The State of Skepticism

  Jonathan was recently part of a panel discussion on the state of skepticism: what the movement does poorly and how to move forward. The recording was hosted by Grant Ritchey and Clay Jones of the Prism Podcast (and also of Science-Based Medicine), and featured Lydia Finch and Michael Marshall. You can find the episode by looking up the Prism Podcast on your favourite podcatcher or by clicking on this link. If you stay until the…

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The Apple Watch and the Problem of False Positives

The Apple Watch has an FDA approved accessory that can diagnose you with an arrhythmia. But how accurate is it? The evidence says not very. While it's pretty good at telling you if you're normal, a diagnosis of atrial fibrillation isn't accurate at all. Read the full story here.  https://montrealgazette.com/opinion/opinion-why-the-apple-watch-might-be... ************************************************* Given that I'm not someone who is overly fond of new gadgets, the arrival of the new Apple Watch 3 didn't really make that much of…

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NIH sticks with a muddled message on booze

Does alcohol actually help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease? It's not entirely clear and the big NIH randomized trial that was supposed to answer that question has been scuttled over funding issues and industry involvement. So why does the NIH website say that alcohol is help? HealthNewsReview looks into it with a few comments from me as well.

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Special – Science Is a Human Enterprise, Part 2: You Killed These Poor Bunnies

  Part 2 of 2. Chris and Jonathan sit down to demystify how scientific research is conducted and what actually goes on in a lab. They talk about the following: data analysis; statistical literacy among scientists; cherry picking; biostatisticians' greatest complaint; "students should figure it out!"; meta-analyses; hypothesis testing; publishing; structure of a paper; the secret appendices; peer review; open data; registered reports; types of journals; opening a Dairy Queen; and things are improving. Seriously,…

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Lyme disease in Montreal

It’s summer time and so we will be hearing a lot about Borrelia burgdorferi infections. Not all news coverage on the issue is accurate but this piece by Aaron Derfel tries to put the issue in context. Chris also seems to pop up in the story. http://montrealgazette.com/news/local-news/cases-of-lyme-disease-jumped-82-per-cent-among-montrealers-last-year-stats

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Special – Science Is a Human Enterprise, Part 1: We’re Not Trained for This

  Chris and Jonathan sit down to demystify how scientific research is conducted and what actually goes on in a lab. They talk about the following: defining terms; Ang Lee's Hulk; laboratory hierarchy; graduate studies; postdocs; salaries; job opportunities; what scientists do with the 61 hours a week they work on average; funding; managerial skills; hiring practices; harassement; rewarding results instead of the process; subpar research; and negative findings. Also, Simpsons references galore. Theme music:…

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Cracked Science: CRISPR Is a Puppy and a Boy with a Circular Saw

  What is this CRISPR thing I keep hearing about in the news? It can apparently cure diseases! If you want to know what CRISPR, I need to tell you about the boy, the dog, the backpack, and the railroad. It'll all make sense. This is episode 17 of Cracked Science, for May 23rd, 2018. This is Jonathan's latest video for the McGill Office for Science and Society.   

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The Scrambled Message on Eggs and Heart Disease

Recently a study in the BMJ suggested that eggs can reduce heart disease. Eggs used to be bad for you. Now they are good for you. Supposedly. This piece from healthnewsreview.org (where somebody famous, not Jonathan, gets quoted) explains why these types of studies are not all they are cracked up to be. WARNING: many more egg puns ahead. https://www.healthnewsreview.org/2018/05/eggs-cardiovascular-disease/

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Omega-3 Supplements and Dry Eyes

People take omega-3 supplements for all kinds of reasons. They take them for heart disease even though the evidence for benefit is questionable. But another reason to take them is for dry eyes, for which some trials have suggested a  benefit. But a new study in the New England Journal of Medicine suggests otherwise. My latest article of the Montreal Gazette. http://montrealgazette.com/opinion/opinion-omega-3-supplements-for-dry-eyes ************************ Fish oil supplements are very popular. While most people take them for…

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