Science Vs

Science Vs Podcast

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 football concussions, heartbreak, 5G networks, sleep, free healthcare, police use of force, asteroids and more.

Hunting an Invisible Killer
An adventuring Swedish doctor takes on a decades-long medical mystery: What exactly was the 1918 flu? We talk to Dr. Johan Hultin, Eileen Hultin, Dr. Jeffery Taubenberger, Ann Reid, Rita Olanna and Annie Conger.  Here’s a link to our transcript: https://bit.ly/30mnvt6 Check out Radiolab’s episode on the 1918 flu here: https://bit.ly/3n9cxkm And the book Flu: The Story of the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918 and the Search for the Virus That Caused it by Gina Kolata: https://bit.ly/3ipCeJU This episode w...

Orgasms: Come for the Science
There’s this idea that the female orgasm is a complicated riddle, but for a man with a penis, getting off is easy peasy. Is there really an orgasm gap? And if so — can science explain it? To learn more, we talk to neuroscientist Dr. Nan Wise, neuroscientist Dr. Nicole Prause and psychologist Dr. Candice Hargons.  Here’s a link to our transcript: bit.ly/340vQDV Learn more about Dr. Nicole Prause’s’s lab, the Liberos Center: https://www.liberoscenter.com/ Check out Dr. Nan Wise’s website and her book “Wh...

SHARKS!!! Sink Your Teeth in Again
NOTE: This episode first published 6/13/19. 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.  We’re doing a survey for our episode on orgasms! We’d love for you to take it: https://blythet.typeform.com/to/qhESeova Check out the full episode transcript here: https://bit.ly/32hPFac  This episode was produced by Rose Riml...


Astrology: Are Geminis the Worst?
For centuries, people have been looking to the stars to tell us all kinds of things — what our future holds, who we should date. So what does the science say about astrology? It turns out, there’s some surprising stuff here. We speak to astronomer Prof. Caty Pilachowski, Prof. Dave Henningsen and astrology lover Natalie Norman.  Here’s a link to the transcript: https://bit.ly/31VTDoM  This episode was produced by Meryl Horn and Rose Rimler, with help from Wendy Zukerman, Michelle Dang, Hannah Harris Green...

Mini Mask Update
MASKS. Since the early days of the pandemic, it’s been tough to nail down how much they can really do to slow down the spread of the virus. We speak to industrial hygienist Dr. Rachael Jones and share some new science that puts the final nail in the coffin of this debate (*hint* yes, you should wear a mask — your friends, family and neighbors too).  Here’s a link to our transcript: https://bit.ly/3lH5grh This episode was produced by Michelle Dang, with help from Wendy Zukerman, Rose Rimler, Hannah Harris ...

Probiotics: Scam or Superfood?
Kombucha, kefir and other probiotic-crammed foods are marketed as charmers of the human microbiome — and the key to immune, gut and brain health. But how much does the microbiome actually matter, and do probiotics live up to the hype? To learn more we talked with biomedical engineering professor Ilana Brito, immunologist Dr. Yasmine Belkaid, psychiatry professor Ted Dinan, and microbiologist Dr. Namrata Iyer. UPDATE 8/28/20: An earlier version of this episode said there was a little bit of evidence that sp...


Coronavirus: Are We Back Where We Started?
We’re six months into this coronavirus pandemic, which has shaken the world and stunned scientists. What have we learned? Where are we headed? To find out, we talk to virologist Professor John Dennehy, virologist and immunologist Professor Ann Sheehy, and hospital epidemiologist Dr. Cassandra Pierre. We also check back in with Dani Schuchman, who is now three months into his recovery from Covid-19. Also: MEAT-EATING SPONGES!! Here’s a link to our transcript: https://bit.ly/2CXa8GS This episode was produce...


Fauci! He’s Back!
Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force and America's favorite nerd joins Science Vs again. Wendy chats with Dr. Fauci about the pandemic’s past, present and future.  Here’s a link to our transcript: https://bit.ly/2V82uQg This episode was produced by Wendy Zukerman, Meryl Horn, Rose Rimler, Michelle Dang, Mathilde Urfalino and Sinduja Srinivasan. We’re edited by Blythe Terrell and Caitlin Kenney. Mix and so...

Coronavirus: Dude, Where's My Vaccine?
All through the pandemic, we’ve been waiting for a possible silver bullet: a vaccine. How soon could we actually get one? To find out, we talk to microbiologist and immunologist Professor Karla Satchell, immunologist Dr. Kathryn Stephenson, Pfizer executive Mike McDermott, and Ian Haydon, who’s participating in a vaccine clinical trial. Here’s a link to our transcript: https://bit.ly/3egWFrc This episode was produced by Wendy Zukerman, with help from Michelle Dang, Sinduja Srinivasan, Laura Morris, Meg Dr...

Coronavirus: Weirdest Virus Ever?
The coronavirus seems to cause symptoms all over our body, from nose to toes. So how can one virus do so many strange things? To find out, we talk to gastroenterologist Dr. Anthony DeBenedet, virologist and immunologist Professor Ann Sheehy, otorhinolaryngologist Professor Thomas Hummel, and dermatologist Professor Amy Paller.  Here’s a link to our transcript: https://bit.ly/2zqehBZ  This episode was produced by Rose Rimler and Meryl Horn with help from Wendy Zukerman, Sinduja Srinivasan, Michelle Dang an...


Coronavirus: Protesting in a Pandemic
Hundreds of thousands of people have joined the global protest movement sparked by the death of George Floyd. And a lot of doctors and public health experts are on board, despite concerns about the pandemic. So how can protesters stay safe — from coronavirus, and from police weapons like tear gas? To find out, we talk to epidemiologist Dr. Cassandra Pierre, Dr. Rohini Haar, and a protester who’s been tear gassed.  Here’s a link to our transcript: https://bit.ly/2MFnsRM  This episode was produced by Wendy Zu...

Coronavirus: Labs Go Dark
Life is on pause for many of us right now. But scientists don’t want to stop! Researchers have had to figure out how to keep experiments going and keep lab animals alive — all while keeping themselves safe. To find out how they’re managing it, we talk to evolutionary biologist Dr. Ximena Bernal, plant biologist Professor Frank Telewski, marine conservation biologist Christine Figgener, and station manager Erin Heard. Here’s a link to our transcript: https://bit.ly/3dgBZ2i This episode was produced by Laur...

Coronavirus: Sweden Goes Rogue
While a lot of countries have put in strict measures, like lockdowns, to stop the coronavirus, there’s been a conspicuous outlier: Sweden. The country has carved a different path, trying to keep its hospitals from being overrun while allowing society to function as normally as possible. So, is the Swedish model working? To find out, we talk to medical epidemiologist Dr. Emma Frans, Professor Annelies Wilder-Smith, Dr. Gary Weissman, and Dr. Eric Schneider. Also: ANCHOVIES! Here’s a link to our transcript: ...


