By Population Health Exchange
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Free Associations is about using a critical eye when reading journal articles or news coverage about research breakthroughs. With a sense of humor and a healthy dose of skepticism Boston University School of Public Health Professors Matt Fox, Chris Gill and Don Thea talk us through popular health studies and hyperbolic news headlines while teaching us how to ask the right questions. Music: "Duress" by Ketsa under CC BY-NC-ND 4.0.
||CleanEpisode 39 - One week break: back in two weeks!||We took a break from recording this week as we have a lot going on – the holidays, end of semester crunch, and Matt relocating for a 6 month sabbatical to the UK. We’ll be back in 2 weeks with another episode so tune in!||1/15/2019||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 38 - Is ADHD over-diagnosed?||Matt, Chris, and Don look at a study using month of birth to explore whether attention deficit hyperactivity disorder is over-diagnosed, the gang discusses a study on how patients feel about having their clinical trial data shared,||1/1/2019||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 37 - Are organic foods the answer to cancer?||Matt, Chris, and Don look at a study of the effects of eating organic foods on risk of cancer, the gang discusses the role of data safety and monitoring boards in clinical trials, and Matt gives his shortest amazing and amusing ever.||12/18/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 36 - Herpes virus and dementia||Matt, Chris, and Don look at a study of whether herpes virus is associated with dementia, the gang discusses a new database of retracted studies and what it tells us, and Don gives us the ICD10 codes we never knew we needed.||12/4/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 35 - Is more better? The asthma dosing episode||Matt, Chris, and Don look at two studies on asthma medication dosing, the gang discusses whether ad hominem attacks on science are more effective than attacks on the science itself, and Matt finally figures out which host is more popular.||11/20/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 34 - The born to run episode: Exercise and mental health||Matt, Chris, and Don look at a massive cross-sectional study on the relationship between exercise and mental health, the gang discusses whether critiquing science gives fodder to those who wish to dismiss science,||11/6/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 33 - The target trial episode: The case of diclofenac and cardiovascular disease||Matt, Chris, and Don look at a study that used a unique approach to look at the effect of a common NSAID on cardiovascular disease, the gang discusses a study attempting to reproduce results originally published in Nature and Science, and Chris,||10/23/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 32 - The sleep episode: melatonin for a sleep disorder||Matt, Chris, and Don look at a trial that focuses on whether melatonin can help people with a sleep disorder, the gang discusses a provocative editorial that says nutritional epidemiology is deeply flawed, and Chris learns the dangers of ignoring Matt||10/9/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 31 - Is smog really affecting our minds?||Matt, Chris, and Don take on a study from China on the relationship between smog and cognitive function, the gang discusses a new policy by EU funders preventing their grantees from publishing in paywalled journals,||9/25/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 30 - The best of Amazing and Amusing||It’s our one year anniversary! Chris and Don are away this week so rather than have Matt talk to himself, we thought we’d go back and revisit some of our favorite Amazing and Amusing segments from the past year. Thanks for listening and for a great||9/11/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 29 - Is low-dose aspirin for everyone? (Guest host!)||Matt, Chris, and Jen talk about a study of whether low-dose aspirin to prevent vascular events should be weight dependent, the gang revisits placebo effects and wonders if it is all just regression to the mean, and Jen focuses on the empathy of our dog||8/28/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 28 - Should we pay people to quit smoking? (Guest host!)||Jennifer Rider joins us in the studio as our first ever guest host. Matt, Chris, and Jen discuss a pragmatic trial of smoking cessation, the gang examines the pros and cons of surrogate endpoints, and Chris schools us all on horse dentistry.||8/13/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 27 - Does food labeling reduce calorie consumption?||Mad musings from the messy world of science.||7/31/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 26 - Can a vaccine treat diabetes?||Matt, Chris, and Don examine a study that looked at whether a vaccine can treat Type 1 diabetes, the gang discusses the “Loss of Confidence Project," and Matt reports on an N of 1 study that suggests red wine may be good for blood sugar.||7/17/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 25 - The napping episode: Does weekend sleep influence mortality? (Live!)||Matt, Chris, and Don do their second ever live podcast, exploring a study on the effects of sleep on mortality, the gang discusses a proposal to change the definition of statistical significance, and Chris goes rogue and has three amazing and amusing a.