News & Information

Addiction, BMI Scale, Youth Engagement in Politics, Cocaine

Top of Mind with Julie Rose
  • Apr 20, 2016 9:00 pm

REBROADCAST: This show originally aired on February 18, 2016. LISTEN HERE. Addiction Obituaries (1:04) Guests: Denise Cullen, Co-founder and Executive Director of the Addiction Resource Organization Broken No More and GRASP; Liz Perkins, Advocate for addiction treatment and awareness  The CDC says the rate of people dying from an overdose involving opioids has tripled since the year 2000.  Officials say widespread use of prescription pain killers and the easy availability of cheap heroin are driving the epidemic. Americans young and old, male and female, rich and poor are falling victim to overdoses tied to opioids.  Political candidates are talking about it on the campaign trail. Advocacy groups are rallying for better treatment options and legal changes that would treat drug addiction as a disease, rather than a crime. You’ve likely noticed a shift on the obituary page of your local newspaper, too. More and more families are dispensing with vague references to a loved one having died “suddenly” or “at home” and writing the truth: He died of addiction. She died of an overdose.  The decision is controversial among families who’ve lost a loved one to drugs.  More information on addiction recovery Flawed BMI Scale (17:12) Guest: Jeffrey Hunger, Doctoral Student in UC Santa Barbara’s Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences  Bring up the term “BMI” in a group of people with variety of body sizes and fitness habits, and you better brace yourself for some backlash. The measure of Body Mass Index is used by dieticians and fitness trainers and even health insurance companies to assess how overweight or obese a person is. It’s very controversial. And may just be very wrong, as well.  Engaging Young Adults in Politics (29:40) Guest: Katy Harriger, PhD, Professor of Politics and International Affairs at Wake Forest University  Political views in America are more polarized than at any point in recent history, and that’s not likely to change soon, judging from the tenor of the current presidential election.  But what if we wanted it to change? If we wanted to start training a new generation to be more tolerant of diverse viewpoints; to deliberate over controversial issues rather than just debate in anger; to become leaders who can work across differences in addressing complex community problems – what would it take to raise a generation like that?  Biased Algorithms (52:00) Guest: Suresh Venkatasubramanian, PhD, Associate Professor in the University of Utah’s School of Computing  It’s common these days for HR departments in large companies to use computer programs to cull through thousands of job applications and make the initial cut. It’s efficient and seemingly less subject to the subtle bias of humans. Except, maybe not that last part. A team of researchers has found algorithms can be just as biased as human beings.  BRCA Gene and Breast Cancer (1:03:13) Guest: Sandra Buys, MD, Medical Director of the High Risk Breast Cancer Clinic at Huntsman Cancer Institute and Professor in the University of Utah School of Medicine  You couldn’t have missed the news last spring of a rather private nature: actress and director Angelina Jolie Pitt announced in a New York Times column that she’d had her ovaries removed. The surgery came two years after she opted for a double mastectomy. Both procedures were prompted by a test that revealed Jolie Pitt had inherited a defect in the BRCA1 gene.  Cocaine and Memory (1:23:07) Guest: Barbara Sorg, PhD, Professor of Neuroscience at Washington State University Vancouver  Sometimes our standard scale for measuring, or describing, things just isn’t sufficient. Well that’s what cocaine does to memory, says Dr. Barbara Sorg.