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The Difference a Gun Makes

A gun can change a moment, a life, a family, an entire neighborhood. Like a catalyst in a chemical reaction, guns have a unique ability to transform the calculus of a situation. A gun can make you feel safe. Sometimes it’s symbol of cultural identity. It also has the power to destroy. On this episode of The Pulse, we look at the difference a gun makes. Also heard on this week’s episode: Trigger WarningHealing Hurt PeopleJessie Wright-MendozaIrène P. Mathieu


Saving the Farm

We like to romanticize farming – but the truth is that it’s tough, complicated, sometimes dangerous work. Technology has made some of that work easier, but it’s also brought a whole new set of pressures. In today’s episode, we hear about what some people are doing to help save America’s family farms. Also heard on this week’s show: Center for Farmworker FamiliesLinda Kauffman



Giving birth. Giving support and feeling a fierce love. Being there. Being exhausted. It’s all part of being a mom. To mark Mother’s Day, we’ll reflect on some of the ways humans and other species juggle the never-ending demands that come with mothering. We’ll meet scientist moms who balance taking care of kids and applying for research grants. We’ll find out how America’s OB GYN shortage is affecting women in rural areas. We’ll observe the bird who wins the award for worst mother ever, or...


How do we know?

When it comes to scientific knowledge, we’re selective about who and what we believe. But, how do we get to a place of knowing? We hear from people who were believed — and those who weren’t — to find out what made the difference. Also heard on this week’s show: Beau LottoMichael WeisbergLydia Pyne


The Cost of Diabetes

Diabetes costs more healthcare dollars than any other disease in the United States. But beyond the huge financial price tag — diabetes takes a major toll on people’s lives. Constantly chasing a stable blood sugar level. Feeling sick and tired. Having to be really careful about how you celebrate Thanksgiving, or your enjoy your wedding cake. On this episode of The Pulse, we explore the social and emotional costs of the illness. Also heard on this week’s show: University of North Carolina’s...


Shades of Green

As Kermit the Frog once said — it’s not easy being green. Amid challenges like pollution, deforestation and climate change, engaging with environmental problems can feel like an overwhelming task. To mark Earth Day, we explore some of the ways, big and small, people are working to do just that. Also on this week’s show: recent landmark studyPopulation Bomb


Make (a) Way

For a long time disability meant one thing — limitations. Think about the word disabled: its literal meaning is broken, not functioning. In a world largely built by and for those considered typical, people with disabilities are often boxed out — from jobs they want, places they want to go and activities they could love. But that’s changing as advances in science and technology collide with evolving conceptions of disability. On this week’s show, we explore the idea that “disability”...



On this episode, we explore one of our most important and amazing human tools. What does neuroscience tell us about how language works, and how we acquire it? Can intensive rehab help those who have lost their ability to express themselves after stroke? We’ll also hear about plant ‘language,’ voice donation, and the failed effort to create a universal language from scratch.


Dare to Repair

Whether you’re fixing a leaky toilet or a busted iPhone, there’s no satisfaction quite like doing it yourself. On this week’s episode, we celebrate our inner fixit people with stories from those who dare to repair stuff. Also heard on this week’s show: new animal regeneration science


The way wounds work

Bruises. Burns. Lesions. Lacerations. Wounds can be dangerous, painful, even gruesome. But they also represent our ability to survive and heal. The Pulse explores the full life cycle of wounds. Also heard on this week’s show: Mütter MuseumPsychologist Dan Gottlieb


Science and Religion

What happens when a Buddhist environmentalist, a Muslim astronomer … a rabbi and a priest walk into our studio? On this episode, we explore the ways faith and religion intersect with science. Sometimes the collision is fraught with misunderstanding and tension. Other times, science and religion influence and inspire each other.


Separate: Black Health in America

Segregation in housing and education has had reverberations on health care and health outcomes for African Americans. In this episode, we explore the legacy of that separation. We meet some of the people who helped integrate hospitals as the Civil Rights fight was heating up, and hear from a millennial mom, who says yes, even in 2018, looking for a black doctor to care for her girls is “a thing.” Throughout the episode, we also visit separate, largely black spaces that nourish African...


Our Bodies, Our Gender

Congratulations, it’s a … (Wait…does it matter?) Maybe it shouldn’t matter, but in healthcare an awful lot of decisions are based on our understanding of gender and the body. Meanwhile, our conversations about gender are changing. On this episode, we explore stories that show up in the places where gender and medical treatment meet. As scientists learn more, how is healthcare responding?


Secret’s Out

We keep secrets because we fear being judged, or to protect ourselves. But what happens when a secret comes out? On this episode, we take a look at secrets revealed: HIV status, regretting motherhood, the limits of doctor/patient confidentiality, sexual harassment in the sciences, and more.


A Different Tune

Music touches nearly every part of our lives. On this episode, we explore the science and power of music — what does research tell us about this emotionally moving force? Can scientists tap into our love for music to help us lead better lives? We’ll meet musicians who use their skills to overcome their illnesses, hear about music’s role in torture, and examine if birdsong really counts as music.


Why do we need the wild?

Being in nature is restorative; the wild can feed your soul. But, for hundreds of years, we pushed west across the country, trampling and displacing wildlife along the way. Later, lots of people woke up to the effects of urban sprawl and industrialization. And, in 1964, the Wilderness Act was created to set aside places “where man himself is a visitor.” There are now many efforts to protect untouched land, and at the same time we want to enjoy the wild, be out there in it. Balancing those...


Making Cities Work

By 2030 about 60 percent of people will live in urban centers. We flock to cities for their energy and opportunity, but that bustle can take a toll on our health. City dwellers often deal with more pollution, noise, crime and social isolation. And those uniquely urban problems mess with our ability to breathe, sleep and relax. On this episode, we explore ways to make modern cities work for people. Also heard on this episode: Joel Kurth from Bridge Magazine explains the connection between...


Making Changes Stick

Happy New Year! On this episode, old and new stories about change and the things that help us follow through on our goals. Often lasting change happens in the face of illness and adversity, other times it’s motivated by a desire to overhaul your personal life — or the world around you.


Vice Control

A rebroadcast episode: Gambling. Drugs. Prostitution. Booze. As a society, we have always regulated behaviors we consider vices. Those regulations were once grounded in moral arguments and rooted in religion. But in recent years, public health largely drives our discussions about how to handle troubling — or unhealthy — behavior. The Pulse examines the intersection of vice, behavior, and public health.


Another Life

On this rebroadcast episode, we explore opportunities for another life in health, science and technology. What does it take for things — and people — to morph, change, or stage a comeback? In medicine, cell phone towers provide refrigeration power and extend the shelf life of vaccines. A beloved pet becomes home decor. And when a high-tech navigation system is vulnerable, a seemingly outdated system gets a second chance. Plus — dead bodies go into the compost pile and live again — as...


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