Rank #1: Ketogenic Diet... Is Fat Good For You?
People who love the ketogenic diet swear it boosts their brainpower, melts their fat, and makes them better athletes. Is it true? To find out, we go keto. And, we talk to some scientists: neuroscientist Dom D’Agostino, medical researcher Eric Verdin, and nutritionist Louise Bourke. Also, Wendy’s mum drops in.
Check out our full transcript here: http://bit.ly/355sUF7
This episode has been produced by senior producer Kaitlyn Sawrey with help from Wendy Zukerman along with Rose Rimler, Shruti Ravindran and Romilla Karnick. We’re edited by Blythe Terrell. Additional help from Eric Menell and Simone Polanen. Fact checking by Michelle Harris. Mix and sound design by Emma Munger. Music written by Bobby Lord. Recording help from Marissa Shieh and Mary Shedden. Extra thanks to Professor Jon Ramsey, Professor Judith Wylie-Roset, Professor Clare Collins, Dr Deirdre K Tobias, Joanna Lauder and Frank Lopez. Thanks to Jack Weinstein. And extra special thanks to Joseph Lavelle Wilson and Ingrid Zukerman.
Apr 26 2018
Rank #2: Guns
We find out how many times a year guns are used in self-defense, how many times they’re used to murder someone, and what impact guns have on the crime rate. In this episode we speak with Prof. David Hemenway, Prof. Helen Christensen, Prof. Gary Kleck and New Jersey gun-range owner Anthony Colandro.
This episode has been produced by Wendy Zukerman, Caitlin Kenney, Heather Rogers and Kaitlyn Sawrey. Edited by Annie Rose Strasser and Alex Blumberg. Production Assistance by Austin Mitchell. Sound design and music production by Martin Peralta and Matthew Boll, music written by Bobby Lord
Crisis hotlines:US National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (2755). Online chat available.US Crisis Text Line - text “GO” to 741741Lifeline 13 11 14 (Australia). Online chat available.Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention - see link for phone numbers listed by provinceSamaritans 116 123 (UK and ROI)Selected References:2013 US Mortality Statistics - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (published 2016)Gary Kleck’s defensive gun use survey Kleck & Gertz, “Armed Resistance to Crime: The Prevalence and Nature of Self-Defense with a Gun”, Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, 1995Survey of virgin births in the US
Herring et al, “Like a virgin (mother): analysis of data from a longitudinal, US population representative sample survey”, BMJ, 2013David Hemenway’s defensive gun use analysis using National Crime Victimization Survey Hemenway & Solnick, “The epidemiology of self-defense gun use: Evidence from the National Crime Victimization Surveys 2007-2011”, Preventive Medicine, 2015Analysis of suicide rates and methods in Australia Large & Nielssen, “Suicide in Australia: meta-analysis of rates and methods of suicide between 1988 and 2007”, The Medical Journal of Australia, 2010John Lott’s study on right-to-carry laws and crime rates Lott & Mustard, “Crime, Deterrence, and Right-to-Carry Concealed Handguns”, Coase-Sandor Institute for Law & Economics, 1996National Research Academies Panel which found guns don’t increase or decrease crime Wellford, Pepper, and Petrie, editors, “Firearms and Violence: A Critical Review”, The National Academies Press, 2005US Crime statistics, 1990-2009 (US Dept of Justice, FBI)
Aug 04 2016
Rank #3: Coronavirus: Was It Made In a Lab?
Since the outbreak started, we’ve been hearing that this coronavirus came from bats before jumping to humans. But recently, claims that the virus escaped from a lab have been getting a lot of attention. So did it? Is there an evil scientist behind all of this? To find out, we talk to microbiologist Professor Benhur Lee, Christian Stevens, and virologist Dr. Oscar MacLean. Also: FROGS!!
UPDATE 4/27/20: An earlier version of this episode played a quote from a politician saying that China has only one biosafety level 4 lab. This is incorrect, and the episode has been updated.
