The Science of Heartbreak

Heartbreak in Our  Bodies: (start time: 6:58) This week on How On Earth, host Susan Moran talks with science journalist Florence Williams about her newly published book, Heartbreak: A Personal and Scientific Journey, in which she goes on a quest to understand why, and how, the heartbreak she felt when her marriage fell apart was wreaking havoc on her body. The book, and this interview, also explore various methods of healing and the science behind them.

Host: Susan Moran
Engineer: Rossana Long
Headline contributors: Beth Bennett, Shelley Schlender

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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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