Explorations With Dr. Michio Kaku - January 15, 2002

Program Title:
Explorations With Dr. Michio Kaku - January 15, 2002
Series Title:
PRA Archive #: 

Explorations with Dr. Michio Kaku, professor of theoretical physics at the City University of New York, science program. Contents: GUEST: ROBERT WHITAKER, Boston Globe Correspondent and author of "Mad in America: Bad Science, Bad Medicine, and the Enduring Mistreatment of the Mentally Ill" [Perseus Pr., 2002; ISBN 0738203858] to discuss the historical and current plight of mental illness, and the methods used to treat it in America and abroad. Specific topics and biographical figures addressed in the interview are: 1) Emil Kraepelin and the historical roots of schizophrenia 2) The Quakers and its philosophy of providing Moral Treatment of the mentally ill in the early 1800's 3) The return of somatic therapies in the early 1900's 4) Egas Moniz, lobotomy procedures and the 1949 Nobel Prize 5) A Harvard study showing schizophrenia outcomes had declined from the 1970's to 1990's to levels no better than the 1900's 6) The World Health Organization's analysis of mental illness afflictions in the western world and in the third world 7) Genetic predisposition, and environmental stresses that lead to the development of schizophrenia 8 ) Myths and misconceptions about schizophrenia 9 ) The ramification of deinstitutionalization on the mentally ill and society at large 10) Electroshock therapy and anti-psychotic neuroleptic drugs 11) PET scans, diagnosis and research into mental illness Other topics covered: The United States military has developed a new strategy for fighting wars that places a greater emphasis on smart weapons and missile defense. The strategy calls for a reduction of the nuclear stockpile to a level between 1700 and 2200 devices, however the Russians are not satisfied with the arrangement since warheads would not be irreversibly dismantled. They prefer an arms control program that is both verifiable and absolute. After a 14 year $4.5 billion study, the U.S. government has decided that Yucca Mountain, an area about 90 miles from Las Vegas, will become a permanent repository for commercial nuclear waste. The plan still has 293 outstanding technical issues that need resolution, and therefor can be derailed. The Bush administration is trying to convince the public that a permanent repository will protect the nation against terrorism. However such a guise is easily dismissed when it is noted that 52 million Americans live within 1/2 mile of the route to the facility and are vulnerable to hijackings and vehicular accidents during transport of the material. The U.S. government has spent 8 years and $1.5 billion to develop a gasoline engine that would achieve higher mileage while still reducing emissions. The Bush administration will withdraw from this program and transition all research dollars into non-polluting fuel cell technology. environmentalists point out that commercial technologies may be 10-20 years away and that the commitment to clean vehicles is merely a guise designed to discard efficiency standards and assist the auto and oil industry in the present marketplace. An article in American Scientist magazine predicts that half of all living mammal and bird species will become extinct over the next 200-300 years. Dr. Philip S. Levin of the University of Texas at Austin computes that on average a distinct species become extinct every 20 minutes, a rate 100-1000 times scientists would considered normal. A study of 344 patients who were resuscitated following cardiac arrest produced curious results supporting the notion of an afterlife. Interviews were conducted within a week of clinical death at 10 Dutch hospitals. About 18% recalled some portion of the sequence while 8-12% reported some type of near death experience. Scientists are unsure what experiences mean and are trying to help explain it by correlating states of consciousness with biological events. A UCLA report shows that it may be possible to detect Alzheimer's disease without performing an autopsy. Researchers inserted a radioactive tracer into the brains of 9 patients along with the protein FDDNP. PET scans are able to find the protein, and through its interactions with tissue, determine the onset of Alzheimer's in living patients.

Date Recorded on: 
January 15, 2002
Date Broadcast on: 
January 15, 2002
Item duration: 
60 min.
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Los Angeles, Pacifica Radio Archive, 2002
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