Coronavirus: The Mask Wars
When the pandemic started, we were told not to bother with masks. But now it looks like experts have done a 180 here, and a lot of us are being told to cover our mugs when we leave the house. So which is it? Should we mask up or not? To find out, we talk to epidemiologist Professor Benjamin Cowling, microbiologist Dr. Anna Davies, and clinical psychologist Dr. Olga Perski. Also: RED DEVIL SQUID!! Here’s a link to our transcript: https://bit.ly/2LxuxTW And here’s a link to the squid video: https://youtu.be...

Coronavirus: Pregnant in a Pandemic
How bad is the coronavirus for pregnant people and babies? Producer Meryl Horn is digging into this question for today’s episode. And it’s personal, because Meryl is pregnant and living in the pandemic hot spot that is New York City. We talk to Professor Emily Oster, pathologist Dr. David Schwartz, and obstetrician Dr. Suzanne LaJoie. Also: SWIMMING DINOSAURS!? Here’s a link to our transcript: bit.ly/2YKzD7e  This episode was produced by Meryl Horn with help from me Wendy Zukerman, Rose Rimler, Laura Morr...

Coronavirus: How Many Silent Spreaders Are There?
We’re learning that people can spread the virus when they don’t have symptoms. But how often does that actually happen? We talk to Mark Jorgensen, clinician-scientist Dr. Vivek Naranbhai and CDC epidemiologist Dr. Mateusz Plucinski. Also: KOALA POP SONGS!! Here’s a link to our transcript: https://bit.ly/2zNX1q7 This episode was produced by Michelle Dang with help from me Wendy Zukerman, Laura Morris, Rose Rimler, Meryl Horn and Sinduja Srinivasan. We’re edited by Blythe Terrell with help from Caitlin Kenney...


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 biosafet...

Working Out From Home — in 7 Minutes? [Rebroadcast]
Social distancing has made it harder for a lot of us to get exercise. So we’re revisiting our episode on the seven-minute workout. Can this bite-size routine really keep us fit? Back in 2018, we asked exercise scientist Prof. Jeff Coombes — and Wendy gave it a go.  Check out the transcript here: https://bit.ly/2RQarYz  We also looked into the broader science of exercise in this episode: https://open.spotify.com/episode/3iMLOaNVAy0s6RsdecUySj  And find the original study on the seven-minute workout here: htt...

Coronavirus: Can You Get It Twice?
We’re hearing stories of people getting this coronavirus, recovering, and then getting it again. So what’s going on: Does getting this virus give you immunity or not? To find out, we talk to virologist Dr. Kirsty Short of the University of Queensland and Dr. Robin Berzin of Parsley Health. Here’s a link to our transcript: https://bit.ly/3ajK5om This episode was produced by Meryl Horn, Wendy Zukerman, Michelle Dang, Rose Rimler, Sinduja Srinivasan and Laura Morris. We’re edited by Blythe Terrell and Caitli...


Coronavirus: When Will It End?
In the U.S. we've been social distancing for a few weeks now, and the question on everyone’s mind is: When can we go back to “normal”? And what’s happening in China, where they’ve already lifted the lockdown? To find out, we talk to Dr. Swapnil Mishra, part of the Imperial College Covid-19 Response Team, and Dr. Franz-Josef Schmitt.  Here’s a link to our transcript: https://bit.ly/2y5nJtc You can listen to The Journal’s full interview with Dr. Anthony Fauci here: https://spoti.fi/2x99xQ8 This episode was pr...

Coronavirus: Should I Disinfect EVERYTHING?
There are reports that the coronavirus can survive on surfaces for days. So how careful should we be about cleaning the stuff we touch? And do we need to be disinfecting our groceries? To find out, we talk to pathologist and microbiologist Dr. Josh Santarpia and toxicologist Dr. Joshua King. UPDATE 4/7/20: An earlier version of this episode suggested that Alex was wiping down his groceries with bleach, but the wipes he was using didn't contain bleach. We've updated the episode. Here’s a link to our transcri...

Coronavirus: Is It Airborne?
We’re hearing conflicting things about how the coronavirus spreads — is it through coughs and sneezes only? Or could it be floating in the air, infecting us as we walk down the street or go grocery shopping? We ask Dr. Rachael Jones, an industrial hygienist, and Dr. Zhi Ning, an environmental engineer.  Here’s a link to our transcript: https://bit.ly/3aI1kAE This episode was produced by Rose Rimler, Wendy Zukerman, Michelle Dang, Meryl Horn, Sinduja Srinivasan, Laura Morris, and Meg Driscoll. We’re edited...


Coronavirus: Are Young People Safe?
From the early days of this coronavirus outbreak, it’s looked like the disease is way worse for older people. But now we’re hearing more stories of younger folks getting really sick. What’s going on? Is this virus scarier for younger people than we thought? We hear from a Gen-Xer who landed in the hospital with Covid-19, and we talk to immunologist Professor Vincent Racaniello. Also: THE HIGHEST MOUSE! We’ve set up a voicemail to collect all of your questions about coronavirus. Or if you’re a healthcare wor...

Coronavirus: Will Chloroquine Save Us?
President Trump says an anti-malarial drug could be a “gift from god” for treating Covid-19. Does it really work? And is it dangerous? We talk to toxicologist Professor Daniel Brooks, infectious disease specialist Dr. Matthew Pullen, and microbiologist Professor Karla Satchell. Also: VAMPIRE BATS! We’ve set up a voicemail to collect all of your questions about Coronavirus. Or if you’re a healthcare worker with a personal story you want to share, please call ‪(774) 481-1238‬ and leave us a message. Here’s a...

Coronavirus: Will Chloroquine Save Us?
President Trump says an anti-malarial drug could be a “gift from god” for treating Covid-19. Does it really work? And is it dangerous? We talk to toxicologist Professor Daniel Brooks, infectious disease specialist Dr. Matthew Pullen, and microbiologist Professor Karla Satchell. Also: VAMPIRE BATS! We’ve set up a voicemail to collect all of your questions about Coronavirus. Or if you’re a healthcare worker with a personal story you want to share, please call ‪(774) 481-1238‬ and leave us a message. Here’s a...


Coronavirus: Will Chloroquine Save Us?
President Trump says an anti-malarial drug could be a “gift from god” for treating Covid-19. Does it really work? And is it dangerous? We talk to toxicologist Professor Daniel Brooks, infectious disease specialist Dr. Matthew Pullen, and microbiologist Professor Karla Satchell. Also: VAMPIRE BATS! We’ve set up a voicemail to collect all of your questions about Coronavirus. Or if you’re a healthcare worker with a personal story you want to share, please call ‪(774) 481-1238‬ and leave us a message. Here’s ...

