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Future of the Car/ Chronic Pain

Date Thursday - November 6, 2014
Host George Noory
Guests Alan TaylorDr. David Hanscom

In the first half, the host of Popular Science Radio and automotive aficionado, Alan Taylor, discussed the future of the car and how the automobile is becoming more than just transportation. He weighed in on various innovations including driver-less functions, efficiency, car-to-car connectivity and communications. Because so many cars these days end up having recalls (which often are minor repairs or updates funded by the manufacturer), he expressed some concern over the safety of driver-less or autonomous vehicles, when they finally do launch, years or decades from now.

Right now, we have cars that drive themselves somewhat but they are more like driver's aids, he explained. For instance, some models are equipped with radar and cameras that watch the road, and can hit the brakes if you fail to do so, when a vehicle suddenly stops in front of you. More than 90% of car crashes involve human error, so when this type of technology becomes ubiquitous, it will save thousands of lives each year, he said. Though cars are now made with lighter weight materials, they are much safer than those from previous generations. "In the old days, they built the car to take the punishment; today the car gives up its life to save yours" with the materials designed to crush away from the passengers," Taylor noted.

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In the latter half, orthopedic spinal surgeon Dr. David Hanscom talked about the problem of chronic pain, and how to control or eliminate it. There are millions of Americans who suffer from some type of chronic pain— possibly as high as 25 to 40% of the population, and more people have gone on disability every month than have found new jobs, he reported.

There are important differences between acute and chronic pain, he cited. The experience of chronic pain (which goes on for months or years) becomes associated with anxiety and emotional distress as they are processed in similar parts of the brain or on intersecting pathways, he explained. Instead of surgery, which can cause more chronic pain, in many cases Hanscom said he's able to help his patients learn about the variables that are causing their pain. A central part of their treatment involves getting a handle on their anxiety and anger, and other facets might include diet and alternative medicine approaches.

News segment guests: Christian Wilde, Scott Stevens, Dr. Peter Breggin

Related Material

Toyota's Car of the Future
Toyota's Car of the Future
One of Toyota's recent concept cars is the FV2, which posits a future world in which vehicle technology has greatly progressed. Watch a video here.

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Bumper music from Thursday November 06, 2014

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