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UnDisciplined: The Cognitive Anthropologist And The Research Surgeon

Our world often seems to be really divided, particularly across cultures in which everyone seems to play by different rules. But today we're going to hear from a researcher who believes there are actually seven universal moral rules that have been embraced by pretty much every society.

Then, we'll chat with a pediatric surgeon who has identified a significant warning sign for patients who may have difficulty with addiction if they're prescribed painkillers after surgery. 

Joining us from the University of Oxford is Oliver Scott Curry, who was part of a team of researchers who set out to determine whether the existence of seven common moral rules existed across cultures. Their recent report in the journal Current Anthropologydescribes a code of sorts that exists all over the world.

Also joining us on the line from Michigan, where she is a general surgery resident at the Universisty of Michigan and a research fellow at the Opioid Prescribing Engagement Network, is Calista Harbaugh. She helped author a recent paper in the American Medical Association journal Surgery, which reveals that having a family member with persistent opioid use may be a risk factor for those who struggle with getting off opioids after surgery.  

Matthew LaPlante has reported on ritual infanticide in Northern Africa, insurgent warfare in the Middle East, the legacy of genocide in Southeast Asia, and gang violence in Central America. But a few years back, something donned on him: Maybe the news doesn't have to be brutally depressing all the time. Today, he balances his continuing work on more heartbreaking subjects by writing books about the intersection of science, human health and society, including the New York Times best-selling Lifespan with geneticist David Sinclair and the Nautilus Award-winning Longevity Plan with cardiologist John Day. His first solo book, Superlative, looks at what scientists are learning by studying organisms that have evolved in record-setting ways, and his is currently at work on another book about embracing the inevitability of human-caused climate change with an optimistic outlook on the future.