Coronavirus: Unmasking the Facts and Ibuprofen Scares
Healthcare workers across the U.S. are saying they don’t have enough protective gear to keep them safe against the coronavirus. They’re having to reuse masks, and they’re worried that they may have to resort to homemade cloth masks. Is all this safe? Plus, reports are saying that ibuprofen, the stuff in Advil, is making people with coronavirus sicker. But what does the science say? To find out we spoke to infectious disease expert Professor Raina MacIntyre, industrial hygienist Dr. Rachael Jones, public hea...

Coronavirus: Unmasking the Facts
Healthcare workers across the U.S. are saying they don’t have enough protective gear to keep them safe against the coronavirus. They’re having to reuse masks, and they’re worried that they may have to resort to homemade cloth masks. Is all this safe? Plus, reports are saying that ibuprofen, the stuff in Advil, is making people with coronavirus sicker. But what does the science say? To find out we spoke to infectious disease expert Professor Raina MacIntyre, industrial hygienist Dr. Rachael Jones, public hea...


Coronavirus: A Story From the Front Lines
As Covid-19 cases rise in the U.S., healthcare workers are already struggling to keep up. In a different kind of episode, we bring you an interview with Dr. Antoinette Ward, who is leading Covid-19 testing at a major hospital in Atlanta — and finding ways to treat the rapidly increasing number of patients. This interview comes from iHeartRadio’s The Women. For more stories from those on the front lines, listen here: http://bit.ly/TheWomenPodcast Here’s a link to the transcript: https://bit.ly/3bczJHW   Thi...

Coronavirus: What Should You Do Now?
The coronavirus pandemic is here, and in the U.S., this is starting to get very real. We talk to people in South Korea and Italy to see what life has been like for them. And we find out what the problem was with America’s tests — are they fixed now? And now that social distancing is on everyone’s mind, do we have evidence that it will really “flatten the curve”? We speak to public health expert Prof. Josh Sharfstein, virologist Prof. Vincent Racaniello, and epidemiologist Prof. Elizabeth Radin. UPDATE 3/17/...


Coronavirus: Fears and Facts
The new coronavirus continues to spread around the world, and it’s already killed several people in the U.S. People are starting to worry that this will turn into a full-blown pandemic. So how many of us could ultimately get infected — and is it time to prepare for the worst? To find out, we talk to epidemiologists Dr. Cécile Viboud and Prof. Marc Lipsitch. Here’s a link to our transcript: https://bit.ly/2IjUqW0 and our Hand Washing Song: https://player.gimletmedia.com/7osxva Selected references: CDC’s F...

Coronavirus Outbreak: How Scared Should You Be?
A new virus showed up in China late last year, and it’s making its way to other countries too. So what do scientists know about the virus so far? And how worried should we be? To find out we talk to infectious disease researchers Dr. Kristian Andersen and Dr. Catharine Paules, physician Dr. Hui, and director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases Dr. Anthony Fauci. We did an episode on a *fictional* pandemic, which you can find here: https://gimletmedia.com/shows/science-vs/49hok3/pan...

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  Selected references:  Overview of Chelyabinsk impact and risk from asteroids: http://bit.ly/2ECSRQQ  How many aste...


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  Selected references:  Paper from last year on why American healthcare spending is so high: https://bit.ly/2t8gkqB  Report from Rob...

Ants: Tales from the Underground
On today’s show, three f-ant-astic stories of survival, friendship and courage about some of the most underrated creatures in the animal queendom. Produced with our friends at Every Little Thing, another Gimlet podcast. We spoke with behavioral ecologist Dr. István Maák, biologist Dr. Erik Frank, entomologist Dr. Christina Kwapich, and biologist Prof Derrick Brazill.  Check out the full transcript here: http://bit.ly/38cDgoU  Selected references:  István’s study on ants surviving in a nuclear bunker: htt...

Police Shootings: The Data and the Damage Done
It’s been five years since the high profile shootings of several unarmed black teenagers and men launched the Black Lives Matter movement. Since then, police departments have been doing all kinds of things to respond to the deaths and protests. But do any of them work? To find out we speak with social psychologist Prof. Jennifer Eberhardt, psychologist Prof. Phillip Atiba Goff, public policy expert Dr. David Yokum, criminologists Dr. Lois James, and Dr. Stephen James.  Check out the full transcript transcr...


Police Shootings: The Data and the Damage Done
It’s been five years since the high profile shootings of several unarmed black teenagers and men launched the Black Lives Matter movement. Since then, police departments have been doing all kinds of things to respond to the deaths and protests. But do any of them work? To find out we speak with social psychologist Prof. Jennifer Eberhardt, psychologist Prof. Philip Atiba Goff, public policy expert Dr. David Yokum, criminologists Dr. Lois James, and Dr. Stephen James.  Check out the full transcript transcri...

When a Hospital becomes The Butcher Shop
A group of teenagers and college kids were fed up with the lousy healthcare in their neighborhood. So they decided to fight the system head on—a fight that still resonates today. Sid Davidoff, Mickey Melendez, and Cleo Silvers share their story.  Check out the full transcript here: http://bit.ly/33QhYKX Selected references:  Mickey Melendez's Book: http://bit.ly/34Ww1ik  Interview with Cleo Silvers: http://bit.ly/2Xcg58S  Article about lead testing in the 1970s: http://bit.ly/2qTJSqN   To hear more on ...

Sleep: All Aboard the Snooze Cruise!
Not sleeping enough turning you into a monster? Cutting-edge science helps us understand why. And we sort through the fads to find out, what really works to get more ZZZs. We speak with lab coordinator Pam De Young, sleep researcher Dr. Brady Riedner, and circadian scientist Prof. Russell Foster.  Check out the full transcript here: http://bit.ly/2Ns26Zt  Selected references:  Consensus on the optimal amount of sleep: http://bit.ly/2Nu33Rc  Local sleep review: http://bit.ly/33rXWGL  Drunk study: http:/...


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  Selected references:  Jeff’s paper on the future of 5G: http://bit.ly/36ob7tW  Chris's review on 5G’s safety: ht...

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 Selected references:  CDC Outbreak P...

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 Selected references:  CDC Outbreak P...


PANDEMIC!!!
If a pandemic ripped across the world, how bad would it really get? You’ve heard the horror stories, but you’ve never heard one like this. Dr. Anthony Fauci, who advises the President on emerging infectious diseases, helps us out. Check out the full transcript here: http://bit.ly/2M4Tlnt  Selected references:  The CDC’s history of the 1918 Pandemic: http://bit.ly/2AXiGJP  Time-lapse tracking the transmission and evolution of H7N9: http://bit.ly/2B1nYnG  CDC’s Pandemic Influenza Plan: http://bit.ly/2pVroFZ  ...

