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My favourite science and medical podcasts

In the last year or so, my Audible credits have been piling up as I seem to prefer podcasts to audiobooks. This may or may not be because I have been mulling over starting my own, but I doubt this will ever actually happen. I made a video listing all the medical YouTubers I could find, and a few people have asked me to compile my podcast recommendations. I am sure this is just a drop in the ocean of great content out there, but here it is.


NB - I'm not including all the other pods I enjoy because no one needs to know my uneducated thoughts on which economics or philosophy podcasts are good, but I strongly recommend any medics reading to ensure you don't narrow your focus to only medicine. They say: variety is the spice of life. I say: doctors who only talk about medicine are bores.


Medicine - general


Bedside Rounds - probably my favourite medical podcast overall. I share Adam Rodman's fascination with medical history and love of epistemology, but if my videos are the tabloid version, his are the broadsheets - so much better researched, engaging and interesting. Brilliant subjects and endlessly thought-provoking.


The Curbsiders - pretty much the gold standard for clinical medicine podcasts. Brilliantly researched, thorough, fairly eccentric, up-to-date and I understand they have a pretty big team ensuring info is correct. Excellent guests. Tremendous attention to material online to accompany each episodes (show notes). Sometimes I wish there'd be a bit less filler chat but that's me bringing my YouTube attention spa


The BMJ podcast - one of the oldest medical journals in the world, the British Medical Journal actually has quite a few podcasts. This is the flagship one, it's a bit hit and miss for me but often has some good discussions especially on evidence.


Explore the Space - Mark Shapiro is an internal medicine doctor and prolific podcaster with an unbroken string of amazing guests - really, he finds such a diverse range of people to talk to, and pretty much every week without fail. I don't know how he does it. All sorts of topics related to medicine.


The Internet Book of Critical Care - superb breakdowns of different topics in the ICU, fun rapport between the two hosts Josh Farkas (who has a hilarious Muttley laugh) and Adam Thomas and eminently well-researched. My go-to for all things critical care. Part of the EMCrit network.


Emergency Medical Cases - I'd never say this to their face, but when I think of "real doctor", I always picture an emergency physician. They're the doctors many of us wanted to be (I loved my time in EM, but the lifestyle and hours etc are just too punishing), if we were masochists that wanted to die early. Nevertheless, this is the pod for EM topics, and even if you're an internal medic or surgeon, you can pick out the topics you want.


Pager - despite not having been up and running that long, Cambridge medical students George Milner and Stan Dale have put together an incredibly impressive collection of guests already, with world-famous names talking engagingly about their work. The hosts also ask some very good questions. They had a major nosedive in quality recently when I was the guest, but I'm sure they'll bounce back.


The Doctor's Kitchen - a bit different to the rest but my friend Rupy Aujla is a GP with a sideline in being an amazing chef. Host + guest format. Many episodes are about nutrition and with a lot of bullshit out there in the nutrition and diet world I'm pretty selective about what I listen to but I trust his advice, never known him to say anything controversial unlike many others. Other episodes cover a wide range of topics under the vague heading of 'functional medicine', which again is a field that I think attracts quacks but Rupy steers a sensible route.


JAMA Clinical Reviews - Excellent topical discussions. I don't tend to listen to that many of the journals' podcasts as I find them much drier than others on this list, a bit corporate. JAMA is decent and actually has quite a few I haven't yet explored.


Plenary Session - Vinay Prasad is an excellent person to follow, outspoken and smart (but extremely aware of it) and takes on many holy cows, which I love. I really enjoy his perspective and his book with Adam Cifu entitled 'Medical Reversal' has had a major impact on me. I can't say I am that interested in much of the cancer topics (he is a haematologist-oncologist) but his coverage on other medical topics is compelling. I don't always agree with what he says, but always learn something. He followed me briefly on twitter, realised I just talk shit and quickly unfollowed. But I don't hold that against him.


The RCP podcast - Amie Burbridge is a consultant in acute medicine covering lots of general medical topics, often with a more junior doctor in discussion. Particularly good for doctors in training. The RCP = Royal College of Physicians, which sets the exams all internal medicine doctors in the UK must pass to become specialists, hence the topics are ideal for someone preparing for these exams or just looking to stay abreast of internal medicine topics.


