-selling science writer Gary Taubes discusses his new book, which explains what happens when industry funds science . . . and controls the strings to science.It’s a not so sweet story with some bitter truths. Taube’s new book shares some cloak and dagger moments, such as when a researcher in the Denver Metro area uncovered a load of documents from the mid-20th century about tooth decay.The documents showed how the sugar and processed food industry funded dental studies – – and worked with national dental associations to publish research that determined that sugar does not cause cavities. Additionally, Taubes’s new book includes well-documented reasons he argues that it’s sugar consumption, not salt, that leads to high blood pressure.And Taubes contends that sugar consumption, not eating fat, leads to obesity and diabetes.
Hosts: Shelley Schlender and Susan Moran Producer: Shelley Schlender Engineer: Shelley Schlender Executive Producer: Joel Parker
When Sylvia Tara had more trouble fitting into her skinny jeans than her friends, she decided to learn why she was prone to being fat. Her new book is –The Secret Life of Fat: The Science Behind the Body’s Least Understood Organ and What It Means for You.