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Science Vs

Author: Gimlet

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There are a lot of fads, blogs and strong opinions, but then there’s SCIENCE. Science Vs is the show from Gimlet Media that finds out what’s fact, what’s not, and what’s somewhere in between. We do the hard work of sifting through all the science so you don't have to. This season we tackle alcohol, fasting diets, DNA tests, race and the fertility cliff.
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SHARKS!!!

SHARKS!!!

2019-06-1400:41:1610

Are sharks the super-predators we think they are? Or have we been baited with great white lies? To find out, we interviewed shark researchers Dr. Taylor Chapple, Dr. Tricia Meredith and Dr. Chris Pepin-Neff, along with surfer Mike Wells. Check out the full transcript here. UPDATE 6/14/19: We removed a line from the episode implying that if you’ve eaten any takeaway fish and chips in the UK, there's a good chance you’ve unknowingly eaten shark meat. In fact, shark meat is not always sold surreptitiously. In the UK and in Australia shark meat it is often labeled flake, rock or huss.Selected references: Tricia’s shark smelling study: https://bit.ly/2F4OsqrChris’s book “Flaws”: https://bit.ly/2IGKe9BTiger shark study here: https://bit.ly/2Q0S94M and video here: https://bit.ly/2XFHj7o This paper on sharks and rays at risk of extinction: https://bit.ly/31wauMBThis episode was produced by Rose Rimler with help from Wendy Zukerman, along with Meryl Horn and Michelle Dang. Our senior producer is Kaitlyn Sawrey. We’re edited by Blythe Terrell and Kaitlyn Sawrey. Fact checking by Diane Kelly. Mix and sound design by Peter Leonard. A huge thanks to the amazing team of musicians who helped us with Flaws and our Snark Week music: Peter Leonard, Bobby Lord, Emma Munger, and Marcus Thorne Bagala. Recording assistance from Caroline Perryman, Shannon Cason, Sam Turken, Beth McMullen, and Jesse Wentzloff.  A big thanks to George Burgess, Peter Pyle, Dr. David Shiffman, Professor Peter Klimley, Prof. Jelle Atema, Prof. Stephen Kajiura, Dr. Blake Chapman, Nynke de Haas and others. Plus a special thanks to the Zukerman family and Joseph Lavelle Wilson.
When President Garfield was shot by an assassin in 1881, the best and brightest in medicine and science did everything they could to save him - and turned the President into a human guinea pig. But they missed something big, that could have saved him. To find out what it was, we spoke to surgeon and medical historian Dr Ira Rutkow, and Sara Murphy - collections manager at the National Museum of American History. To find out more about this story, read Dr Ira Rutkow’s book - James A. Garfield: The American Presidents Series.Check out the transcript, with all the citations - here.This episode was produced by Kaitlyn Sawrey with help from Wendy Zukerman, along with Meryl Horn, Rose Rimler and Michelle Dang. We’re edited by Blythe Terrell, extra editing help from Caitlin Kenny. Fact checking by Michelle Harris. Mix and sound design by Peter Leonard. Music written by Emma Munger, Peter Leonard, and Bobby Lord. Thanks to the National Museum of American History, Dr Howard Markel, Prof. Charles Rosenburg and Candice Millard. 
Peanuts: Public Enemy No. 1?

Peanuts: Public Enemy No. 1?

2019-05-3000:16:5222

Peanut allergy in children has been on the rise since the 1990s. What’s to blame? We find a clue in a very unexpected place, and talk to pediatric allergist Prof. Gideon Lack. Check out the full transcript here: https://bit.ly/2W7IwmASelected References: Gideon’s landmark 2015 study: https://bit.ly/2QsvOMvThe mouse rash study: https://bit.ly/2Mf6hZVCDC’s report on rising skin and food allergies (1997-2011): https://bit.ly/2XgjGlJThis episode was produced by Rose Rimler with help from Wendy Zukerman, along with Meryl Horn and Michelle Dang. Our senior producer is Kaitlyn Sawrey. We’re edited by Blythe Terrell. Fact checking by Diane Kelly. Mix and sound design by Peter Leonard. Music written by Emma Munger, Peter Leonard, and Bobby Lord. Recording assistance from Andrea Rangecroft. A big thanks to Dr. Andrew Dang, Professor Scott Sicherer, Dr. Marshall Plaut, Dr. Kristin Sokol, Dr. Robert Boyle, and others. As well as the Zukerman Family and Joseph Lavelle Wilson.
The Abortion Underground

