Dr. Ford Vox | WABE 90.1 FM

Dr. Ford Vox

WABE Medical Analyst

Every Thursday WABE 90.1 brings Atlanta an in-depth conversation on important medical news you might have missed. We call it the "WABE Medical Minute," and you’ll hear it on "Morning Edition" and later in the day on "Closer Look." Jim Burress and Dr. Ford Vox go beyond the headlines to explain what you need to know about how healthcare is changing and medical science is progressing. Vox, who also writes commentary and journalism for CNN and other outlets, doesn’t mince his words. We aim to cut through the cacophony of health news to tell you what’s bunk and what’s worth your time, attention, and even adoption. 

Dr. Ford Vox is a medical journalist and commentator who has served as WABE 90.1’s medical analyst since 2015. As an investigative journalist, Vox has twice taken on Amazon.com: first over illegal sales of prescription drugs and later, caffeine powder. He wrote wide-ranging reports for The Atlantic, ranging from an expose on how the orthopedic device industry influenced the numbers of American spine surgeons, an exploration of how a Texas newspaper got hoodwinked into helping Scientology in its battle against psychiatry, a challenge to the role of Georgia’s doctors in the state’s death penalty, and essays on media ethics. At CNN, Vox aims to apply fresh insight to the biggest stories, tackling topics like Prince’s death, Maria Sharapova’s suspension, health policy communication and physician gag laws. In his medical practice, Vox is specialist in brain injury medicine, overseeing the care in one of Shepherd Center’s two inpatient brain injury units. He graduated from Rhodes College and received his medical training at the University of Alabama, Washington University in St. Louis and Boston University. 

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When is a headache just a headache? Doctors have long noticed that some people who’ve survived strokes report experiencing migraine headaches before the stroke. At the same time, we know that the vast majority of migraine headaches aren’t concerning for anything more serious.

Now the link between migraines and stroke is becoming clear – and it lies in two small arteries in the back of your neck.

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Cyclists during the 2014 Mayor's Bike Ride in Atlanta
Steve Eberhardt / Courtesy Atlanta Bicycle Coalition

Getting “doored” is one of the most feared events for any urban cyclist. That’s when a motorist or vehicle passenger who isn’t paying attention swings open their door into the path of an oncoming cyclist. A retired Boston physician, affected by the death of a local barista and nursing student who got doored, is trying to do something about it.

Tune in and learn about the Dutch Reach, and why you should do it whenever parking on city streets.

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Kathy Willens / Associated Press

Supplements, or the fancier term, “nutraceuticals,” have gotten a well-deserved bad reputation in evidence-based medicine circles. But a new strategy is afoot in this multi-billion dollar industry: gathering evidence first before marketing a product. 

In this "Medical Minute" segment we highlight one such effort surrounding a treatment for the postpartum blues, which can be a precursor to postpartum depression.

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In this "Medical Minute" segment, reporter Jim Burress and medical analyst Dr. Ford Vox talk about the wave of pollen coating Atlanta this time of year, and the approach to cope with it that some folks recommend: more pollen!

Bee pollen supplement is rising is popularity. Find out what it is, as well as its risks and alternatives in this segment.

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Jeff Chiu / Associated Press file

News broke in Canada this week that the nation’s leading Liberal party plans to legalize marijuana throughout that country by the summer of next year.

Peter Dejong / Associated Press

In this "Medical Minute," senior reporter Jim Burress and medical analyst Dr. Ford Vox talk about the growing research backing the use of psychedelics in psychiatry.

Drop out and tune in to this mind-altering segment.

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Brennan Linsley / Associated Press

In today's  "Medical Minute," reporter Jim Burress and medical analyst Dr. Ford Vox talk about the American Health Care Act currently under committee debate in the House. The bill is under attack from the right and the left for different reasons.

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Vox explains why he joins the American Medical Association, the American Hospital Association and other stakeholders in criticizing this legislation.

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In this "Medical Minute," reporter Jim Burress and medical analyst Dr Ford Vox talk about the Nordic import of pole walking, also known as polestriding.

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Buress and Vox talk about how the activity changes the way you walk and the growing body of research that says it's beneficial for a variety of medical conditions, ranging from simple arthritis to peripheral artery disease, and even Parkinson's disease.

