For this end-of-the-year/start-of-the-year How on Earth show, we look back to 2017 with clips from some of our features from the past year: selections about tracking methane leaks, ketogenic diets, using MDMA to treat PTSD, gravitational waves, the solar eclipse, space missions, and the politicization of science. Those are just a few of the topics we covered in 2017, which also included: the continuation of the Our Microbes, Ourselves series, global warming and climate change, research about aging, mutant proteins, how humans have altered nature, future technologies, nuclear tests and the Van Allen belts, biofuels, extinctions following an asteroid impact, monorails, life expectancy in America, observing stellar occultations by objects in the distant solar system, space shields for satellites, virtual colonoscopies, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI), chronic fatigue syndrome, protecting pollinators, testing our drinking water, cancer, the Long Now foundation, citizen science, fracking, and more!
Hosts: Joel Parker, Susan Moran Producer, Engineer: Joel Parker Additional Contributions: Beth Bennett, Shelley Schlender Executive Producer: Susan Moran
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
Microbes and Stress Resilience (starts 5:13) If you’re worried that some dirt still clings to your skin under your fingernails after planting or weeding in the garden, fear not. In fact, the more you feel and even breathe its fumes, the better, research suggests. As part of our series called “Our Microbes, Ourselves,” we explore today a newly published study that adds to a growing body of research into the benefits of certain soil and gut microbes on our mental and physical health. Dr. Christopher Lowry, an associate professor of integrative physiology at the University of Colorado-Boulder, discusses with host Susan Moran the study, which he led. It shows that a common soil bacterium called M. vaccae can boost the immune system to help fight stress and inflammation. The research, published last week in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, was conducted on mice, but the health implications for humans are far-reaching.
Hosts: Joel Parker, Susan Moran Producer: Susan Moran Engineer: Joel Parker Executive Producer: Shelley Schlender