Join me as we discover the secrets behind health news, clinical trials, fake research and falsified statistical evidence. Through fun facts, funny and informative interviews and breakdowns of the complicated world of medical research, we can all become more informed citizens and consumers, and not be so easily swayed by the latest discovery fad!

"I just discovered this podcast and there is no doubt that it is off to an amazing start. Well done. Informative and engaging. Cheers!" - Jerod Killick

 
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"This is a great new podcast with a thought provoking host who introduces the audience to important topics. Interesting information you might not have known you would be interested in." - Rastus 12

"Very thought provoking and interesting. Keep up the good work and getting the conversations started." - Big Brother B

 

Listen, Learn, Love & Share. Subscribe & tune in every weekend for a new episode!


EPISODES


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AIR DATE: THURSDAY, 4/20 (haha)

Why is marijuana illegal, on the same list as heroin, LSD and ecstasy? What medical benefits does it have for people with PTSD, cancer, epilepsy and chronic pain? What does the research actually have to say on short and long term side effects? Find out in Episode 14. Release date: 4/20.

This week in the segment "Freaky Medicine": a fun and easy cure for headaches... with a drill.

The intro music is by the band Broke for free, and the other music is from Podington BearLittle Glass Men and my friend Jon Biegen from the podcast Stranger Still.

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The links to the articles I used for the show are in the reference blog post!


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Genome sequencing! By far the most complex topic we've tackled on the show so far, but don't let that intimidate you! I promise we will start slow, and use a lot of metaphors: planes, bookcases, ladders and butterflies! Find out how it works, why it matters, how close we are to everyone having their own personal Genome Project, how much that could cost you, and how it could save your - or your children's - lives.

To help me with this, I have a very exciting interview with a fellow Ukrainian, this one a real scientist: Olga Dudchenko is a researcher at The Center for Genome Architecture at Baylor College of Medicine and Rice University.

This week in the segment "Freaky Medicine": a quick, easy yet painful cure for impotence, with possibly lethal side effects.

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The links to the articles I used for the show are in the reference blog post!


Vitamins are necessary for our bodies to function, they are used for growth, digestion, nerve function, and many other things. So, if something is good for you, then more of that thing should be even better for you, right? Unfortunately, that's just not true when it comes to taking vitamin supplements. How is it that we came to believe this, then? What happens if you take too many? How can we know if they are safe and effective? Find out in Episode 12.

This week in the segment "Freaky Medicine": a quick and easy weight loss solution, with a catch.

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The links to the articles I used for the show are in the reference blog post!


Since the first tests in the late 1980s, GMOs have become increasingly widespread and so has the distrust and fear in their use. The debate is very polarized: one extreme asserting that the technology will save the world and the other claiming the complete opposite. But though good reasons exist on both sides, there are still misconceptions and lies that plague the debate. In this episode, we will attempt to unravel them.

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The links to the articles I used for the show are in the reference blog post!


It is the lesser well known cousin of the placebo effect, the Mr.Hyde to placebo’s Dr Jekyll, the yin and yang of clinical mysteries, the Nocebo Effect seems to make people actually, physically sick for no medical reason. 

The nocebo effect is a result of the super complicated interaction between the patient, his expectations, the drug, the surrounding context, the healthcare provider, and the way the information is delivered and received and if it’s in any way negative - it has negative side effects that cannot otherwise be medically explained. 

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The links to the articles I used for the show are in the reference blog post! Sound effects: Andi Roselund (Sangwha Comm) and r3nzoll from www.freesound.org


“What wonderful effects the passions of hope and faith, excited by mere imagination, can produce on disease" said Dr John Haygarth, a physician in Bath, England in 1799, discovering for the first time a mysterious process that confuses the greatest minds of the day even today.

You have probably heard of the Placebo Effect, but there are many misconceptions, myths, and mysteries around this phenomenon. In this episode, we will rediscover what this effect is, where is comes from, and what we still don’t know. Seems like the natural way to explain placebo is through stories: we will look at the story of the past, stories about the present and then we will discuss the future. What exactly causes the placebo effect? How does it work exactly? Is it all just fake? How can we use it in every day life? Join me in exploring these questions in this episode.

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The links to the articles I used for the show are in the discussion post! Sound effects: Andi Roselund (Sangwha Comm) and r3nzoll from www.freesound.org


Is it okay to market to children, which do not understand they are being sold a product? Is it okay to use words such as healthy and natural in order to associate an unhealthy items with things like fruit and exercise? How does the use of mascots and branding impact the child subconsciously? Are they obligated to not advertise things that they know could lead to health problems? Is it okay to profit off of children’s obesity? Is it okay to create life long consumers so early on in life? What does the research say?

These and many other questions we will uncover in this episode, joined with Dr Jessica Castonguay, assistant professor of Media and Communications at Temple University.

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The links to all the articles I mention in the show are in the discussion post!

 


From awkward nutritional choices in biblical times, to forcing oranges, sea water and sulfuric acid down the throat of sailors, to injecting mold juice extract into patients, clinical trials are a mystery. But at least it's good to know that the future of our medicine, our health and the health of our children is in the hands of a extremely expensive, complicated process of trial and error, conflict of interest, hidden secrets, long complicated reports, but also people who are literally looking on how to cure or prevent cancer, and we never ever giving up hope.