The Abortion Underground

2019-05-2300:38:1532

Before Roe v. Wade, there were thousands of illegal abortions in the U.S. every year. Some of these were incredibly dangerous; women would use knitting needles or coat hangers to end pregnancies. This, and other illegal methods, could lead to injury or death. In the 1970s, one group of women got fed up and decided to take women's health into their own hands. We talk to “self-helpers” Carol Downer and Francie Hornstein, who led a movement for safe abortions and education for women by women. Check out the full transcript here: https://bit.ly/2X12PTXSelected references: “Back alley” abortions before Roe v. Wade (See chapter 3) https://bit.ly/2JA6gObA study documenting the techniques used for illegal abortions in the 60s https://bit.ly/2VLKl8eA Woman's Book of Choices by Dr. Rebecca Chalker (PhD) and Carol Downer https://bit.ly/2K5MbP4This episode was produced by Wendy Zukerman, with help from Meryl Horn, Rose Rimler, and Michelle Dang. Our senior producer is Kaitlyn Sawrey. We’re edited by Blythe Terrell. Editing help from Caitlin Kenney, Kaitlyn Sawrey, Sruthi Pinnemanni, Jorge Just, Lulu Miller and Chris Neary. Fact checking by Diane Kelly. Mix and sound design by Peter Leonard. Music by Peter Leonard, Emma Munger and Bobby Lord. Recording assistance from Anny Celsi. A huge thanks to all the scientists we got in touch with for this episode, including Dr Sara Matthiesen, Professor Verta Taylor, Professor John DeLancey, Professor Carole Joffe,  Professor Johanna Schoen, and Dr. Denise Copelton. And special thanks to Michele Welsing and the team at Southern California Library, Dr Becky Chalker, Jonathon Roberts, Jim Aspholm, Odelia Rubin, Alice Kors, the Zukerman family, and Joseph Lavelle Wilson.Women's Liberation Day: New York, San Francisco and Berkeley rallies of August 26, 1970 was used courtesy of the Pacifica Radio Archives.
Could fake medicine actually take away your pain or treat a disease? We dig into the science of placebos to find out more about the power of the mind to heal. We speak to medical researcher Prof. Ted Kaptchuk, neuroscientist Prof. Fabrizio Benedetti and medical psychologist Prof. Manfred Schedlowski. UPDATE 5/13/19: We changed a few things in this episode to clarify facts. An earlier version of this episode implied that the placebo surgery for knee and back pain was really effective in itself. In fact, these studies found that some placebo surgeries work as well as real surgeries. In other words, patients reported less pain after both the real surgery and the placebo surgery.We also said that Pavlov’s studies used a bell to condition dogs. Whether Pavlov himself used a conventional bell is debated in the literature. Some say this was an early translation error from Russian to English. Later studies by his colleagues definitely used a bell.Finally! We have added a caveat into placebo research more generally to highlight that this research is early and that we don’t have many have long-term studies into placebos, so we don’t know how long the placebo effect can last.Check out the full transcript here: https://bit.ly/2Jrb3Rj Selected References: Great summary paper on placebo: https://bit.ly/30cFSzdTed’s IBS “open label” placebo study with Linda…: https://bit.ly/2E2O4ZkFabrizio’s high altitude headache study: https://bit.ly/2vMZj3zManfred’s first immunosuppression study with the green drink: https://bit.ly/2VXPDllCredits: This episode was produced by Wendy Zukerman, with help from Rose Rimler, Meryl Horn, 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. Mix and sound design by Peter Leonard. Music by Peter Leonard, Emma Munger and Bobby Lord. Recording assistance from Fabian Mirko May, Mary Dooe and Maggie Penman. A huge thanks to all the scientists we got in touch with for this episode, including Dr. Diletta Barbiani, Dr. Cynthia McRae, Dr. J Bruce Moseley, Professor Apkar Apkarian, Professor Jon Stoessl, and others. And special thanks to Lynda McKenzie, the Zukerman family, and Joseph Lavelle Wilson.
Autism, seizures, and overloaded immune systems - could these really be side effects of vaccines? From the archives, we bring back our dive into the science to find out how safe vaccines really are. We spoke to public health researchers Prof. Dan Salmon and Prof. Amy Kalkbrenner and neurologist Prof. Ingrid Scheffer. Check out the full transcript here. Selected References:The National Academies (aka Institute of Medicine) report on vaccine safety A report on the genetic underpinnings of epilepsyThis study looked for neurologic disorders after the MMR shot in half a million kidsThis one looked at all children born in Denmark between 1991 and 1998Credits: This episode has been produced by Heather Rogers, Wendy Zukerman, and Shruti Ravindran. Production help from Rose Rimler. Our senior producer is Kaitlyn Sawrey. We’re edited this week by Blythe Terrell and Annie-Rose Strasser. Fact checking by Michelle Harris, with help from Rose Rimler. Sound design by Martin Peralta. Music written by Bobby Lord. For this episode we also spoke with Dr. Saad Omer, Dr. Neal Halsey, Dr. Paul Offit, Dr. Frank DeStefano, and Prof. Alison Buttenheim. And an extra thanks to Bonnie Stanway, Ivona Stamatoska, Reese and Walter Ludwig, the Zukerman Family, Joseph Lavelle Wilson and - of course! - Leo Rogers. 
Fertility Cliff: Is It Real?

