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)

Episode Transcript (Download PDF)

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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
  • 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.


  • 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 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 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.

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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"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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"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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Pioneering Neuroscientist Eve Marder, PhD (BSP 56)

evemarder2 Episode 56 of the Brain Science Podcast is an interview with neuroscientist, Eve Marder, PhD. Dr. Marder has spent 35 years studying the somatogastric ganglion of the lobster. In this interview we talk about how she got into neuroscience during its early days, her recent tenure as president of the Society for Neuroscience, and how some of her key discoveries have implications for studying more complex nervous systems.

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"Grave Expectations: Planning for the End Like There's No Tomorrow" (B&I 26)

graveexpectation1.jpg Episode 26 of Books and Ideas is an interview with Sue Bailey and Carmen Flowers, the authors of Grave Expectations: Planning the End Like There's No Tomorrow. This book helps readers to plan for their funeral or memorial service. While this might seem like a strange idea Flowers and and Bailey explain that this can actually be a wonderful gift to leave for one's family and loved ones.

In this interview Bailey and Flowers share the personal experiences that led them to write this unusual book and they explain why they wrote it in an overtly humorous style. This interview will help listeners see death and funeral planning in a new way.

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carmen-sue-web100 Carmen Flowers and Sue Bailey

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Vaccines DO NOT cause Autism (B&I 25)

offit-1 Paul Offit, MD Episode 25 of Books and Ideas is an interview with Dr. Paul Offit, author of Autism's False Prophets: Bad Science, Risky Medicine, and the Search for a Cure. I consider this the most important episode that I have ever released because despite overwhelming scientific evidence that shows NO connection between vaccines and autism, vaccine opponents continue to discourage parents from having their children vaccinated against preventable and potentially fatal childhood diseases. Epidemics of measles and hemophilis influenza type B meningitis are beginning to emerge among unvaccinated children. In this interview we talk about the scientific evidence that vaccines DO NOT cause autism, but we also examine why the controversy continues despite the evidence. Most importantly we examine the growing threat posed by the increasing number of unvaccinated children in the US. As Dr. Offit observes "The threat is not theoretical anymore." It is very real.

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I recommend Dr. Offit's book Autism's False Prophets to everyone because of its thorough examination of the vaccine-autism controversy. He examines the evidence from both sides, while showing compassion for why parents are easily confused and frightened by claims that physicians and scientists have dismissed. The book is unlikely to dissuade those who are convinced by the tactics of vaccine opponents, but it will be a valuable resource to parents who want a clear explanation that includes a sober account of the risks of not vaccinating their children. Physicians and scientists will also benefit from reading this book because it provides an important case study in how lack of scientific literacy can threaten public health.



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Why everyone should read "Dreams from My Father"

During the 2004 Democratic Convention Barack Obama burst onto the US national political scene with a speech that included this line: “I stand here knowing that my story is part of the larger American story, that I owe a debt to all of those who came before me, and that in no other country on Earth is my story even possible.” (Click here for full transcript.) Reading Dreams from My Father gives readers an important glimpse of part of that story. This autobiography was originally published in 1995, shortly after Obama became the first black editor of the prestigious Harvard Law Review. Because it was written before he entered politics, we are given an unusually candid account of his youth and young manhood, which included drugs, personal doubts, and a search for his identity as a black man in America. It is the unusual candor of his writing that leads me to recommend  Dreams From My Father to readers of all colors and political persuasions. In The Audacity of Hope, which was published to support Obama’s run for President, one gains an appreciation for his unique blend of idealism and pragmatism, but Dreams From My Father provides a glimpse into how he became the man who defied the odds to become the first Black President of the United States. As a white American I gained a new appreciation of the inner struggles of Black Americans, but I also got the impression that because Obama was raised by his white mother and grandparents, he has the ability to see past issues of race. This ability is one that our nation sorely needs to move forward in tackling the problems that face people of all races and backgrounds. Watching the crowds on election night I was struck by the joy and hope I saw on the faces of young people, both black and white. I think this book is the sort of book one should share with young people because it speaks to the search for identity that drives many young people. One does not get the sense one is reading the autobiography of a future president. Rather it could be any young man’s story. What about those who voted for McCain and who are afraid that Obama is some sort of left-wing radical? Instead of listening to Rush Limbaugh (and others) I would encourage them to read Obama’s words for themselves.
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Our "Big Brain" with Dr. Gary Lynch (BSP 48)

Episode 48 of the Brain Science Podcast is an interview with Gary Lynch, PhD, co-author of Big Brain: The Origins and Future of Human Intelligence. While it is generally agreed that one of the most striking features of the human brain is its large size, not everyone agrees about how and why our brains came to be so large. In this interview Dr. Lynch presents some rather radical theories about how the human brain evolved. We discuss the pros and cons of his theories as well as the challenges faced by researchers trying to work in this field.