Here’s a link to our transcript: https://bit.ly/3eWnFNE
This episode was produced by Wendy Zukerman and Rose Rimler, with help from Meryl Horn, Michelle Dang, Sinduja Srinivasan and Laura Morris. We’re edited by Blythe Terrell and Caitlin Kenney. Fact checking by Diane Kelly. Mix and sound design by Peter Leonard. Music written by Peter Leonard, Marcas Bugulah, Emma Munger, and Bobby Lord. A big thanks to all the researchers we got in touch with for this episode, including Dr. Kirsty Short, Dr. Ximena Bernal, Henry Legett, Dr. Muhamed Amin, and Professor Kristian Andersen. And special thanks to the Zukerman family and Joseph Lavelle Wilson.
Apr 24 2020
Rank #4: CBD: Weed Wonder Drug?
CBD mania is in full swing and people are using it for just about anything, but what is this chemical in cannabis? In this week’s episode, we tell you unlikely origin story of CBD and if the science backs up the hype. We speak to Paige Figi, neuroscientist Prof. Kent Hutchison, clinical researcher Dr. Mallory Loflin, and Josh and Joel Stanley.
Check out the transcript right here: http://bit.ly/2OVCfub
Selected references: Mallory’s study showing most CBD products are labeled inaccurately and 1 out of 5 has some THCReview discussing all the possible things CBD is binding to in the brainNational Academy of Sciences report on cannabis and cannabinoids Clinical trial showing CBD reduces seizures for treatment-resistant epilepsy
This episode was produced by Kaitlyn Sawrey with help from Wendy Zukerman, along with Rose Rimler, Meryl Horn and Odelia Rubin. We’re edited by Blythe Terrell, with help from Caitlin Kenny. Fact checking by Michelle Harris. Mix and sound design by Emma Munger. Music by Emma Munger and Bobby Lord. A huge thanks to Professor Elizabeth Thiele, Professor Cinnamon Bidwell, Professor Celia Morgan, Associate Professor Ziva Cooper, and Associate Professor Didier Jutras-Aswad, as well as Sindu Gnanasambandan, Mathilde Urfalino, Frank Lopez, Joseph Lavelle Wilson and the Zukerman Family.
Nov 15 2018
Rank #5: Vaping: What the Hell is Going On?!
Vaping is all the rage in the U.S., but young people are turning up at hospitals barely able to breathe. Over a thousand vapers have gotten sick—34 are dead—and no one knows why. We investigated the case of the mysterious vaping disease with help from Geri Sullivan, pulmonologist Dr. Louella Amos, lab director Iniobong Afia, inhalation toxicologist Prof. Ilona Jaspers and researcher Dr. Jamie Hartmann-Boyce.
Check out the full transcript here: http://bit.ly/33VzzRi
- CDC Outbreak Page: http://bit.ly/2PheKvO
- Case reports from 53 vaping patients who got sick over the summer: https://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1911614
- “Chemical burn” analysis of patients’ lungs: https://bit.ly/2oexalC
- Jamie’s review “Electronic cigarettes for smoking cessation”: https://bit.ly/32GTN14
This episode was produced by our senior producer Kaitlyn Sawrey and producer Michelle Dang, with help from me, Wendy Zukerman, Lexi Krupp, Rose Rimler and Meryl Horn. We’re edited by Caitlin Kenney. Fact checking by Michelle Harris. Mix and sound design by Peter Leonard. Music written by Peter Leonard, Bobby Lord and Emma Munger. A huge thanks to all the people we spoke to for this episode including: Dr Yasmeen Butt, Dr Sean Callahan, Dr Travis Henry, Professor Irfan Rahman, Christopher Harvel, Alex Sandorf, Dr James Pankow, Dr. Konstantinos Farsalinos, Professor Lorraine Martin, Professor Moon-Shong Tang, Dr. Kevin Davidson and Myron Ronay. Extra thanks to Conor Duffy, Zukerman Family and Joseph Lavelle Wilson.
Oct 25 2019
Rank #6: Organic Food
People are going bonkers for organic, but what are you really getting when you buy them? Better taste? Fewer toxic chemicals? A cleaner environment? Farmers Mark, Andy, and Brian Reeves, nutritional epidemiologist Dr. Kathryn Bradbury, Ass. Prof. Cynthia Curl, and Prof. Navin Ramankutty help us sort it all out.