Fertility Cliff: Is It Real?

2019-04-2600:42:017

We’re often told to have kids quickly, before our biological clock strikes and we fall off the fertility cliff. This week we find out it’s that’s true for women or men. And if the cliff is real, can you do anything about it, like freezing your eggs? Plus, the sperm-aggedon! We speak to epidemiologist Prof. Lauren Wise, reproductive endocrinologist Dr. Mary Sabatini, and andrologist Prof. Allan Pacey. Check out the full transcript here. Selected references:  Lauren’s two studies looking at the fertility cliff. Click here if you want to be in one of her studies!  Two studies looking at success rates of freezing eggs at different ages Review of the effect of paternal aging on the health of the offspringThe 2017 meta-analysis which shows the drop in sperm counts in several parts of the worldCredits: 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. Fact checking by Diane Kelley. Editing help from Caitlin Kenney. Mix and sound design by Peter Leonard. Music by Peter Leonard, Emma Munger and Bobby Lord. Recording assistance from Mary Dooe and Andy Short. A huge thanks to all the scientists we got in touch with for this episode, including Dr. Richard Lea, Dr. Hagai Levine, Professor Jens Peter Ellekilde Bond, and others. And special thanks to everyone at Gimlet who listened to the episode, the Zukerman family, and Joseph Lavelle Wilson. And a huge thanks to Christopher Suter.
For decades, we've heard that race is a social and cultural idea — not scientific. But with the changing world of genetics, is race science back? We speak to sociologist Prof. Dorothy Roberts, evolutionary biologist Prof. Joseph L. Graves Jr. and psychological methodologist Prof. Jelte Wicherts.Check out the full transcript here. Selected references:  Dorothy’s book on the history of scientific racism One of Joseph’s books unpacking raceThe 2005 paper on population structureA handy FAQ from a population geneticistA paper on the knowns and unknowns about genes and the environment on IQCredits: This episode was produced by Rose Rimler, with help from Wendy Zukerman, as well as Meryl Horn and Michelle Dang. Our senior producer is Kaitlyn Sawrey. We’re edited by Blythe Terrell. Fact checking by Michelle Harris, Meryl Horn, and Michelle Dang. Mix and sound design by Peter Leonard. Music by Peter Leonard, Emma Munger, and Bobby Lord. Recording assistance from Botte Jellema and Shani Aviram. A huge thanks to Stillman Brown, Morgan Jerkins, Amber Davis, Cedric Shine, Emmanuel Dzotsi, and to all the scientists we got in touch with for this episode, including Noah Rosenberg, Rasmus Nielsen, Mark Shriver, Garrett Hellenthal, Sarah Tishkoff, Kenneth Kidd, John Protzko, Dan Levitis, and others. Finally, thanks to the Zukerman Family and Joseph Lavelle Wilson. 
Millions of people are sending off their DNA to companies like Ancestry.com and 23andme to find out where they come from, and what diseases they might get. But how much can you trust these DNA kits? To find out, we speak to anthropologist Prof. Jonathan Marks and geneticist Dr Adam Rutherford. Check out the full transcript here. Selected references: This academic paper on genetic ancestry testingAncestry.com’s white paper The genetics of Alzheimer DiseaseA perspective piece on genetic privacyCredits: This episode was produced by Rose Rimler, with senior producer Kaitlyn Sawrey… with help from Wendy Zukerman, Meryl Horn and Michelle Dang. We’re edited by Blythe Terrell. Fact checking by Michelle Harris and Michelle Dang. Mix and sound design by Peter Leonard. Music by Peter Leonard, Frank Lopez, Emma Munger and Bobby Lord. Recording assistance from Cole del Charco, Madeline Taylor, Carmen Baskauf, Ian Cross and [Mareek] Marijke Peters. A huge thanks to everyone who spat in a tube for us, especially Toni Magyar and Alex Blumberg, and to all the researchers we got in touch with for this episode, including Dr. Wendy Roth, Dr Deborah Bolnick, Dr Celeste Karch, Professor Nancy Wexler, Dr. Robert Green, Dr Catharine Wang, and others. Thanks also to the teams at Ancestry.com, 23andMe, and MyHeritage. Thanks to the Zukerman Family and Joseph Lavelle Wilson. 
Can petting Fluffy or Fido help with anxiety on planes? Or are emotional support animals a load of croc? We talk to psychologist Prof. Hal Herzog to find out if science has anything to say on whether these pets should fly high or be grounded. Check out the full transcript here. Selected references: Hal’s critical review on whether pets can improve mental health Study showing that blankets worked just as well as dogs to reduce anxiety in childrenHere’s a good article describing the differences between emotional support animals and service animals A couple reviews on the evidence that animal-assisted therapy can help with psychiatric illnessesCredits: This episode was produced by Meryl Horn, with help from Wendy Zukerman, Rose Rimler, and Michelle Dang. Our senior producer is Kaitlyn Sawrey. We’re edited by Blythe Terrell. Fact checking by Diane Kelly 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 Molly Crossman, Dr. Karen Thodberg, Cassie Boness, Dr. Rob Young, and Dr. Helen Louise Brooks. Also thanks to the Zukerman Family, and Joseph Lavelle Wilson.
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Comments (286)

