Cover art for podcast Only Human

Only Human

80 EpisodesProduced by WNYC StudiosWebsite

Only Human is a show about health that we all can relate to. Because every body has a story.

80 Episodes | 2015 - 2019

Join Us on 'The Stakes'

April 25th, 2019


The team that brought you Only Human and The Realness are teaming up with Kai Wright and WNYC Studios to bring you more stories about health, …

Only Human Presents: Undiscovered

September 27th, 2018


Only Human presents: Undiscovered, a podcast from WNYC Studios about the left turns, missteps, and lucky breaks that make science happen. In this …

The Realness Ep6: Missing You

August 10th, 2018


Prodigy is supposed to fly back home right after a show in Vegas, but he never gets on the plane. As the world of hip hop mourns, there are still questions surrounding his death. We try to find answers, and go inside …

The Realness Ep5: Go See About the God

August 6th, 2018


It's The Alchemist's birthday, but thanks to the NYPD's "Rap Intelligence Unit," he and Prodigy are forced to celebrate in a jail cell, and soon after, P is headed upstate. But even Prodigy says prison changed him for …

The Realness Ep4: The Most Racist Judge in Nassau County

August 3rd, 2018


When Prodigy goes on trial for violating probation, his lawyer files over 90 pages of P's medical records in his defense. We find those records …

The Realness B-Side: Roxanne Shanté

August 1st, 2018


Roxanne Shanté is the queen of Queensbridge rappers. As a teenager in the 1980s, she lyrically demolished all comers. In this B-side outtake, we talk …

The Realness Ep3: Son, They Shook

July 30th, 2018


Someone is shot inside Def Jam. A rap star chases Mobb Deep through Lower Manhattan. And Prodigy convinces a hip hop mogul to sneak weapons into one …

The Realness Ep2: T'Chaka

July 28th, 2018


As a kid with sickle cell anemia, Prodigy was told he'd barely make it to adulthood. The work of doctors, athletes, Hollywood stars and The Black …

The Realness Ep1: This Sunny Day Right Here

July 27th, 2018


Prodigy and Havoc begin laying down rhymes together in high school. When their first album flops, they come up with a new sound that's directly …

Aftereffect Ep8: “They call him Cheese”

July 20th, 2018


One day in February, a group of staff packed up Arnaldo's belongings, moved him out of Carlton Palms and into a three-bedroom house in a suburban neighborhood. On its face, it's the type of setting disability advocates …

WNYC Studios presents: The Realness

July 19th, 2018


The Realness is about how a sick kid became a legendary rapper, but still couldn't escape sickle cell anemia.

Aftereffect Ep7: “The man behind an empire”

July 16th, 2018


For decades, Carlton Palms' elusive founder, Ken Mazik, has wielded his power and influence to sway members of Congress and state legislatures into …

Aftereffect Ep6: “When they don't behave”

July 13th, 2018


A cup of hot water thrown on a developmentally-disabled resident. Another kicked in the ribs. A tooth knocked out by a staff member. Carlton Palms had a dark history long before Arnaldo arrived. So why is the state of …

Aftereffect Ep5: “I need to believe”

July 9th, 2018


A year and a half after the shooting, there are signs of trouble at Arnaldo's new home, Carlton Palms. The staff isn't keeping an eye on him. There are unexplained injuries. His mother isn't allowed to see his room and …

Aftereffect Ep4: “I Baker Act you. You Baker Acted me.”

July 6th, 2018


The day of the shooting wasn't Arnaldo's first encounter with the police. In fact, they'd loomed large in his life for years before that. Even as he …

Aftereffect Ep3: “He was definitely a handful”

July 2nd, 2018


Since the beginning, Arnaldo’s mother struggled to find adequate care for her autistic son. Her memories are often painful: the doctors who wouldn't …

Aftereffect Ep2: “Suck it up, buttercup”

June 29th, 2018


The shooting left Arnaldo severely traumatized, unable to remain in the home where Charles Kinsey had taken care of him. The next day, he was …

Aftereffect Ep 1: “Let me get this on camera”

June 28th, 2018


Only Human listeners, we're here with a new podcast series that we think will be right up your alley. Aftereffect touches on the same themes of how health intersects with our lives everyday. Give it a shot. Let us know …

Aftereffect: A SWAT team, an autistic man, an American tragedy.