This episode has been produced by Wendy Zukerman, Heather Rogers, Lynn Levy, Caitlin Kenney, Austin Mitchell, and Kaitlyn Sawrey. Editing by Annie-Rose Strasser and Alex Blumberg. Fact checking by Michelle Harris. Production Assistance by Diane Wu and Shruti Ravindran. Special thanks to Stevie Lane and Joseph Lavelle Wilson. Sound design and music production by Matthew Boll, mixing by Martin Peralta, Austin Thompson and Haley Shaw. Music written by Bobby Lord.
Selected Resources:Organic vs conventional tomato taste test
Johansson et al, “Preference for tomatoes, affected by sensory attributes and information about growth conditions,” Food Quality and Preference, 1999Nutritional analysis of organic vs organic food
Smith-Spangler et al, “Are Organic Foods Safer or Healthier Than Conventional Alternatives?: A Systematic Review,” Annals of Internal Medicine, 2012.2012 USDA report on pesticide residues in organic produceLargest (620,000 women) long-term (9 year) study of how eating organic food affects human health -- focusing on cancer
Bradbury et al, “Organic food consumption and the incidence of cancer in a large prospective study of women in the United Kingdom”, British Journal of Cancer, 2014Biodiversity is higher on organic farms
“Tuck et al, “Land-use intensity and the effects of organic farming on biodiversity: a hierarchical meta-analysis,” The Journal of Applied Ecology, 2014.Nitrogen leaching is higher per unit product on organic farms
Tuomisto et al, “Does organic farming reduce environmental impacts? – A meta-analysis of European research”Crop yield on organic farms is on average 75% that of conventional farms
Seufert et al, “Comparing the yields of organic and conventional agriculture,” Nature 2012If we want to feed the world without cutting down more forests, we’re going to need more vegetarians
Erb et al, “Exploring the biophysical option space for feeding the world without deforestation,” Nature Communications, 2016On combining organic and conventional farming techniques
Letourneau et al, “Crop protection in organic agriculture,” Chapter 4 of Organic agriculture: a global perspective, 2006.
Aug 26 2016
Rank #7: Fasting Diets: What's the Skinny?
Fasting diets are all the rage right now and health-fluencers claim it can help you lose weight, live longer and even fight cancer. So what does the science say? We speak to nutrition researchers Dr Krista Varady and Dr Courtney Peterson, as well as cancer researcher Professor Valter Longo.
Check out the full transcript here: http://bit.ly/35FYJoP
Selected references: Krista’s study comparing alternate day fasting with regular dieting, which found they had similar weight loss after one year.Courtney’s study which measured metabolic changes after time-restricted feeding without weight loss.Valter’s paper summarizing the studies in fasting and cancer.
Credits:This episode was produced by our senior producer Kaitlyn Sawrey and Wendy Zukerman with help from Michelle Dang, Rose Rimler, and Meryl Horn. We’re edited by Blythe Terrell, with extra editing help from Caitlin Kenney and Annie-Rose Strasser. Fact checking by Eva Dasher and Michelle Dang. Mix and sound design by Peter Leonard. Music by Peter Leonard, Emma Munger and Bobby Lord. A huge thanks to all the researchers we got in touch with for this episode including Dr Peter Chisnell, Dr Mikkel Holm Vendelbo, Dr Jiahong Lu, Dr Dorothy Sears, Prof. Mark Mattson, Dr James D Dvorak, Dr Calloway Scott, Professor Richard Billows, Professor Nancy Worman, Dr Barbara Kowalzig and the University of Alabama, Birmingham. Also thanks to the Kimmie Regler, Helen Zaltman Zukerman Family, Frank Lopez and Joseph Lavelle Wilson.
Mar 29 2019
Rank #8: How to Stop A Killer Asteroid
This week — asteroids. Could a space rock really slam into us and destroy the world? And if we did spot one heading straight for us, is there anything we could do to stop it? We speak with asteroid researcher Dr. Alan Harris, astrophysicist Dr. Sergey Zamozdra, computational physicist Dr. Cathy Plesko, and physicist Dr. Andy Cheng.
