Undiagnosed Mystery Diseases

Undiagnosed Mystery Diseases

Hundreds of patients nationally have diseases that have confounded doctors and yielded no diagnosis and no reliable treatment. Today the Undiagnosed Diseases Network, founded and funded by the NIH, helps these patients, but its funding is uncertain beyond 2022. Patients and a physician leader of the UDN discuss the lonely plight of these patients and the hope UDN provides.

Missing The Goal Of Herd Immunity

Missing the Goal of Herd Immunity

Since the Covid-19 pandemic began, public health experts have looked to vaccines with the goal of creating “herd immunity,” where so many people are vaccinated that the virus stalls out. Now it is clear we will not reach that goal, meaning the threat of the pandemic may drag on for years. One of the nation’s leading infectious disease experts discusses how we are missing the target and what it means.

Organ Thieves: The First Human Heart Transplant In The South

Organ Thieves: The First Human Heart Transplant In The South

In the race to perform the first human-to-human heart transplant, ethical corners were sometimes cut. An investigative journalist explains how a black man’s heart was harvested without his family’s consent for the first human heart transplant in the South, and how incidents such as this help to explain ongoing African-American distrust of medicine.

Who Gets A Vaccine?

Who Gets A Vaccine?

Development of a Coronavirus vaccine is proceeding at a breakneck pace. What needs to happen to make sure it’s safe and effective? And if a vaccine is successfully made, who should get it first? Will enough people opt in to get back to normal life, or will COVID-19 be with us for years? Experts discuss.

Genetic Testing And Life Insurance

Genetic Testing And Life Insurance

It’s illegal for health insurers to use genetic testing to discriminate against policyholders. However, life insurers can and do discriminate on that basis if the test is in your medical file. Private testing lets patients know their risk for many diseases without landing in health files. Advocates want to make it illegal for life insurers to also discriminate on this basis, but it may end up with higher costs for everyone. Experts explain.

A Moral Question: Dementia, Spouses, And “Close Friends”

A Moral Question: Dementia, Spouses, and “Close Friends”

Spouses of Alzheimer’s disease patients often struggle with depression while caregiving and are desperate for support. Some have started new relationships while their loved one is still alive but no longer recognizes them. Acceptance of such infidelity is highly individual. Experts and a woman involved in such a relationship discuss how it can benefit even the incapacitated spouse, as long as families find it acceptable.

19-50 Segment 1: Bridging The Vax/Anti-Vax Divide

Bridging The Vax/Anti-Vax Divide

The debate over vaccination isn’t as civil as it once was, and leaves little room for common ground or even discussion. Pro-vaccine advocates often point to science showing safety and effectiveness, but as a noted medical humanities researcher explains, values common among anti-vaccine advocates lead them to reject this science, and both sides need to understand where the disconnect comes from.

19-43 Segment 1: Climate Change = Less Nutritious Foods

Climate Change = Less Nutritious Foods

Rising levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are making crops grow bigger & faster. However, researchers have found that these crops contain significantly lower levels of protein, iron, zinc, and other important nutrients, potentially endangering nutrition for hundreds of millions of people. Experts explain the effect will get worse as CO2 levels continue to rise, and what might be done to combat the problem.

Genetic Testing and Family Secrets

The availability of consumer DNA tests and databases has allowed long-hidden family secrets to be revealed, including mistaken paternity and unknown siblings. It has also taken the anonymity away from some cases of sperm donation. Two experts discuss the ethics of overturning this promised secrecy and the impact that the revelation of secrets can have on entire families.