Analyst Corey Weiss, who was disgnosed with Autism as a young boy, works at Mindspark on August 24, 2016 in Santa Monica, California.

The Centers for Disease Control estimates that one percent of the global population has autism spectrum disorder. And while events like Autism Awareness Month have raised the disorder’s profile, a Drexel University study found that about 40 percent of young adults with autism are unemployed. But some tech giants like SAP, Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard Enterprise are actively trying to hire employees with autism. In this hour, we’ll look how employers and employees can both benefit from closing the employment gap for those on the autistic spectrum.

Resources Mentioned on Air

a male doctor and patient look at a screen and talk

All men between the ages of 55 and 69 should have the option of being screened for prostate cancer. That’s according to new guidelines from the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force. It’s a departure from 2012, when the task force discouraged screening for cancer with the prostate specific antigen (PSA) test. The procedure has a significant problem with false positives, which can lead to more testing, which in turn can cause impaired sexual functioning and incontinence. We’ll discuss the new recommendation, which is open for public comment until May 8.

A small fridge for storing breast milk at KQED in San Francisco.

Supervisor Katy Tang wants to make pumping at work easier for breastfeeding moms in San Francisco. Tang introduced legislation last month that would expand current law by requiring employers to provide a lactation space that is private, not a bathroom, has access to electricity and contains a flat surface and a chair. Current law requires employers make reasonable efforts to provide breaks and a location for pumping, but doesn’t contain such specific requirements. Studies have found links between early breastfeeding and health.

Journalist Don Lattin

Over the past 40 years, author Don Lattin has been writing about the beneficial uses of psychedelic drugs. In his new book, “Changing Our Minds: Psychedelic Sacraments and the New Psychotherapy,” the former San Francisco Chronicle religion writer shares stories of neuroscientists, volunteer research subjects and others searching for safe uses of psychedelics. He also recounts his own search for an alternative treatment for depression, which took him from Switzerland to a South American jungle.

Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (Mentioned on Air)

Frank Ostaseski is the author of "The Five Invitations."

While death is inevitable, many of us choose not to think about our own mortality or that of our loved ones. This is not true of Frank Ostaseski, cofounder of San Francisco’s Zen Hospice Project, who has accompanied more than 1,000 people through the intimate process of dying. From a bedside vantage point he has listened to countless regrets and revelations, lessons that he passes on in his new book, “The Five Invitations.” Ostaseski joins us in the studio to talk about what death can teach us about living full lives.

More Information on Frank Ostaseski’s Events

House Speaker Paul Ryan R-Wisconsin speaks at a press conference on repealing Obama Care and its replacement at the US Capitol on January 10, 2017 in Washington,DC.

House Republicans, led by Speaker Paul Ryan, released a long-awaited plan to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act on Monday. The new legislation, entitled the American Health Care Act, would keep intact the Obamacare provisions for pre-existing conditions, but would eliminate the mandate that all Americans have health insurance and would roll back Medicaid expansion. We discuss the proposed ACA replacement, which still faces some major challenges from both sides of the political aisle.

Read the American Health Care Act

A scientist works in the lab at University of California San Francisco October 5, 2009 in San Francisco, California. UCSF scientist Elizabeth Blackburn shared the 2009 Nobel Prize in medicine with Carol Greider and Jack Szostak for their discovery of how chromosomes are protected by telomeres and the enzyme telomerase.

Exercise, sleep and stress reduction are common prescriptions for staving off some of the diseases that can come with old age, but few of us understand exactly how these habits protect and change our bodies. Part of the answer may be that these healthy habits protect our telomeres — the tiny caps at the end of our chromosomes that keep conditions like diabetes and cancer at bay. That’s according to Nobel Laureate Elizabeth Blackburn and psychologist Elissa Epel, authors of “The Telomere Effect: A Revolutionary Approach to Living Younger, Healthier, Longer.” In this hour, they join us to discuss their theory on how to slow aging on a cellular level, and they’ll also share some specific practices they claim can help protect your telomeres and potentially extend your lifespan.

