The Checkup

A health podcast produced by WBUR in partnership with Slate. Subscribe on iTunes here.

RECENT POSTS

Summer Listening From The Checkup: High Anxiety, Revisited

Summer is supposed to be a happy time, right? But for many, it’s a very anxious time — particularly if you suffer from fear of flying and a long-distance vacation looms, or from intense parental anxiety as your children range farther off than usual.

So, for your summer listening pleasure, we offer you this favorite episode from among the best of The Checkup, the WBUR/Slate podcast: It explores three different aspects of that incredibly common (especially among CommonHealth co-hosts) psychiatric disorder: anxiety.

First, we get into Rachel’s fear of flying and how she (sort of) overcame it. For a fuller story, she wrote about it here, but the saga continues.

Then, we speak with Harvard Medical School’s Mohammed Milad about his research on an intriguing hormone-based hypothesis that might help explain why so many more women suffer from fear and anxiety disorders than men. For more, see Rachel’s full interview with him: “Why Do So Many Women Have Anxiety Disorders? A Hormone Hypothesis“.

And finally, we talk about parental anxiety and how we can try to manage it better through mindfulness techniques, featuring a recent book on the topic — “The Mindful Way Through Anxiety” — by Suffolk University professor Sue Orsillo. For more, the book’s website is here, and a sample chapter is here.

Summer Listening From ‘The Checkup': Sexual Reality Check, Revisited

We can’t be reminded too often that the fantasies portrayed in bodice-buster novels and porn flicks bear only a vague resemblance to what happens (and how we look) in real life.

So here, as part of our summer-listening revival of the best of our WBUR/Slate podcast, The Checkup, is a favorite, particularly juicy episode, titled “Sexual Reality Check.” It includes surprises about penis size, stories of great sex over 70 and new insights on how both men and women are lied to about their sexuality.

In case you missed other recent episodes: “Teenage Zombies” explored the curious minds of adolescents, with segments on sleep, porn and impulsive choices; “Power to the Patient” looked at ways we can all feel in more control of our health care; and “High Anxiety” included reports on hormones, parenting and fear of flying.

Better yet, don’t miss a single episode and just subscribe now.

Summer Listening At Candy Store Or Salad Bar: Scary Food Stories, Revisited

As summer enters its dog days, you can feel the great gears of the news machine slowing, slowing, slowing, like a locomotive as it pulls into a station. So now seems like a good moment to re-offer you some of the best of our WBUR/Slate podcast, The Checkup, for your listening pleasure on those long car trips and plane rides to vacationland.

In particular, in case you missed this delectable morsel, may we recommend our episode titled “Scary Food Stories”? It features three particular cautionary tales: on kale, chia seeds and sugar. Download it here before your next meal. Or if you don’t, don’t say we didn’t warn you…

In case you missed other recent episodes: “Teenage Zombies,” explored the curious minds of adolescents, with segments on sleep, porn and impulsive choices; “Power to the Patient” looked at ways we can all feel in more control of our health care; “High Anxiety” included reports on hormones, parenting and fear of flying; and “Sexual Reality Checks” examined penis size, female desire and aging.

Better yet, don’t miss a single episode and just subscribe now.

The Checkup: How To Feed Your Muffin Top, And Other Weight Loss Wisdom

If you’ve ever hated your weight or wished to trade in a specific body part, or yearned to step off the debilitating dieting roller-coaster, you are so not alone. Indeed, you are us.

So here, we vent about our personal challenges — how to finally lose that last 10 pounds, escaping from our self-imposed food prisons — and explore some new strategies for relief. It’s all in the latest installment of our podcast, The Checkup, a joint venture between WBUR and Slate. We call this episode “Muffin Top,” Download it here before your next meal.

•First, we explore Motivational Interviewing, an increasingly popular technique that can spur you toward making changes in your eating and other behaviors. Included: A new book with the subtitle: “How the Power of Motivational Interviewing Can Reveal What You Want and Help You Get There.”

•We ask an eating disorders expert about why diets don’t work and whether we’ve entered a post-Weight Watchers era.

•And we also also get intimate about the psychic costs of actually achieving your goal weight and trying, desperately, to maintain it.

In case you missed other recent episodes: “Teenage Zombies,” explored the curious minds of adolescents, with segments on sleep, porn and impulsive choices; “Power to the Patient” looked at ways we can all feel in more control of our health care; “High Anxiety” included reports on hormones, parenting and fear of flying; and “Sexual Reality Checks” examined penis size, female desire and aging.

