Exploring 17th Century Medicine with Holly Tucker

This month’s Books and Ideas podcast (#41) is an interview with Holly Tucker, author of Blood Work: A Tale of Medicine and Murder in the Scientific Revolution.  Dr. Tucker’s book is about the first blood transfusions—which, surprisingly, occurred way back in the 1660’s; 150 years before the first successful human-to-human transfusions.

The thing that makes Blood Work compelling is that Dr. Tucker puts these early efforts into the context of their time, and she helps us to consider how these events could be relevant to the medical controversies of our own time.  And, as we will allude to during our conversation, the story includes a fascinating murder mystery.

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Send feedback to Dr. Campbell at gincampbell at mac dot com or leave voice mail at 205-202-0663. 

 

BSP 73: Lawrence Shapiro on Embodied Cognition

In his new book Embodied Cognition, Dr. Lawrence Shapiro provides a balanced introduction to an approach which attempts to challenge standard cognitive science. His interview in Episode 73 of the Brain Science Podcast is a discussion of a few of his book's key ideas. It also continues our ongoing exploration of the role of embodiment.


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How the Anti-vaccine Movement Threatens Us All



Paul Offit, MDIn his new book Deadly Choices: How the Anti-Vaccine Movement Threatens Us All pediatrican Dr Paul A. Offit traces the history of the anti-vaccine movement from opposition to the small pox vaccine in the 19th century up through recent events. Unfortunately, the results are predictable. Reducing vaccination rates lead to reemergence of dangerous preventable infectious diseases. That is why the decision not to vaccinate is not a personal decision. It is one that involves the whole community.

This is the focus of the conversation I had with Dr. Offit in Episode 40 of Books and Ideas. This is a follow-up to Dr. Offit's first interview here in Episode 25.

Because I think this issue is literally a matter of life and death, I encourage you to share this podcast with others.

Listen to Dr. Offit's interview (Books and Ideas #40)

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Links and References

  • Paul Offit, MD: Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases and the Director of the Vaccine Education Center at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia
  • Books and Ideas Episode 25: In this 2008 interview we talked about Offit's book Autism's False Prophets and our shared fears about the consequences of falling vaccination rates.
  • van den Hof S, Conyn-van Spaendonck MA, van Steenbergen JE. Measles epidemic in the Netherlands, 1999-2000.  J Infect Dis. 2002 Nov 15;186(10):1483-6. Epub 2002 Oct 29. During a measles outbreak that occurred in the Netherlands between 1990 and 2000 researchers found that fully vaccinated children living in communities with low rates of vaccination were at greater risk than unvaccinated children living in highly vaccinated communities.
  • Brian Deer on Andrew Wakefield's conflicts of interest: "MMR:The Truth Behind the Crisis," Sunday Times (London), February 24, 2004.
  • I mentioned two important court decisions made in 2009 and 2010 by the Omnibus Autism Proceedings. In 2009 the court ruled that there is no evidence that thimrosal-containing vaccines cause autism and in 2010 it ruled that there is no evidence that thimirosal alone causes autism. The complete docket of the Omnibus Autism Proceedings are available at http://www.uscfc.uscourts.gov/node/2718.
  • All of Dr. Offits books (listed above) contain extensive references for those wishing to do more research.
  • Jenny McCarthy Body Count: there were at least 662 deaths from vaccine-preventable diseases between June 3, 2007 and February 19, 2011.

Announcements

  • Please feel free to share this podcast with others. Please contact me if you would like to use the interview-only in another podcast or for patient education.
  • I have moved the Brain Science Podcast Discussion Forum to Goodreads.com and I have started a thread for discussing Deadly Decisions and Episode 40.
  • I will be speaking to the London Skepticis in the Pub on May 11, 2010. Visit http://london.skepticsinthepub.org/ to learn more.
  • Don't forget to join the Books and Ideas Facebook Fan Page.
  • Leave reviews of Books and Ideas on iTunes® or wherever you get the podcast.
  • Join me next month for a new episode of the Brain Science Podcast. The next episode of Books and Ideas will be posted in April, 2011.

Send email feedback to Dr. Campbell at gincampbell at mac dot com or leave voicemail at 205-202-0663.

Magic and the Brain (BSP 72)

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Neuroscientists Dr. Stephen Macknik and Dr. Susana Martinez-Conde have an unusual hobby: Magic! Actually, it is more than a hobby since for the last several years they have been working with leading magicians from around the world to create a new field: the neuroscience of magic. In Episode 72 of the Brain Science Podcast I talked with them about their new book Sleights of Mind: What the Neuroscience of Magic Reveals about Our Everyday Deceptions, which is the first book to explore the neuroscience of magic.

