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On ‘Sound Medicine’: Addictive foods, bariatric surgery, the ‘other’ skin cancers, and ‘IU Secrets’


INDIANAPOLIS — The award-winning “Sound Medicine” announces its program for April 14, including several segments about processed foods, changes in bariatric surgery, and different types of skin cancer. Please check local listings for broadcast dates, times and stations.

“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.

Has bariatric surgery improved since 2006? To celebrate its 13th year on the air, “Sound Medicine” will be speaking with former guests about changes in their fields since their original interviews. According to David, Flum, M.D., who first spoke with “Sound Medicine” in 2006, the risk factors of bariatric surgery have completely changed. Because of changes in patient selection and education and, most importantly, Medicare requirements, the death rate from bariatric surgery has gone from 3 percent to 0.2 percent over the past 15 years. Dr. Flum says the problem now is managing the ever-increasing rates of diabetes and obesity. Dr. Flum is the associate chair of research and the director of the Surgical Outcomes Research Center at the University of Washington.

What makes processed foods so addictive? Michael Moss is a Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter at The New York Times and the author of “Salt, Sugar, Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us.” In his latest book, Moss explores the junk food industry and the reason processed foods are so addictive. According to Moss, the industry uses salt, sugar and fat in strategic ways that leave consumers wanting more. For instance, there’s a “bliss point” for the amount of sugar in a product. Once the bliss point has been reached, products that contain large amounts of sugar stimulate taste buds to crave more. He said fat is even more powerful because there is no bliss point and it packs twice as many calories. Salt is used as a cheap substitute for herbs and spices. It also masks the tastes created in food processing, often called “off notes.”  Moss’ work illustrates that when the three are combined, they create a perfect storm, and he suggests ways we can recognize and avoid them.

What about the “other” types of skin cancer? Almost everyone knows about the dangers of melanoma, but there are also two lesser-known types of skin cancer: basal and squamous cell carcinoma. Lisa Garner, M.D., talks with “Sound Medicine” about their risks.  Basal cell carcinoma is the most commonly diagnosed type of skin cancer. It occurs primarily in white or light-skinned people and frequently occurs in skin exposed to the sun, like the head and neck. It can be easily removed and usually doesn’t metastasize, but left alone, it can cause significant tissue destruction. Squamous cell carcinoma develops from pre-cancerous lesions and tends to grow and spread. Dr. Garner encourages all “Sound Medicine” listeners to visit their dermatologist if they see any unusual spots or lesions. She also gives tips on the proper use of sunscreen lotion. Dr. Garner is the vice president of the American Academy of Dermatology.

What secrets haunt today’s college students? Debby Herbenick, Ph.D., started IU Secrets to get students in her human health and sexuality class to open up about sex. Because sex is such a taboo topic, Herbenick thought an anonymous forum would promote sharing. This project is patterned on a project called Post Secret, which allows anyone worldwide to share secrets anonymously. For her class, Herbenick invites students to write their secrets on postcards, without identifying themselves, and send them to her. She scans the card and posts them on the IU Secrets Tumblr account. The stories range from sexual assault to beautiful stories of unrequited love. Herbenick is a sexual health educator and affiliated faculty at The Kinsey Institute for Research in Sex, Gender and Reproduction at Indiana University.

“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: 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).