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On ‘Sound Medicine’: Massage for menstrual cramps, HeLa cells, and staying healthy in college


INDIANAPOLIS — The award-winning “Sound Medicine” announces its program for Aug. 25, featuring segments covering pediatric organ transplants, keeping college students healthy and managing your digital afterlife.

Can massage help painful menstruation? One in 10 women misses one to three days of work each month because of debilitating menstrual cramps. “Sound Medicine” field producer Andrea Muraskin was one of those women. After trying every recommended medical treatment, Muraskin finally found relief from a massage therapist. Megan Assaf of Bloomington, Ind., specializes in the Arvigo Techniques of Mayan Abdominal Therapy, which focuses on the idea that a misplaced uterus can impede circulation, compromise nerve pathways and block the flow of energy through the body. According to OB-GYN specialist Men-Jean Lee, M.D.,  the relaxation that Mayan massage promotes could be useful in reducing menstrual cramps. Dr. Lee also says that the Arvigo Technique can promote stretching and increase blood flow, both of which can ease cramps. Dr. Lee is the former director of maternal-fetal medicine at the Indiana University School of Medicine. Images of Muraskin’s ultrasounds are posted on the “Sound Medicine” website.

Should adult organs be used in pediatric patients? Sarah Murnaghan, an 11-year-old with end-stage cystic fibrosis who was at the top of the pediatric organ donor list, took her medical battle to the courtroom to be placed at the top of the adult list so she could receive organs more quickly. After a judge ruled in her favor, she twice underwent a double lung transplant in June; she is now fighting pneumonia in her right lung. “Sound Medicine” host Anne Ryder speaks with Sam Davis, the director of professional services and public affairs at the Indiana Organ Procurement Organization, about adult organ transplants in pediatric patients. According to Davis, adult organs often must be cut to fit a pediatric patient and do not promise an optimal outcome. If the recipient dies, those organs cannot be used again. Overall, Davis says transplant committees should continue to use clinical determinants, such as blood and tissue matching, age and changes for survival, to decide which patients, pediatric and adult, receive organs. 

How can parents help children stay healthy while in college? College can be a stressful time for students and parents. Between writing tuition checks, buying books and finding extra-long twin bed sheets, discussions involving the physical and mental health of college students can fall by the wayside. Healthy living expert Theresa Rohr-Kirchgraber, M.D., joins Barbara Lewis to talk about keeping college students healthy. According to Dr. Rohr-Kirchgraber, parents should discuss which type of health insurance students have, what facilities it covers and what they should do in case of an emergency. Some college students suffer from mental health issues, and many are constantly sleep deprived. Dr. Rohr-Kirchgraber encourages students to seek help from the campus counseling center. She also urges parents to talk with their children about the dangers of binge drinking and hard liquor. Dr. Rohr-Kirchgraber is an associate professor of clinical medicine and pediatrics at the Indiana University School of Medicine. She sees patients at Riley and Wishard hospitals in Indianapolis.

Will the relatives of Henrietta Lacks play a role in future HeLa cell research? The National Institutes of Health has agreed to allow the descendants of Henrietta Lacks some control over the immortal HeLa cells, which were taken from Mrs. Lacks and used in research without her knowledge. Two of her relatives will now sit on a board that decides which research projects the HeLa cells will be used in; they will not receive any financial compensation. Henrietta Lacks was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 1951. While undergoing treatments at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Boston, a sample of her cells was taken and sent to a lab. Those cells never died and have been used widely in medical research. We talk with Rebecca Skloot, the author of the New York Times bestseller, “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks,” who recently helped petition the NIH to help her family retain some control over the cells that changed history.

What happens to our digital assets after we die? Jill Ditmire talks with Evan Carroll, the co-founder of the blog, The Digital Beyond, and co-author of “The Digital Afterlife,” a book dedicated to managing online content after a user’s death. According to Carroll, people need to give relatives specific information about managing digital media (email, Facebook, Twitter, as well as bank accounts and legal documents) in the case of death. Carroll recommends we make a list of the usernames and passwords for all of our digital accounts and specify what we would like done with each account upon our death as part of our estate planning. He also identifies multiple services that help people manage their digital media after they die. One type of these services functions as online safe deposit boxes, which are useful during life and death. Visit for a complete list of digital media management systems. 

“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.

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, “Sound Medicine” airs 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).

Please check local listings for broadcast dates and times.