With the help of their co-author Sandra Blakeslee, Macknik and Martinez-Conde provide an excellent overview of this new and exciting field. Their book also provides an excellent review of many of the principles that I have introduced in the last 4 years.

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Click here for detailed show notes and episode transcripts.

 

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Eric Maisel talks about Productive Obsessions (Books and Ideas #39)

Eric Maisel, PhDEric Maisel, PhD is a prolific author and his latest book Brainstorm: Harnessing the Power of Productive Obsessions challenges the assumption that all obsessions are bad. In Episode 39 of the Books and Ideas podcast we talk about how to cultivate what Maisel calls "productive obsessions." We also talk about the relationship between creativity and meaning. Dr. Maisel emphasizes the "necessary paradigm shift from seeking meaning to making meaning." Such a shift offers the possibility of making meaning out of any life circumstance.

Listen to Episode 39

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Links and References:

Announcements:

Send your feedback to gincampbell at mac dot com or leave voicemail at 205-202-0663.

 

 

Novelists Christiana Ellis and Skyler White (B&I 38)

Books and Ideas Episode 38 was recorded live at Dragon*Con 2010, and it is an interview with novelists Skyler White (and Falling, Fly) and Christiana Ellis (Nina Kimberly the Merciless). Ellis and White talk about their work, and share lessons they have learned. This episode will be of particular interest to aspiring writers.

 Listen to Episode 38 of Books and Ideas

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Show Notes and Links:

Books by Skyler White and Christiana Ellis:

Other Books and Resources:

Special Thanks To:

 Announcements:

  • Get a discount on Scott Sigler's new book The Starter by using the code GINGER
  • I have an essay in the revised and expanded edition of The Myth of Free Will by Chris Evatt
  • Books and Ideas is moving to a bi-monthly schedule, so the next episode should be out in mid-December.

Please send your comments and feedback to gincampbell at mac dot com.

 

Philosophy of Science with Massimo Pigliucci (podcast 37)

Ginger and Massimo Nonsense on Stilts: How to Tell Science from Bunk by scientist-turned-philosopher, Massimo Pigliucci is an excellent discussion of the challenges faced by the average non-scientist in today's information-rich world. After explaining what distinguishes science from pseudoscience (a major source of "bunk"), his book gives practical advice about trusting experts. (hint: having a PhD doesn't make one an expert!) Pigliucci also discussed these themes during a talk he gave last month at The Amazing Meeting 8, which was held in Las Vegas, NV. That's where I recorded the interview that I am posting today as Books and Ideas Episode 37. The focus of the interview is the role of philosophy of science in today's complex world.

Listen to Episode 37 of Books and Ideas

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Episode 37 Show Notes:

Further Reading: Announcements:
  • The next episode of Books and Ideas will be recorded LIVE at 8:30 PM (Eastern Time) Sunday September 5 at Dragon*Con in Atlanta, Georgia. I will be interviewing novelists Skyler White and Christiana Ellis.
  • I am also scheduled to interview Dr. Scott Lilenfield co-author of 50 Great Myths of Popular Psychology: Shattering Widespread Misconceptions about Human Behavior. This interview will be posted in the Brain Science Podcast feed in late September.
  • For updates please subscribe to Ginger Campbell's newsletter.
  • You can now stream or download episodes and transcripts of this podcast directly to your iPhone®, Touch® or iPad® using the Books and Ideas application.
  • Please share Books and Ideas with your friends and don't forget to leave reviews in the iTunes® Store.

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New Discoveries about Glial Cells (BSP 69)

Recent research has discovered that glial cells (the non-neuronal cells that make up about 85% of the cells in the human nervous system) actually do more than just support neurons. In Episode 69 of the Brain Science Podcast I explore some of these recent discoveries with pioneering researcher, R. Douglas Fields, PhD. Dr. Fields is the author of The Other Brain: From Dementia to Schizophrenia, How New Discoveries about the Brain Are Revolutionizing Medicine and Science. The Other Brain provides a compelling introduction to this exciting new field. It is aimed at general readers, but it should also be on the must-read list for all students of neuroscience.

