News & Information

Pandemic Freedom, Opioids during COVID-19, Meritocracy

Top of Mind with Julie Rose
  • May 13, 2020 8:00 pm
  • 1:40:45

How the Pandemic Is Testing American Ideas of Freedom and Individuality (0:29) Guest: Chris Karpowitz, PhD, Professor of Political Science, Co-Director of the Center for the Study of Elections and Democracy, BYU; Grant Madsen, PhD, Professor of History, BYU State capitols and city government buildings across the country have become the site of protests against pandemic stay-at-home and mask-wearing orders. Some of the protests have resulted in physical confrontation. Others have featured protesters armed with guns. A month ago, President Trump egged on the protests with his Twitter feed. What’s the Purpose of Nightmares? (21:13) Guest: William Kelly, Associate Professor of Psychology, California State University, Bakersfield I’m lucky to not have nightmares too often, but when I do, they’re a pretty obvious response to a daytime stress I’m having. Like the recurring one where I’m supposed to be doing this show, but I can’t get the microphone to work and I have no idea what the interview is about and I can’t stop stumbling over my words. Typical work-stress nightmare. But suppose nightmares aren’t just a reflection of daytime anxiety. What if nightmares are the mind’s way of teaching itself new skills like a sort of twisted exercise routine? COVID-19 Pandemic’s Small Silver Lining for People Seeking Treatment for Opioid Addiction (32:15) Guest: Barbara Andraka-Christou, Assistant Professor of Health Management and Informatics, University of Central Florida, Author of "The Opioid Fix" The pandemic has offered a surprise silver-lining for people in need of treatment for opioid addiction. Social distancing rules have prompted the Trump Administration to relax some of the rules around when and how a patient can receive Suboxone and Methadone in what’s known as “medication assisted treatment” for opioid use disorder. Advocates say this kind of treatment is the nation’s best hope for ending the epidemic of opioid overdose in America. These new pandemic-related rules could be the breakthrough advocates have been hoping for. Patterns in the Brain That Can Predict Mental Illness (50:43) Guest: Susan Whitfield-Gabrieli, Professor of Psychology, Northeastern University Mental health disorders are taking a serious toll on young people. Suicide is the second leading cause of death among US teenagers. Northeastern University psychology researcher Susan Whitfield-Gabrieli has found a way to help doctors and parents predict the path of a mood disorder long before a child becomes a teenager in crisis. How “The American Dream” Traps Both Winners and Losers (1:07:22) Guest: Daniel Markovits, Professor of Law, Yale University, Author of “The Meritocracy Trap” Who wouldn’t want to live in a society where anyone can succeed in life if they have the talent and hard work to make it happen? That’s the essence of The American Dream and generations of Americans did rise up on their own merits – as opposed to how wealthy or connected their parents were. But the opportunities to succeed through hard work have narrowed significantly in America of late. And those who do find their way to elite status often find themselves locked in a grinding work schedule that makes them wonder if was all worth it. Using Plants to Clean Up Superfund Sites (1:24:58) Guest: Sharon Doty, Professor in the School of Environmental and Forest Sciences, University of Washington There are more than a thousand locations around the country that are highly polluted with hazardous waste. They’re called superfund sites, and they pose a dangerous threat to human health if they contaminate surrounding water or agricultural areas. But these sites are really difficult and expensive to clean up. That’s where Sharon Doty steps in. She’s a professor of environmental and forest sciences at the University of Washington, and she’s found an unconventional way to cleanse contaminated areas: poplar trees.