The Pulse – March 20, 2015

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    Friday, March 20, 2015 is Match Day—the NBA draft for future doctors. At every medical school in the country, students will open envelopes that will tell them where they’ll be doing their residency. It’s a huge moment that many in medicine feel defines their careers. Pulse reporter Marielle Segarra followed two medical students in the weeks leading up to this nerve-wrecking day, and learned about the hopes and heartaches pinned to this big decision.

    Would you quit your dream job if you thought it could do you harm years down the road? What if it came with a million-dollar-a-year salary? Tough choice, right? Well San Francisco 49er linebacker Chris Borland faced that decision and, after just a year in the league, decided it wasn’t worth the risk. He retired at age 24 this week. We called up ESPN’s Mark Fainaru-Wada who broke Borland’s story to discuss the ramifications of his decision.

    This month, we’re doing a series of stories about cancer in the lead up to the premiere of the new Ken Burns production The Emperor of all Maladies on PBS. This week we look at the language of cancer: hope, fight, battle, cure…inspirational terms, but are they conducive to realistic conversations about these diseases? Reporter Elana Gordon parses the language. Then we hear from Ann Marie Wiesen, who’s grappled successfully with cancer several times but isn’t interested in being called a “survivor.”

    If you think of life on Earth as chapters in a really long book, then every once in a while, a chapter comes to a dramatic end and most of the characters die. In science they call these “extinction events,” when the vast majority of species and life on earth is basically all but wiped out. But what causes these chapters to end? A new theory traces those catastrophic moments in Earth’s history back to another theory: dark matter. Reporter Audrey Quinn tries to explain all of this.

    Do you have an inner scientist that’s perhaps lain dormant over the winter and is ready to get out there and investigate the wonders of nature? Are you eager to count birds, or chase evil parasites? Darlene Cavalier of SciStarter.com joins us to discuss several research projects that require the help of…well…you!

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