Check out the full transcript here: http://bit.ly/2MrW1vp
- Overview of Chelyabinsk impact and risk from asteroids: http://bit.ly/2ECSRQQ
- How many asteroids are out there? http://bit.ly/34EhyHl
- DART mission overview: http://bit.ly/2SkBBZ1
- Ways to stop asteroids: https://bit.ly/2sJqGgv
This episode was produced by Wendy Zukerman along with Lexi Krupp with help from Michelle Dang, Meryl Horn and Rose Rimler. We’re edited by Caitlin Kenney. Fact checking by Michelle Harris. Mix and sound design by Peter Leonard. Music written by Peter Leonard, Bobby Lord and Emma Munger. Recording assistance from Verónica Zaragovia, Sofi LaLonde, Lawrence Lanahan, and Kevin Caners. Translation help from Andrew Urodov and Dmitriy Tuchin. Thanks to all the scientists we spoke to: Dr. Carrie Nugent, Dr. Mark Boslough, Dr. David Kring, Dr. Daniel Durda, Dr. Kelly Fast and the other Dr. Alan Harris. A big thanks to Carl Smith at The Australian Broadcasting Corporation for suggesting this topic - Carl did a podcast series on a bunch of the Apocalypse scenarios! You can find it at the podcast Science Friction and search for the Apocalypse series. And thanks to the Zukerman Family and Joseph Lavelle Wilson.
Dec 20 2019
Rank #9: Alcohol: A Pour Decision?
For decades we’ve been told that having a glass or two of wine is good for you. But recently there’ve been reports that even a little bit of booze is bad for you. So what is going on? Is just a bit of alcohol dangerous? To find out we talk to epidemiologist and nutritionist Prof. Eric Rimm, psychologist Prof. Tim Stockwell, and cancer researcher Dr. Susan Gapstur.
Check out the full transcript here: http://bit.ly/31p8pk5
Selected references: Eric’s study of drinking and heart attacks in over 40,000 men Tim and Kaye’s meta-analysis critiquing the heart benefit hypothesisMeta-analysis showing the increased risk of cancer and other diseases from drinking different amounts
This episode was produced by Meryl Horn with help from Wendy Zukerman as well as Rose Rimler and Michelle Dang. Our senior producer is Kaitlyn Sawrey. We’re edited by Blythe Terrell. Editing help from Caitlin Kenney. Fact checking by Michelle Harris and Michelle Dang. Mix and sound design by Peter Leonard. Music by Peter Leonard, Emma Munger and Bobby Lord. Thanks especially to Michelle Dang for her all her research help on this episode. A huge thanks to all the researchers we got in touch with for this episode including Dr. Arthur Klatsky, Dr. William Kerr, Dr. Tim Niami, Professor William Ghali, Dr. Wendy Chen, Max Griswold and many others. Recording help from Andrew Stelzer, Susanna Capelouto, Katie Sage, and Joseph Fridman. Also thanks to Lynn Levy, the Zukerman Family and Joseph Lavelle Wilson.
Mar 15 2019
Rank #10: Serial Killers: Science of the Lambs
What makes a serial killer? What drives them to kill again and again? To find out the truth about this ghastly lot, we talked to forensic psychologist Prof. Eric Hickey, criminologist Ass. Prof. Wayne Petherick, and psychiatrist Prof. Gwen Adshead.
Check out the full transcript here: http://bit.ly/34aoJXG
Note: in this episode we discuss homicide, and sexual violence. Please take care when listening to the show, and here are some resources:
National Mental Health Helpline: 1-800-662-HELP (4357).
National Hotline for Crime Victims 1-855-4-VICTIM (1-855-484-2846)
National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)
Selected readings:Dr. Mike Aamodt’s database of serial killers at Radford UniversityThis study looked at more than 1000 juvenile offenders to find out what was different about those who became killers All sorts of statistics for some of the common behaviors of serial killersThis paper digs into some of the more unusual “ritualistic” behavior of serial killers
This Episode has been produced by Shruti Ravindran, Meryl Horn, Rose Rimler and Wendy Zukerman. Our senior producer is Kaitlyn Sawrey. We’re edited by Blythe Terrell. Additional editing help from Alex Blumberg. Fact Checking by Michelle Harris. Music by Bobby Lord and Emma Munger. Sound Design and mix by Emma Munger. A big thanks to all of the other academics who helped us out, including Dr. Mike Aamodt, Dr. Ann Burgess, Dr. Scott Lilienfeld, Dr. Devon Polaschek, Dr. Kori Ryan, Dr. Kim Rossmo, Dr. David Finkelhor, Dr. David Keatley, Dr. Jennifer Lansford, Dr. Karen Franklin, Dr. Michael Maltz, Dr. Gabrielle Salfati, Dr. Claire Ferguson, Dr. Sandra Taylor, and Katherine Ramsland. Extra thanks to Sarah McVeigh, Christopher Suter, Frank Lopez, Rose Reid, the Zukerman Family, and Joseph Lavelle Wilson, and everyone at Gimlet who listened and gave thoughts.
