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Release:April 10, 2002

WSUI, UI Health Care host 'Talk of the Nation Science Friday'

WSUI 910 AM and University of Iowa Health Care will co-sponsor a live national broadcast from the University of Iowa of "Talk of the Nation Science Friday" with Ira Flatow of National Public Radio (NPR).

The two-hour live broadcast begins at 1 p.m., Friday, April 12, and will take place at the Levitt Center for University Advancement.

In the first hour, the topic will be advances in understanding the brain and the mind with two leading brain researchers and UI professors, Antonio R. Damasio, M.D., the Maurice Van Allen Professor of Neurology, and Nancy C. Andreasen, M.D., Ph.D., the Andrew H. Woods Chair of Psychiatry and director of the UI Mental Health Clinical Research Center.

In the second hour of "Talk of the Nation Science Friday," Flatow will discuss rural health issues with James Merchant, M.D., Dr.P.H., dean of the UI College of Public Health, and Kelley Donham, D.V.M., professor in the Department of Occupational & Environmental Health at the UI and director of Iowa's Center for Agricultural Safety and Health (I-CASH). Maureen Reeves Horsley, an advanced registered nurse practitioner at Avera-McKennan Health System in Sioux Falls, S.D. and Kathy Williams, coordinator of Iowa Office of Rural Health in the Iowa Department of Public Health will also join the discussion.

Andreasen's investigations have led to a better understanding of schizophrenia and improved tools to study the condition. She also helped develop the use of imaging tools in studies on mental illness and brain activity. Her most recent book, "Brave New Brain: Conquering Mental Illness in the Era of the Genome," has been nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. Andreasen received the president's National Medal of Science in December 2000.

Damasio is internationally recognized for his research on the neurobiology of cognition. Damasio's research has led to a greater understanding of how the brain orchestrates higher-level cognitive functions such as language, memory, emotion and the capacity to make decisions. His studies also have explained how damage to particular regions of the brain affects the brain's ability to perform these functions. In addition to many scientific papers, Damasio also has written two books about his work; "Descartes' Error: Emotion, Reason and the Human Brain" and "The Feeling of What Happens: Body and Emotion in the Making of Consciousness."

Donham's research has focused on occupational and environmental hazards in agriculture, veterinary environmental health effects of livestock environment on human and animal health, comparative aspects of neoplastic and infectious diseases, environmental carcinogens, infectious diseases common to animals and man and delivery of occupational health services to agricultural communities.

Merchant is a nationally known expert on occupational and environmental health, public health policy and rural health outcomes. He has served on numerous national and international committees and advisory boards in the areas of public health, occupational and environmental health and rural health policy. He served as head of the College of Medicine's Department of Preventive Medicine and Environmental Health, and was instrumental in the development of a College of Public Health at the UI.

Science Friday is a weekly two-hour science talk show, broadcast live over public radio stations nationwide. The program’s topics are drawn from human health and medicine and focus on science topics that are in the news and bring an educated, balanced discussion on scientific issues at hand.

Panels of expert guests join Science Friday host Ira Flatow to discuss science and to take questions from listeners during the call-in portion of the program. Flatow is a veteran NPR science correspondent and Emmy Award-winning TV journalist. He hosts the show each Friday, bringing NPR listeners a lively, informative discussion on health and science. Flatow has appeared on many TV shows, hosted numerous science-related discussions on the Internet, published two books and authored articles for various magazines and newspapers. He also founded the multimedia company ScienCentral.

Limited seating is available for the live program, which is open to the public. For more information, call WSUI at (319) 335-5730 or email

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and the UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide. Visit UI Health Care online at