June 21st, 2018


In summer 2016, a police shooting upended the life of Arnaldo Rios Soto, a 26-year old, non-speaking, autistic man. Aftereffect tells Arnaldo's story …

Caught: "The Teenage Brain is Like a Sports Car"

April 4th, 2018


We'll give a sneak peek at what's next for Only Human, and then share an episode of one of WNYC's latest podcasts, Caught. Mary Harris reports on Stephen Hall, one of thousands of so-called "juvenile lifers" who have an …

The Birth of Climate Change Denial

May 17th, 2017


Starting with the 1925 Scopes Trial to climate change, we look at how even well-established science can remain controversial.  

“I Got Indian in My Family”: An Another Round Takeover

April 19th, 2017


Another Round co-host Tracy Clayton enlisted Only Human to help her with an experiment, to find her roots.

Trans Kids Update: Dating, PMS, And, Yeah, Bathrooms

April 5th, 2017


When North Carolina passed HB2 last year — a controversial law also known as the "bathroom bill" — it seemed to many that the rights of transgender …


March 22nd, 2017


If you’ve ever worried about catching a cold from a co-worker who came into work when he (or she) should’ve taken a sick day, then this episode is …

Just Put Some Vicks On It

March 8th, 2017


A granddaughter sets out to find the roots of her grandmother’s obsession with Vicks Vaporub. The little blue jar ends up changing their relationship.  

A Three Year-Old Girl, a Colony of Dogs, and One Very Rare Side Effect

February 22nd, 2017


When Mathilda Crisp was three years-old, she got sick. She stopped sleeping through the night, but during the day, she would fall asleep without …

The Woman Behind a Secret Grey's Anatomy Experiment

February 8th, 2017


Jennifer Jako spent a lifetime trying to explain a single mistake she made. In this episode, we tell the story of that mistake and how it ultimately …

The Crowd Made You Do It

January 25th, 2017


Who knew counting a crowd would be so… political? If the election felt contentious, the inauguration seemed to make the country even more divided, …

Take Our Survey!

January 17th, 2017


Only Human is working on an episode about the psychology of crowds. We're looking at what happens to us as individuals when we join a rally, a …

Please Spit in This Tube: An Election Experiment

November 4th, 2016


The 2016 election has certainly felt stressful. But what is the Trump-Clinton saga actually doing to us, physically? It turns out there’s a way to …

Me and My Therapist

August 9th, 2016


We have this idea of what therapy is supposed to look like. There’s a couch. An objective therapist sitting across the room scribbling notes. But of course it’s not that simple. In this episode, six short stories, many …

I’d Rather Have a Living Son Than a Dead Daughter

August 2nd, 2016


Earlier this year, North Carolina passed HB2, the so-called "bathroom bill." But the state is also home to one of the few clinics for transgender …

Growing Up "Ugly"

July 26th, 2016


Robert Hoge doesn’t look like most people. He was born with severe defects; growing up, he had to get used to people calling him “ugly.” This week, Robert reflects on the lie we all tell ourselves: that it’s what on the …

Yes, Simba, Chimps Laugh

July 19th, 2016


Is laughter really the best medicine? This week, Mary Harris and Studio 360’s Kurt Andersen try to find out. We go to laughter yoga in New York, an improv class for doctors and nurses in Chicago, and talk to some brain …

The Prank Your Body Plays On Life

July 12th, 2016


Poet Max Ritvo is back on our show this week, for what he’s calling his “farewell tour".The 25-year-old has spent years living with terminal cancer …

Your Brain On Sound (Rebroadcast)

July 5th, 2016


When Rose was growing up, she knew something wasn't quite right about how she heard the world. But every time she got a hearing test at the …

I Thought the Truth Would Be Enough

June 28th, 2016


Marc Edwards uncovered the dangerous lead in Flint’s water last year. Like a lot of other people crusading for change, he discovered the struggle isn’t just about getting the science right. It’s also about convincing …

Vacation Is All I Ever Wanted

June 21st, 2016


For some people, there is no “getting over” being sick. There’s just an occasional break from the pain. Three people tell Only Human what it’s like when life hands you a vacation from disease and then sends you home …

One Doctor's Mission: Safe Abortions in the South (Rebroadcast)