Jun 28 2018
Rank #11: Vegans: Are They Right?
Do vegans have a right to be so smug? This week we find out whether it really is better for the environment, and our bodies, to go vegan. We speak to environmental researcher Joseph Poore, historian Prof. Connie Hilliard, anthropologist Prof. Katharine Milton, and nutrition researcher Prof. Roman Pawlak.
Check out the transcript right here: http://bit.ly/2OeFye7
Selected references: Joseph’s study comparing 40,000 different farmsConnie’s paper comparing countries that consume more or less dairyA big review of calcium intake and fracture riskThis report on the influence of the dairy industryKatie’s paper on the evolution of meat-eatingRoman’s work rounding up studies on a vitamin deficiency
Credits: This episode was produced by Rose Rimler with help from Wendy Zukerman, along with Meryl Horn and Odelia Rubin. Our senior producer is Kaitlyn Sawrey. We’re edited by Blythe Terrell and Caitlin Kenney. Fact checking by Michelle Harris. Mix and sound design by Emma Munger. Music by Emma Munger and Bobby Lord. Recording assistance from Robbie MacInnes, Paul Reece, Spencer Silva, and Hady Mawajdeh. For this episode we also spoke to Connie Weaver, Nathan H. Lents, Mark Bolland, Ambrish Mithal, Marco Springmann, Mary Beth Hall, Tara Garnett, Tom Sanders, Frederick Leroy, and others. Thank you so much for your help. And a big thanks to the Zukerman family and Joseph Lavelle Wilson.
Sep 27 2018
Rank #12: Meditation
Silicon Valley CEOs, Tibetan monks, and crunchy hippies alike describe meditation as blissful and life-changing, but what does the science say? Can it reduce stress, increase your attention, and improve mental health -- or is all this focus on breathing just a bunch of hot air? Sit back, get comfortable, and focus your mind as we talk to Tim Ferriss, Professor Gaelle Desbordes, Dr. Clifford Saron, and Dr. Britta Hölzel. Please note: we have updated this episode. We removed a reference to Peter Thiel, the founder of Paypal. He was a guest on Tim Ferriss' show, but didn't discuss whether he meditates.
This episode has been produced by Shruti Ravindran, Ben Kuebrich, Heather Rogers and Wendy Zukerman. Kaitlyn Sawrey is our senior producer. We’re edited by Annie Rose Strasser. Fact checking by Ben Kuebrich. Music production and original music written by Bobby Lord. Extra thanks to Dr Jonathan Schooler, Dr Florian Kurth Aldis Wieble and Dr. Madhav Goyal.
Selected References:CDC Report: Trends in the Use of Complementary Health Approaches Among Adults: United States, 2002–2012Review of Neuroimaging Studies on Meditators Meditation Programs for Psychological Stress and Well-being A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis - JAMA review of Clinical Trials with Active ControlsIntensive meditation training, immune cell telomerase activity, and psychological mediators - Dr. Cliff Saron’s study on telomerase activity after a meditation retreat
May 25 2017
Rank #13: 5G: Welcome to the Revolution?
How should we feel about 5G? Is it a breakthrough technology that will revolutionize our world, or in a bid to get new gadgets, are we risking our health? To find out, we spoke with electrical engineer Prof. Jeff Andrews, biologist Prof. Henrik Mouritsen, radiology safety expert Prof. Chris Collins, and psychologist Prof. Rodney Croft.
