Alzheimer's

The Plant Detective
5:00 am
Sat December 6, 2014

Calabar Beans: Pre-History's Lie Detectors

Physostigma venenosum, from Köhler's "Medizinal Pflanzen"
Credit Franz Eugen Köhler

The Efik people of the region that is now Nigeria used to force people accused of crimes to suffer a trial by ordeal: they'd be fed calabar beans, a known poison. If the accused died, they were judged guilty. If they lived, they were "proven" innocent. There's some pharmaceutical basis to this. It turns out that the poison of the calabar bean is absorbed in the mouth, where a guilty person might try to hold the beans, to avoid swallowing. For the guileless who swallowed them whole, the emetic properties of the beans might cause them to throw up the beans and escape poisoning.

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Fiction
6:01 am
Wed July 9, 2014

Novel Looks Inside the Mind of a Man With Alzheimer's

Laura Pritchett talks about and reads from Stars Go Blue, a novel in which a Colorado rancher and his wife deal with his diagnosis of Alzheimer's.

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Radiolab
5:00 pm
Sat March 29, 2014

The Soul Patch

04/05/2014 - In this episode, stories of unlikely and surprisingly simple answers to seemingly unsolvable problems.  We get to know a man who struggles, and mostly fails to contain his violent outbursts...until he meets a bird who can keep in in check.  Then, Oliver Sacks and Chuck Close, who are both face-blind, share workarounds that help them figure out who they're talking to.  Ana senior center stumbles upon an unexpected way to help Alzheimer's patients - by building a bus stop.