PANDEMIC!!!
If a pandemic ripped across the world, how bad would it really get? You’ve heard the horror stories, but you’ve never heard one like this. Dr. Anthony Fauci, who advises the President on emerging infectious diseases, helps us out. Check out the full transcript here: http://bit.ly/2M4Tlnt Selected references: The CDC’s history of the 1918 Pandemic: http://bit.ly/2AXiGJP Time-lapse tracking the transmission and evolution of H7N9: http://bit.ly/2B1nYnG CDC’s Pandemic Influenza Plan: http://bit.ly/2pVroFZ Insti...

Heartbreak: Why does it hurt so bad?
We’ve all been dumped, but some of us have felt physically sick from a heartbreak -- sometimes really sick. Neuroscientist Prof. Lucy Brown explains how pangs from a heartache might not just be in our heads. Check out the full transcript here: http://bit.ly/2OhEIi9 Selected references: Lucy’s FMRI study of the rejected in-love college students: http://bit.ly/355Xz5B The social/physical pain overlap in the brain: https://bit.ly/2IkRQiVHow psychological stress affects the immune system: https://bit.ly/333Cs...


Heartbreak: Why does it hurt so bad?
We’ve all been dumped, but some of us have felt physically sick from a heartbreak -- sometimes really sick. Neuroscientist Prof. Lucy Brown explains how pangs from a heartache might not just be in our heads. Check out the full transcript here: http://bit.ly/2OhEIi9 Selected references: Lucy’s FMRI study of the rejected in-love college students: http://bit.ly/355Xz5B The social/physical pain overlap in the brain: https://bit.ly/2IkRQiVHow psychological stress affects the immune system: https://bit.ly/333CsiS...

Football: Should We Cancel It?
America’s favorite pastime seems to be plagued by tragedy. Former NFL players have come forward to say they’re suffering from a serious brain disease. Others have ended their lives. So we wanted to know: how risky is playing football? Neuroscientist Dr. Kevin Bieniek, neurosurgeon Prof. Bob Cantu, and neurologist Dr. Ira Casson weigh in. Check out the full transcript here: http://bit.ly/2mWkuyRSelected references: The preliminary criteria for diagnosing CTE agreed upon in 2016: http://bit.ly/2m4YzW9  Kevin’...

Football: Should We Cancel It?
America’s favorite pastime seems to be plagued by tragedy. Former NFL players have come forward to say they’re suffering from a serious brain disease. Others have ended their lives. So we wanted to know: how risky is playing football? Cornerback Isiah Swann, neuroscientist Dr. Kevin Bieniek, neurosurgeon Prof. Bob Cantu, and neurologist Dr. Ira Casson weigh in. Check out the full transcript here: http://bit.ly/2mWkuyR Note: In this episode we discuss depression and suicide. Please take care when listening ...


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 reache...


The Dinosaur Explosion
Why are there so many new, weird dinosaurs? Friend of the show Joel Werner goes down the rabbit hole, and finds a surprising answer. He speaks to paleontologists Dr. Steve Brusatte and Dr. Jonathan Tennant. Listen to Joel’s podcast The Sum Of All Parts here:  https://ab.co/2YujtzU. Check out the transcript here: http://bit.ly/2Ts169i Science Vs will be back in September with a brand new season! UPDATE 8/13/19: We removed some lines suggesting that the reason that Joel and other people growing up in the 80s...

SHARKS!!!
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: http://bit.ly/34hG3ug 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 sol...

How Bad Science Killed A President
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 P...


Peanuts: Public Enemy No. 1?
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: http://bit.ly/2rkEcqL Selected 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/2XgjGlJ This episode was produced by Rose Rimler with help from Wendy Zukerman, along...

The Abortion Underground
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 ful...

Placebo: Can the Mind Cure You?
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, thes...


Vaccines: Time for a Booster Shot [Rebroadcast]
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: http://bit.ly/2IVgabd Selected References: The National Academies (aka Institute of Medicine) report on vaccine safety A report on the genetic underpinnings...

Fertility Cliff: Is It Real?
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 if 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. UPDATE 7/10/19: A previous version of this episode incorrectly identified the nationality of a character in In...

Race: Can We See It In Our DNA?
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: http://bit.ly/2nTDU8w Selected references:  Dorothy’s book on the history of scientific racism One of Joseph’s books unpacking raceThe 2005 paper on population structureA handy F...


DNA Kits: Can You Trust Them?
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: http://bit.ly/2OSICOD Selected references: This academic paper on genetic ancestry testingAncestry.com’s white paper The genetics of Alzheimer DiseaseA perspective piece on genetic...

Pets on Planes: Are Emotional Support Animals Legit?
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: http://bit.ly/2MD2lPC 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 dif...

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 stud...


Science's Rotten Underbelly
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: http://bit.ly/2MLBX6u Selected references: The 1976 report from the National Commission for the Protection of Human Subjects of Biomedical and Be...

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 ...


Introducing: Conviction
Hey Science Vs listeners! We're back in mid-March but in the meantime, here's Conviction - a new true crime show from Gimlet you can binge right now....

The Mystery of the Man Who Died Twice
A dead body turns up with a stolen identity. This week, we tell the story of how a grandmother tracked down the truth — and helped create a whole new and controversial world of crime fighting. To tell this story, we talk to U.S. Marshal Peter Elliott, Dr. Margaret Press, and Phil Nichols. Check out the transcript here; http://bit.ly/33CNj3i Note: in this episode we discuss suicide and homicide. Please take care when listening to the show, and here are some resources: National Mental Health Helpline: 1-800-6...

The Science Of Being Transgender
Recently we’ve been hearing a lot about transgender identity. That made us wonder… what makes us the gender that we are? And what should you do if your kid doesn’t fit the mold? To find out, we talked with endocrinologist Dr. Joshua Safer, psychologist Dr. Laura Edwards-Leeper, and psychologist Dr. Colt Keo-Meier. Check out the transcript: http://bit.ly/31k0oNk UPDATE 3/29/19 : An earlier version of this episode misinterpreted a study regarding the question of how many children who visited a gender identit...


The Wank Worm: How NASA Got Hacked
Before WikiLeaks, there was the Wank Worm. In this week’s episode, we tell you the story of how Australian hackers infiltrated NASA, just months after the country was hooked up to the internet in 1989. Joel Werner, host of Sum of All Parts, helps us tell this story, along with cybersecurity researcher Dr. Suelette Dreyfus. Check out the transcript here: http://bit.ly/35EkMw5 UPDATE 12/07/18: An earlier version of this episode stated that Galileo's engines ran on nuclear power. We've removed this line, as i...

Ancient Aliens: Who Really Built the Pyramids?
Is it possible that the pyramids were built with a helping hand... from aliens? If not, how on Earth did the Egyptians built them without modern technology? To get to the bottom of this, we speak to author Erich von Däniken, paleoanthropologist Dr. Shelby Putt, Egyptologist Dr. Mark Lehner, and archaeologist Prof. David S. Anderson. Check out the transcript here: http://bit.ly/2P6tvl9 Selected references: This paper about the evolution of intelligence. Mark’s article about the canal system...with diagrams!...

