The Pulse – April 25, 2014

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    When we think about women drinking too much, many of us conjure mental images of Girls Gone Wild, college parties, and Hollywood starlets out of control, but heavy drinking isn’t just reserved for the young. We take a look into some alarming studies of women and binge drinking in search of causes, effects, and answers.

    We preview an upcoming submarine mission in search of signs of global warming a mile below the ocean’s surface. Temple professor Erik Cordes will spend part of May in a three-man submersible scouring deep sea coral reefs, and he joins us to discuss a range of topics, from ocean acidification’s connection to global warming and where exactly you pee when you spend long days elbow to elbow with your fellow crew members in a mini submarine.

    Spring is upon us. The birds are chirping, frogs are hopping, turtles plopping…and if you’re lucky enough, you might even catch sight of the majestic, once endangered bald eagle. Pennsylvania’s population of our national bird has recently made a comeback, going from near extinction to internet stardom.

    Last week, we discussed the impact of recreational marijuana use on the brain, and we got some feedback that our story didn’t present all sides of the issue. Listener Jahan Marcu, a researcher who studies cannabis and an advocate for medical marijuana, especially took issue with one study quoted in our report that found an 8-point IQ drop in young people who used pot frequently. So we invited Marcu to join us and share his opinion.

    We expect so much from our doctors. Intelligence, thoroughness, and just as important…empathy. Is my doctor really listening to me? Can they feel my pain? We call this bedside manner, and some physicians just have it naturally. Others, not so much. But fear not, med students…in modern medical training, empathy is part of the syllabus. So to learn more, we dropped in on a class of third-year Drexel med students honing their people skills with the help of actors pretending to be sick.

    Sensationalistic reality television shows have focused quite a bit of attention on the act of “hoarding.” But, hoarding—which refers to holding on and collecting things in extreme forms—is an expression of mental illness, and psychiatrists now recognize it as a distinct disorder. On today’s show, we look at the impact hoarding had on a Havertown, Pa. family.

    We recently reported on the Earth Microbe Biome Map on The Pulse. It’s a huge project, where microbiologists are logging samples of microbes—like bacteria, or fungi—into a database that will create a map of the entire world, at a microscopic level. This week, we take a second look at the project, which involves the International Space Station and a bacterium collected right here in the Philadelphia offices of WHYY.

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