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The Pulse

by NPR

Go on an adventure into unexpected corners of the health and science world each week with award-winning host Maiken Scott. The Pulse takes you behind the doors of operating rooms, into the lab with some of the world's foremost scientists, and back in time to explore life-changing innovations. The Pulse delivers stories in ways that matter to you, and answers questions you never knew you had.

Copyright: Copyright 2023 NPR - For Personal Use Only

Episodes

Bridging the Gaps for Latino Health

48m · Published 12 Apr 07:00
Over the past few decades, Latinos have become the largest racial or ethnic minority in the United States, making up nearly 20 percent of the country's population. Despite that, many Latinos feel alienated by our medical system, due to cultural and language barriers, and a lack of Latino physicians — and those barriers can have a real impact on their overall health.
On this episode, we look for solutions to provide better care to Latino communities and patients. We hear stories about one physician's bold initiative to bridge the language gap between doctors and farmworkers, new approaches to help victims of gun violence, and a national effort to increase the number of Latino physicians.
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Boredom in the Age of Information Overload

51m · Published 05 Apr 07:00
It sneaks up on us while we're sitting in traffic, or waiting at the doctor's office, or doing our taxes — boredom, that restless feeling of dissatisfaction that arises when we harbor "the desire for desires," as Leo Tolstoy said.
At the same time, we're living in an age of never-ending stimulation, all at our fingertips — texting, social media, 24-hour news, and streaming galore. But despite this constant content consumption, we're still getting bored — maybe even more so than ever. We find ourselves hopping from tab to tab, scrolling through Instagram while watching a show, tuning out of meetings to check our email. And now some researchers are worried that all this stimulation could be changing our brains.
On this rebroadcast episode, we look at boredom in the age of information overload, and whether or not it's really good for us and our brains. We hear stories about what happened when two reporters quit their digital addictions for four weeks, a monk who took his search for boredom to the ultimate extreme, and why there's value to the slow pace of baseball.
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Chasing the Eclipse

48m · Published 29 Mar 07:00
On April 8, a swath of North America will be treated to a rare and spectacular sight — a total solar eclipse; in some places, the first in more than a century, and the last for at least another 20 years. The path of totality, where it's possible to see the moon completely block out the sun, stretches in a narrow ribbon from Mexico, through Texas, all the way to Maine.
It's an event that eclipse chasers have been anticipating for years. On this special episode, we find out why so many people call total solar eclipses a life-changing experience, and why they will go to great lengths to witness this fleeting spectacle of nature. We'll hear what scientists are hoping to learn during this brief but important moment, and we'll pay tribute to the celestial body that makes the eclipse possible: the moon.
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Discovering your True Identity

53m · Published 22 Mar 07:00
Identity's a complicated thing — a mixture of nurture and nature, ethnicity, gender, culture, conscious decisions, coincidences, and more. In many ways, though, who we think we are boils down to the stories we tell ourselves; stories based on our origins, our families, and how we came to be.
But what happens when those stories change? When we discover that the narrative of our lives is completely different from what we've always believed?
On this episode, we explore stories of identity, and what happens when long-buried secrets are uncovered. We hear about a journalist who discovered that his father wasn't who he thought he was, one woman's search for her childhood self in the records of a long-running experiment, and how a fateful medical decision changed the future of a baby born in 1986.
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The Lasting Impacts of COVID-19

57m · Published 15 Mar 07:00
It's been four years since COVID-19 struck, transforming our modern world in ways we'd never seen before — and we're still processing the aftershocks. The pandemic exposed fault lines lurking beneath the surface of our everyday lives — friendships and bonds that weren't as strong as we thought; political rifts that turned into chasms; shifts in our fundamental beliefs of who we should trust, and what rules we should follow. It showed us how fragile we are — as human beings, and as a global community.
Now, we find ourselves trying to pick up the pieces — to understand what happened, and what we can do better next time. On this episode, we explore the major changes caused by the pandemic, what we can learn from them, and how we can move forward. We hear stories about one man's dogged search for a treatment for his long COVID, how the pandemic both hurt and revived the field of public health, and how to repair relationships that became frayed or broken by the pressures of the pandemic.
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The Lasting Impacts of COVID-19

