The Poison Squad, Neuroscientist Who Lost Her Mind

The Poison Squad, Neuroscientist Who Lost Her Mind

Top of Mind with Julie Rose

  • Feb 7, 2020 9:00 pm
  • 1:40:17 mins

The Poison Squad: One Chemist’s Single-Minded Crusade for Food Safety (0:35) Guest: Deborah Blum, Author of "The Poison Squad", Director of the Knight Science Journalism Program, MIT,  In the 1880s if you walked into a grocery store and bought milk, bread and butter, it was “buyer beware.” The milk was likely diluted, quite possibly with dirty water, and then thickened with chalk. The bread might have sawdust in it and the butter might be preserved with borax, which is a poison, of course. It wasn’t until 1906 that the US finally got the Pure Food and Drug Act, which led to the creation of the Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, and the expectation that our food should be safe to eat. The battle to get to there was both grisly and exhausting. (Originally aired 12/5/2018) The Neuroscientist Who Lost Her Mind (24:01) Guest: Barbara Lipska, PhD, Director of the Human Brain Collection Core, National Institute of Mental Health, Author of "The Neuroscientist Who Lost Her Mind" Neuroscientist Barbara Lipska spent her career studying mental illness, and then she lived it. Tumors in her brain brought on all the confusion, irrationality and anger common in people with schizophrenia, which is the exact disease Lipska specializes in studying. Luckily, cutting-edge treatment saved Lipska’s life and restored her mind. She now considers her brain cancer a “priceless gift,” because suffering through mental illness taught her more about how the brain works than dissecting one in a lab ever could. (Originally aired 5/2/2018) Diversity in the Workplace May Be Easier to Solve Than You Think (50:43) Guest: Olga Stoddard, PhD, Assistant Professor of Economics, Brigham Young University IBM chief Ginni Rometty just announced that she’s stepping down, which leaves one less female CEO of a Fortune 500. There will not be just 34. Even fewer are people of color – male or female. Corporate America talks a lot about increasing diversity within its ranks, but still struggles to deliver. A team of economists has come up with a cheap, simple solution that doubled the number of racial minority applicants in hiring experiment. (Originally aired 9/4/2019) Fighting Human Trafficking After Natural Disasters (1:06:09) Guest: Roshan Khatri, Chief Medical Director, Headwaters Relief Organization. The last decade brought some of the costliest natural disasters on record for many countries, including the US, Japan, Puerto Rico, Haiti and Brazil. Costs range from property damage to business disruptions. But there’s also a hidden human cost: disaster areas are a prime target for human traffickers to lure desperate people into prostitution and slavery. The Headwaters Relief Organization is a non-profit focused on natural disasters, and they’re fighting human trafficking. (Originally aired 9/17/2019) Why Criminals in the U.S. Are Sentenced to Prison for Longer Than Life (1:21:51) Guest: Darryl Brown, Professor of Law at University of Virginia Law School Convicted Ponzi schemer Bernard Madoff is asking to be released from prison so he can die at home. He’s serving a 150-year sentence, but his attorneys question the value of such an impossible-long punishment for an old, sick man. Back in the fall we called up University of Virginia law professor Darryl Brown for some explanation about the seemingly arbitrary nature of sentencing in America’s justice system. Two cases had captured our attention at the time – the Neo Nazi who killed a protester at the Charlottesville rally got life plus 419 years in prison. And actress Felicity Huffman had just been sentenced to two weeks in prison for paying someone to correct her daughter’s SAT college entrance exam. There was outrage online about how much harsher the sentence would likely have been if Huffman weren’t white and famous. (Originally aired 9/16/2019)