Measles cases are higher in the U.S. than they've been in a decade, mostly because more and more nervous parents are refusing to vaccinate their kids. Contributing Editor Susan Burton tells the story of what happened recently in San Diego, when an unvaccinated 7-year-old boy returned home from a trip to Switzerland, bringing with him the measles.
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Host Ira Glass talks about his fear of sleep, and reports on other people who have very strong reasons of their own to fear bedtime. We also hear the sounds of troubled sleepers from a DVD put together by Doctors Carlos Schenck and Mark Mahowald of the Minnesota Regional Sleep Disorders Center.
Mike Birbiglia talks about the sleepwalking that nearly killed him. It's an excerpt of his one-man show "Sleepwalk with Me," which is now also a feature film, produced and co-written by Ira Glass.
This American Life producers Nancy Updike and Robyn Semien report on critters that can kill sleep: cockroaches and bedbugs.
Joel Lovell explains why, as an 11-year-old, he trained himself not to fall asleep, and how that had some unintended consequences. Note that the Internet version of this story has slightly different language than the version broadcast on the radio.
For some people, the fear of sleep is linked to the fear of death. We hear from some of them.
When Amy Silverman's daughter was born with Down syndrome, she followed the advice of all the parents she met: She signed her daughter up for "early intervention" therapy. But her daughter's progress had unexpected consequences, forcing Amy to make a choice she'd never predicted.
A woman's elderly father has several hired caretakers who help him throughout the day. When one of the caretakers accuses another one of stealing from father, it's up to his daughter to figure out the truth.
Chaya Lipschutz, an Orthodox Jewish woman from Brooklyn, donated her kidney to a stranger. After that, she decided to spend all her time trying to match up potential donors with kidney patients.