Go on an adventure into unexpected corners of the health and science world each week with award-winning host Maiken Scott. The Pulse takes you behind the doors of operating rooms, into the lab with some of the world's foremost scientists, and back in time to explore life-changing innovations. The Pulse delivers stories in ways that matter to you, and answers questions you never knew you had.
How Gene Therapy is Offering Hope — Once Again
For decades, the idea that you could attack genetic illnesses right at the root — that you could modify people's genes to treat or cure disease — sounded like science fiction. But in recent years, several new gene therapy treatments have been FDA approved, and many others are showing promise in clinical trials. On this episode, we take a look at what's new with gene therapy, what's on the horizon, and the challenges standing in the way. We hear stories about making these treatments more affordable by changing the manufacturing process, what happened when one family tried to enroll their son in a clinical trial under a looming deadline, and one man's DIY approach to curing his own condition. We also chat with a pioneer in the field of gene therapy about sticking with her research during a time when funding dried up and interest in the field had faded.
What we make for dinner, grab as a snack, or have for breakfast changes all the time — and there are some major forces at play: consumer tastes and marketing, but also climate change, global supply chains, nutrition science, health concerns, and social media influencers. On this episode, we'll look at what we eat and why.We'll find out how lima beans are getting a makeover, and why seed oils ended up becoming a lightning rod in nutrition debates. We'll also taste a futuristic green with self-proclaimed superpowers, meet one physician who's trying to convince people to eat more organ meats, and another who says to stay away from anything marketed as health food.
Salty, Crunchy, and Addictive: A Physician's Fight Against Ultra-Processed Foods
Sugary cereals for breakfast, a protein bar as a snack, a microwave lasagna for lunch, and a frozen pizza for dinner sounds like a teenager's dream diet, but these are the types of foods physician Chris van Tulleken ate for four weeks. During this time, he got 80 percent of his daily calories from ultra-processed foods, to see how it would impact his health and mood. He writes about this experience, and his extensive research on these products in his new book, "Ultra-Processed People: The Science Behind Food That Isn't Food." Host Maiken Scott talks to Van Tulleken about the link to obesity and disease, and why he says we should probably avoid anything that's marketed as a health food.
Getting Better at Resolving Conflicts
In March of 2022, the war in Ukraine was weighing heavily on Fabian Falch, a Norwegian tech entrepreneur. The Russian government had started to censor news stories and social media posts about the war, and Falch wondered how Russian citizens would be able to access information, let alone voice criticism. Then he had an idea: to send emails to Russians — millions of them. Eventually, a conflict researcher got involved in this effort and it turned into a real-time study on what works and what doesn't when it comes to shifting people's perspectives.On this episode, we explore what we have learned about resolving conflict, and how we can better understand each other's perspectives. We'll hear stories about persuasion, connection, and trying to find some middle ground.
Why Rejection Hurts So Much — And How to Cope
Rejection, or even the thought of it, can strike fear into our hearts, and leave a bad taste in our mouths. It often leads to a mix of sadness, shame, anxiety, and anger — along with nagging questions. What's wrong with me? Why did this person not like me? Why didn't I win this award? Why didn't I get the job? But it doesn't have to be that way, and there's a lot we can learn from not making the cut. On this episode, we explore the experience of rejection — what it feels like, how it functions, and the lessons we can draw from it.We'll hear from a fear and anxiety researcher about the evolutionary roots of anxiety — and why asking someone out on a date can feel like a life-or-death situation. Then we'll explore a common experience among people with ADHD, known as rejection sensitive dysphoria (RSD), and hear how one future physician dealt with the worst rejection of her life.
How We Talk About Death
For most of the big moments in life, we have rituals — proposals, weddings, births, graduations, and anniversaries. We know how to talk about them, how to celebrate them, how to honor them. But there's one moment we all face that lots of people don't know how to deal with: dying.In fact, a majority of Americans avoid end-of-life planning, even though most say it's important. Losing a loved one — not to mention facing your own mortality — is a hard reality to contemplate. So how do we go about having those tough conversations about the end of life? Is there a "right" way to talk about it? Can we really prepare for death and the grief it brings in a way that is helpful? And does it get any easier when people know it's coming?On this episode, we explore how we talk — or avoid talking about — death; the funny, tender, and hopeful moments that arise in those conversations; and how we can best support our loved ones in their final moments. We hear stories about two very different approaches to confronting death, how death doulas help usher their patients into the unknown, and new approaches to dealing with prolonged grief.
Of all the podcasts I subscribe to (mostly public radio shows, but not exclusively), “The Pulse” is the one I find consistently interesting and worth hearing to the episode’s end. The subject matter is fresh, even unexpected at times, and well produced. The host, Maiken Scott, is easy to listen to. Other podcast producers, who seem to think just throwing a couple talkers before a microphone to improvise, would do well to study this one to see how it’s done.
HSCT works for MS
Thank you for sharing Jessie’s story. This could have been my story…except my husband has stayed by my side throughout my MS journey.
I went to Mexico in April 2017 for HSCT. I had been living with MS for over 16 years and didn't fit the trial criteria in the US. There are thousands of us who have gone and are doing great! Dr Ruiz is using a non-myelo protocol because it is less risky and still highly effective. I have been off all meds for 4 and a half years, I can run or bike for miles, lift weights and have no MS progression, my MRIs are stable. Freedman is uninformed and can’t accept that his theories are wrong!
Evolved in the wrong direction
I started listening years ago, the topics are always interesting, showing things under various lights. It’s been almost a year that the quality has declined. Each story told to illustrate a topic drags on for 10-15 min before getting to the point, not bringing anything interesting to the table while doing so. Each episode has become a drag. Sad, as this show used to be so interesting.