||7/3/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 24 - What is a "synbiotic" anyway and can it prevent sepsis?||Matt, Chris, and Don examine a trial done in India using synbiotics to prevent neonatal sepsis, the gang discusses a study that looked at whether scientific productivity has been increasing over time, and Don gives us just a study title for his amazing.||6/19/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 23 - A breakthrough for lung cancer treatment?||Matt, Chris, and Don discuss a new treatment for lung cancer (immunotherapy), the gang discusses a controversy that occurred when a large clinical trial decided to change its endpoint, and Chris dives into the world of linguistics (again).||6/5/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 22 - An antidepressants do-over||Matt, Chris, and Don look at a drug company antidepressant trial in adolescents that was re-analyzed by different authors who came to different conclusions, the gang discusses the pre-registration movement in psychology,||5/22/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 21 - People who live in glass houses...||Matt, Chris, and Don finally take on one of their own studies and see how it holds up, the gang discusses what to do when your study has flaws, and Chris tells us what happens if you don’t get funding as a junior faculty member.||5/8/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 20 - The opioids vs non-opioids showdown!||Matt, Chris, and Don tackle a study on the effectiveness of opioids vs non-opioids for treatment of back, hip, and knee pain, then the gang discusses the new NIH rules on how a clinical trial is defined, and Matt reads us some academic love poems.||4/24/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 19 - Antidepressants — our first in-studio guests!||Matt, Chris, and Don are joined by Ludovic Trinquart and Mike LaValley from the BUSPH Biostats Department to discuss a massive meta-analysis on the effectiveness of antidepressants, then we talk about the pros and cons of meta-analysis,||4/10/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 18 - Is the HPV vaccine reducing infection?||Matt, Chris, and Don discuss a study from Scotland on the introduction of the HPV vaccine and the impact on prevalence of HPV, the gang discusses what the goal of peer review is, and Matt gets on twitter to find out the latest on significance.||3/27/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 17 - All about that gluten!||Matt, Chris, and Don puzzle out whether a diet low in gluten has an effect on coronary artery disease, the gang discusses whether it is ok to have prior beliefs when critiquing a study, and Don explains how sandwiches are killing the planet.||3/13/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 16 - The jellyfish and memory edition||Matt, Chris, and Don look at the science behind a supplement aimed at improving memory, the gang debates whether industry has a conflict of interest in running their own research, and Matt explains why Don is to blame for his hearing loss.||2/27/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 15 - Should I take my calcium/vitamin D supplements?||Matt, Chris, and Don debate a new meta-analysis on the evidence behind calcium and vitamin D supplements for prevention of fractures, Matt once again explains why he hates null hypothesis significance testing,||2/13/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 14.5 - The author responds: HIV incidence in Uganda (Bonus)||In this special bonus episode, we have our first guest, Dr. Kate Grabowski, the author of the HIV incidence in Uganda study in episode 14. She talks with Matt about a few issues we got wrong and the wider impact of her work on HIV.||2/13/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 14 - Why is HIV incidence dropping in Uganda?||Matt, Chris, and Don weigh in on an area they finally have some expertise in (HIV) by reviewing a study of HIV prevention in Uganda, the gang tries to explain the difference between “efficacy” and “effectiveness,||1/30/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 13 - A tough pill to swallow?||Matt, Chris, and Don try to act like grownups in discussing fecal transplants delivered through oral capsules, p-values are finally, though not fully taken on, and Chris reveals that “jellyfish ain’t babies".||1/16/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 12 - The sham podcast: Heart stents and angina?||Matt, Chris, and Don discuss a study that contradicts much of the previous evidence on heart stents for angina, Matt learns how angina is really pronounced while discussing ethics in medical research, and the three answer the question of just how bad V.||1/2/2018||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 11 - Back to school: Does exercise increase academic achievement?||Matt, Chris, and Don 'run' through a study on exercise and academic achievement, then Matt drills Chris on why he’s so skeptical about observational studies, and Don seems to suggest it's ok to talk on the phone while crossing the street as long as yo||12/19/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 10.5 - Live episode Q&A (Bonus)||Bonus content! Matt, Chris, and Don answer questions from a live audience.