Free Associations Podcast

With a sense of humor and a healthy dose of skepticism the hosts talk us through popular health studies and hyperbolic news headlines while teaching us how to ask the right questions.

Free Associations Podcast | January 30th, 2024

A blood-based screening for cancer?

Matt, Jess, and guest host Salma Abdalla discuss a study testing the efficacy of a blood-based cancer screening tool, they debate the role of the workplace in mental health, and Salma sees if she can pronounce the word “bubbles” while sounding angry.

Free Associations Podcast | January 2nd, 2024

Do taxes and warning labels affect meat purchases?

Matt, Jess, and first-time guest host Allegra Gordon discuss a study of the effect of taxes and warning labels on purchases of red meat, they lament the impact of disinformation campaigns, and Matt tells us how AI is going to take our grant writing jobs.

Free Associations Podcast | December 5th, 2023

Neighborhood environment and childhood physical fitness

Matt, Jess, and guest host Jonathan Jay discuss a study on child opportunity in the built environment and physical fitness, they debate whether to get rid of discussion sections, and Jon invites us to consider the Golden Bachelor.

Free Associations Podcast | October 3rd, 2023

Wildfires and medical visits

Matt, Jess, and guest host Amruta Nori-Sarma examine a study of the effect of proximity to wildfires on medical visits, they discuss housing as harm reduction, and Matt goes to Olive Garden.

Free Associations Podcast | September 5th, 2023

Can hearing aids prevent dementia?

Matt, Jess, and guest host Salma Abdalla examine a study on the use of hearing aids to prevent dementia, they discuss whether loneliness is a public health problem (and, as usual, descend into talking about COVID), and Salma tells us the difference between coffee and concrete.

Free Associations Podcast | August 1st, 2023

A breakthrough for meningitis vaccination?

Matt and Jess go solo and Jess hosts for the first time! They discuss a study of the effectiveness of a new meningitis vaccine, whether active shooter drills do anything more than scare kids, and debate the best movie candy.

Free Associations Podcast | May 30th, 2023

Is coffee bad for your heart?

Matt, Jess, and Chris examine a crossover study of the effects of coffee consumption on heart health, they discuss the commercial determinants of health, and Chris gives a heartfelt goodbye to the podcast and to BU.

Free Associations Podcast | May 2nd, 2023

Did we have any effect on COVID?

Matt, Jess, and Chris discuss a complex ecologic study on the effect of various interventions for COVID, they debate whether living evidence syntheses can save science, and Chris updates us on what killed Beethoven.

Free Associations Podcast | April 4th, 2023

Do masks work for COVID?

Matt, Jess, and Chris examine a meta-analysis on whether masks reduce respiratory virus transmission, they discuss the peer review madness, and Jess tells us about vibrating pills.

Free Associations Podcast | March 7th, 2023

Gestational age at birth and cognitive outcomes

Matt, Jess, and Chris discuss a study on the impact of gestational age at birth and cognitive outcomes, they debate who should be an author on an academic publication, and Jess tells us whether fish can recognize themselves.

Free Associations Podcast | February 7th, 2023

Are magic mushrooms the answer to severe depression?

Matt, Jess, and Chris discuss a phase 2 clinical trial on the use of psilocybin to treat severe depression, they lament the state of health literacy, and Chris finds out what happens when you give drugs to spiders.

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