June 14th, 2016


As the Supreme Court nears its decision on a landmark abortion case, we revisit a favorite episode. Dr. Willie Parker, a devout Christian, refused to perform abortions in his early career. Then he heard a Martin Luther …

Part 3: A Star With Schizophrenia

June 7th, 2016


In part three of our mental health series we meet Rachel Star Withers, a fearless woman with schizophrenia who offers a rare snapshot of mental …

Part 2: Be the Doctor Your Mom Wanted You to Marry

May 31st, 2016


Medical school culture isn’t known to be open about mental health issues. But many students like Giselle suffer from intense anxiety and depression. …

Part 1: 'You Don't Watch Bollywood With Me Anymore'

May 24th, 2016


What happens when you’re becoming a psychologist but you’ve  never come clean to your own family about your struggles with mental health? This is the …

Too Ornery to Die

May 17th, 2016


Scientist Paul Quinton has lived twice as long as expected for someone with cystic fibrosis. He also made a discovery that led to a breakthrough …

Medicine and Mistrust on Native American Reservations

May 10th, 2016


Native Americans have struggled with poor access to health care for many years. Two doctors who grew up on reservations are trying to change that, one patient at a time.

A Deaf Composer Holds Out for Science (Rebroadcast)

May 3rd, 2016


Jay Alan Zimmerman is a musician who has been losing his hearing over the past several decades. As his hearing worsened, Jay considered other …

How a Prenatal Test Is Transforming Modern Medicine

April 26th, 2016


Prenatal screening keeps getting more precise, more accessible, and less stressful -- at least in terms of the basic procedure. But what happens when …

The Robot Vacuum Ate My Pancreas

April 19th, 2016


A young woman with diabetes hacks her insulin pump and takes DIY medicine to a new level. But could she find herself in trouble with the federal …

Doctor Stories: The Patient I’ll Never Forget

April 12th, 2016


Doctors listen to stories from patients all the time. This week, we give them the mic to hear about the patients who left a lasting impression on their lives.

Real Doctors, Fake Medicine?

April 5th, 2016


What actually makes you feel better when you go to the doctor? This week we explore that question and the power of a placebo – the most misunderstood “medicine” of all.

Every (Dead) Body Has A Story

March 29th, 2016


When it comes to dissecting a cadaver, medical students don’t always know who is under their scalpel. This week, Only Human’s Fred Mogul learns about …

The Man Who Cured Everything

March 22nd, 2016


In the early 1900s, an eccentric fitness guru named Bernarr Macfadden discovered what he believed was a treatment for everything: fasting. In this episode, how Macfadden’s miracle cure got big, was forgotten and came …

When Risky Sex Lands You in Jail

March 15th, 2016


We’re often taught that sex can come with consequences. But is our fear of these risks making us alienate and punish people with sexually transmitted disease?

The Science of Turning Her On

March 8th, 2016


The new “female Viagra” has been underwhelming. But researcher Nicole Prause is on a mission to find out what it takes for women to have better sex.

Your Sanity or Your Kidneys (Revisited)

March 1st, 2016


Jaime Lowe started taking lithium when she was 17, after a manic episode landed her in a psychiatric ward. She was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, …

When Opera Meets Autism

February 23rd, 2016


A neuropsychologist and an opera singer have teamed up to create a form of vocal training for people on the autism spectrum. So far they’ve had …

A Doctor’s Love Affair with Vicodin

February 16th, 2016


Peter Grinspoon spent years addicted to painkillers – as a successful physician who also prescribed them. He kept his addiction secret and often …

Don't Count on the Calorie

February 9th, 2016


Calories, the longstanding building blocks of a diet, can be sneaky. It turns out that measuring what we eat through these units of energy isn’t as …

One Doctor’s Mission: Safe Abortions in the South

February 2nd, 2016


Dr. Willie Parker, a devout Christian, refused to perform abortions early in his career. Now he travels across conservative states like Alabama and Mississippi, amid threats and criticism, providing safe abortions for …

How to Stop an Outbreak

January 26th, 2016


An outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease had New Yorkers panicking last summer. We go behind the scenes to find out how the city stopped a deadly bacteria that claimed 16 lives, and left more than a hundred people sick.