||12/12/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 10 - It’s alive!!! A live podcast, featuring fat and carbs?||Matt, Chris, and Don feed a live audience burritos before asking whether fat and carbs are killing us, wrestle with whether the ranking of a journal defines the quality of the articles within, and Chris finally teaches us why bees don’t use back scrat||12/5/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 9 - Is watching hockey the same as exercising?||Matt, Chris, and Don get checked into the boards on this new study on watching hockey and heart rates (seriously), get called for high sticking over their take on how big a study needs to be, and Chris warns us about the dangers of pizza deficiency syn.||11/21/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 8 - Could kids in Uganda do this podcast better than we can?||Matt, Chris, and Don decide whether school kids in Uganda can be taught to evaluate the validity of health claims (hey, isn’t that our job?), take their best shot at conveying their strategies for determining who study results generalize to and Chris||11/7/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 7 - Freaky associations between flu vaccine and miscarriage?||Matt, Chris, and Don drop their Halloween candy to debate whether H1N1 flu vaccine can cause spontaneous abortions, attempt to discern whether or not it is ok to divide up your data, and Matt has an anecdote about The Unbearable Lightness of Being.||10/31/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 6 - Are artificial sweeteners the cause or the cure?||Matt, Chris, and Don examine if artificial sweeteners are good or bad for your weight, pontificate on conflicts of interest in studies, and discuss what shall only be called “baloney” (so that we don’t get a PG-13 rating).||10/24/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 5 - To increase regulation on pollution or not to, that is the question?||Matt, Chris, and Don discuss a new study that suggests increasing pollution regulation standards in the US could save lives, debate whether or not medical researchers should make policy recommendations, and answer the question: is it safer to ride in b.||10/10/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 4 - Is this the paper that launched a thousand anti-vaxxers?||Matt, Chris, and Don discuss the paper that set off the MMR and autism controversy, dive deep into the peer review system, and Chris and Don leave Matt scratching more than his head with their Amazing and Amusing contributions.||9/26/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 3 - A glass of wine a day keeps the doctor away?||Matt, Chris, and Don dig into the latest study on whether alcohol is good for your heart (please, please, please let this one work out!), discuss what kinds of health studies the media likes to report on and review the harshest peer reviewer feedback w.||9/12/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 2 - Can chocolate make the heart grow healthier?||Matt, Chris, and Don review a new study suggesting chocolate may reduce your risk for atrial fibrillation, discuss the difference between observational studies and randomized controlled trials and ask whether Usain Bolt is fast enough to cause a Dopple.||9/12/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
||CleanEpisode 1 - Early to bed, early to a healthy BMI?||Matt, Chris, and Don examine a report on how routines in childhood affect obesity, discuss their takes on how to critically read a journal article, debate the plural of platypus and the science behind the “asparagus smell”,||9/12/2017||Free||View in iTunes|
Entertaining & informative
This podcast is great for anyone in the field of public health but also for anyone who wants to be more informed about these studies that get high press coverage but may be misleading.
As a former student of Chris Gill’s at BUSPH (one of my favorite professors btw), I was excited about this podcast because Chris has an amazing way of explaining complex topics in a way that makes you say “wow, I get it now!”
The combination of Matt, Chris, & Don is really great. They clearly have a lot of fun in the podcast which makes what they have to say even more enjoyable to listen to. I definitely recommend this podcast to all my public health field podcast listeners!
Sound analysis and sound advice
These guys are a breath of fresh air. While they sometimes get a bit off track and silly (tho' funny), they provide really sensible and accessible information about the sometimes bewildering health research that we see every day in the news.
I'm not a scientist and certainly not an epidemiologist but it's still interesting to hear all the thought that goes into these studies and how they are all flawed to some degree. Knowing this helps us understand the take-home message better.
It's a public service to have the curtain pulled back by experts in the field
Quality science and entertainment
I'm an epidemiologist so this podcast is pretty up my alley, but it's created in such a way to be accessible to all. I read journal articles all day and am often not entertained, so I was a little skeptical of this podcast's entertainment value but was pleasantly surprised. The hosts are personable, informative, and engaging. A great podcast for scientists and non-scientists alike.
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