Jacquee Hunter

I did 23 and me ancestory and health a few years ago, so I was a bit nervous about what Science VS had to say about it. However 23 and me provided the exact same information. They explain what your results mean and how they got them. They state the results are not 100% accurate because have very little information in some regions. I personally dont mind because they continue to update your results as more information becomes available. As far as giving your dna to 3rd party companys, they are straight forward about it. Its not in fine print and they give you the option. The only reason they share your information is for genetic research. I have participated in several research studies with them. One was on Depression and Bipolar disorder. I was diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder at a young age. The study lasted a year and consisted of a questionnaire and cognitive test once a month. They even sent me a $20 Amazon gift card unexpectedly and linked me to any research article I contributed to. Many people see risked with DNA kits; but in my opinion, if big pharma, the government, etc wants my dna they could get it without 23 and me.

Jun 19th
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Domenic Curulli

anyone else not able to load science vs podcast on castbox on Android?? all my other podcasts are working fine

Jun 18th
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Apple Betty

The bull shark is really common on the coast of NC and we just had 2 shark attacks in 2 weeks., one 17 year old had her leg bitten off and had to be amputated, plus she lost 2 fingers, and an 8 year old boy was just attacked a few days ago. I have heard many scientific stories of sharks and we shouldn't be afraid, but since we have had so many bull shark attacks in the last several years, I'm not a fan of going into the ocean. That's just me.

Jun 18th
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Kayl matthew

also they had Garfield on a metal spring bed. that also fucked the reading from the xray up

Jun 7th
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Kayl matthew

Garfield became very sick because the doctor stuck his finger in the wound to see if he could feel the bullet. it later became infected. it wasnt the lack of xray that killed him. it was the lack of knowledge of germs

Jun 7th
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KEDAR SHAH

Very entertaining

Jun 5th
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Hayden Jones

meditation helps peace of mind. you can't science that.

Jun 3rd
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David Boomer Davis

There wasn't really any science in this episode, just anecdotes about abortions in the past

May 31st
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Matt McCalister

haha so ridiculous...they couldn't of picked a more biased "scientist" even if they tried. the risk of catching HIV is only minimised because it's thought that the Langerhans cells of the foreskin may be where HIV can enter the body... and what about that study conducted in Uganda, I'm sure that was well funded

May 30th
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Mike Seymour

fantastic podcast. my go to show. you always know it's a good place to start when they list their sources and actually analyse the results rather than take them as gospel. huge thumbs up from me.

May 29th
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Max Brewster

Mike Seymour Just because they list their sources doesn't mean these were not carefully cherry-picked to support the desired narrative.

Jun 10th
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Jacqueline Spoelstra

I loved the episode.

May 29th
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Adriano Chiaretta

They didn't cover sulcarose.

May 29th
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Apple Betty

Excellent episode. I can't believe no one would sponsor this, which is very telling and a little frightening as to the direction. we are headed in.

May 28th
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B J

Extremely educational. Thank you.

May 27th
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Shirley Yiu

What an fascinating topic, thank you. I look forward to hearing the next one!

May 25th
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Ashley Lise Jensen

anyone else getting an "oops an error occurred" message with this podcast? I can't see any if the episodes anymore

May 24th
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Dave Rocha

Way to use a sound bite to make Sam Harris sound like he's making the exact opposite argument than he ends up making. He's stated a number of times that these tests reflect cultural biases and socially-imposed disadvantages.

May 24th
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Erica Martin

Thank you for shining light on this important yet controversial subject. A+ on another great and informative episode

May 24th
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Lis Stanger

another excellent podcast

May 24th
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Héctor Cossio

the fact you guys make a show about alcohol just after a vacation break says a lot of what you were up to during that break

May 23rd
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