Check out the full transcript here: http://bit.ly/2qd2MIR
- Jeff’s paper on the future of 5G: http://bit.ly/36ob7tW
- Chris's review on 5G’s safety: http://bit.ly/336losL
- Henrik's article on the effect of electromagnetic radiation on migratory birds: https://go.nature.com/338t3Xy
- Review on symptoms associated with electromagnetic waves: http://bit.ly/2JF7C8V
Credits: This episode was produced by Meryl Horn with help from Wendy Zukerman, Lexi Krupp, Michelle Dang and Rose Rimler. We’re edited by Caitlin Kenney. Fact checking by Michelle Harris, Lexi Krupp, and Michelle Dang. Mix and sound design by Peter Leonard and Bobby Lord. Music written by Peter Leonard, Bobby Lord and Emma Munger. Recording assistance from Olivia Aldridge, Beth McMullen, and Mirjam Steger. A huge thanks to all the people we spoke to for this episode including: Dr. Sarah Loughran, Dr. Stefano Cucurachi, Professor Muriel Médard, Dr. Harish Krishnaswamy, Dr. Christopher Labos, Dr. Jordan Gerth, Dr. Arno Thielens, Prof. David Carpenter, Dr. Jerrold Bushberg, Dr. Patrick Mineault, Norman Carreck and ARPANSA. Extra thanks to Kaitlyn Sawrey, Shahzad Ahsan, Rachel Ward, the Zukerman Family and Joseph Lavelle Wilson.
Oct 31 2019
Rank #14: The G-spot
Join us on a hunt for the elusive G-spot. Our guides: Prof. Beverly Whipple, who introduced America to the G-spot in the 1980s, and Prof. Helen O’Connell, a urologist and expert on female sexual anatomy.
CreditsThis episode has been produced by Wendy Zukerman, Heather Rogers, Caitlin Kenney, Austin Mitchell, and Kaitlyn Sawrey. Edited by Annie-Rose Strasser and Alex Blumberg. Fact Checking by Michelle Harris.Production Assistance by Dr Diane Wu & Shruti Ravindran. Extra thanks to Lola Pellegrino, Andres Montoya Castillo, Rose Reid, Radio National’s Science Show -- they make a podcast. It’s great.
Sound design and music production by Matthew Boll, mixed by Martin Peralta. Music written by Bobby Lord.And be sure to check out our producer Austin Mitchell’s podcast Profiles:NYC.
Selected References1981 study identifying G-spot in 47 women . . . but not confirming that it leads to orgasm Perry and Whipple, “Pelvic Muscle Strength of Female Ejaculators: Evidence in Support of a New Theory of Orgasm,” The Journal of Sex Research, 1981. Note: not freely available. Report of the first modern dissection of the clitoris O’Connell et al, “Anatomical relationship between urethra and clitoris,” Journal of Urology, 1998.Everything besides the clitoris is just a shade of gray in the MRI O’Connell et al, “Clitoral anatomy in nulliparous, healthy, premenopausal volunteers using unenhanced magnetic resonance imaging,” Journal of Urology, 2005. Comprehensive account of clitoris anatomy O’Connell et al, “Anatomy of the clitoris,” Journal of Urology, 2005.Review of research on the G-Spot and cliteralurethrovaginal complex Jannini et al, “Beyond the G-Spot: clitourethrovaginal complex anatomy in female orgasm,” Nature Reviews Urology, 2014. Note: not freely available.
Sep 02 2016
Rank #15: Antidepressants
There’s an intriguing body of research that suggests the power of antidepressants doesn’t come from chemicals in the drugs, but from the power of placebo. Not everyone agrees, though. We speak to researchers and medical professionals on either side of the debate, and some wedged in-between -- Prof. Peter Kramer, psychiatrist and author of Ordinarily Well: the Case for Antidepressants; Prof. Irving Kirsch, psychologist and author of The Emperor’s New Drugs: Exploding the Antidepressant Myth; psychiatrist and radiologist Prof. Helen Mayberg; and psychiatrist Prof. Gregory Simon.
Crisis Hotlines:US National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (2755)US Crisis Text Line Text “GO” to 741741Australian Lifeline 13 11 14Canadian Association for Suicide PreventionOur SponsorsCasper - Get $50 towards any mattress by visiting casper.com/sciencevs and use the promo code SCIENCEVSThird Love - Go to thirdlove.com/sciencevs to start your free trialWealthsimple – Investing made easy. Get your first $10,000 managed for free.Credits
This episode has been produced by Wendy Zukerman, Heather Rogers, Shruti Ravindran, and Diane Wu. Our senior producer is Kaitlyn Sawrey. Edited by Annie-Rose Strasser and Caitlin Kenney. Fact checking by Michelle Harris. Sound design and music production by Matthew Boll, mixed by Martin Peralta and Matthew Boll. Music written by Bobby Lord and Martin Peralta.
