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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.
80 Episodes
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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. 
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.
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.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. 
During a golden age for scientific progress, a group of scientists were given free rein to do whatever they wanted to their human lab rats. We got new drugs, and learnt exciting new things. But some researchers took it too far... And what seemed like a scientific fantasy turned into one of the largest American science scandals. Check out the full transcript here. Selected references: The 1976 report from the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Behavioral Research Allen Hornblum’s book Acres of Skin (1998)2007 report from the Institute of Medicine Committee on Ethical Considerations for Research The Experimental Scurvy in Man 1969 study Credits: 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 and 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. A huge thanks to all the researchers we got in touch with for this episode including Professor Karen Lebacqz, Michael Yesley. Also thanks to Sruthi Pinnamaneni, the Zukerman Family and Joseph Lavelle Wilson. 
Alcohol: A Pour Decision?

Alcohol: A Pour Decision?

2019-03-1500:31:4632

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. 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 amountsCredits: 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.  
We're back next week!

We're back next week!

2019-03-0700:01:531

Season 6 is on it's way, fellow nerds!
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Comments (261)

Razvan Traian Griguta

here from Rhett and Link

May 22nd
Reply

Alex Murdoch

For those listening and amazed at the "power" of placebos, please look into the Skeptics With A K Podcast. Specifically, the episodes with Mike Hall examining articles on placebo and how the current perception is driven by misunderstanding and bias.

May 18th
Reply

Taylor

This is my favourite podcast!

May 15th
Reply

Alec Loy

lay off the ads.......

May 13th
Reply

nik vissa

This is amazing!!!!

May 11th
Reply

Uday Biswas

nik vissa 👍👍

May 16th
Reply

Alex Murdoch

Am I the only one thinking that if placebo pills work as well as the tested medicine, that just maybe that means that shows the medicine doesn't work?

May 11th
Reply

Jack Gill

"Or coconut water, that you might associate with being a wanker" -Best quote ever

May 10th
Reply

Apple Betty

The anti vaccine people are putting other children at risk and it is highly irresponsible for these people to not get their children vaccinated. Kat Von D is a huge anti-vaccinator fyi.

May 9th
Reply

Sarah Wilkinson

This podcast is a joke. There is no real science. Opinions are NOT science. I don't recommend wasting any time on this. Very little value-add.

May 8th
Reply

Gemma

Sarah Wilkinson Thanks

May 8th
Reply

Sarah Wilkinson

This podcast is a joke with no actual science. Opinions are not science. To anyone who reads this: don't waste your time on this podcast.

May 8th
Reply

Nick nelson

No, they already had guns. Read the 2nd amendment again. Being necessary to the security of a free state. As long as a country has the means to protect themselves, the thought of a military state dwindles.

May 7th
Reply

Shelby Lynn Sloan

You (Science Vs) took Sam Harris out of context.

May 6th
Reply

Shannon OC

Shelby Lynn Sloan It's amazing (ly frustrating) to me that so many media and news outlets are doing this to him. It's disappointing. :(

May 18th
Reply

Brett Zithryl Landry

Shelby Lynn Sloan I'm glad I wasn't the only one that thought that.

May 7th
Reply

Apple Betty

I had my son at age 35 with no issues. My best friend had her kids at age 42. Twins.

Apr 30th
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Jozel Dogelio

very informative

Apr 29th
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Scott Robertson

does anyone check these sources? I'm not buying any PDF papers myself. and does it feel like the science says there's evidence actually showing the intelligence difference in race? definitely not proof but there's equal evidence saying there isn't at the very best. I don't believe there's an intelligence difference but this podcast kind of felt like global warming deniers just poking holes in the evidence without providing any to the point.

Apr 26th
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Ray

Scott Robertson Good

Apr 27th
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matt schmidt

Mayim Bialik "blossom" has her doctorate in neuro science. so there is that.

Apr 23rd
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Gabby Knox

I'm really disappointed they didn't once mention the difference between accredited service dog's and emotional support animal.

Apr 23rd
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Omar Jaffrey

Like in a horror movie: the "Does race exist?" question is a monster that won't die—screw scientific consensus. Congrats to Wendy & Science Vs for fighting it.

Apr 19th
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Francis Olajide

Can we please get a Science Vs episode on the ability to learn a language while sleeping?

Apr 19th
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matt schmidt

wow, the bias word gets thrown around alot. people should listen to the intro to the show. the show starts with we know religion and social norms play a role but we only care the science the actually data. Do yourself a favor a d look up the scientific method.

Apr 19th
Reply
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