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Venture philanthropy’s impact on rare illness, and the slow growth in health care spending, this week on ‘Sound Medicine’

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“Sound Medicine,” also available via podcast and Stitcher Radio for mobile phones and iPads, covers controversial ethics topics, breakthrough research studies and the day-to-day application of recent advancements in medicine.

Does new drug signify cystic fibrosis breakthrough? A drug recently approved by the FDA in January treats the underlying cause of a rare form of cystic fibrosis, a debilitating genetic disease that patients typically succumb to by their early 30s. This revolutionary breakthrough could not have been possible without a venture philanthropy partnership between a nonprofit foundation and a for-profit pharmaceutical company.  Independent producer Katrina Roi reports in a special field piece on this significant advancement.

 What is behind the slow growth in health care spending? The amount of health care spending has grown by a slower rate than expected, less than 4 percent a year in 2009 and 2010, yet this still comprises a large percentage of the GDP. Health care policy specialist Aaron Carroll, M.D., an associate professor of pediatrics at IU School of Medicine, discusses how the recession and other factors, such as hospital-implemented measures, have affected health care expenditures but overall the underlying cause of this halt of growth is unknown.

Do unnecessary medical tests violate the “Do No Harm” oath? Large physician groups have recently collaborated on a common cause: reducing the amount of unnecessary and expensive medical tests performed. These powerful and knowledgeable groups have released a set of recommendations that identify overused medical tests. “Sound Medicine” host David Crabb, M.D., discusses his support for these recommendations and his belief that ordering an array of tests is contrary to the physician’s “Do No Harm” oath if the tests add no value to the treatment or care plan.

How can you avoid deep vein thrombosis during air travel? According to new guidelines, people with a risk factor for blood clotting are advised to wear compression stockings on long flights to avoid deep vein thrombosis. The condition, which mainly affects the large veins in the legs, can be fatal if the clot travels to the lungs, leading to a pulmonary embolism. Gordon Guyatt, M.D., of McMaster University visits “Sound Medicine” this week to discuss these new guidelines and the background of air travel and its effects on the circulatory system.

What is the solution to fixing our “broken” health care system? According to author Otis Webb Brawley, M.D., today’s health care system is burdened by rich people who consume too much health care and poor people who do not receive preventive care. Tune in to hear Dr. Brawley, chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society, discuss his book “How We Do Harm: A Doctor Breaks Ranks About Being Sick in America” and his belief in evidence-based medicine as the cure for our ailing system.

“Sound Medicine,” co-produced by the IU School of Medicine and WFYI Public Radio (90.1 FM) and underwritten in part by Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis, is aired on the following Indiana public radio stations: WBSB (Anderson, 89.5 FM), WFIU (Bloomington, 103.7 FM; Columbus, 100.7 FM; Kokomo, 106.1 FM; Terre Haute, 95.1 FM), WNDY (Crawfordsville, 91.3 FM), WVPE (Elkhart/South Bend, 88.1 FM), WNIN (Evansville, 88.3 FM), WBOI (Fort Wayne, 89.1 FM), WFCI (Franklin, 89.5 FM), WBSH (Hagerstown/New Castle, 91.1 FM), WFYI (Indianapolis), WBSW (Marion, 90.9 FM), WBST (Muncie, 92.1 FM), WBSJ (Portland, 91.7 FM), WLPR (Lake County, 89.1 FM) and WBAA (West Lafayette, 101.3 FM).

“Sound Medicine” is also broadcast on these public radio stations across the country: WLRH (Huntsville, Ala.), KSKA (Anchorage, Alaska), KTNA (Talkeetna, Alaska), KUHB (Pribilof Islands, Alaska), KUAF (Fayetteville and Fort Smith, Ark.), KIDE (Hoopa Valley, Calif.), KRCC (Colorado Springs, Colo.), KEDM (Monroe, La.), WCMU (Mount Pleasant, Mich.), WCNY and WRVO-1 (Syracuse, N.Y.), KMHA (Four Bears, N.D.), WYSU (Youngstown, Ohio), KPOV (Bend, Ore.) and KEOS (College Station, Texas).