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Another look a "The Myth of Alzheimer's" (B&I 36)

The Myth of Alzheimer's: What You Aren't Being Told About Today's Most Dreaded Diagnosis (2008) argues that we should re-evaluate our current approach to dementia. Earlier this month I posted an interview with the book's main author, Dr. Peter Whitehouse (BSP 68). Episode 36 of my Books and Ideas podcast is a follow-up interview with his co-author, Daniel George. As a medical anthropologist George helps put current attitudes into an historical perspective. Labeling  large numbers of older people with the diagnosis of "Alzheimer's Disease" is a relatively new practice and a closer examination of how this occurred provides an interesting example of how the history of medicine (and science) is interwoven with political and social history. While Whitehouse and George challenge the current approach to dementia, there message is actually one of hope. I am recommending The Myth of Alzheimer's to people of all ages.

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References:

Useful Links: Announcements:

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"The Myth of Alzheimer's" with Dr. Peter Whitehouse (BSP 68)

Brain Science Podcast 68 is an interview with Dr. Peter Whitehouse, co-author (with Daniel George) of The Myth of Alzheimer's: What You Aren't Being Told About Today's Most Dreaded Diagnosis. Alzheimer's Disease originally referred to a relatively rare form of premature dementia, but in recent decades the diagnosis has been expanded to include patients of all ages. This change is not based on science and in this interview we talk about why being labeled with with Alzheimer's may be doing older patients more harm than good. Dr. Whitehouse is one of the pioneering researchers in this field, but advocates devoting resources to helping elders with with a wide range of age-related brain changes. This interview should be of interest to physicians, scientists, as well as patients and their families. I will be posting a supplemental interview with Daniel George, the co-author of The Myth of Alzheimer's later this month. (Learn more at /.)

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Thomas Metzinger explores Consciousness (BSP 67)

The free podcast version of Brain Science Podcast 67 is now available. It is an interview with German philosopher Thomas Metzinger, author of The Ego Tunnel: The Science of the Mind and the Myth of the Self and Being No One. Dr. Metzinger argues that any credible model for how the brain generates the mind must incorporate unusual human experiences, such as so-called out of body experiences (OBE), and psychiatric conditions. In this interview we explore how OBE and virtual reality experiments shed light on how the brain generates the sense of self that characterizes normal human experience. listen-to-audio Listen to Episode 67 Click here for information about Premium Versions Subscribe to the Brain Science Podcast: itunes-badge-30 zunelogo-70 feed-icon32x32 mail-sticker-tiny Click here for detailed show notes and episode transcripts.
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Scott Sigler on Incorporating Science into Horror Writing (B&I 35)

Episode 35 of the Books and Ideas podcast is an interview with best-selling horror writer, Scott Sigler. Scott is widely admired for pioneering the use of podcasting to promote his fiction writing, but so far hasn't gotten the recognition I think he deserves for incorporating hard science into his unique blend of horror and science fiction. This interview gave me the opportunity to talk with Scott about how he meets the challenge of incorporating accurate science without sacrificing storytelling. I think this is an excellent follow-up to the interview I did with Sheril Kirshenbaum (co-author of Unscientific America) back in Episode 32.

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Recommended Reading: Useful Links: Announcements:
  • Don't forget to check out the Books and Ideas application for the iPhone and iPod Touch.
  • Books and Ideas will be on hiatus for the next few months while I work on producing and promoting the new premium versions of the Brain Science Podcast.
  • You can get updates by joining our Facebook Fan page or my subscribing to my newsletter.
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Memory and the Computational Brain with Randy Gallistel (BSP 66)

Episode 66 of the Brain Science Podcast is an interview with Randy Gallistel, PhD, Co-Director of the Rutgers Center for Cognitive Science and co-author (with Adam Philip King) of Memory and the Computational Brain: Why Cognitive Science will Transform Neuroscience. We discuss why read/write memory is an essential element of computation with an emphasis on the animal experiments that support the claim that brains must possess read/write memory. This is significant because current models, such as neural nets, DO NOT incorporate read/write memory in their assumptions about how brains work. It is not necessary to have any background in information theory or computation to appreciate the experiments that are discussed in this episode. Episode 3 and Episode 12 of the Brain Science Podcast provide  background information for this episode. listen-to-audio Listen to Free Podcast Click here for show notes and episode transcripts.
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Bruce Hood, author of "SuperSense" (B&I 34)

Episode 34 of Books and Ideas is an interview with Bruce M Hood, author of SuperSense: Why We Believe in the Unbelievable.Dr. Hood is a developmental psychologist with a long-standing interest in why people believe weird things. In SuperSense he argues that innate cognitive structures (how we think without being taught) give people a natural tendency toward belief in the supernatural. Our intuitive sense of how the world works is often at odds with the findings of modern science. In this interview we discuss the evidence for these conclusions and their implications.