The Peter Attia Drive - Peter Attia is another person I really admire and enjoy learning from. Again, I don't always agree with everything he says, but find him a really important voice. Some of his guests have been unmitigated quacks and sometimes I think he can be too enthusiastic about preliminary results, but other episodes have been total eye-openers and I love the work he's doing in "improving healthspan, not lifespan". Some content is paid-only which is a shame.


NEJM Interviews - The New England Journal is the world's leading medical journal and has two podcasts, one is a useful round up of articles (ideal for people who don't pore over journals as much as they should...like me, or...pretty much everyone) and this is the other, longer discussions with guests. Again, some fascinating topics, policy-focused, sometimes a little America-centric.


Neph JC podcast - Neph Journal Club has led the way in free-to-access medical education, the amount they have put online and the way they have embraced social media to educate is nothing short of inspirational. Doing their best to de-mystify the kidneys. I will admit I've been slow on the uptake of their fairly new podcast, but if it's even half as good as everything else they do, will be worth a listen.


Heme Review - Brand new from Chubbyemu, who you will know from YouTube. Not much I haven't already said about Chubbyemu; a hero of mine, a key person in giving me a start on YouTube and supportive of me from day 1. But also the producer of the very best video medical education, who is somehow now making time for a podcast. Sometimes I kind of hate him. I've only heard one episode so far but it's a deeper dive than the vids with exactly the same clarity and drama we've come to expect from the YouTube channel.


Medicine - cardiology


The Heart podcast from the BMJ group - Heart is the leading British cardiovascular journal and the podcast is run by my friend James Rudd who invites on guests to talk about their research or hot topics in cardiology. I find it really useful to stay up to date and episodes are pretty short and succinct. Plus I was on it once!


This Week in Cardiology - my second go-to in cardiology, John Mandrola needs no introduction to cardiologists and summarises the major talking points in the field expertly. It helps that I tend to agree with his view on most things.


Heart Sounds with Shelley Wood - a no-nonsense round up of cardiology news from the TCTMD team (Shelley Wood is the editor). Pretty much the main news source for cardiologists.


JAMA Cardiology - great discussions building on recent studies and hot topics. Interviews with authors.


ESC Cardiotalk - short and sweet episodes, interviews with authors, summaries of studies - perfect for staying up to date.


AP Cardiology - hosted by cardiologist Andrew Perry, this is excellent for cardiologists, non-cardiologists and students. One core topic in cardiology each time, tackled accessibly. A bit like the RCP podcast above, but just focussed on cardiology (ie better :))


CardioNerds - ashamed to say I've only discovered this one, excellent so far. Some tremendous COVID coverage. Run by 4 cardiologists clearly very passionate about education. Going to need to do some listening to their back catalogue.


Science


Why Aren't You A Doctor Yet? - a fun and irreverent take on science topics from 3 scientists and a journalist, headed up by my friend Alex Lathbridge, whom I credit with getting me into this whole science communication lark (so if you enjoy this channel, go check them out). Alex is a comedian and biochemistry PhD who set up the pod to promote marginalised voices in science, so guests are more interesting and eclectic than the same old characters that otherwise crop up in science podcasts and TV in the UK. A round up of science stories, some silliness and often guests (like me) to talk about their work. Co-hosts with Alex are Oz Ismail, Hana Ayoob (whose art I often feature on the channel) and Suhail Patel.


Science(ish) - Rather sporadic in their uploading, scientist Michael Brooks and TV presenter-although-actually-a-science-graduate dissect fictional science in movies, books, TV etc. I know there are other podcasts and youtubes doing the same thing, but they do it really well, really nerdily, with top-drawer guests and they can't stop taking the piss out of each other which I find quite amusing. Much better than the Monkey show.


Everything Hertz - two scientists, Dan Quintana and James Heathers, talking about research methodology, life as a scientist, bad science, controversies and assorted additional breeze-shooting.


Guardian Science Weekly - there are loads of news agencies with science podcasts (Inside Science etc) which you don't need me to list here, I'm sure many are wonderful but I tend to gravitate more towards smaller more personal-sounding podcasts, however I rate the Guardian's highly and enjoy it. I also steer clear of most of the pop sci stuff.




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© Rohin Francis