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On ‘Sound Medicine’: Military suicide prevention, compounding pharmacies, and test result anxiety

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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.

What efforts are being made to prevent suicides in the military? There have been more deaths by suicide in the U.S. military this year than from combat. Timothy Lineberry, M.D., is an associate professor of psychiatry at Mayo Clinic and an expert on suicides in the military. Lineberry shares with “Sound Medicine” host Steve Bogdewic, Ph.D., that suicides happen both at home and during service. Military suicide prevention efforts include treating PTSD and depression as well as looking at evidence-based treatments to see how well they are working. The Army has taken special steps to decrease the length of deployment and to give service members more time at home. Lineberry also identifies the need to reduce the stigma of these illnesses, which prevents people from reaching out for help when they are in need. Other issues that Lineberry discusses include the use of opioids to treat pain and awareness that health problems, such as sleep disorders, are important warning signs.  

What are “compounding” pharmacies and how do they fit into our health care system? Guest Angela Ockerman, Pharm.D., assistant professor of pharmacy practice at Butler University, discusses  today’s compounding pharmacies, which are making large amounts of special formulas for physicians who  can’t acquire that drug from traditional pharmacies or pharmaceutical companies. The regulation of such pharmacies has come into question after many people recently became sick or died from a contaminated steroid preparation that was traced back to a compounding pharmacy in Massachusetts. Ockerman explains that the regulation of compounding pharmacies sometimes falls through the cracks since state and federal agencies do not have the resources to inspect and review them.

 What is being done to help you receive laboratory results promptly from your doctor? Most patients have experienced anxiety over waiting for medical test results from their doctor.  But, several states now allow patients to directly access test results from the lab. Guest Hardeep Singh, M.D., discusses this strategy’s benefits and detriments, since patients can avoid anxiety but may struggle to interpret complex results, potentially causing more anxiety. Singh’s study revealed that 36 percent of doctors either delay or fail to inform patients about abnormal test results. Singh says factors that contribute to this include the lack of good tracking systems in medical systems, with “Sound Medicine” host Kathy Miller, M.D. Singh is assistant professor of medicine at the Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Baylor College of Medicine, and is chief of the Health Policy and Quality Program at the Houston VA HSR&D Center of Excellence.

What can “Almost Addicted” mean to you and your family? J. Wesley Boyd, M.D., Ph.D., assistant clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, is the co-author of “Almost Addicted” with “Sound Medicine” producer Eric Metcalf. Boyd talks about the user who hasn’t encountered the serious problems caused by drug or substance abuse, but has suffered from or created some of the less obvious dilemmas such as being unreliable or communicating in an angry manner when under the influence.  The book provides invaluable advice for the almost addicted and their families, including how to diagnosis this condition, how to create interventions for cutting back drug use and how to plan for the future.

“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: 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).