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FROM THIS EPISODE

A mammogram produces 4000 times more radiation than an airport security scan. An abdominal CT scan produces 200,000 times more. Are Americans getting too much of a good thing? We look at the medicine and the money. Also, troops respond with violence as thousands take to the streets in Syria, and the drop in unemployment. Is it because of more jobs or fewer people looking for work?

Banner image: A CT technologist looks on as a breast cancer patient runs through a CT scan at the UCSF Comprehensive Cancer Center in San Francisco, California. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Producers:
Frances Anderton
Katie Cooper
Gary Scott

Reporter's Notebook The Paradox of the Dropping Unemployment Rate 5 MIN, 51 SEC

In February, the economy added 194,000 new jobs, and 216,000 in March.  That's good news. The unemployment rate is dropping faster than it should, from 8.9 percent to 8.8.  But economists had predicted that it would go up. Daniel Indiviglio writes about the "dismal science" for the Atlantic magazine.

Guests:
Daniel Indiviglio, Atlantic magazine

Main Topic Medical Radiation: Are Americans Getting Too Much of a Good Thing? 37 MIN, 15 SEC

Since long before the Fukushima nuclear-plant disaster, doctors and others have been alarmed by Americans' increased exposure to radiation. But Japan's nuclear disaster has reawakened fear of the invisible enemy that's also used to discover diseases and save human lives. Even radiologists say Americans are getting too much of a good thing, but not from fallout, airport scanners or cell phones. Doctors are ordering seven times more radiation scans than they were 30 years ago, while diagnoses of life-threatening conditions have hardly risen at all. Are so many scans really needed for medicine or to avoid lawsuits, pay back investments in expensive machines and satisfy the demands of patients?

Guests:
Kathryn Higley, Oregon State University
Rebecca Smith-Bindman, University of California-San Francisco
Bruce J. Hillman, University of Virginia
Walt Bogdanich, New York Times
Steven Krug, Children’s Memorial Hospital

Making News Thousands Take to the Streets in Syria, Troops Respond with Violence 7 MIN, 42 SEC

In Syria today, thousands of protesters took to the streets after Friday prayers in Damascus and other cities.  Some were met by heavily armed soldiers using tear gas, electrified batons, clubs and bullets.  We speak with a reporter in Damascus who can't reveal her name or her affiliation for security reasons and with correspondent Nicholas Blanford, who's in Beirut, Lebanon for the Christian Science Monitor.

Guests:
Nicholas Blanford, Christian Science Monitor

Killing Mr. Lebanon

Nicholas Blanford

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