Better yet, don’t miss a single episode and just subscribe now.

Each week, The Checkup features a different topic — previous episodes focused on college mental health, sex problems, the Insanity workout and vaccine issues.

If you listen and like it, won’t you please let our podcasting partner, Slate, know? You can email them at podcasts@slate.com.

Latest Checkup Podcast: Teen Zombies, From Sleep To Porn To Impulsive Choices

(Photo: Hypnotica Studios Infinite, Flickr Creative Commons)

(Photo: Hypnotica Studios Infinite, Flickr Creative Commons)

News bulletin: Teens are … different. They’re caught betwixt childhood and adulthood, but they’re no simple hybrid of the two — they can sometimes seem more like a separate species.

In the latest episode of The Checkup podcast, we explore three important aspects of the adolescent mind:

• Do you beg your teenager to go to sleep earlier so he or she can function? Well, it turns out they physically can’t do that, explains Dr. Marvin Wang, a pediatrician at Massachusetts General Hospital on a mission to make school start times later.

• Also, why adolescent brain development is the culprit behind so much bad (and sometimes law-breaking) decision-making and reckless behavior.

• And, a sex therapist talks about how Internet porn can sabotage a teenager’s ability to have a normal romantic relationship.

In case you missed other recent episodes: “Power to the Patient” looked at ways we can all feel in more control of our health care; “High Anxiety” explored hormones, parenting and fear of flying; and “Sexual Reality Checks” examined penis size, female desire and aging.

But lists get tedious — why not just subscribe?

Each week, The Checkup features a different topic — previous episodes focused on college mental health, sex problems, the Insanity workout and vaccine issues.

If you listen and like it, won’t you please let our podcasting partner, Slate, know? You can email them at podcasts@slate.com.

The Checkup: How Patients Can Try To Take The Power Back

It doesn’t help, of course, to be half-naked or in a bottom-baring johnny. But even when fully clothed, we patients — and we’re pretty much all patients at some point — often feel powerless or uncharacteristically passive in our encounters with the health care system.

In the latest episode of our WBUR/Slate podcast, The Checkup, we explore three strategies to help you take charge of your medical experience:

• How to be a better medical shopper in terms of both cost and quality: Tips and insights from Dr. Don Goldmann of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement.

• Telling your own medical story can help you heal, say Dr. Annie Brewster and Prof. Jonathan Adler of Health Story Collaborative.

• Also, medical informatics whiz Dr. Isaac Kohane talks about pushing the “blue button” to gain real control of your own medical data.

In case you missed other recent episodes: “High Anxiety” looked at hormones, parenting and fear of flying; “Sexual Reality Checks” examined penis size, female desire and aging;  and “Grossology” included a look at the first stool bank in the nation and research on the benefits of “bacterial schmears” from a mother’s birth canal. )

But lists get tedious — why not just subscribe?

Each week, The Checkup features a different topic — previous episodes focused on college mental health, sex problems, the Insanity workout and vaccine issues.

If you listen and like it, won’t you please let our podcasting partner, Slate, know? You can email them at podcasts@slate.com.

‘The Checkup’ Podcast On Aspects Of Anxiety: High, Parental And Hormonal

Screen shot 2013-08-01 at 9.39.48 AM

Extra, extra, get your hot-off-the-presses new episode of The Checkup, the health podcast that WBUR produces in partnership with Slate, here! It explores three different aspects of that incredibly common (especially among CommonHealth co-hosts) psychiatric disorder: anxiety.

First, we get into Rachel’s fear of flying and how she (sort of) overcame it. For a fuller story, she wrote about it here, but the saga continues.

Then, we speak with Harvard Medical School’s Mohammed Milad about his research on an intriguing hormone-based hypothesis that might help explain why so many more women suffer from fear and anxiety disorders than men. For more, see Rachel’s full interview with him: “Why Do So Many Women Have Anxiety Disorders? A Hormone Hypothesis“.

And finally, we talk about parental anxiety and how we can try to manage it better through mindfulness techniques, featuring a recent book on the topic — “The Mindful Way Through Anxiety” — by Suffolk University professor Sue Orsillo. For more, the book’s website is here, a sample chapter is here, and please stay tuned for a post with the full interview.

Each episode, The Checkup features a different topic — previous episodes focused on college mental health, sex problems, the Insanity workout and vaccine issues.

