The Body of Evidence: Your November Digest

The Body of Evidence looks at common medical misconceptions and aims to untangle the twisted messages around health and medicine. You can check out the website at http://www.bodyofevidence.ca. It is brought to you by Jonathan Jarry and Dr. Christopher Labos.

We have been so busy, I decided to aim for a monthly digest for our Moutons No More page. So, what has The Body of Evidence accomplished in the last month?

We’re generating a lot of content that will be of interest to people looking for reliable information on health, science, and scientific thinking, so do subscribe to our website by going to http://www.bodyofevidence.ca and typing in your email address in the subscription box on the right.

The Body of Evidence: Medicine that tastes funny and science made easy.

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The Body of Evidence: Your October Digest

Dr. Labos and Jonathan from The Body of Evidence

Dr. Labos and Jonathan from The Body of Evidence

The Body of Evidence looks at common medical misconceptions and aims to untangle the twisted messages around health and medicine. You can check out the website at http://www.bodyofevidence.ca. It is brought to you by Jonathan Jarry and Dr. Christopher Labos.

We have been so busy, I decided to aim for a monthly digest for our Moutons No More page. So, what has The Body of Evidence accomplished in the last month?

We’re generating a lot of content that will be of interest to people looking for reliable information on health, science, and scientific thinking, so do subscribe to our website by going to http://www.bodyofevidence.ca and typing in your email address in the subscription box on the right.

The Body of Evidence: Medicine that tastes funny and science made easy.

Brian Clement, Sprouting Nonsense in Montreal

We are sicker than we have ever been, according to Brian Clement. He is not a physician. Rather, the CBC reports that he “claims to have a doctorate of naturopathic medicine and a PhD in nutrition from the University of Science Arts and Technology”, despite the fact that a) the university president is quoted as denying this claim and b) the university is reported as being a diploma mill. You may remember Clement from the news: when two Native American girls in Ontario decided to stop chemotherapy, they went to his Hippocrates Health Institute in Florida to undergo alternative therapies.

Clement was a guest speaker of the Wholistic Fair taking place at Dawson College, Montreal, on September 18-20. His Friday talk was entitled “Food IS Medicine: The Scientific Evidence”. I was curious to know why people turn away from medicine to embrace the pseudoscience that he sells at his institute. Desperation is certainly an appealing explanation, but I wanted to know more. I wanted to hear his arguments, his cherry-picked data, the logical fallacies he would tout, and to see first hand the impression that he makes on a crowd. So I went.

Fear is a tool that he wielded during his talk, specifically fear of technology. We are sicker now than we have ever been, he told us, but also that we have a “dependency for care”. Hundreds of years ago, people didn’t commonly have to take pills, he continued. The reason, obviously, is that there were no pills to be taken. We seek healthcare now more than ever because medicine has tools it did not possess in the 1800s: precise surgical procedures, targeted therapies against cancer, and medication that can turn death sentences into controllable, life-long conditions. “There was a period of time, can you imagine, when humans didn’t need glasses,” he said. There was a period of time when we didn’t haveglasses and could not correct bad vision. Our hormones are also apparently out of whack because of polyester clothes. “People [back in the days] were absolutely independent, responsible,” he reminded us. This disturbing story is as old as humanity: our once-pure ancestors sinned against nature and the clock is ticking on our redemption.

You can read the rest of this article on The Body of Evidence!

The Body of Evidence: Your September Digest

The Body of Evidence looks at common medical misconceptions and aims to untangle the twisted messages around health and medicine. You can check out the website at http://www.bodyofevidence.ca. It is brought to you by Jonathan Jarry and Dr. Christopher Labos.

We have been so busy, I decided to aim for a monthly digest for our Moutons No More page. So, what has The Body of Evidence accomplished in the last month?

  • Two new podcast episodes, one on the health benefits of red wine (you may surprised) and one on smoking (though not really… you’ll see!);
  • A new video by Jonathan on the Galileo Gambit, a type of logical fallacy often used by practitioners of pseudomedicine;
  • A word of caution about claims by manufacturers that their product will improve your vision;
  • An appearance on CJAD’s The Dr. Joe Show with Dr. Joe Schwarcz of McGill University;
  • A blooper reel from our first seven episodes of the podcast;
  • A comment, following the Trottier Public Science Symposium, on why the public needs more science communicators;
  • And, oh yeah, a live recording of The Body of Evidence at the Trottier Public Science Symposium, with guests Paul Offit, Kevin Folta, and Geoffrey Kabat. The video and audio recordings will be made available on November 5.

