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ST Medical Monday Explores "Can't Just Stop: An Investigation of Compulsions"

Aired on Monday, February 20th.

Our guest on this edition of ST Medical Monday is Sharon Begley, the senior science writer at STAT, which is the life sciences publication of The Boston Globe. Begley previously worked at Reuters, Newsweek, The Daily Beast, and The Wall Street Journal, and she joins us to talk about her new book, "Can't Just Stop: An Investigation of Compulsions." In an appreciation of this book by Publishers Weekly, we find: "Science journalist Begley demystifies compulsive behavior, exploring its history and manifestations and the many difficulties its sufferers face in finding appropriate diagnoses and treatment. Establishing compulsive behavior as the brain's attempt to assuage anxiety, Begley argues that it can serve a useful purpose. She notes that there are socially acceptable compulsive 'quirks,' such as a baseball player who won't change his 'lucky' shorts, and that people turn to compulsive habits to feel more in control, a response that is 'hardly pathological.' Begley also provides riveting case studies, including a woman who must check her refrigerator repeatedly to ensure that her cat is not inside and a man whose germophobia compelled him to throw out his clothes, shave his head, and abandon his apartment for a series of hotel rooms. A fascinating historical analysis notes references to hoarding in Dante’s 'Inferno' and describes an obsessive Victorian-era book collector. Begley also chats with video game creators about their 'addictive' products and expresses a healthy skepticism regarding concerns over widespread compulsive Internet usage. Much of the text summarizes well-known scholarship, but Begley's final chapter on brain function in the compulsive mind contains fresh insight that could fundamentally alter how we think of, and treat, mental illness going forward."

Rich Fisher passed through KWGS about thirty years ago, and just never left. Today, he is the general manager of Public Radio Tulsa, and the host of KWGS’s public affairs program, StudioTulsa, which celebrated its twentieth anniversary in August 2012 . As host of StudioTulsa, Rich has conducted roughly four thousand long-form interviews with local, national, and international figures in the arts, humanities, sciences, and government. Very few interviews have gone smoothly. Despite this, he has been honored for his work by several organizations including the Governor's Arts Award for Media by the State Arts Council, a Harwelden Award from the Arts & Humanities Council of Tulsa, and was named one of the “99 Great Things About Oklahoma” in 2000 by Oklahoma Today magazine.
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