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Dr. Ford Vox

In these "Medical Minute," WABE senior correspondent Jim Burress and medical analyst Dr. Ford Vox discuss homeopathy – more specifically a line of homeopathic teething tablets and gels produced by Hyland’s Homeopathic. 

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Protesters stand outside of the South Domestic Terminal at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport Sunday. The Atlanta airport protest was among several that occurred in airports across the country.
Alison Guillory / WABE

In this "Medical Minute" segment, WABE senior correspondent Jim Burress and medical analyst Dr. Ford Vox discuss the impact of the Trump Administration's temporary executive order affecting travel from seven majority-Muslim countries.

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In this "Medical Minute" segment, WABE senior correspondent Jim Burress and medical analyst Dr. Ford Vox talk about compelling evidence that fish oil supplements taken by pregnant women may decrease the risk of asthma in their children. 

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Bisgaard et al. "Fish Oil–Derived Fatty Acids in Pregnancy and Wheeze and Asthma in Offspring." New England Journal of Medicine. 2016; 375:2530-2539

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In this "Medical Minute" segment, WABE senior correspondent Jim Burress and medical analyst Dr. Ford Vox talk about home-based testing for sleep apnea, a sleep disorder in which breathing is repeatedly interrupted while a person sleeps. This problem affects 25 percent of adults aged 30 to 70 and leads to dangerous fatigue that can cause traffic accidents.

 In this June 30, 2009 file photo, Tylenol Extra Strenth is shown in a medicine cabinet at a home in Palo Alto, Calif.
AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, file

In this "Medical Minute" segment, WABE senior correspondent Jim Burress and medical analyst Dr. Ford Vox talk about how even some of the most common drugs in your medicine cabinet can have unexpected side effects. The growing evidence that drugs like Tylenol and common NSAIDS like Aleve can contribute to hearing loss serve as a reminder that you’ve always got to keep in mind everything you take has a potential cost. Make sure any drug is your best option before you take it, and make an effort get off it whenever the benefits aren’t clear.

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Own a hot tub, or thinking about getting in one while on vacation? In this "Medical Minute" segment, WABE senior correspondent Jim Burress and medical analyst Dr. Ford Vox discuss just what can happen if it isn’t properly maintained. There’s a reason two diseases are named for their association with hot tubs. Soak safe this winter!

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In this "Medical Minute" segment, WABE senior correspondent Jim Burress and medical analyst Dr. Ford Vox discuss the striking extent to which our health and even our lifespans are impacted by social influences, especially geography.

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In this "Medical Minute" segment, WABE senior correspondent Jim Burress and medical analyst Dr. Ford Vox talk about physical problems that might all be in your head. Everything from a lump in your throat to fainting spells can actually be a manifestation of subconscious stress. Evidence now suggests doctors shouldn’t shy away from telling patients when they think a problem is “psychogenic.”

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In this "Medical Minute" segment, WABE senior correspondent Jim Burress and medical analyst Dr. Ford Vox talk about the current state of Parkinson’s disease treatment, and how wearable monitors and apps are helping neurologists adjust medications and better recognize when a new approach is needed.

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Heldman et al. Wearable Sensors for Advanced Therapy Referral in Parkinson's Disease. Journal of Parkinsons Disease. 2016 Jul 2;6(3):631-8.

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In this "Medical Minute" segment, WABE senior correspondent Jim Burress and medical analyst Dr. Ford Vox discuss the rise of the peanut allergy, which is the most common nut allergy and, for some folks, can provoke a potentially deadly anaphylactic reaction. A variety of treatments are under investigation, all designed to prevent scenarios where your life depends on an EpiPen. In this segment we highlight the Viaskin peanut patch.

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In this "Medical Minute" segment, WABE senior correspondent Jim Burress and medical analyst Dr. Ford Vox talk about cardiac arrest.

Even in 2016, and with the best medical care the United States has to offer, if your heart stops and you’re still needing CPR when paramedics deliver you to the hospital, your chances of survival are less than 8 percent.

