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Medical Profession

The Brian Lehrer Show

On Day One

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor discusses her life on the high court and the story of how she got there. Plus: President Obama's second inaugural address; the terrifying prospect of waking up during anesthesia; and the NPR quiz show Ask Me Another.

The Takeaway

Scientists Explore Benefits of Hallucinogens for Psychological Disorders

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The use of hallucinogens such as 'ecstasy' or mushrooms to address psychological disorders tends to be met with opposition and an automatic association with the drug culture of the 1960s. But scientists from around the world will gather this week in San Jose, Calif., for the largest conference on psychedelic drugs to be held in the U.S. in four decades. They will discuss whether these drugs can help patients suffering from depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, post-traumatic stress syndrome, and other psychological problems.

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The Takeaway

Court Says Company Cannot Patent Human Gene

Thursday, April 01, 2010

More than 4,300 human genes have been patented by private companies or academics. But yesterday, a Federal District Court in Manhattan ruled that Myriad, a biopharmaceutical company, could no longer hold the patent on several genes, including two that are closely associated with breast and ovarian cancer. The ruling has reignited an ethical debate over whether a gene - something that exists naturally and in every human - can become intellectual property. 

 

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The Takeaway

Truth, Data and the Delivery Room: A Freakonomics Report

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

A few decades before doctors understood basic germ theory, a curious process played out in 19th-century Austria. At the time, doctors were trying to find the cause of a deadly fever striking many mothers and newborn infants in the delivery room. Among the possible causes they considered were tight corsets and women upset by the presence of men in the room. The actual cause was eventually uncovered by the relentless and data-driven work of Ignaz Semmelweis, a doctor whose work ulimately saved uncountable lives.

Dr. Semmelweis' line of reasoning is now highlighted by Stephen Dubner, co-author of the "Freakonomics" book and blog. The new book, "SuperFreakonomics: Global Cooling, Patriotic Prostitutes, and Why Suicide Bombers Should Buy Life Insurance," comes out next month.

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The Takeaway

Doctor-Owned Hospital Gives Big Bucks to Democrats

Thursday, July 30, 2009

One of the most expensive health-care markets in the country is Doctors Hospital at Renaissance in McAllen, Texas. Eighty-two percent of the hospital is owned by doctors who also practice there. That same hospital is one of the largest sources of campaign contributions to Senate Democrats. Is this a conflict of interest or just good business practice? The Takeaway talks to Kevin Sack, a National Correspondent for The New York Times who is covering the story.

For more, read Kevin Sack's article Texas Hospital Flexing Muscle in Health Fight, about what the hospital hopes to influence with it's large campaign contributions.

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The Takeaway

Doctors Creating Affordable Healthcare

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

President Obama put healthcare front and center yesterday in a talk to doctors. Last year, the U.S. spent $2.4 trillion on healthcare. Some doctors are trying to shrink costs while boosting the quality of care in a method called "micropractices." Joining The Takeaway to talk about this trend is John Wasson. He is a geriatrician and a Professor of Community and Family Medicine at Dartmouth Medical School. Also joining the discussion is Dr. Moitri Savard, a Family Physician who runs a micropractice in Queens, New York.

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The Takeaway

A Congressman-Doctor Says No to Insurance

Monday, June 15, 2009

With the healthcare reform debate heating up on Capitol Hill, many politicians and doctors are jumping in to have their say. But what if you're both a doctor and a representative? Joining The Takeaway to discuss his vision for better health care is Congressman Steven Kagen, a Democrat representing Wisconsin and a former practicing physician. In an effort to underscore how broken the U.S. health care system is, Kagen has refused to be insured until there is affordable health care for all.

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The Takeaway

Obama Gets a Prescription for American Healthcare

Monday, June 15, 2009

Today President Obama is in Chicago to pitch his healthcare reform agenda to the American Medical Association. But the AMA represents only one-fourth of all physicians. Joining The Takeaway to explain the relationship Obama is hoping to forge with the medical community is Dr. Steffie Woolhandler. She talks about the different constituencies of doctors and how Obama is including or leaving out the voices of those outside the AMA.

Dr. Woolhander is an Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard and Co-Director of the Harvard Medical School General Internal Medicine Fellowship program. She is also a co-founder of Physicians for a National Health Program.

In last week's public address, President Obama addressed the need for healthcare reform. Watch that video below.

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The Takeaway

Targeting Abortion Doctors

Monday, June 01, 2009

Dr. George Tiller, a doctor who performed abortions for decades, was murdered on Sunday in Wichita, Kansas, while he attended mass at his local church. Tiller was accused by anti-abortion critics of infanticide and had been shot in both arms in 1993 by an anti-abortion zealot. The Takeaway is joined by New York Times Reporter Monica Davey who has been reporting on the murder, and Eleanor Bader, co-author of the book “Targets of Hatred: Anti-Abortion Terrorism,” for a look at the history of violence at abortion clinics.
"Once Obama won the election, the anti-abortionists really ramped up their rhetoric. There's been an increased presence outside clinics across the country."
—Author Eleanor Bader on the recent killing of George Tiller

For more information on Tiller's death and to see local reactions, watch the video below.

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The Takeaway

Keeping Babies Alive: What Worked in Wisconsin

Friday, May 29, 2009

In the U.S. 8,000 African American babies die in their first year of life. Wisconsin tops that list with the highest infant mortality rate for African Americans, particularly in Racine County. State groups are stepping in to try to change that tragic statistic. Joining The Takeaway are Dr. Philip Farrell, Pediatrician and Former Dean of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Dr. Tina Mason, OB/GYN and Program Director at Aurora Health Care in Milwaukee.

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The Takeaway

Saving Trillions in Health Care, One Patient at a Time

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Yesterday, the Obama administration built momentum for an ambitious plan aimed at reducing the rising cost of health care. The administration announced $2 trillion in voluntary cost reductions over ten years by hospitals, doctors, drug makers, and insurance companies. But will this volunteer plan work? Or will the Obama administration need to regulate the industry with a firmer hand? And where do you, the private citizen, come in when it comes to taking care of yourself and your healthcare? Joining the conversation is Henry J. Aaron, who served as the Assistant Secretary of Planning and Evaluation at the Department of Health, Education and Welfare during the Carter administration. He is now a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.

Also on The Takeaway is Dean Karlan. He's a behavioral economist at Yale and a co-founder of StickK.com, a site that helps you reach personal goals, like being healthier, by giving yourself an incentive. He's here to help explain how change, especially in health care, can actually trickle up from individuals to the national level.
"The question about health care in particular is: What prices do people respond to most on health care and how can you make them more aware of those prices to help them, guide them, toward the choices they want to make themselves?"
—Dean Karlan of Yale University and founder of StickK.com on health care incentives

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The Takeaway

The sad nexus of medical ethics and torture: A look at a new Red Cross report

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

A new report by the International Committee of the Red Cross reveals the unsavory fact that medical personnel were deeply involved in the abusive interrogations of terror suspects held overseas by the CIA in so-called Black Sites. These medical personnel witnessed waterboarding, slamming of prisoners into walls, hanging shackled prisoners from the ceiling, among other tortures. While unfortunately the reports of torture are not new, this report from the ICRC digs deep into the medical ethics of the workers involved. New York Times reporter Scott Shane has been following this story and he and Gregg Bloche, visiting law professor at the University of Chicago join The Takeaway to discuss these findings.

For more, read Scott Shane's article, Report Outlines Medical Workers’ Role in Torture in today's New York Times.

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