We’re generating a lot of content that will be of interest to people looking for reliable information on health, science, and scientific thinking, so do subscribe to our website by going to http://www.bodyofevidence.ca and typing in your email address in the subscription box on the right.

The Body of Evidence: Medicine that tastes funny and science made easy.

Photos from Funny You Should Think That! 13

#FYSTT is back, and so’s our photographer, Angie Radczenko, from Ng Rad Photography.

Comedians Thanos Michailopoulos, Daniel Carin, and Chris Sandiford; permanent panelist Andrew Cody; Dr. Christopher Labos; and fun. Lots of fun.

Reminder: Next Tuesday Noon, It’s The Body of Evidence: Symposium Edition!

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If you’re in Montreal next week, you won’t want to miss your chance to see Jonathan Jarry and Dr. Christopher Labos host a live version of their podcast, The Body of Evidence, at the Centre Mont-Royal (Peel Metro) on Tuesday, September 29 at noon.

Their special guests will be Paul Offit, Kevin Folta, and Geoffrey Kabat.

Free admission.

Details here.

The Galileo Gambit or How “Renegade” Doctors Use Bad Logic to Convince You They Have a Cure

When you’re sick and you’re told there’s nothing else that can be done, it’s easy to fall prey to the promises of a renegade doctor who has discovered a revolutionary treatment. When we press this renegade for the evidence behind his claims, this is what we usually hear.

 

If this video improved your life, share it! And subscribe to the brand-new Body of Evidence YouTube channel!

Special thanks to Isabelle Stephen and Christopher Hammock for their guest appearances!

The Body of Evidence – Episode 007 – Red Wine

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We’ve all heard it: red wine is good for your heart. It was even on 60 Minutes! But how strong is the science behind this claim? And will drinking a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc make Dr. Labos more interesting to the women around him?

Our street correspondent is comedian Thanos Michailopoulos (@thanosmic) and our singer-songwriter is Joseph Hackl of VoodooJazz.ca.

You can find the podcast on bodyofevidence.ca, on iTunes, StitcherSoundCloud, and as part of its production collective, MoutonsNoMore.com.

The Reproducers: Heroes of Science

The headlines might have been grim–Gizmodo’s read “A Lot of Published Psychology Results are Bullshit”–but I want to see these lemons for the lemonade that they are.

This impressive achievement is signed “Open Science Collaboration”, which reminded me of that other famous letter signed “The Breakfast Club”. This time around, they’re all “brains”. Their website describes this Collaboration as “a loose network of researchers, professionals, citizen scientists, and others with an interest in open science, metascience, and good scientific practices.” This fantastic initiative is supported by the Center for Open Science which aims to “foster the openness, integrity, and reproducibility of scientific research”, which may sound like a given in science, but it really, really isn’t.

Biases are rampant in scientific research: scientists tend to select the best experiments (“best of three… no, best of four! Best of five?”) and only publish positive results. Moreover, scientists are human. It is easy to be lured by prestige, power, and money, even in academia, and to nudge your research away from the truth and down the path that will lead to assured glory. So how are you, citizen, to know which scientific result is worth heralding and which is worth ignoring?

The answer, and the rest of this article, on the website of our fabulous production: The Body of Evidence.

Don’t forget to subscribe!

Chewpods: Insufficient Evidence Swallowed Whole

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At first, I thought they may be earphones. The bold, round font and the use of the word “pod” conjured up images of Apple products and Dr. Dre; then again, the market for chewable earphones is probably quite small.

If you’ve been out and about in Montreal in the past weeks, you might have noticed the ads. The product is called “Chewpod” and the posters follow the contemporary trend of teasing without revealing. The ad models’ faces are frozen in a sour grimace. Why are they chewing? To reach their peak, according to the tagline. What piqued my interest was the Canadian flag on the packaging above the phrase “Natural Health Product”.

Great. Here we go again.

Dr. Christopher Labos and I have done a whole episode on natural health products. These mystery remedies are poorly regulated, require very little evidence for approval by health authorities, and often make claims backed only by the argument from antiquity: people have been using them for millennia, so they must work. This nonchalant attitude comes with a price. A significant proportion of natural health products available to Canadians don’t contain what the label says and are contaminated with undeclared substances.

Their appeal is based on the naturalistic fallacy. It is difficult to ignore the siren call of the cure-all herb produced with care by Mother Nature (who knows best) and free of these side effects so often tied to commercial drugs.

Knowing what I know of natural health products, I can’t guarantee what’s inside a Chewpod. I have to rely on the product website and hope the manufacturer has integrity and good manufacturing practices, as they claim.

What are Chewpods?

You can read the rest here.