Listen to Episode 48

Visit the Brain Science Podcast website for detailed Show Notes and Links.

The next episode of the Brain Science Podcast will be an interview with Dr. Brenda Milner. This interview will is a follow-up to Marc Pelletier's excellent interview of Dr. Milner on Futures in Biotech:

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Why do so many women like Sarah Palin?

I am mystified by the polls that show how popular Sarah Palin with women voters, but today I got an email from a fan of the Brain Science Podcast who pointed me to a piece by Sam Harris that may shed some light on the phenomena. Harris is a neuroscientist and he observes that when people listen to politicians like Palin what they say may bypass the frontal lobes (where logical thinking occurs) and go straight to the limbic (emotional) brain. Harris started with this chilling observation:
Let me confess that I was genuinely unnerved by Sarah Palin's performance at the Republican convention. Given her audience and the needs of the moment, I believe Governor Palin's speech was the most effective political communication I have ever witnessed. Here, finally, was a performer who—being maternal, wounded, righteous and sexy—could stride past the frontal cortex of every American and plant a three-inch heel directly on that limbic circuit that ceaselessly intones "God and country." If anyone could make Christian theocracy smell like apple pie, Sarah Palin could. (Click here to read more.)

However, what is probably even more disturbing is that modern neuroscience also suggests that once people choose a candidate (even if the choice is emotional) they seldom change their minds, even when confronted with negative facts about the candidate. Does that mean that women don't care about global warming or the fact that Palin is less competent to be president than I am? (At least I have a passport and have actually visited Europe!)

Robert Burton,MD who was interviewed in Episode 43 of the Brain Science Podcast has excellent blog post in Salon reviewing the neuroscience of voter behavior:

There are at least two excellent books available on this topic:

One point that Lakoff makes that I think resonates with Dr. Burton's book On Being Certain: Believing You Are Right Even When You're Not is that Democrats need to let go of the Enlightenment myth of the rational mind. People vote with their hearts (emotions and unconscious parts of the brain) not with their heads, which ironically can even lead them to vote against their own ideals. As for me, when I think about Sarah Palin, my amygdala fills me with fear, disgust and dread! Note: this last sentence seems to have provoked a lively discussion. You can join in the comments over on the Brain Science Podcast website:

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Why I have to take a stand against Sarah Palin

