Medical Examiner D.J. Drakovic, in Pontiac Michigan, explains how every crime scene is like a novel.
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Host Ira Glass tells the story of what might be one of the most daring surgeries ever performed.
On September 29th a medical researcher in Philadelphia fired off a simple, well-meaning tweet, and then barely thought twice about it. Little did she know that by doing that, she was perpetrating covert propaganda on behalf of the U.S. government.
A teenage girl gets bitten by a shark, rushed to the doctor's office, stitched up, and told she'll be totally fine. Crisis averted, right? Not so much.
Host Ira Glass speaks with various people who regularly eat foods that give them severe allergic reactions, stomach cramping and trips to the hospital.
Ira Glass explains that, like the rest of America, we at This American Life are not tired of those stories of women who have no idea they're pregnant and then—poof—one day a baby pops out. Ira and several of our producers speak with Jennifer Lyne, who found out just a few days before giving birth and even appeared on the TV show I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant.
Ira speaks with Scott Krepel—via his interpreter Marc Holmes—about what happened when Scott got cochlear implants as a kid and could suddenly hear for the first time.
Do cell phones give people brain tumors? Ira speaks with Christopher Ketcham, who wrote an article on this subject for GQ magazine.
Host Ira Glass talks to Rob Lamberts, a doctor and blogger in Georgia, who describes the crazy world of medical billing, where armies of coders use several contradictory different systems of codes...and none of it makes us healthier.
Host Ira Glass talks with Susan Dentzer, editor of the journal Health Affairs, about what current health reform proposals do to fix the rising costs of healthcare...And points at a surprising, kind of heartening phenomenon happening within the current debate.
Host Ira Glass talks about his fear of sleep, and reports on other people who have very strong reasons of their own to fear bedtime. We also hear the sounds of troubled sleepers from a DVD put together by Doctors Carlos Schenck and Mark Mahowald of the Minnesota Regional Sleep Disorders Center.
For some people, the fear of sleep is linked to the fear of death. We hear from some of them.
Host Ira Glass and Albert Donnay read a true ghost story that appeared in a medical journal in 1921. After a "Mrs H" and her family moved into an old rambling house, strange apparitions started appearing...until her brother-in-law figured out the real cause of the ghostly presences.
Hard as it is to believe, during the early Twentieth Century, a whole school of mental health professionals decided that unconditional love was a terrible thing to give a child. The government printed pamphlets warning mothers against the dangers of holding their kids.
Host Ira Glass describes the thing that we all do at some point: Talk expertly about something we don't actually know anything about. It's so common, explains This American Life contributing editor Nancy Updike, that some friends of hers invented an imaginary magazine devoted to such blathering.
Susie and John Drury moved to their farm just two years ago. But when John got sick for awhile, people who were no more than friendly acquaintances started helping out in ways that completely surprised them.
Host Ira Glass talks with Dr. Stephen Rosenberg of the National Cancer Institute about a cancer patient of his who spontaneously healed.
Julia Whitty's father's cancer medication cost $47,000 a year if she bought it in the United States. It cost $1,200 a year if she bought it in a foreign country.
Producer Alex Blumberg explains that he wanted to do this show because of his conflicted relationship with his own testosterone. He tells host Ira Glass that the reasons go back to a girl in his eighth-grade homeroom and the 1970s seminal feminist novel The Women's Room. We also hear from a man who stopped producing testosterone due to a medical treatment and found that his entire personality was altered.
The interview with a man who lost his testosterone continues. He explains that life without testosterone is life without desire—desire for everything: food, conversation, even TV.
An interview with a transgender man, who started life as female and began taking testosterone injections several years ago. He explains how testosterone changed his views on nature vs. nurture for good.
The men and women on staff at This American Life decide to get their testosterone levels tested, to see who has the most and least, and to see if personality traits actually do match up with hormone levels. It turns out to be an exercise that in retrospect, we might not recommend to other close-knit groups of friends or co-workers.
Host Ira Glass goes to a fake wedding at a home for Alzheimer's patients in Davenport, Iowa. Two high school kids who've never even kissed are the bride and groom.
The story from the prologue continues, with the groom who refused to be a groom, and the one person who'll probably remember the fake wedding, namely, the fake bride.