Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Patt Morrison for Thursday, February 23, 2012


Thursday, February 23, 2012

1-3 p.m.






1:06 – 1:39: OPEN


1:41:30 – 1:58:30

FDA closer to approving weight-loss drug

It could be the first new prescription drug to treat obesity in 13 years if the Food and Drug Administration follows the advice of its advisory committee, which voted 20 to 2 this week to approve the weight-loss drug Qnexa. Obesity drugs have had a difficult time winning FDA approval; there is currently only one drug, Xenical, approved for long-term use in weight loss and its unpleasant digestive side effects make it unpopular. The FDA committee found that the potential weight loss benefits of Qnexa outweigh the potential health risks, including heart problems and birth defects. That same committee, however, voted not to recommend – and the FDA denied – approval of the drug in 2010. The difference this time, panel members said, was that some were reassured by plans to limit the health risks, like trying to make sure pregnant women did not take the drug and recommending that patients who did not lose weight after three months stop taking the medicine. How should the FDA weigh the health risks and potential benefits of such drugs? Who should they be marketed to and is a miracle weight loss pill possible?

Guests: TBD

2:06 – 2:30

Frankenfish, now frankenburgers? Genetically engineered and lab-grown food wave of the future

People around the world love meat and fish, whether a sliver of salmon or a juicy hamburger. Fish, though, is pricey, and demand for meat is set to increase as the standard of living grows in various regions such as Asia and Africa. Yet what if your food comes from a genetically engineered fish or a burger grown in a lab? The food of the future involves the manipulation of food sources, and many are unhappy about it. The United States Food and Drug Administration, amid opposition by consumer advocates and environmental groups, has been waiting on whether to approve what would be the nation’s first genetically engineered fish for human consumption. The salmon, created by Massachusetts bio-tech firm AquaBounty Technologies, grows twice the normal rate of an Atlantic salmon and is engineered to produce a growth hormone. At a conference Sunday, Dutch scientists unveiled the first inklings of lab-grown meat, made out of cow stem cells, towards creating the world’s first “test-tube” hamburger expected to debut this fall. The Maastricht University project, funded by an anonymous investor, used bovine stem cells to produce thin strips of muscle tissue, which will be combined with blood and artificially grown fat. Project researchers consider the lab-grown meat more efficient than producing meat the old-fashioned away. Opponents say artificially created and engineered foods haven’t been properly tested for human safety and should also be labeled. Genetically engineered soy beans, corn, papaya and squash are sold throughout the U.S. without FDA labeling of their genetic status. Do you support the genetic engineering or manipulation of food such as fish, beef and pork, and does it make a difference when the food is animal versus plant-based? Should there be mandatory FDA labeling of these foods? Does a lab-grown hamburger, which could decrease the need for factory-farmed animals worldwide, ever sound appetizing?



Gregory Stock, founding director of the Program on Medicine, Technology and Society at the UCLA School of Medicine and associate director of policy think tank the Center for Life Science Policy Studies at UC Berkeley


Michael Hansen, senior scientist at Consumers Union, the policy advocacy arm of Consumer Reports magazine, whose goal is to create a safe marketplace for consumers


2:30-2:39: OPEN


2:41:30 – 2:58:30

Comic books come of age – the depiction of race in graphic novels
The idea of comic books may bring to mind images of awkward teenage boys and eccentric collectors for some, but comic books have grown up, and they even have an upscale moniker – Graphic Novels – to match their diverse subject matter and increasing influence in our culture. Movie and television studios have increasingly turned to graphic novels for stories; such familiar movies and franchises as “Iron Man,” “Batman,” “Hellboy,” “Men in Black,” “Spider Man,” AMC’s popular zombie program, “The Walking Dead,” and the granddaddy of them all, “Superman,” all got their start with a pen and ink in serialized comic books. But as their popularity skyrockets, do graphic novels have an increased responsibility to reflect racial diversity and dispel stereotypes? A group of graphic novel authors and Professor Adilifu Nama from Loyola Marymount University host a conference today (Thursday) to discuss just these issues. Nama, the chair of the African American Studies Department at LMU, has applied this racial paradigm to science fiction in his 2008 book, “Black Space: Imagining Race in Science Fiction Film” and joins graphic novel artists such as Lalo Alcaraz (“La Cucaracha”), LeSean Thomas (“The Boondocks”) and others to talk about how graphic novels can address racial issues. What is the influence of graphic novels in modern society? How can, or should, graphic novels address issue of race?

Adilifu Nama
“ah-dih-LEE-foo NAH-mah”, chair of the African American Studies Department at Loyola Marymount University

Lalo Alcaraz, “LAH-loh AHL-cah-rahz”, Creator of the first nationally-syndicated, politically-themed Latino daily comic strip, “La Cucaracha”; professor at the Otis College of Art and Design








Lauren Osen

Southern California Public Radio - 89.3 KPCC

626-583-5173 / 626-483-5278 @Patt_Morrison


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