More about ‘The Telomere Effect’ and Information About Testing (mentioned on air)

A Cambodian health official takes a blood sample from a villager during a screening for HIV in Kandal province on February 22, 2016.

By 1996, pioneering HIV/AIDS researcher Arthur Ammann writes, all of the scientific advances, tools and knowledge necessary to eradicate AIDS were in place. Soon after, physicians in the United States began to treat HIV-infected patients with potent retroviral drugs and AIDS-related deaths dropped dramatically. But more than 20 years later, the number of HIV infections and deaths continues to increase in poor countries. Dr. Ammann chronicles the moral, institutional and medical failures that led to the now three decades-old global HIV/AIDS epidemic in his new book, “Lethal Decisions: The Unnecessary Deaths of Women and Children from HIV/AIDS.” We speak to Dr. Ammann about the book and his prescription for ending the global AIDS crisis.

a selection of bagels

Gluten-free labels are increasingly common in grocery stores, but a new study published in the medical journal ‘Epidemiology,’ found higher concentrations of arsenic and mercury in people eating gluten-free diets. A separate study from the Mayo Clinic found that while the number of people with celiac disease was stable from 2009 to 2014, the number of people who followed a gluten-free diet increased significantly in the same timeframe. We’ll discuss the latest research on celiac disease and the potential benefits and risks of going gluten free.

More Information:
Going Gluten-Free Might Increase Risk of Arsenic, Mercury Exposure, Study Finds (Chicago Tribune)

exas abortion provider Amy Hagstrom-Miller looks on as Nancy Northup, President of The Center for Reproductive Rights speaks to the media outside of the U.S. Supreme Court on June 27, 2016 in Washington, DC

After President-elect Donald Trump’s victory, NPR reported that some reproductive health centers and OB-GYN offices experienced an increase in inquiries about long term birth control. That increase reflects concern that the Affordable Care Act may be repealed or altered, making some birth control more expensive or harder to come by. Add in the Republican threat of defunding Planned Parenthood and Trump’s pledge to appoint pro-life Supreme Court justices and many people are wondering about the future of reproductive rights under a Trump administration.

a handle with chipped paint

Almost 3,000 communities across the nation have higher lead poisoning rates than Flint, Michigan, according to a recent Reuters investigation. Among these lead hotspots is Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood, where more than seven percent of children have unhealthy blood lead levels caused by exposure to contaminated paint and soil. Flint, Michigan gained worldwide attention in 2015 when city officials told residents to stop using tap water because of lead contamination. In this hour we discuss the Reuters investigation, the dangers posed by lead, who’s most at risk, and how to prevent harmful exposure.

More Information:

drugs are prepaired

The U.S. surgeon general released a landmark report this month calling for “a cultural shift in how we think about addiction.” The report also states that addiction is a chronic illness, not a moral failing, and comes at a time when one in seven Americans will experience substance abuse at some point in their lives. We’ll discuss the report, why the stigma surrounding addiction is so pervasive and share ideas for improving access to effective treatment.

More Information:

Facing Addiction in America: The Surgeon General’s Report on Alcohol, Drugs, and Health

A person walks into the UniVista Insurance company office where people are signing up for health care plans under the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, on December 15, 2015.

Throughout the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump vowed to eliminate Obamacare. But on Friday the President-elect indicated that he may like to keep the most popular elements of the Affordable Care Act intact. In this hour of Forum, we discuss the future of health care law under a Trump administration and take a look at how Covered California and Medi-Cal might be affected.


Cases of syphilis, gonorrhea and chlamydia reached a 20-year high in California in 2015, according to a report released Tuesday by the state health department. The report, which came on the heels of newly released CDC data tracking rising STD rates nationally, found the highest rates of infection among young people aged 15-24, African-Americans and men who have sex with men. Health officials attribute the rise in STDs to declining condom use and lack of access to clinics and testing. We discuss what can be done to reduce the STD rate in California and nationwide.

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