1:18pm

Mon July 18, 2011
Shots - Health Blog

Your Health Podcast: Milk For PMS And Italians Drop Mediterranean Ways

We tackle health claims galore on the podcast this week.

First up is an ad campaign from the California Milk Processor Board aimed at saving long-suffering men from the tyranny of premenstrual syndrome. Really? Yep. The remedy: regular doses of milk for the women in their lives. The milk board cites research that suggests taking a lot of calcium may help reduce the symptoms of PMS. We check it out.

Now some beverage marketers are touting organic water. But how can good ol' H20, with nary a carbon atom in it, be organic? And what about the claims tied to that purported status? We're take a look.

In other health news, we hear about alternatives to surgery for treating the eye disease keratoconus, a distortion of the cornea that can damage vision. Doctors have figured out a way to slow the onset of the disease using the vitamin riboflavin and ultraviolet light to make the internal fibers of the cornea knit themselves together more tightly.

And in a rare look into the often painful decisions surrounding birth defects, reporter Richard Knox profiles a family with the chance to correct their baby's spina bifida — before it's born. He goes with them into the OR as doctors perform a new but promising surgery to reverse the birth defect while the fetus is still developing.

We also bring a bit of summer into the mix. It's tick time — July is peak season for ticks the risk of catching Lyme disease.

Fresh, summery cuisine is at the heart of the so-called Mediterranean diet, which was given credit for the long life and health of Italians by early 20th century food scientists. But Italians have taken a turn away from their traditional eating habits and recently weighed in as the fattest country in Europe. What happened?

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.