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Best Podcast Ever: Science Lab

Flamesplash (469287) writes | more than 7 years ago

User Journal 2

Science doesn't have a good PR department, but there are a few things working for it. One I partake of regularly is a podcast called Radio Lab. It's an hourly show put out by WNYC. Sadly it has very short season. Season Three just started and there are only 10 episodes before it.

Science doesn't have a good PR department, but there are a few things working for it. One I partake of regularly is a podcast called Radio Lab. It's an hourly show put out by WNYC. Sadly it has very short season. Season Three just started and there are only 10 episodes before it.

Radio Lab describes their show as "science bumps into culture," I would add that it's like a This American Life for science stuff. I highly recommend each of you, yes you!, give it a try. The only warning I will give is that earlier episodes can be a bit over stylistic to some; it grew on me, but some don't like it at all.

One of the things I learned on the last episode that kinda wowed me was that Placebos can have a Placebo effect. The color of your placebo changes it's effect. For sleeping pills, blue is a better placebo than orange, except for Italian men. The reason given? The Italian mens soccer team is named Azzurri which most likely subconsciously conjures excitement in Italian men.

Ok, I'll give you another. Your situation affects how you feel pain or not. Soldiers in war will feel lees pain from a gun shot than a civilian. It's theorized this is because the soldier subconsciously builds a story that they'll live, have a comfy stay at a hospital, get to go home, get a medal, a pension, and maybe even a parade. Where you and me, when we get shot there's no good story in our future.

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Hm (1)

turg (19864) | more than 7 years ago | (#19284267)

You might also be interested in the podcast version of Quirks & Quarks, the weekly science show on CBC Radio One. It's always fascinating and fun. (sorry, too lazy right now to search for the URL for you :-)

They had a whole episode on the placebo effect a while back (in the past year?). It's important to note that the placebo effect is not all in one's head. The placebo effect causes actual physical healing that is measurable separate from the patient's perception of how well they are feeling. That's why drugs and medical devices have to be measured against a placebo rather than against no treatment, even on points where the patient's improvement (or not) can be measured objectively.

One thing that I found especially mind-blowing on the placebo show was this: They had a scientist return who they had on a few weeks earlier. On the previous show she was talking about a study she had done with detailed MRIs showing the physical healing that happens in the brain when a patient is successfully treated for depression. She had found that successful treatment with talk therapy caused a different type of (physical, observable) healing in the brain than successful treatment with drugs did. Here's the kicker: On the placebo show, she was back talking about a subsequent study on people who experienced the placebo effect in studies of depression medication, and she found that the healing caused by the placebo effect was the same type of healing caused by the drugs, and not the same as the talk therapy.

(BTW, on the radio show they have bits of music linking the various stories. Due to licencing issues, some of these are removed from the podcast so there might be a minute or two of silence)

Re:Hm (1)

Flamesplash (469287) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300861)

Cool thanks. I just downloaded an episode for my weekly podcast listening.
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