U.S. Food and Drug Administration via AP, File

In this "Medical Minute" segment, WABE senior correspondent Jim Burress and medical analyst Dr. Ford Vox talk about a concerning new "trend" in healthcare: the discovery that some of the complicated devices we rely on to help save lives can sometimes spread infections between patients.

In this "Medical Minute" segment, WABE senior correspondent Jim Burress and medical analyst Dr. Ford Vox talk about the current predicament in Alzheimer's disease research and treatment.

We're getting better and better at predicting this common form of dementia, even 15 or 20 years before clinical symptoms develop. But treatment lags behind our growing knowledge and ability to detect the problem.

In this "Medical Minute" segment, WABE senior reporter Jim Burress and medical analyst Dr. Ford Vox talk about kidney stones, some common ways to lessen your risk for them, and one very uncommon “treatment” you can find at Disney World: Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. 

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Mitchell et al. Validation of a Functional Pyelocalyceal Renal Model for the Evaluation of Renal Calculi Passage While Riding a Roller Coaster. J Am Osteopath Assoc. 2016 Oct 1;116(10):647-52.

In this "Medical Minute" segment, WABE senior reporter Jim Burress and medical analyst Dr. Ford Vox discuss the problem of osteoporosis and one of its most severe consequences: spinal compression fractures.

Collapsed back bones (vertebrae) can be very painful and become progressive due to curvature of the spine. There’s debate about what to do about a single new collapsed vertebra. The pain gradually improves for many people with a conservative approach, but a once-disfavored intervention, vertebroplasty, is rising in popularity again, this time with better evidence.

In this "Medical Minute" segment, WABE senior reporter Jim Burress and medical analyst Dr. Ford Vox talk about reported cases of Legionnaires' disease associated with employees of Lockheed Martin in Marietta.

In this "Medical Minute" segment, WABE senior reporter Jim Burress and medical analyst Dr. Ford Vox discuss the most common cause of knee injury in middle aged folks: meniscus tears. The typical surgical response, an arthroscopic partial meniscectomy, doesn’t appear to be any better than a regular exercise program for most people.

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In today’s episode of "Medical Minute," WABE's senior reporter Jim Burress and medical analyst Dr. Ford Vox talk about why nerve stimulation is poised to become an important new treatment option for people living with rheumatoid arthritis.

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Koopman et al. Vagus nerve stimulation inhibits cytokine production and attenuates disease severity in rheumatoid arthritis. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA. 2016 Jul 19;113(29):8284-9. 

James Gathany / CDC

In this week’s "Medical Minute," Dr. Ford Vox and Jim Burress talk about Kris Kristofferson’s case of Lyme disease, and what Georgians need to know about tick-borne illnesses in the state.

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Rolling Stone: Kris Kristofferson: An Outlaw at 80

This Oct. 14, 2015, file photo, shows the Food & Drug Administration campus in Silver Spring, Md.
Andrew Harnik, File / Associated Press

On Thursday, WABE contributor Dr. Ford Vox and "Closer Look" host Jim Burress talked about how the European Union’s system for reviewing medical devices isn’t as rigorous as what the FDA here puts companies through. But a system Europeans might want to question nonetheless may benefit Americans who drink from the cup second.

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On Thursday’s "Medical Minute," WABE's "Closer Look" host Jim Burress and contributor Dr. Ford Vox talk about the state of mental health care in America and the controversial connection to mass shootings.

The numbers of psychiatrists are in decline, as are inpatient psychiatric beds, and a recent report ranked Georgia near the very bottom of states for access to mental health care. Does the Helping Families in Mental Health Crisis Act, which recently passed the U.S. House, offer some hope? 

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In this April 23, 2014 file photo, a man smokes an electronic cigarette in Chicago.
Nam Y. Huh, File / AP Photo

On Thursday's "Medical Minute," Jim Burress and Dr. Ford Vox talk about the FDA’s plan to start regulating e-cigarettes, and why that’s an important step. Shady manufacturers have flooded the market with faulty devices that can cause burns and even explode, but even when they work as advertised, they have their own health risks and you should think twice. There’s plenty of evidence the e-cigarette industry is targeting kids, and using them appears to make it six times more likely a teenager will go on to start smoking regular cigarettes.

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