I usually avoid politics in my blogs and podcasts, but I just got an email that made me realize that I have to speak out against Sarah Palin. When she was first nominated I couldn't believe that the average American woman would fall for such an obvious ploy. However, the polls show that I was wrong! The idea of having her one heart beat away from the presidency is down right frightening, and I am not particularly prone to panic. If you don't know why I am worried, please read the following essay, which I received via email:
I am having Sarah Palin nightmares. I dreamt last night that she was a member of a club where they rode snowmobiles and wore the claws of drowned and starved polar bears around their necks. I have a particular thing for Polar Bears. Maybe it's their snowy whiteness or their bigness or the fact that they live in the arctic or that I have never seen one in person or touched one. Maybe it is the fact that they live so comfortably on ice. Whatever it is, I need the polar bears. I don't like raging at women. I am a Feminist and have spent my life trying to build community, help empower women and stop violence against them. It is hard to write about Sarah Palin. This is why the Sarah Palin choice was all the more insidious and cynical. The people who made this choice count on the goodness and solidarity of Feminists. But everything Sarah Palin believes in and practices is antithetical to Feminism which for me is part of one story -- connected to saving the earth, ending racism, empowering women, giving young girls options, opening our minds, deepening tolerance, and ending violence and war. I believe that the McCain/Palin ticket is one of the most dangerous choices of my lifetime, and should this country chose those candidates the fall-out may be so great, the destruction so vast in so many areas that America may never recover. But what is equally disturbing is the impact that duo would have on the rest of the world. Unfortunately, this is not a joke. In my lifetime I have seen the clownish, the inept, the bizarre be elected to the presidency with regularity. Sarah Palin does not believe in evolution. I take this as a metaphor. In her world and the world of Fundamentalists nothing changes or gets better or evolves. She does not believe in global warming. The melting of the arctic, the storms that are destroying our cities, the pollution and rise of cancers, are all part of God's plan. She is fighting to take the polar bears off the endangered species list. The earth, in Palin's view, is here to be taken and plundered. The wolves and the bears are here to be shot and plundered. The oil is here to be taken and plundered. Iraq is here to be taken and plundered. As she said herself of the Iraqi war, "It was a task from God." Sarah Palin does not believe in abortion. She does not believe women who are raped and incested and ripped open against their will should have a right to determine whether they have their rapist's baby or not. She obviously does not believe in sex education or birth control. I imagine her daughter was practicing abstinence and we know how many babies that makes. Sarah Palin does not much believe in thinking. From what I gather she has tried to ban books from the library, has a tendency to dispense with people who think independently. She cannot tolerate an environment of ambiguity and difference. This is a woman who could and might very well be the next president of the United States. She would govern one of the most diverse populations on the earth. Sarah believes in guns. She has her own custom Austrian hunting rifle. She has been known to kill 40 caribou at a clip. She has shot hundreds of wolves from the air.
I suspect that these numbers have been exaggerated! However, I think shooting even one wolf from the air is too many. (check rumors about Sarah Palin at Please see the end of this post for more links.
Sarah believes in God. That is of course her right, her private right. But when God and Guns come together in the public sector, when war is declared in God's name, when the rights of women are denied in his name, that is the end of separation of church and state and the undoing of everything America has ever tried to be. I write to my sisters. I write because I believe we hold this election in our hands. This vote is a vote that will determine the future not just of the U.S., but of the planet. It will determine whether we create policies to save the earth or make it forever uninhabitable for humans. It will determine whether we move towards dialogue and diplomacy in the world or whether we escalate violence through invasion, undermining and attack. It will determine whether we go for oil, strip mining, coal burning or invest our money in alternatives that will free us from dependency and destruction. It will determine if money gets spent on education and healthcare or whether we build more and more methods of killing. It will determine whether America is a free open tolerant society or a closed place of fear, fundamentalism and aggression. If the Polar Bears don't move you to go and do everything in your power to get Obama elected then consider the chant that filled the hall after Palin spoke at the RNC, "Drill Drill Drill." I think of teeth when I think of drills. I think of rape. I think of destruction. I think of domination. I think of military exercises that force mindless repetition, emptying the brain of analysis, doubt, ambiguity or dissent. I think of pain. Do we want a future of drilling? More holes in the ozone, in the floor of the sea, more holes in our thinking, in the trust between nations and peoples, more holes in the fabric of this precious thing we call life? Drill, Drill, Drill (from Eve Ensler's blog) posted September 8, 2008
Back in 1964 people were afraid that Barry Goldwater's extremism would lead to disaster, but now the Democrats seem unwilling to speak out against something much more dangerous. Note: the idea that Sarah Palin once shot 40 caribou with a single clip apparently comes from a satirical post of imaginary quotes. Read the details.
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Dr. Eugenie Scott on Teaching Evolution (B&I 21)

Eugenie Scott, the Executive Director of the National Center for Science Education, was interviewed in Episode 21 of Books and Ideas. The focus of our conversation was the importance of teaching evolution in the public schools. Dr. Scott and the NCSE have worked for over 20 years to promote the teaching of evolution because it is an essential component of a modern education in the life sciences. Unfortunately, nearly 150 years after Darwin's On the Origin of Species (1859) many Americans still reject this fundamental idea and much of Scott's work is focused on trying to keep creationism and so-called Intelligent Design out of school curriculum. Recently the NCSE launched a very valuable site called Expelled Exposed, which focuses on exposing the many inaccuracies presented in Ben Stein's recent pro-intelligent design "documentary" Expelled. One of the things that has come out in numerous interviews is that the producers of the film mislead all the pro-evolution guests that appear in the film. We discuss this briefly near the end of the interview, but it was not the focus of our discussion. (see below for more links regarding Expelled) Since Dr. Scott has been interviewed about Expelled and Expelled Exposed on several other podcasts, I wanted to focus our interview more on the importance of accurate science education. Also, we discussed the fact that despite the claims of right-wing fundamentalists there are many Christians and people of other faiths who accept the theory of evolution as scientifically valid. Accepting evolution does not mean one is choosing atheism. I think this is a very important distinction because while atheists are outspoken in their support of evolution they represent a small minority. I was encouraged to learn from Dr. Scott that the NCSE is working closely with religious leaders and scientists of faith to try to educate their members. Since Books and Ideas reaches an international audience I thought that it was important that we discuss the origins of the evolution versus creationism controversy, which is unique to the United States. Scott does an excellent job of explaining how our unique religious heritage along with our locally controlled school systems combine to create a situation that most of the world find's rather mystifying. Her book Evolution vs. Creationism: An Introduction also provides an excellent overview of the subject from both an historical and scientific prospective. Finally, we talk about the importance of evolution as a basic idea in modern biology. While we didn't dwell on this, I think we are both concerned about the implications for the future if a majority of young Americans are reaching college without a solid foundation in the principles of evolution. We also talked about why intelligent design fails to meet the basic definition of a scientific theory since it provides no testable hypotheses. Dr. Scott also provides a excellent review of the basic writings for those who want to learn more.

