Skip to main content

On ‘Sound Medicine’: Prescription painkiller abuse, marriage and heart surgery outcomes, and hearing loss-sparing antibiotics


Sound Medicine” covers controversial ethics topics, breakthrough research studies and the day-to-day application of recent advancements in medicine. It’s also available via podcast and Stitcher Radio for mobile phones and iPads and posts updates on Facebook and Twitter.

Is prescription painkiller abuse on the rise? Two doctors who see increasing numbers of patients addicted to painkillers discuss their theory on why this is happening and the system they are developing to combat this epidemic.  Palmer MacKie, M.D., assistant professor of clinical medicine, and Andrew Chambers, M.D., associate professor of psychiatry, both at the Indiana University School of Medicine, discuss the rising epidemic of prescription painkiller abuse and their plan to combat this epidemic at Wishard Hospital.

Can a powerful antibiotic used in animals fight superbugs without causing hearing loss in people? Antibiotics typically used to fight highly resistant bacteria cause permanent partial hearing loss in approximately 20 percent of people who used them for a short time and in 100 percent of people who used them for months or years. Researchers from Switzerland, England and the University of Michigan are proposing that apramycin, a drug commonly used in veterinary medicine, is a viable alternative to fight superbugs while lowering the risk of hearing loss. Kathy Campbell, Ph.D., professor of otolaryngology at Southern Illinois University, shares her predictions for the success of apramycin in human clinical trials and the likelihood that this discovery will lead to the development of similar antibiotics that do not cause hearing loss.

How does marriage affect heart surgery outcomes? Guest Ellen Idler, Ph.D., conducted a study of the survival rates of heart surgery patients based on marital status. She found that married adults who have had heart surgery are three more times likely to survive in the subsequent three months than single adults. Idler is a sociologist at Emory University and the lead author of the study. She shares her conclusions and makes some proposals on why married people seem to have a survival benefit in the post-surgery period.

What techniques can aid women caring for their ailing husbands? More than 40 million U.S. women are the primary caregivers for an ill person, often their husband or long-term significant other. Diana Denholm, Ph.D., was one of these women, whose late husband suffered from colon cancer, congestive heart failure and Parkinson’s, among other medical conditions. From her experiences, Denholm authored “The Caregiving Wife’s Handbook,” which is packed with tips and techniques for women caring for seriously ill husbands. Denholm visits “Sound Medicine” to share some of the misperceptions about caregiving and some of her experiences caring for her husband over an 11-year period.

“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).