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Two doctors, a book of quackery, and lab results decoded

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Roughly Speaking episode 330:

Paula Gallagher, Baltimore County librarian, recommends a new book by a millennial "bird nerd," Noah Strycker, who set out to see half the world's birds -- about 5,000 species -- in one year. Strycker tells the story in, "Birding Without Borders: An Obsession, A Quest and the Biggest Year In The World."

When Dr. Lydia Kang set out to study a subject that had not been offered back in medical school at NYU -- remedies and treatments used through the ages -- she and journalist Nate Pederson discovered some pretty weird (and decidedly unhealthy) practices, from using leeches for blood-letting to using the body parts of young, healthy (but dead) criminals as cures for various ailments. Kang, a native of Baltimore, lives in Nebraska with her family. She practices medicine and writes books and poetry. Her collaboration with Pederson is "Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything."

Ever been confused or overwhelmed by your lab results? As more Americans gain access to their medical records through online patient portals, they're asking more questions about what the various test results mean for their health. Dr. John Cmar of Sinai Hospital explains some of the numbers and abbreviations in a four-page report Dan recently received from his primary care physician.

Dan remembers Richard Cross, the "mild-mannered, moderate Maryland Republican" who contributed to political discussions on Roughly Speaking and, earlier, Dan's Midday show on WYPR. Cross, 51, died suddenly in early November at his home in Fells Point. There will be a memorial service for him on Sunday at the Lemmon Funeral Home in Timonium.


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