Join me as we try to figure out how clinical trials really work, just how expensive and risky they are, and how scientists find way to add a little humor to the search for the ultimate cure.

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The links to all the articles I mention in the show are in the discussion post!

Sound effects from freesound.org by:


Why do you keep seeing that coffee both causes and prevents cancer? Can you overdose on caffeine? How much is safe?

Over the years, I’ve heard so many conflicting reports over coffee's health benefits and possible health risks. Luckily, recently there has been a milestone event that caused most media coverage of the topic - and I’m taking recent as in the summer of 2016 - to come to more or less a consensus. So, once and for all, does it cancer cancer or not? Why do medical studies contradict themselves? Who decides whether something is carcinogenic anyway? Find out in this episode.

No interview this week, so it's a nice, short episode! Join us in two weeks for a brand new episode about.. something fascinating. Haven't decided yet:)

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The links to all the articles I mention in the show are in the discussion post!


BEING UPDATED!

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Have you heard of the study that linked the MMR vaccine with autism? That is a famous example of a study being published and sensationalized, and then retracted.

In this episode we will look at Retractions: what they are, why they are necessary and what makes them so very complicated, and both useful and harmful to researchers and research in general.

We will discuss the infamous Andrew Wakefield study, which linked autism and the MMR vaccine and other extreme retraction examples, as well as discuss real data on the rise of retractions, the reasons behind this phenomenon, and possible future improvements to the vital process of self correction in science.

To help us meddle through all the details, joining us on the show today we will have Dr Ivan Oransky, vice president and global editorial director of MedPage Today, Professor of Medical Journalism at New York University’s Carter Journalism Institute, and one of the founders and main contributors of RetractionWatch, a blog devoted to showcasing retractions of scientific research articles

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The links to all the articles I mention in the show are in the discussion post!


BEING UPDATED!

The news heard around the world: eating chocolate can help you lose weight! What wonderful news... or is it?

Quick disclaimer: There are some very slight strong language in the interview, so if you are listening with kids around, here is your official heads up.

This episode is a little special. We are going to look at a study from Germany that you’ve hopefully heard of, and if not you definitely should. The amount of mixed emotions it elicited is absolutely unparalleled, and both health research and health journalism will (hopefully) never be the same again.

We will be joined today with the author of the study, Dr John Bohannon, once revered as the research director of the Institute of Diet and Health, currently back to being a journalist, visiting professor at Harvard and owner and chief judge of the Dance Your Ph.D competition.

We will discuss the growing problem of bad journalism, fake academic journals, terrible medical research, and what we can do about it.

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The original research paper is no longer on the international archives of medicine website, but a link to where you can read it for free is on the discussion post, as well as links to all the other articles I mentioned in the show today as week as John’s official expose article AND a fun infographic that I made especially for this episode discussing the study and all of its flaws. Please it check it out, it took me forever to make.


BEING UPDATED!

A clinical trial of a male version of birth control gave hope to millions that the responsibility for family planning will finally be more equally shared between men and women. But it was terminated early, causing A LOT of controversy.

Quick disclaimer: There are some slight hints at adult themes in this episode, so if you are listening with kids around, here is your official heads up. Nothing major, but we do talk about contraception, so reproduction in the abstract comes up nautrally.

So, a clinical trial of a possible male version of birth control. Due to a variety of side effects experienced by the participants, an external review committee advised to terminate the study early, stating that the negative side effects outweighed the possible value of the research if it were to continue. Joined today by a Mr. Walter James, together we are going to compare two publications on this subject from similarly reliable sources, and try to untangle the web of controversy, gender equality, feminism and clinical trials. 

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Music is by the band "Broke For Free", song titled "Juparo". (Played on a loop). The the articles we mentioned are in the discussion post!
 


BEING UPDATED!

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A Glass Of Red Wine Is The Equivalent To An Hour At The Gym.  Is it really, though? Because I have some doubts.

In this episode, we are going to cover a study from The University of Alberta, that looked at possible health benefits of resveratrol, a compound naturally found in grapes, blueberries, raspberries, and some types of nuts. It seems that due to it’s presence in red grapes specifically, this study has been publicized under headlines of some derivative of: "A Glass Of Red Wine Is The Equivalent To An Hour At The Gym”. 

Since this is the first full episode in which we will analyze a news story, we will first talk about the criteria that we will use going forward to be able to figure out whether an article is a credible source of information or not, how to find and understand the original study publication, so this one is going to be a little longer and more information-dense than usual.

But then! We will have to venture into the world of clinical research in labs in order to understand see how we got from lab rats to telling people to skip the gym and have a drink instead. To help us, we will have our neuroscientist consultant Dr Evan Graf joining us for a discussion about science, addiction, rats and red wine. 

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Music is by the band "Broke For Free", song titled "Juparo". (Played on a loop) The articles we discuss can be found on in the discussion post.


BEING UPDATED!

PODCAST DEBUT!

First thing's first: let's get the basics down. What is health research and how does it work?  Also, farts definitely do not cure cancer. More on that in the show.

Since this is the first episode, we’ll talk about the basics of fact checking, health research and the media, we’ll scratch the surface of - in my opinion - one of the most epic examples of scientist to journalist misunderstandings and hopefully, we will be able to all agree that farts, indeed, do not cure cancer, and understand how is it that for a few days, the world was convinced that they did.