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References and Links:

  • Bruce Hood's website
  • SuperSense: Why We Believe in the Unbelievable by Bruce M. Hood
  • Hood, BM, "Gravity Rules for Two-  to Four-Year-Olds?" Cognitive Development 10 (1995): 577-98.
  • Lindeman & Aarnio (2007), "Superstitious, magical, and paranormal beliefs: An integrative model." Journal of Research in Personality 41, 731–744
  • Lindeman, M. & Saher, M. (2007). "Vitalism, Purpose and Superstition." British Journal of Psychology, 98(1), 33-44.
  • Lindeman, M. & Aarnio, K. (2006).  "Paranormal beliefs: Their dimensionality and correlates." European Journal of Personality, 20: 585-602.
Announcements:
  • Get episode transcripts on your iPhone or iPod Touch with the Books and Ideas application.
  • Join the Books and Ideas FaceBook Fan Page.
  • Books and Ideas and the Brain Science Podcast are supported by listener donations.
  • Coming Soon! Premium versions of both podcasts.

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Jaak Panksepp Explores Animal Emotions (BSP 65)

Episode 65 of the Brain Science Podcast is an interview with Jaak Panksepp, PhD, author of Affective Neuroscience: The Foundations of Human and Animal Emotions. Dr. Panksepp has done pioneering work on the neural origins of emotions. In this interview we discuss how his work challenges some of the common assumptions about emotions and some of the important implications of his discoveries. New listeners may want to go back and listen to Episode 11 for an introduction to the neuroscience of emotion. listen-to-audio Listen to Episode 65
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Kyla Duffy from Happy Tails Books (B&I 33)

Kyla_Bill-200 Episode 33 of Books and Ideas an interview with Kyla Duffy, the founder of Happy Tails Books where she publishes stories about dog rescue. Her goal is to raise awareness of the plight of puppy mill dogs and to raise funds for a wide variety of canine rescue organizations. I discovered her work through my contact with German Shepherd Rescue of Central Alabama. This episode is more personal than most because I share some of the story of my rescued German Shepherd Jake, and of course, Kyla talks about rescuing a Boston Terrier named Bill (pictured above) led her to start a publishing company.

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Links of Interest:

Holiday-doxies-400photo courtesy of Courtney Po

Don't forget to visit http://happytailsbooks.com!

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"Unscientific America" with Sheril Kirshenbaum (B&I 32)

Sheril-150 Episode 32 of Books and Ideas is an interview with Sheril Kirshenbaum, co-author (with Chris Mooney) of Unscientific America: How Scientific Illiteracy Threatens our Future. The focus of our interview was on why it is increasingly important that scientists become skilled at communicating what we do to political leaders and to our fellow citizens. Our future depend on solving complex problems (such as global warning and energy issues), which will require accurate scientific knowledge. Unscientific America provides a fresh look at the on-going problem of scientific illiteracy while offering practical suggestions about how we can re-incorporate science into mainstream culture. It calls on scientists of all ages to embrace the role of citizen-scientist.

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References and Links:

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NASA's Les Johnson live at Dragon*Con 2009 (B&I 31)

LesDC4 Episode 31 of Books and Ideas is an interview with NASA physicist Les Johnson, PhD. We talked about his new book Paradise Regained: The Regreening of Earth. Although Dr. Johnson is a lifelong fan of science fiction he challenges the common assumption that eventually we will pollute or damage the earth so badly that humans will be forced to move to outer space. Instead, Dr. Johnson argues that we should develop the technology to get resources from outer space so that we can preserve the Earth for Life.

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Books mentioned in this episode: Announcements:
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"Did My Neurons Make Me Do It?" with Warren Brown (BSP 62)

W-Brown-150 Episode 62 of the Brain Science Podcast is an interview with Warren Brown, PhD, co-author (with Nancey Murphy) of Did My Neurons Make Me Do It?: Philosophical and Neurobiological Perspectives on Moral Responsibility and Free Will. This book was discussed in detail back in Episode 53, but this interview gave me a chance to discuss some of the book's key ideas with Dr. Brown. We focused on why a non-reductive approach is needed in order to formulate ideas about moral responsibility that are consistent with our current neurobiological understanding of the mind.

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