Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Become a sustaining member and you could win a trip to Barbados!

4.11.16: In Defense of Case Studies, Crowdfunding Court Fees, & The Mason Jar Reborn

Chiot's Run via Flickr CC

Once a staple of medicine, the case study is in decline - replaced in recent years by a treasure trove of patient data.  But what happens when doctors and doctors-in-training rely on statistics over story?  Today on Word of Mouth, a defense of the medical case study.  

Then, crowdfunding has been used to fund countless projects and but now people are turning to it for a whole new purpose - staying out of jail.

Plus, a history of the humble mason jar.  

Listen to the full show. 

In Defense of the Case Study

Last year, renowned neurologist Oliver Sacks died of cancer. Sacks was celebrated for his narrative style of writing, and for putting an empathetic human touch on hard-to-grasp subjects - but some say that  long, narrative-driven style of scientific inquiry is fading away.

Christine Montross is an author, a practicing psychiatrist, and an Assistant Professor of Psychiatry and Human Behavior at Brown University. In a recent essay for the Chronicle of Higher Education, she says case histories are being replaced by a "fetishism of data" - and she joined us to explain.

In Defense Of Case Studies

StoryCorps: Marcela Gaviria and Dempsey Springfield

Marcela Gaviria survived a childhood cancer that nearly took her leg. She’s spent the last 30 years dealing with complications from that illness. And in all that time, she has stuck with the same doctor, Dempsey Springfield.

Marcela and Dr. Springfield have lost count of just how many surgeries they’ve been through together. But when they sat down for StoryCorps, they remembered the very first one.    

You can listen to this story again at

Crowdfunding Court Fees

Over the past decade, crowd funding platforms like Kickstarter and Indiegogo have been used to raise funds for countless projects - and are now even being used to keep people out of prison. Caroline Grueskin is with theMarshall Project, a non-profit news organization that focuses on the criminal justice system. That's where she wrote about the increasing but unreliable use of crowd funding platforms for legal matters.      

Crowdfunding Court Fees

A Candidate in the Age of Television

The 1952 presidential campaign pitted the immensely popular General Dwight D. Eisenhower against the ferociously intellectual and intensely private Adlai Stevenson. It was an election fought on a new battleground: television. This story is part of the series "Contenders," portraits of some of America's most original presidential candidates and was produced by Radio Diaries.   

You can listen to this story again at

History of the Mason Jar

Once the favorite tool of home canners and 4-H fair competitors, the Mason jar has recently come to symbolize the conscious consumer...or at least those who would wish to appear conscious. So how did the Mason jar transform from a humble method of preserving food into a trendy glass for all occasions?

Ariana Kellyis a writer and author – her article “The Mason Jar, Reborn” appeared in the Atlantic.    

History Of The Mason Jar

His Boy Elroy

Matt Novak of Paleofuturetalks about how weird it is that people tend to view future technology through the lens of a popular 1960's cartoon: The Jetsons.

You can hear this story again at    

Related Content

You make NHPR possible.

NHPR is nonprofit and independent. We rely on readers like you to support the local, national, and international coverage on this website. Your support makes this news available to everyone.

Give today. A monthly donation of $5 makes a real difference.