The Pulse – Jan. 9 2015


    We hear about cancer risks all the time. Smoking, of course, terrible diets, alcohol, vices – and of course, your family history. But a recent study suggests that a big part of getting cancer relies on chance – random genetic mistakes or mutations gone wrong. So what does this mean for our cancer prevention habits? Physician and former Philadelphia health commissioner Don Schwarz joins us this week to explain how we should process the message.

    Is Philadelphia the greenest city in America? Several years ago, Mayor Michael Nutter set a lofty environmental goal of making it the greenest city in America by 2015.  Since then, Nutter and the Office of Sustainability wrote a plan called “Greenworks Philadelphia” that named 14 energy and environmental targets to meet by 2015. Did we make the mark? Carolyn Beeler found out… and the answer might surprise you.

    This month, Pennsylvania joined the ranks of more than two dozen other states in expanding Medicaid. Elana Gordon explains the details.

    For every sore throat and suture, every embarrassing rash and broken toe, there’s a code – a three to five digit billing code that allows doctors and hospitals to communicate with insurance companies and get paid. In just a few months, those codes are getting a reboot. Todd Bookman took a look at the pages and pages of new codes.

    We often hear that science reporting exaggerates findings, but who is really to blame? The scientists? Press officers? Reporters? Joining us this week was regular Pulse contributor Bethany Brookshire, or SciCurious. She is a writer for Science News and Society for Science and the Public and she points to where things could go wrong  in the process but stresses that, ultimately, no one gets a pass.

    What does a healthy heart sound like? Recognizing that sound is an essential skill doctors learn very early on and it can take hearing it up to 500 times before medical students can consistently identify the whooshes and murmurs that suggest a problem. Taunya English takes us to a Drexel class where medical students are putting their heart knowledge to the test.

    Also on the show, does heat have the power to heal? And we hear from a local artist who is using artistic concepts to teach math and science in schools.

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