When Life's a Medical Experiment

January 19th, 2016


Ever since Susannah Ludwig was born without an esophagus, her life has been a series of medical experiments. In this episode, the Academy Award-nominated movie producer talks about the uncertainty of living with a rare …

Bacon, Booze and the Search for the Fountain of Youth

January 12th, 2016


When we ask the world’s oldest people a simple question — what’s your secret to longevity? — we walk away with some pretty illogical answers. In this …

This Is the Year You Stick to It

January 5th, 2016


Behavioral economist Dan Ariely's insights into why we do what we do have made him a best-selling author and a star TED talker. Now, he's going to …

Why is Healthcare So Expensive? We Ask an Expert

December 29th, 2015


We all know the cost of healthcare is staggering in this country — but is there anything you can do about it? Dr. Zeke Emanuel talks about how we can be a smarter consumers of healthcare, and the ways the system might …

Patients and Doctors Fess Up (Rebroadcast)

December 22nd, 2015


(REBROADCAST) When we asked you to share your health confessions with us we didn’t know what to expect. Turns out you guys have all kinds of vices: you eat the wrong things, you use drugs, sometimes you lie to your …

Putting Care Back in the ICU

December 15th, 2015


Does a more humane hospital equal a safer one? That’s a question Johns Hopkins is grappling with — and Dr. Peter Pronovost believes the answer is yes. His Project Emerge aims to reengineer the way patients are cared for …

Let's Talk About Death

December 8th, 2015


Bishop Gwendolyn Phillips Coates is on a mission. She’s a preacher in a small church in South L.A., and she’s made it her job to get her congregation …

Your Brain On Sound

December 1st, 2015


When Rose was growing up, she knew something wasn't quite right about how she heard the world. But every time she got a hearing test at the …

Listen Up! The Big Turkey in the Sky

November 24th, 2015


It’s not coincidental that Only Human decided to tackle listening right before a big holiday, when a lot of us will spend time with family. Sometimes …

Listen Up! Day 5: Yes, And... !

November 20th, 2015


When you’re in a situation where you have to collaborate with other people, it’s easy to get stuck in a sludge of unproductivity. So we’re borrowing …

Listen Up! Day 4: Memorize This!

November 19th, 2015


Memory and listening go hand-in-hand. But you know the feeling: You’re at an event where you don’t know anyone. And then you get introduced to lots …

Listen Up! Day 3: Take a Breather

November 18th, 2015


We often scramble to fill up “awkward silence” in conversations. But the best listeners know when others just need to be heard. Renowned mediator Ken Feinberg listens to thousands of heartbreaking stories after tragic …

Listen Up! Day 2: Mirror, Mirror

November 17th, 2015


Being a good listener isn’t just about your ears. Body language can tell you a lot about a person’s intentions, and it’s one of the keys to Hamilton actor Okieriete Onaodowan’s success on stage. And with the help of …

Listen Up! Day 1: Face-to-Face

November 16th, 2015


We're so used to communicating with each other through email, text, tweets — everything but face-to-face. But when we are left with tech, we might be missing a lot of crucial information. With the help of MTV's …

Dreaming of a Deaf Utopia

November 10th, 2015


As a kid, Marvin Miller dreamed of starting an all sign language town. A place where deaf would be the norm and everyone from the garbage man to the …

A Deaf Composer Holds Out for Science

November 3rd, 2015


Jay Alan Zimmerman is a musician who has been losing his hearing over the past several decades. As his hearing worsened, Jay considered other …

Who Are You Calling 'Inspiring'?

October 27th, 2015


At 24, Max Ritvo has a lot going for him. He's a gifted poet with a teaching job at Columbia University and a manuscript that he's shopping to …

Patients and Doctors Fess Up

October 20th, 2015


When we asked you to share your health confessions with us we didn’t know what to expect. Turns out you guys have all kinds of vices: you eat the wrong things, you use drugs, sometimes you lie to your doctors. And …

Your Sanity or Your Kidneys

October 13th, 2015


Jaime Lowe started taking lithium when she was 17, after a manic episode landed her in a psychiatric ward. She was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, …

Keep the Baby, Get the Chemo

October 6th, 2015


A young mom learns she has breast cancer. Then, while she's scheduling surgery and planning for chemo, she finds out something else: she's pregnant. …

Welcome to 'Only Human'

September 22nd, 2015


A deaf composer gets a shot at hearing again. A woman with bipolar disorder tries going off her usual medication. Our host finds out she has breast …

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