7 Minute Workout: Fit or Fad?
The 7 Minute Workout is all the rage, but can working out for just 7 minutes really do anything? To figure out whether this fitness trend is a load of crock, we speak to exercise scientist Prof. Jeff Coombes. Plus, Wendy gives it a go. Check out the transcript right here: http://bit.ly/32qS7IO Selected references: The original 7 minute workout Jeff’s review paper on short intense workouts and weight lossOther reviews about heart health, diabetes, and fitness in healthy peopleThe study on really, really, rea...


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...

Election Special: Immigration
In the final installment of our election series, we tackle immigration: the #1 concern of Americans as they head to the polls. It's been a huge focus for President Trump... and people say immigrants are stealing jobs and driving up the crime rate. But what does the research say? There have been a bunch of new studies since we published our episode on immigration, so we've updated this to reflect what's new. Check out the transcripts, with all the citations, here: http://bit.ly/2IZ6ixc...

Election Special: Climate Change
Recently we've been warned that climate change is scarier than ever -- and that we are to blame. Yet surveys find around half of Americans don't think climate change is caused by humans. So how does science know that? And how bad will climate change get? Science Vs has brought this episode up to date so you have the facts for next week's midterm elections. Check out the transcript with all the citations, right here: http://bit.ly/33CGgHY...


Election Special: Abortion
The battle over abortion is fast becoming one of the key issues of the midterm election. And in this battle you’ll hear many things about abortion: that it’s painful for the fetus, and that late-term abortions are a huge issue. But what does the science say? If you want to read our transcript, with all the citations - check it out right here: http://bit.ly/2Bn9u1i...

Election Special: Gun Violence
After 11 people were shot and killed in a Pittsburgh synagogue over the weekend, mass shootings are back in the news. With the midterm elections happening next week, we've updated our episode on guns and are re-releasing it to give you the facts ahead of polling day. Heads up: this episode contains the sound of guns - and we’ll be discussing homicide, suicide and domestic violence. Please take care when listening to the show. If you or someone you love is struggling, there's always someone you can call at t...

Meet Chompers: A Kids Toothbrushing Show
Is getting your kids to brush their teeth a daily struggle in your house? Gimlet has a podcast for that! Check out Chompers - available on Alexa, Amazon, or wherever you get your podcasts....


Online Dating: Can Science Find You Love?
Online dating can feel like drudgery… can science help you game the system? And do those matching algorithms actually work? To find out, we talked to psychologist Asst. Prof. Paul Eastwick, social psychologist Prof. Viren Swami, mathematician Asst. Prof. Hannah Fry, and Rose Reid. Check out the transcript right here: http://bit.ly/2E73qLH Selected references: Paul’s primer on speed dating experiments, and the Machine Learning studyThe study with the archaeology students on physical attractivenessHannah’s b...

Murder Mystery: An 1850s Whodunnit
It’s 1849, and a gruesome murder has just happened at Harvard. As body parts turn up, the science of the day is put to the ultimate test… to find out: who did it? We speak to Prof. Paul Collins, who tells us how this morbid mystery unfolds.  Check out the transcript right here: http://bit.ly/2BntpNU Selected references: Paul Collins’ book, Blood And Ivy: The 1849 Murder That Scandalized Harvard The transcripts from the trial against John Webster Also check out our previous episodes on Forensic Science and D...

Gentrification: What's Really Happening?
You’ve probably heard that gentrification changes neighborhoods for the worse: first come the hipsters and then the bankers. Soon, the neighborhood is overrun with dog spas and wine bars, and the original residents are nowhere in sight. But what does the science say? And, is there anything good about gentrification? We speak to Prof. Lance Freeman, Asst. Prof. Rachel Meltzer and Nicole Mader to find out. Check out the transcript right here: http://bit.ly/2VQJsgp UPDATE 10/23/18: An earlier version of this e...


Soy, Almond, Oat Milks: Are They Udder Bull?
Moooove over, dairy milk: the alternative milk craze is here. But are they more than just a frothy fad? To find out which is best for the planet, we speak to environmental researcher Joseph Poore. Check out the transcript right here: http://bit.ly/2P3H6c9 Selected references: Joseph’s study which has a comparison of soy and dairy milk, and his database which includes all his raw data and references Systematic review of greenhouse gases for different foods and drinks (see table 9 for milks)Lots of studies he...

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 ...

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 clinica...


Plastics: The Final Straw?
We’re back! This week we tackle the War on Straws and how worried we should be about all the plastic filling our oceans. We speak to marine biologist Christine Figgener, environmental educator Carrie Roble, physiology Prof. John Weinstein, and ecology Prof. David Barnes. Check out the full transcript here. Selected readings: The infamous turtle videoAn ambitious project that mapped the Great Pacific Garbage PatchThis paper that breaks down the sources and amount of plastic getting in the ocean John’s study ...

We Return... With A Twist.
Season Five of Science Vs will be in your ears next Thursday. This season we're covering plastic straws, essential oils, veganism, ancient aliens and a lot of other topics that have got the internet hot and bothered....

Science Vs Presents: Sit or Squat?
The team at Every Little Thing answer our burning question: Are you wasting your time by hovering above public toilets? Should you just sit down?...


Welcome, New Listeners!
We'll be back in your ears with season 5 of Science Vs in the Fall... but in the meantime, new listeners, here's some episode recommendations to get you started....

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 Ho...

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 ...


Lyme Disease: How Scary Is It?
This week, we’re entering the Lyme Wars. We’re asking: what is Lyme disease? How do you get it? How do you know you have it? And if you get infected, are you stuck with it forever? To find out we talk to neurologist Dr John Halperin, neuropsychology researcher Dr Kathleen Bechtold, and a Lyme patient we’re calling Emily. Check out the full transcript here: http://bit.ly/2DZhQxo Selected readings: About the culprits behind Lyme Disease The best summary on how well the Lyme tests workKathleen's study about p...

Circumcision: Why Are We Doing This?
This week, we’re entering the foreskin firestorm. We’re asking: what are the risks of circumcision? And are there any medical benefits? To find out we talk to pediatric urologist Andrew Freedman, HIV researcher Godfrey Kigozi, and sex researcher Caroline Pukall. Check out the full transcript here: http://bit.ly/38leLWD Selected readings: The American Academy of Pediatrics technical report, which Andrew helped writeA thoughtful opinion piece from AndrewThe trial in Uganda that Godfrey co-authoredCaroline’s t...

How Science Created Morons
This week, how one of the worst ideas in science got a big push from a bad study… and intellectuals of the day lapped it up. We speak to science writer Carl Zimmer and Prof. J. David Smith, whose research helped get to the bottom of this disturbing story. UPDATE 05/25/18: This episode has been updated. A previous version said that the 'good' side of the Kallikak family included someone who had signed the Declaration of Independence. It now says that the 'good' Kallikak family member married into the family ...


