Pitt Medcast is an award-winning podcast about scientific discovery, produced by Elaine Vitone and her colleagues at Pitt Med, the medical school magazine. A multi-layered narrative documentary, Pitt Medcast has aired on the National Science Foundation’s international stream Science360 Radio, as well as NPR member stations WYAP, WTJU, and KRZA. The podcast was also handpicked by Public Radio Exchange’s highly curated storytelling channel/app, PRX Remix.  Check here regularly to hear new podcasts related to neuroscience, like these:

Inside the world of OCD

Every day, Hillary Zurbuch grappled with a nagging fear that if she didn’t look just right, something bad would happen. Zurbuch lives with obsessive compulsive disorder, a tug-of-war between intrusive, often fearful thoughts and repetitive rituals she’s devised to control them. Although the reasons for OCD are unknown, psychiatrist and researcher Susanne Ahmari, MD, PhD, is using clinical observations and new neuroscience tools to extricate a deeper understanding of the disorder. (13:25)


How the nose knows

Neurobiologist Nathan Urban, PhD, and mathematician Bard Ermentrout, PhD, head a multi-institutional team that uses blind scent-tracing tests and other experiments to better understand how animals are able to localize odors. They hope the NSF-funded investigation will inform new technologies, and provide insight into neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s, autism, and Parkinson’s. (6:24)


How wisdom teeth might be used to treat corneal damage

Right now, the only treatment for corneal blindness is a corneal transplant. But potential new cures are coming from unexpected places—including wisdom teeth! A husband-and-wife team in ophthalmology has been working toward the dream of regrowing new corneal tissue for years—that’s Jim Funderburgh, PhD, and Martha Funderburgh, a research assistant in his lab and a corneal transplant recipient herself. It turns out that adult stem cells taken from our own eyes and teeth appear to be capable of regenerating tissue so vital to our focusing power. (13:23)


The neurobiology of itch

Pain and itch have an interesting relationship. If you are bitten by a mosquito, you can ease the itch by scratching your skin. And if you take a dose of a powerful painkiller like morphine, you're likely to itch. The interrelatedness of these two experiences has made deciphering their neurobiology a real puzzler.  Sarah Ross, PhD, assistant professor of neurobiology, discusses her recent breakthroughs with this head scratcher. (8:25)


Tinnitus: Filling a void with phantom sounds

Tinnitus—a ringing, buzzing or hissing noise that afflicts people who’ve been exposed to loud sounds—was long thought to be an affliction of the ear, but imaging studies have proved its source is in the brain. Thanos Tzounopoulos, PhD, an expert in brain plasticity, has uncovered the molecular mechanisms of this long-misunderstood condition, now the most common service-associated disability for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. (10:21)