Listen to Dr. Scott’s Interview

Episode Transcript (Download PDF)

Links and References: Other Books mentioned by Dr. Scott:
  • Of Pandas and People: The Central Question of Biological Origins by Percival Davis and Dean H. Kenyon : the 1989 textbook that introduced the term “intelligent design”
  • Darwin on Trial by Phillip E. Johnson, 1991.
  • Darwin’s Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution by Michael J. Behe
  • The Design Inference: Eliminating Chance through Small Probabilities by William A. Dembski
  • Behe MJ, Snoke DW. 2004. Simulating evolution by gene duplication of protein features that require multiple amino acid residues. Protein Science 10:2651-64.
Responses to Expelled Exposed by Christians

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Exercise and the Brain (BSP 33)

Episode 33 of the Brain Science Podcast is an interview with Harvard physician, Dr. John Ratey about his new book Spark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain. johnpic_profile.jpgJohn J Ratey, MD We explore the exciting evidence about how exercise helps the brain. It stimulates the release of a number of different neurotransmitters and neuropeptides, but probably more importantly it helps keeps these compounds balanced. We consider why exercise is so important in dealing with stress, in treating a wide range of mental illnesses including depression, anxiety, and attention deficit disorder. There is also evidence that exercise improves our ability to learn and our ability to avoid the loss of mental agility associated with aging. Listen to Episode 33 Now. This episode contains information that everyone can use. I hope you will share it with your friends and family. Links and References: spark-ratey.jpgSpark: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain (2008) by John J. Ratey Dr. Ratey's website: Go here for more interview of Dr. Ratey and also to find links to the latest research about exercise and the brain. Listen to Dr. Ratey's Interview Now. Share your comments on the Discussion Forum Audience Survey itunes-chicklet.gif Subscribe via iTunes™ Subscribe in a reader or podcatcher Subscribe to Brain Science Podcast with Dr. Ginger Campbell by Email


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The Evolution of Language (BSP 30)

firstword.jpg Episode 30 of the Brain Science Podcast is a discussion of The First Word: The Search for the Origins of Language by Christine Kenneally. We focus mostly on the first part of the book, which tells the story of how the study of language evolution has grown from almost a banned subject to a new field of inquiry called evolutionary linguistics. We also reflect on how recent findings in neuroscience like the importance of plasticity are influencing the field. Listen to Episode 30 Scientists Discussed in the Episode: *References: Pinker, Steven, and Paul Bloom, "Natural Language and Natural Selection," Behavioral and Brains Sciences 13 (1990): 707-84. Marc D. Hauser, Noam Chomsky, and W. Tecumseh Fitch (2002). "The Faculty of Language: What Is It, Who Has It, and How Did It Evolve?" Science 298:1569-1579. Christine Kenneally, The First Word: The Search for the Origins of Language (2007). Stanley I. Greenspan and Stuart G. Shanker, The First Idea: How Symbols, Language, and Intelligence Evolved from our Primate Ancestors to Modern Humans (2004). *Additional references can be found in Kenneally's book and at the websites of the scientists listed above. Listen to this episode now. Share your comments on the Discussion Forum Audience Survey itunes-chicklet.gif Subscribe via iTunes™ Subscribe in a reader or podcatcher Subscribe to Brain Science Podcast with Dr. Ginger Campbell by Email


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Helping Vets with Traumatic Brain Injuries get Rehab

In a recent interview with Dr. Edward Taub (Brain Science Podcast #28) we learned that Constraint-Induced Movement Therapy has been shown to help people with traumatic brain injuries, but that the Veteran's Administration has been slow to acknowledge the needs of veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Fortunately, the problem seems to be receiving increasing attention. The January 25th episode of the Science Magazine podcast discusses an article exploring the possible mechanisms of brain injury ocurring in near-blast conditions, where often the effects may be delayed and subtle. Also, Easter Seals has just announced that it is funding a program that will provide access to Michael Merzenich's highly regarded Posit Science Program, an on-line program originally developed to help older patients regain and maintain their mental agility. I don't know if they have done any work with traumatic brain injury, but the program certainly shows promise. References: "Shell Shock Revisited: Solving the Puzzle of Blast Trauma," Yudhijit Bhattacharjee, Science 25 January 2008: Vol. 319. no. 5862, pp. 406 - 408 Press Release: Easter Seals Launches Nationwide Program for U.S. Service Members and Veterans Deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan with Traumatic Brain Injury The IMPACT study: a clinical trial of the Posit Science Brain Fitness Program Posit Science Podcast: Dr. Merzenich presents the results of the IMPACT study
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Dr. Steven Novella from "The Skeptics Guide to the Universe" (B&I 16)