Polar Bears: A Surprising Tail
We have this idea that polar bears are teetering on the brink of extinction. But the story isn’t that simple. To find out why, we talk to environmental lawyer Kassie Siegel, wildlife biologist Dr. Karyn Rode, and sea ice expert Dr. Ignatius Rigor. With a little help from Payton, a polar bear at the Memphis Zoo. Check out the full transcript here: http://bit.ly/2qv9n1t Selected readings: This map of polar bear populations around the ArcticOn the Endangered Species Act and global warmingKaryn’s tale of two b...

Scott Kelly: How A Year in Space Changes You
This week, something different. We speak to astronaut Scott Kelly, who went up to space a man and came back a Rhesus monkey. Just kidding, that didn’t happen at all. Listen to find out the real story. PLUS: We talk to Lynn Levy, star producer of the Gimlet show The Habitat. Check out the full transcript here: http://bit.ly/2LEvaf7 Selected readings:NASA’s updated press release about Scott and MarkMore information about its Twins StudyA paper about what space does to your eyeballs This episode has been prod...

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 Selected readings:This history of the ketogenic dietA pretty comprehensive reviewEric’s exploration of keto on the memories of miceLouise’s pa...


Nuclear War... Total Annihilation?
Nine countries, including North Korea, have nuclear weapons. What would happen if a nuclear bomb was dropped-- say, in New York City? We talk to nuclear historian Dr. Alex Wellerstein, nuclear engineer Dr. Tetsuji Imanaka, and epidemiologist Dr. Eric Grant. UPDATE 04/27: We've adjusted this episode to correct the elevated risk of cancer in survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki nuclear bombs. If you survived the atomic bombs your risk of cancer is 10% higher than someone who is the same age as you. Check o...

Sex Addiction: Are They Faking It?
Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey are said to have it. You probably have a friend who says they have it too. But is sex addiction the refuge of scoundrels? Or is it a real psychological problem? We speak to sex therapist Dr. David Ley, clinical psychologist Dr Shane Kraus, neuroscientist Dr. Nicole Prause, and someone we call Jeff. If you are experiencing troubles related to sex, you can look for support here. Check out our full transcript and its beautiful thickets of footnotes: http://bit.ly/2rvVfWD To fi...

Opioids: Kicking America's Addiction
America’s got an opioid problem. So where do we go from here? What can actually help people struggling with opioid addiction? We speak to Dr. Anna Lembke, Dr. Marvin Seppala, and a patient we call Mischa. UPDATE 04/17: We’ve adjusted a couple of lines of script in this episode to clarify the role of religion in Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. A previous version of this episode incorrectly implied that the 12 step philosophy considers addiction a sin and a “defect of character”. If you or someo...


Opioids: How America Got Hooked
More people in the U.S. died from opioids in 2016 than the peak year of the AIDS epidemic. So how did we get here? We speak to Prof. June Dahl, pain specialist Dr. David Tauben, and emergency physician Dr. Jeanmarie Perrone. If you or someone you love is struggling with an opioid addiction, in the US you can call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's National Helpline: 1-800-662-HELP or visit their website. Check out our full transcript here: http://bit.ly/2Pq1bZk Credits:This epis...

Obesity - Is It Your Fault?
We’ve always been told to get off the couch and stop eating junk food if you want to lose weight - but is the obesity epidemic that simple? (Spoiler alert: it’s not.) We speak to geneticist Dr Giles Yeo, exercise physiology researcher Dr Lara Dugas, gastroenterologist Dr Jessica Allegretti, nutrition researcher Dr Pablo Monsivais and Italian radio maker Jonathan Zenti, Check out Jonathan’s podcast MEAT here. Check out the full transcript here: http://bit.ly/36jtLCo Selected reading: The 2007 study announcin...


Chiropractors
Can they help with back pain or anything else? We talk to chiropractor Carl Cleveland III, physical therapist Anita Gross, neurophysiologist Dr. Marcello Costa...and Kaity Sawrey’s parents. Check out our full transcript here: http://bit.ly/2P3g7NW By the way… Gimlet’s doing a holiday pop up shop selling t-shirts and stickers. So show your support by getting your very own Science Vs tee shirt! Check it out at sciencevs.show/shirt. Credits: This episode has been produced by Rose Rimler, Wendy Zukerman, with h...

Birth Control - The Biggest Myths
Everyone’s got a myth or two about birth control they want cleared up. Like... is 'pulling out' AKA withdrawal really such a bad idea? Does the pill change your brain? Are IUDs safe? And why isn’t there a pill for men, already?! We ask gynecologist Dr. Amita Murthy, neuroendocrinologist Dr. Nicole Petersen, men’s health researcher Prof. Robert McLachlan and a whole roomful of experts on sex -- teenagers. UPDATE 05/12/17: We have updated this episode to further emphasize that the pre-cum studies are only ver...

Molly - Scary Drug or Promising Therapy?
Molly, Ecstasy, MDMA... whatever you want to call it, it's all the same thing. This week, we’re turning up the bass and checking out what does it do to your brain. Is it bad for you? Could it be a potential medicine? To find out, we talk to public health researcher Prof. Joseph Palamar, DEA special agent James Hunt, and neuroscientist Prof. Harriet de Witt. Check out the full transcript here: http://bit.ly/2YEl1V2 Selected reading:Harriet’s paper on MDMA and feelings of rejectionJoseph’s paper on club kid ...


Balding - What Actually Works?
So... you’re losing your hair. Is there anything that can be done about it? And are the treatments dangerous -- for your or your penis? We talk to geneticist Prof. Stefanie Heilmann-Heimbach and dermatologists Dr. Wilma Bergfeld and Dr. Robert Bernstein. Check out the full transcript here: http://bit.ly/2Yvcrrm Extra reading:A review of balding treatmentsStefanie’s paper on balding geneticsThis research on the intersex population of the Dominican Republic Notes on hair transplants...

The Bee-pocalypse
What is killing the bees? And will we have enough food to eat if the bee-pocalypse becomes worse? We speak to Dave Goulson, Professor of Biology and Bumblebee ecologist at the University of Sussex, Judy Wu-Smart, Research Entomologist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and Steve Ellis, a beekeeper in Barrett, Minnesota. Check out the full transcript here: http://bit.ly/2YEm0oc Extra reading Judy Wu-Smart’s study on how neonicotinoid pesticides affect queen beesDave Goulson’s round-up of the parasites t...

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. Our Sponsors: G Suite | WP Engine 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 T...