Selected References2008 study suggesting that antidepressants are not much better than placebo for people suffering in severe depression.2016 study suggesting that antidepressants were way better than placebo in treating people suffering from severe depression. 2016 study on how drug companies under-report side effects in clinical trials. 2003 round-up of the most common side-effects of antidepressants. 2013 study which uses brain imaging to try to pinpoint whether patients would respond better to medication or psychotherapy.
Oct 28 2016
Rank #16: UFOs: What the Government Covered Up
Could aliens actually exist? Is there any chance they’ve visited Earth already? What really happened at Roswell? The truth... is right here. We talked to astronomers Dr. Jill Tarter, Dr. Seth Shostak, investigative journalist David Clarke, and physicist Prof. Jim Al Khalili.
Check out the full transcript here: http://bit.ly/2PqOHRj
Selected readings: Seth’s account of that day in 1997The “Condon report”-- a 1968 effort to go through and identify all UFO sightingsThe Roswell ReportThis paper estimating how many planets are in the “Goldilocks” zoneA good read on wormholes and their history; a tough read on how we might use them to teleport
Credits: This episode has been produced by our senior producer Kaitlyn Sawrey, as well as Wendy Zukerman and Rose Rimler, with help from Shruti Ravindran and Meryl Horn. Fact checking by Michelle Harris and Meryl Horn. Music by Bobby Lord and Emma Munger. Editing by Blythe Terrell. Additional editing help from Caitlin Kenney. We performed this live for GimletFest - and we were joined onstage by our Aussie mate and mathematician Adam Spencer who has his own podcast you should check out ‘The Big Questions’, and astronomer Dr Emily Rice, who helps run Astronomy on Tap which brings together astronomers and beer. Check it out to see whether it runs in your city. Also thanks to Dr. Ravi Kumar Kopparapu, Dr. Craig O'Neill, Dr. Jessie Christiansen, Dr. Cameron Hummels, Dr. Phil Hopkins, Dr Avi Loeb, and the many other researchers who helped us on this.
Jun 21 2018
Rank #17: Vitamins & Supplements - Are They Worth It?
Americans spend billions of dollars on vitamins and supplements, but are they worth it? We look at the science behind some of the most popular supplements with nutritional epidemiologist Prof. Katherine Tucker, neuroscientist Dr. Simon Dyall, and medical researcher Dr. Mark Bolland.
Credits: This episode has been produced by Wendy Zukerman, Heather Rogers, and Shruti Ravindran. Production assistance from Rose Rimler. Our senior producer is Kaitlyn Sawrey. Edited by Blythe Terrell with help from Alex Blumberg. Fact checking by Michelle Harris. Sound design by Martin Peralta and Bobby Lord. Music written by Bobby Lord. An extra thanks to the Zukerman Family, Joseph Lavelle Wilson, Chris Giliberti, Jasmine Romero, Matthew Nelson, Stevie Lane, Dr Harri Hemilä, Stephanie from the New York State Library and Dr Rajaprabhakaran Rajarethinam.
Selected Reading:The history of fortified foodsThe Institute of Medicine Report on calcium and Vitamin DSurvey on vitamin shopping habits in the USSimon’s paper on Omega 3 and spinal cord injuries in ratsMark’s work on calciumThis whopper of a study on multivitamins
Check out the full transcript here: http://bit.ly/2rlrpnZ
Oct 19 2017
Rank #18: Essential Oils: Science or Snake Oil?
Essential Oils - and their claims - are huge right now. But is it all hype, or is there something special about these little brown bottles? To get to the bottom of it, we dig through the studies and speak to cognitive neuroscientist Dr. Rachel Herz and psychologist Prof. Mark Moss.