56m · Published 15 Mar 07:00
It's been four years since COVID-19 struck, transforming our modern world in ways we'd never seen before — and we're still processing the aftershocks. The pandemic exposed fault lines lurking beneath the surface of our everyday lives — friendships and bonds that weren't as strong as we thought; political rifts that turned into chasms; shifts in our fundamental beliefs of who we should trust, and what rules we should follow. It showed us how fragile we are — as human beings, and as a global community.
Now, we find ourselves trying to pick up the pieces — to understand what happened, and what we can do better next time. On this episode, we explore the major changes caused by the pandemic, what we can learn from them, and how we can move forward. We hear stories about one man's dogged search for a treatment for his long COVID, how the pandemic both hurt and revived the field of public health, and how to repair relationships that became frayed or broken by the pressures of the pandemic.
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The New Mental Health Landscape

50m · Published 08 Mar 08:00
Know the signs of depression. Recognize symptoms of anxiety. Pay attention to your friend's changing moods. There's been a push to raise mental health awareness for decades, and now, the topic is everywhere. It's leading the charts on social media sites, and everybody from celebrities to politicians to sports superstars are talking about it more openly. At the same time, it seems like our overall mental health is declining, as more and more people report having mental health issues. On this episode, we explore how the field of mental health is changing and adapting. We'll find out what traditionally trained therapists make of mental health advice on social media, why some experts argue that too much awareness can backfire, and why mental illness can be so tricky to diagnose. Also, one woman's quest to stay on her ADHD medications as shortages drag on.
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Atomic Angst and the Teenage Spy

48m · Published 01 Mar 08:00
In 1944, a brilliant, young Harvard physics student named Ted Hall was recruited to work on the super-secret mission that had already assembled the country's top scientists: the Manhattan Project. Soon, Hall was on his way to Los Alamos, where he worked on the implosion mechanism for the nuclear bomb. As the project started to succeed, Hall became increasingly concerned that it would spell disaster for the world, especially if the U.S. were the only country to have nuclear capacity. So, at the age of 18, Hall decided that he needed to do something, and he became a spy for the Soviets. Hall may have been an incredible physicist, but he was not the stealthiest of spies. Still, he was never officially caught or charged. On this episode, investigative journalist Dave Lindorff details why Ted chose this path and how he managed to evade intelligence agencies. Lindorff's new book is called, "Spy for No Country: The Story of Ted Hall, the Teenage Atomic Spy Who May Have Saved the World." We'll also hear about the state of America's nuclear arsenal today and find out why some experts argue it needs a big upgrade.
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Bodies for Science

47m · Published 23 Feb 08:00
If you're training to become a physician, your first patient is usually dead. In fact, "first patient" is what med students call the human cadavers that they work on in anatomy class — when they first learn to make careful incisions, and lay eyes on the beautiful intricacies of bone, muscle, blood vessels, and organs that make our bodies work.
Human cadavers have long played a crucial role in medicine and science. They not only teach generations of doctors about the human body — they allow researchers to learn valuable lessons about everything from the causes of rare diseases to the effects of how we live our lives. But how do bodies end up on dissection tables in the first place? What can they still teach us? And why do people choose to donate their remains?
On this episode, we explore bodies donated to science — how they're used, why they're so important, and why people make this choice for their remains. We hear stories about one woman's mission to recruit future medical cadavers, and how 19th century medical schools got involved in body snatching. We'll take a closer look at a program that connects med students to the families of their "first patients," and find out why one firefighter has opted for a future in the Body Worlds exhibition.
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All the Rage

48m · Published 16 Feb 08:00
You can feel it coming on — your face flushes hot, maybe your fists clench, your heartbeat speeds up and blood pressure rises. It's rage — and it can go from zero to red-hot in a matter of seconds. Best-case scenario, it disappears just as fast. Worst-case scenario — it completely takes over. It's normal to feel angry when you or somebody else has been wronged, mistreated, or hurt. But even justified rage can become destructive, like a wrecking ball ruining careers and relationships. So, how do we handle these fiery emotions when they erupt? On this episode — how to deal with anger and rage. We learn about healthy ways of expressing our ire; the rise of "rage rooms" and what psychologists have to say about them; and what causes toddlers to throw such terrible tantrums.
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The Pulse has 123 episodes in total of non- explicit content. Total playtime is 100:41:51. The language of the podcast is English. This podcast has been added on February 22nd 2023. It might contain more episodes than the ones shown here. It was last updated on April 12th, 2024 16:46.

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