Bigfoot
All over the world people report sightings of big, hairy, human-like beasts, so could Bigfoot really be out there... somewhere? We ask Dr. Jeff Meldrum, Prof. Bryan Sykes, Prof. Todd Disotell, and the Round Rock, Texas, Department of Parks and Recreation. CORRECTION: In a previous version of this podcast we said Dr Meldrum works at the University of Idaho. He actually works at Idaho State University. We've updated this episode with his correct title. Our Sponsors: Cole Haan | WP Engine | Sundance Now Listen...

100% Renewable Energy - Can We Do It?
We need to ditch fossil fuels. Can America go 100% renewable by 2050? Does the technology already exist? We speak to Prof. Mark Delucchi, Prof. Christopher Clack, and Prof. David Connolly. UPDATE: Since this episode was published, Tesla have unveiled a prototype of a electric semi truck. Check out the full transcript here: http://bit.ly/38ku2a4 Our Sponsors: Tushy | Wordpress.com | TuneIn Credits: This episode has been produced by Wendy Zukerman, Heather Rogers and Shruti Ravindran. Production help from Ros...

Science Vs Presents: I Want That Purple Stuff
We're on a break this week -- we're back in your ears next week with an episode on Renewable Energy. So we have a treat for you - The Nod (another show from Gimlet Media) did a great episode on the science of purple drink. We wanted to share it with you so the next time you're eating Jolly Ranchers or Skittles you'll know what you're tasting. Enjoy!...


The Rise of Anti-Vaxxers
Last week we explored the science behind vaccine safety. This week we try to understand where these fears came from, and why they persist. We speak to three historians: Prof. Nadja Durbach, Prof. Elena Conis, and Prof. Robert Johnston. And a concerned mom named Noelle. Check out our full transcript here: http://bit.ly/355DlZz Our Sponsors: Cotton Inc + Madewell | Spotify | Sundance Now's Riviera | Wordpress.com Credits: This episode has been produced by Heather Rogers, Wendy Zukerman, and Shruti Ravindran....

Vaccines - Are They Safe?
Autism, seizures, and overloaded immune systems. Could these really be side effects of vaccines? This week, we dive into the science to find out how safe vaccines really are. We also talk to public health researchers Prof. Dan Salmon and Prof. Amy Kalkbrenner and neurologist Prof. Ingrid Scheffer. Check out our full transcript: http://bit.ly/2PrqtX3 Our Sponsors:Cole Haan | Google Cloud, Maker of GSuite | Ziprecruiter | WPEngine Credits: This episode has been produced by Heather Rogers, Wendy Zukerman, a...

Detoxing & Cleanses - Do They Work?
Juice cleanses, fancy foods, sweat, charcoal, and colonics-- is there a scientifically proven way to ‘clean out’ your system? This week, we dig in deep to the science of detox and turn ourselves into guinea pigs for a juicing experiment. We talk to a passionate proctologist named Prof. Graham Newstead, as well as nutrition researcher Prof. Stella Volpe and toxicologist Dr. Susanne Ramm. Check out the full transcript here: http://bit.ly/2LEsSwr Our Sponsors: Cole Haan | Google Cloud, Maker of GSuite | Cotto...


New Season... Coming Soon!
Science Vs is back in your ears next week! This season we're going to dissect the science behind detox diets, the safety of vaccines and whether America can run on 100% renewable energy. We also figure out whether vitamins and supplements are a waste of your money, why the bees are dying and where the heck the Male Pill is at?! Go to sciencevs.show/fall to check out Wendy's favourite episodes of other Gimlet shows coming back this Fall.  Fact you next week!...

Introducing... The Pitch
Check out a new show from Gimlet Media called The Pitch! On it, real entrepreneurs pitch to real investors for real money. In this episode, a startup founder pitches his technology designed to reduce repeat head injuries in sports...

Artificial Sweeteners - not so sweet?
Low calorie, no calorie and so sweet. Artificial sweeteners just seem too good to be true. Is there a catch? We dig into two big questions: Do artificial sweeteners cause cancer, and are they making us fat? We talk to Prof. John Glendinning, Prof. Susie Swithers, Dr. Kieron Rooney, and PhD student Jotham Suez about the latest research. Plus we do a fun experiment with PJ Vogt and Alex Goldman from Reply All!  Also, please sign up for our brand spanking new newsletter! We’ll share science that’s been blowing...


Nuclear Power - what are the Risks?
Fukushima. Chernobyl. Three Mile Island. There’s been some big nuclear accidents over the past few decades, but how dangerous is nuclear power really? We take you inside the core of America’s biggest nuclear power plant and trace what went wrong at Fukushima to try to figure out: when will the next meltdown happen? And what our chances are of getting cancer from it? This week we talk to Dr. Spencer Wheatley, Dr. Jonathan Samet, and Jack Cadogan, an executive at the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station. UPD...

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 f...

True Love
What is love? With half of first time American marriages ending in divorce by the 20th anniversary, and infidelity being widespread, Science Vs asks: have we been lied to by our love songs? On today’s episode we explore: What happens to the brain when we fall in love? Is the compulsion to stay together biological? And, is monogamy really unnatural? We talk to Dr. Helen Fisher, Professor Larry Young, and Dr. Dieter Lukas about their labors of love. Our Sponsors:Everyday Bravery - Listen to Everyday Bravery,...


Antioxidants
Are chocolate, coffee and red wine actually good for us? Reading the news it seems that one day they are helping us live longer, and the next day they are giving us heart attacks.  So what’s going on here? Host Wendy Zukerman and DJ/senior producer Kaitlyn Sawrey explore the science live on stage, with interview clips from Prof. Bruce Ames, Prof. David Sinclair and author Aidan Goggins. This show was recorded live at The Bell House on Thursday, March 23rd, 2017. If you want to listen to the Q&A after the sh...

Abortion: What You Need To Know
Abortion is so taboo. People don’t talk about abortions they’ve had. Doctors don’t talk about abortions they’ve given. But it's happening a lot. Almost a million abortions happened in the US in 2014. So, what actually happens in an abortion, can the fetus feel pain and what are the risks?  To find out we visit an abortion clinic in Texas and talk to Dr. Amita Murthy, Dr. Lisa Harris, Dr. Bhavik Kumar, and Dr. Diana Greene Foster. This episode is not about being pro-choice or pro-life, but pro-facts. Credits...


GMO... OMG?
Science Vs peels back the label on GM foods to find out whether they’re safe to eat and what impact they can have on the environment. Both sides of the debate have written impassioned songs, but what does the science say? We talk to Prof. Fred Gould, Dr. Janet Cotter, and Prof. David Douches to find out. ***Please note*** this episode has been updated. In the original version we suggested that the Bt corn that killed monarch caterpillars was taken off the market as a direct result of studies demonstrating ...

Lemmings
Why do four out of five dentists recommend Colgate? How many Americans really approve of Trump? This special episode is a two-parter: First, we talk to Prof. Dan Levitin, author of ‘Weaponized Lies: How to Think Critically in the Post-Truth Era’, about some recent news stories and how to be skeptical of the statistics you see. Then, we bring you a surprise you won’t want to miss. It’s about deception, murder, and of course, ~science~. Credits:Ebay - Listen to Ebay's podcast Open For Business on iTunes, or ...