Check out the full transcript here: http://bit.ly/2PyEsKy
Selected references: Rachel Herz’s books: Why You Eat What You Eat & The Scent of DesireA review of the benefits of peppermint tea and oil A critical review of the clinical trials Mark’s two studies showing that rosemary can enhance memoryThe experiment where lavender had different effects depending on what the people expected it to do
Credits: This episode was produced by Meryl Horn, with help from Wendy Zukerman, Rose Rimler and Odelia Rubin. Our senior producer is Kaitlyn Sawrey. We’re edited by Blythe Terrell and Caitlin Kenney. Fact checking by Michelle Harris and Rose Rimler. Mix and sound design by Emma Munger. Music by Emma Munger and Bobby Lord. A huge thanks to all the researchers we got in touch with for this episode - including Ryan Dalton, Elaine Elisabetsky, Belinda Hornby, Diane McKay, and Thomas Cleland. Also thanks to the Zukerman Family and Joseph Lavelle Wilson.
Sep 20 2018
Rank #19: Exercise: Fat Buster or Belly Flop?
Lots of people hit the gym to shed unwanted pounds, but they don’t always see results on the scale. This week, we tackle the power of exercise and why you should bother. We speak with obesity expert Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, psychiatrist Dr. Gary Cooney, neuroscientist Prof. Wendy Suzuki and urologist Dr. Stacey Kenfield.
Check out the full transcript here: http://bit.ly/2kqreUR
UPDATE 10/31/19: An earlier version of this episode said that exercise isn’t a reliable treatment for depression. Some scientists reached out to us about clinical trials we missed. These newer trials found that exercise can help with depression. And we now think the research in this space is stronger than we made it sound. We’ve updated the episode.
Selected references: The study which looked at the effect of exercising 5 days a week for a year on weight: http://bit.ly/2mitPR8Gary's Cochrane review on the benefits of exercise for depression: http://bit.ly/2kqrGCxThe study which found that exercise is linked to a lower risk of getting dementia: http://bit.ly/2mj9qeL Stacey's study on exercise and prostate cancer: http://bit.ly/2kuPwgu
Credits: This episode was produced by Wendy Zukerman, with help from Meryl Horn, Rose Rimler and Lexi Krupp. Our senior producer is Kaitlyn Sawrey. We’re edited by Caitlin Kenney and Blythe Terrell. Fact checking by Diane Kelly. Mix and sound design by Peter Leonard. Music by Peter Leonard, Emma Munger and Bobby Lord. Recording assistance from Joel Cox, Andrea Rangecroft, Natalie Jones, and Mark Totti. A huge thanks to all the scientists we got in touch with for this episode, including Professor Virginia Berridge, Professor James Blumenthal, Professor Kirk Erickson, Dr. Tara Walker, Dr. Shannon Halloway, Professor Steven Petruzzello, Dr. Kristine Beaulieu, Dr. Aric Sudicky and many others! A special thanks to the Emmanuel Dzotsi, Zukerman family, and Joseph Lavelle Wilson.
Sep 19 2019
Rank #20: Healthcare: How Do We Fix It?
American healthcare has big problems. Some say the solution is Medicare For All: one government plan for everybody. But others say government healthcare would be worse than what we already have. Who’s right? And how did things get this bad? We talk to health policy researchers Prof. Harold Pollack and Robin Osborn.
Check out the full transcript here: https://bit.ly/38ye0cY
- Paper from last year on why American healthcare spending is so high: https://bit.ly/2t8gkqB
- Report from Robin’s group that compares the US, the UK, and many other countries: https://bit.ly/2qRh7vy
- A WHO report on healthcare cost control: https://bit.ly/38AEHxl
- Big Lancet report on the health of countries around the world: https://bit.ly/2RLJB4N
This episode was produced by Rose Rimler with help from Lexi Krupp along with Wendy Zukerman, Michelle Dang, and Meryl Horn. We’re edited by Caitlin Kenney. Fact checking by Michelle Harris. Mix and sound design by Peter Leonard. Music written by Peter Leonard, Emma Munger, Bobby Lord, and Marcus Bagala. Recording assistance from Sofi LaLonde, David DesRoches, Dennis Maler, and James Delahoussaye. A huge thanks to all of the people with diabetes we spoke with-- thanks so much! Also big thanks to Dr. Irene Papanicolas, Prof. Steven Woolf, Dr. Kasia Lipska, Elizabeth Pfiester, Professor Kevin Schulman, Dr. Eric Schneider, Dr. Chris Pope, Cynthia Cox, Lois Rogers, and everyone else we spoke to for this episode. And special thanks to the Zukerman family and Joseph Lavelle Wilson.
Dec 13 2019