steve_bw.jpg Episode 16 of Books and Ideas is a conversation with Dr. Steven Novella from the popular podcast The Skeptics Guide to the Universe. This interview is a response to numerous requests from fans of the Brain Science Podcast, but I put it in the Books and Ideas feed so that Dr. Novella could share some of his personal experiences both as a physician and as a podcaster. Listen to Dr. Novella's interview Subscribe to this podcast Subscribe via iTunes™ Subscribe by email Subscribe to Books and Ideas Blog Leave comments at the Discussion Forum Show Notes: Dr. Novella talked a little bit about why he became a physician and about choosing neurology as his specialty. We talked about the role of imaging and how recent advances in neuroscience are influencing patient care. We also talked about the importance of helping patients get accurate information, both from the internet and from their physicians, and how the pressure for physicians to see large numbers of patients hinders good communication. Dr. Novella is committed to evidence-based medicine and we talked about the role of skepticism in evaluating medical claims, both from mainstream and alternative sources. Dr. Novella also talked briefly about his podcast and his blogs, including a new blog specifically devoted to promoting evidence-based medicine. In the last section of this episode I looked back on the first 15 episodes of Books and Ideas. I particularly want to thank Matthew Cobb for being my first guest back in episode 7. You can get his book Generation at the Books and Ideas aStore at Links:
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Dr. Pamela Gay from "Astronomy Cast" (B&I 14)

pgay_headshot.jpg Listen Now Show Notes for Books and Ideas Podcast #14 This episode is a conversation with Dr. Pamela Gay from the Astronomy Cast. Dr. Gay teaches astronomy and physics at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Before the Astronomy Cast she was one of the hosts of one of the first science podcasts, Slacker Astronomy. I think her enthusiasm for science and especially for astronomy comes through in this interview. Besides astronomy we talked about the challenges of teaching science as well as the challenges of being a female scientist. Links: Astronomy Cast Pamela Gay's Blog FemaleScienceProfessor Blog Chandra: A Biography of S. Chandrasekhar by Kameshwar C. Wali Buffy Between the Lines: an audio drama definitely worth checking out if you love the Buffyverse Pushing Daisies my favorite new TV show Listen to Books and Ideas Episode 14 Download Episode Transcript Subscribe to this podcast Subscribe via iTunes™ Subscribe by email Leave comments at the Discussion Forum
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Mini-Review: The Places in Between by Rory Stewart

placesinbetween.jpg by Rory Stewart Rory Stewart is a Scottsman who walked across Afghanistan shortly after the US invasion in 2002. I listened to the audio version, which he reads himself. Like The Kite Runner, another excellent book about Afghanistan, this book is best in audio because he pronounces all those words that I would be clueless about if reading the book. This is really not even a mini-review except that I want to say that he provides a unique perspective on the country and its people. I never realized that Muslims consider dogs unclean! This just illustrates the huge cultural gap between these people and the West. I could not help but wish we had just stayed away. Rory has a new book out called The Prince of the Marshes: And Other Occupational Hazards of a Year in Iraq . He describes his year as a part of the provisional government in Iraq. I am probably going to discuss this book on the next Books and Ideas Podcast. Please note that the schedule for Books and Ideas has been reduced from twice a month to what I hope will be once a month. This is because I am unable to keep up with putting out a podcast every week. I intend to continue putting out the Brain Science Podcast twice a month.
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Review: "Palestine" by President Jimmy Carter (B&I 8)

I was a little hesitant to choose a controversial book, but after I read President Carter's new book, Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, I felt the ideas were too important not to share. I also feel that anyone who reads the book for themselves will agree that Jewish Americans are being unfair when they accuse President Carter of taking sides. It is true that he highlights the plight of the Palestinians in the occupied territories, but this hardly makes him biased. Episode 8 of Books and Ideas is only an introduction to the book. You will have to read it yourself to make your own decision. Listen Now Download Transcript Subscribe to this podcast Subscribe via iTunes™ Join email list Here are some links you might find interesting: The Carter Center CNN's coverage of the resignation of the Jewish members of the Carter Center Some information about the Wall Israel is building around its settlements
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