Ghosts
One third of Americans believe in ghosts, and one fifth have had a personal encounter. We go to a haunted house with some paranormal investigators and things get spooky. But, scientists aren’t scared - they have a range of explanations for why so many people encounter ghosts. We speak to Dr. Katie Mack, Baland Jalal, Dr. Shane Rogers, and Prof. Chris French and find out what ghosts are all about. Credits: This episode has been produced by Ben Kuebrich, Wendy Zukerman, Diane Wu, Heather Rogers and Shruti Rav...


Climate Change... the Apocalypse?
Less than half of Americans think climate change is caused by humans, but scientists are sure about it. So, how do they know that humans are to blame? We also look into the climate change crystal ball to figure out are we doomed? Is the apocalypse nigh? We speak to Prof. Ralph Keeling, Prof. Chris Field, and Dr. David Pierce to find out. Science Vs Live! Come see our live show on the science behind red wine, coffee and chocolate - could our favorite treats actually be good for us? Thursday 3/23 at the Bell ...

Acne
Trying to get rid of acne can feel like a science experiment with your face -- so we get to the bottom of what works and what doesn’t. We investigate the role of diet, stress and hygiene, and meet internet celebrity Dr Sandra Lee aka Dr Pimple Popper. We also speak to dermatologist Dr. Jonathan Weiss, MD and Prof. Huiying Li, PhD. Science Vs Live! Come see our live show on the science behind red wine, coffee and chocolate - could our favorite treats actually be good for us? Thursday 3/23 at The Bell House i...

Immigration
We head to a farm in Alabama to find out what happened after thousands of immigrants left the state. Did it create more jobs for Americans and what happened to the crime rate? We speak to economists Prof. Samuel Addy, Prof. Jennifer Hunt, and Prof. Brian Bell to find out. Science Vs Live! Come see our live show on the science behind red wine, coffee and chocolate - could our favorite treats actually be good for us? Thursday 3/23 at The Bell House in Brooklyn, NYC. Get your tickets here.   Credits: This epis...


New season... coming soon!
We’ve read the studies. We’ve spoken to the experts. And now it’s time for facts. There is no alternative.  The new season of Science Vs will be out March 9th....

Introducing Undone
Today, we’re introducing you to a new Gimlet Media podcast about how big news stories that we thought were over were actually the beginning of something else. It’s called Undone. We spoke with the show’s host, Pat Walters, and give you a peek of their second episode, ‘The Ancient One’. It’s about some very old human remains that two teenagers stumbled on in 1996 -- and the 20-year-long fight to identify them....

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...


DNA and the Smell of Death
In these cases, emerging DNA evidence and the smell of death (yes, really) pushed the boundaries of what was technologically possible. But how reliable are they? To find out, we go to a body farm and talk to Assoc. Prof. Joan Bytheway, Asst. Prof. Sheree Hughes-Stamm, Matt Young, Dr. Arpad Vass, and Asst. Prof. Donovan Haines. Our Sponsors Lenovo – See how Lenovo is revolutionizing data center technology. Modcloth - Enter promo code SCIENCEVS at checkout to get $20 off an order of $100 or more! Squarespace ...

Forensic Science
There are a slew of scientific techniques that forensic experts use to solve crimes. But how reliable are they? We’re putting forensic evidence under the microscope. To help us crack the case, we talk to Assoc. Prof. Sibyl Bucheli, attorney Chris Fabricant, former crime lab director Barry Fisher, Dr. Itiel Dror, and Assoc. Prof. Patrick Buzzini. Our Sponsors Hello Fresh – To get $35 off your first week of deliveries visit hellofresh.com and enter promo code “ScienceVS”. Frank & Oak – Go to frankandoak.com/s...

Zika
Since 2015 there have been Zika outbreaks reported in sixty countries. So, where did Zika come from? What happens when you get infected? How worried should you be?And why has Zika has become such a problem recently? To find out, we speak to Assoc. Prof. Desiree LaBeaud, Dr Cathy Spong, Dr Andrew Haddow, and New York Times health reporter Donald McNeil Jr. Credits This episode has been produced by Diane Wu, Wendy Zukerman, Heather Rogers, Caitlin Kenney, and Shruti Ravindran. Our senior producer is Kaitlyn S...


Hypnosis
This week, we explore the science of hypnosis, and take Science Vs to the edge of consciousness. In the service of journalism, Wendy tries to get hypnotized at a comedy club and in a doctor’s office. We talk to comedian Jim Spinnato, Prof. Philip Muskin, Prof. Amanda Barnier, and Prof. Amir Raz. Credits: This episode has been produced by Heather Rogers, Wendy Zukerman, Caitlin Kenney, Austin Mitchell, Dr. Diane Wu, and Shruti Ravindran. Our senior producer is Kaitlyn Sawrey. Edited by Annie-Rose Strasser. F...

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 Mon...

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. Credits: 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 check...


Gun Control (Pt 2)
In last week’s episode, we learned that around 30,000 Americans die each year from guns. This week, we examine possible solutions. Do better background checks, buybacks, and gun registration lead to fewer shooting deaths? What happened in Australia after they got rid of all the guns? To find out, we talk to gun shop owner Bob Kostaras, former ATF special agent Mark Jones, Prof. Philip Alpers, and Prof. Peter Squires. Credits: This episode has been produced by Wendy Zukerman, Heather Rogers, Caitlin Kenney, ...

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. Credits: 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 desig...

Attachment Parenting
Judy, a mother of two young kids, practices a demanding style of child-rearing. It’s called attachment parenting, and it says you should keep your baby close at all times, breastfeed on demand, share your bed, and avoid strollers. Like many attachment parents, Judy believes the sacrifices she makes will ensure her kids will become well-adjusted, successful, happy adults. But, what does the science say? To find out, Science Vs speaks to Prof. Alan Sroufe, Prof. Jane Fisher and Reut Avinun. If you liked this ...


Fracking
We often hear stories about fracking that go like this: a gas company comes to a small town, starts drilling wells, and then terrible things start to happen. People get sick. Water burns from taps. Earthquakes ruin houses. And the climate will soon be destroyed. But, is fracking really a disaster unfolding? To find out, Science Vs speaks to Prof. Robert Jackson, Asst. Prof. Peter Rabinowitz and Prof. Bob Howarth. We’re also joined by Pennsylvanian resident James Hughes and Seneca Resources’ Rob Boulware and...

Sneak Peek
There are a lot of fads, a lot of strong opinions and a lot of blogs, but then there’s SCIENCE. Science Vs is the new 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'll be tackling organic food, fracking, gun control, and the G spot. The first episode premieres July 28th. Tell your mom/mum....