And in case you missed our most recent episodes: “Grossology” included a look at the first stool bank in the nation and research on the benefits of “bacterial schmears” from a mother’s birth canal — you can listen here. And “Sexual Reality Checks” busted myths about penis size, aging and female sexuality — it’s here.

If you listen and like it, won’t you please let our podcasting partner, Slate, know? You can email them at podcasts@slate.com.

Sexual Reality: The Checkup Podcast Debunks A Few Myths (Like Size And Age Matter…)

Possibly our juiciest segment yet, the latest installment of The Checkup podcast, our joint venture with Slate, takes on some sexual myths and offers a bit of reality.

We bring you surprises about penis size, stories of great sex over 70 and new insights on how both men and women are lied to about their sexuality. As we have in past segments, Carey and I offer our fresh take on research-based news that could brighten up your life below the waist. Check it out here:

And in case you missed our last episode, “Grossology” (including a look at the first stool bank in the nation and research on the benefits of “bacterial schmears” from a mother’s birth canal) — you can listen now.

And if you want to hear earlier episodes: “Scary Food Stories” includes the tale of a recovering sugar addict and offers sobering news to kale devotees. And “On The Brain” includes fascinating research on dyslexia, depression and how playing music may affect our minds.

Make sure to tune in next time, when we present: “High Anxiety,” an episode on the (arguably) most prevalent of mental health disorders.

Each week, The Checkup features a different topic — previous episodes focused on college mental health, sex problems, the Insanity workout and vaccine issues. If you listen and like it, won’t you please let our podcasting partner, Slate, know? You can email them at podcasts@slate.com.

The Checkup: ‘The Grossology’ Episode — Or, How Disgusting Can Be Healthy

Bottles of frozen human stool for fecal transplants at the nation's first stool bank, OpenBiome. (Photo: Gabrielle Emanuel/WBUR)

Bottles of frozen human stool for fecal transplants at the nation’s first stool bank, OpenBiome. (Photo: Gabrielle Emanuel/WBUR)

Warning: Things get a little messy — well, maybe even slightly disgusting — in the latest episode of our CommonHealth podcast, The Checkup.

We call this episode “Grossology,™” and it’s rife with bacteria and dirt and even, to convey the smelly reality in elegant French, merde.

But it’s actually quite a heartening look at how yuck-factor stuff may be good for you, whether you’re a baby or a patient with a resistant infection. Or at least, not as bad as you might think.

“Grossology” begins with Rachel’s look at the first stool bank in the nation, launched by an MIT microbiologist. (Did you know that the great bacterial world inside your body is kind of like a rainforest?)

It also describes research into what we call the “bacterial schmear” — whether babies born by Cesarean sections might benefit from being wiped with some of the bacteria they would have picked up in their mothers’ birth canals. And it will offer some solace to parents who feel guilty about “cleaning” their babies’ pacifiers by popping the binkies into their own mouths. You know who you are.

And in case you missed our recent episodes: “Scary Food Stories” includes the tale of a recovering sugar addict and offers sobering news to kale devotees. And “On The Brain” includes fascinating research on dyslexia, depression and how playing music may affect our minds.

Make sure to tune in next time, when we present: “High Anxiety,” an episode on the (arguably) most prevalent of mental health disorders.

Each week, The Checkup features a different topic — previous episodes focused on college mental health, sex problems, the Insanity workout and vaccine issues. If you listen and like it, won’t you please let our podcasting partner, Slate, know? You can email them at podcasts@slate.com.

Note: Grossology is a registered trademark of Penguin Group.

A Podcast For Your Brain: The Checkup, Episode 8

It’s the only organ in the human body that tries to understand itself (though not always successfully).

Still, the brain is on our brains in the latest episode of The Checkup, our recently relaunched health news podcast, a joint venture between WBUR and Slate.

Can you enhance your brain through music? Detect dyslexia even before kids learn to read? Alleviate the symptoms of deep depression with a brain implant?

Carey and I explore these and other questions as we delve into some of the latest advances in brain research.

And in case you missed our last episode, “Scary Food Stories,” where we tell the tale of a recovering sugar addict and offer sobering news to kale devotees, you can listen now, or download it anytime.

Make sure to tune in next week, when we present: “Grossology,” an episode on how the dirty corners of your life might benefit your health.

Each week, The Checkup features a different topic — previous episodes focused on college mental health, sex problems, the Insanity workout and vaccine issues.