Ep. 41 A Consumer’s BS-Free Guide To Scientific Research

In This Episode

Neal’s absolute favorite thing to do is research, so to get into the minutiae of reliable scientific studies he is joined by Dr. James Heathers.

James and Neal discuss the basics of how to find reliable research. They also dive into the way real results get twisted by reporters.

They also talk about why there is a general distrust of generic drugs, drugs that fail their trials, and what ‘statistical significance’ really means.

Dr. Heathers explains why results from drug testing on animals may not apply to humans, and he does a bit of calculation about the odds of conspiracies being true.

Topics Discussed

  • The basics of research
  • How study results get cherry-picked
  • How consumerism has mutated the purpose of studies
  • False positives
  • The feeling that large institutions cannot be trusted
  • Calculating the odds of conspiracies being true
  • Distrust in generic drugs
  • When regulation goes wrong
  • Drugs that fail their trials
  • ‘Statistical significance’
  • The accuracy of animal testing

All About James Heathers

James is a full-time research scientist and occasional author / consultant. He’s presently at Northeastern University in Boston, in Computational Behavioral Science Lab.

Previously, he was an Endeavour Research Fellow visiting the Poznan University of Medical Science in Poland, PhD before that at the University of Sydney.

James likes methodology and develops novel techniques for analyzing data in the biological and social sciences, and then compulsively tells people about them.

He’s excited about wearable tech and signal analysis, which is probably his brain trying to shake off studying psychology as an undergraduate.

He’s Australian (occasionally too Australian) but he lives in Boston, MA with his partner, Swetha and his cat, Mr. Licorice. 


Dr. Neal Smoller, Holistic Pharmacist

About Neal Smoller

Dr. Neal Smoller, PharmD, is a licensed pharmacist: and owner of Village Apothecary, an independent pharmacy in the most famous small town in America—Woodstock, NY. He’s also the host of the popular wellness podcast, The Big Mouth Pharmacist.”


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