110 episodes

This podcast might not actually kill you, but it covers so many things that can. Each episode tackles a different disease, from its history, to its biology, and finally, how scared you need to be. Ecologists and epidemiologists Erin Welsh and Erin Allmann Updyke make infectious diseases acceptable fodder for dinner party conversation and provide the perfect cocktail recipe to match

This Podcast Will Kill You Exactly Right

    • Science
    • 4.9 • 1.5K Ratings

This podcast might not actually kill you, but it covers so many things that can. Each episode tackles a different disease, from its history, to its biology, and finally, how scared you need to be. Ecologists and epidemiologists Erin Welsh and Erin Allmann Updyke make infectious diseases acceptable fodder for dinner party conversation and provide the perfect cocktail recipe to match

    Ep 88 Endometriosis: Menstrual Backwash

    Ep 88 Endometriosis: Menstrual Backwash

    Chances are you know someone with endometriosis, or perhaps you’re affected yourself. But despite its incredibly high prevalence, endo remains almost criminally understudied, undertreated, and underacknowledged. In this episode, we aim to shed light on many aspects of endometriosis, first by examining the “what” and “how” of this disease: what’s actually going on inside your body with endometriosis and how does it cause the symptoms that it does? Then we turn our sights to the why, exploring not only the possible evolutionary origins of this disease but also the deep historical roots contributing to the struggle many people still face today in obtaining a diagnosis. We discuss how although hysteria is no longer a valid medical diagnosis, it has left its mark on medicine in the form of implicit bias that leaves many people feeling unlistened to and unbelieved. We then wrap up the episode with a look at endometriosis by the numbers and some current research that leaves us feeling slightly more hopeful about the growing awareness of this disease and the need for effective treatments.

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 2 hrs 10 min
    Ep 87 C. diff: Fighting poop with poop

    Ep 87 C. diff: Fighting poop with poop

    In this week’s episode, we cover a bacterium whose recent emergence and rapid spread has been largely an epidemic of our own making. Clostridium difficile isn’t your typical pathogen - in many cases it’s not even considered a pathogen, just a normal member of our gut microbiota. But when something disrupts our gut microbiota, like antibiotics, C. difficile is given the freedom to spread its wings, wreaking deadly havoc on our bodies especially when it refuses to leave. We explore the characteristics of this bacterium that make it such a terrifying public health threat, delve into its recent-but-not-as-recent-as-you-might-think history, and chat about the current status of C. diff before asking the question, “what can poo do for you?” That’s right, we’re taking this opportunity to talk about one of our all-time favorite medical interventions, fecal microbiota transplantation. Helping us navigate the ins and outs of fecal transplants is Dr. Majdi Osman, Chief Medical Officer at OpenBiome, a nonprofit stool bank that aims to expand access to safe fecal microbiota transplantation and fund research into the human microbiome. By the end of this episode, we think you’ll find yourself in awe at the healing powers of poop.

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    • 1 hr 51 min
    Ep 86 Typhus: Another lousy episode

    Ep 86 Typhus: Another lousy episode

    We’re back with our first episode of Season 5, and we’re starting off with a bang! Epidemic typhus, that friend of war and famine, may have caused more wartime deaths than all battles combined, and though it may seem like a disease relegated to the past, typhus only needs a minor disruption to turn it into a scourge of the present. In this epic season opener, we turn our sights to the louse-transmitted Rickettsia prowazekii, first diving into the strange and terrible biology of this bacterium before exploring the deep history of this tiny but mighty pathogen. The vast story of typhus takes us on a journey on a ‘coffin ship’ of the Great Irish Famine, through musings of the origins of human body and head lice, to German-occupied Poland during WWII with tales of vaccine sabotage and lice feeding, and finally to the present day, where we discuss the very real threat that epidemic typhus continues to pose. Check out this episode for all you ever wanted to know about epidemic typhus and more!

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    • 1 hr 49 min
    Ep 85 Alcohol: Beer for Thought

    Ep 85 Alcohol: Beer for Thought

    To say that alcohol is a part of human culture is a bit of an understatement. The relationship our species has with alcohol can be traced so far back that we see evidence of it in our DNA, in the way that humans, somewhat unique among mammals, gained the ability to more efficiently metabolize dietary ethanol. But while many of us have personal experience with the effects (and unpleasant aftereffects) that alcohol has on our body, how much do we know about why it makes us feel the way it does? What is alcohol doing to our bodies, to our brains? In this episode, we take a long look at this compound, from the varied effects it has on our bodies to the long history it shares with humans. Tune in to our Season 4 finale to hear why hangovers exist, how fermenting fruits on the forest floor led us to intentional production, and the truth behind all of those headlines advocating for a glass of red wine a day to keep the doctor away.

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    • 1 hr 49 min
    Ep 84 West Nile virus: The Crow in the Coal Mine

    Ep 84 West Nile virus: The Crow in the Coal Mine

    It’s the summer of 1999 in New York City, and everyone's looking towards the future, towards millennium parties and potential Y2K catastrophes. But if they turned their eyes to the streets around and skies above, they might have seen something else on the horizon, something much more real and alarming than a Y2K glitch: the arrival of West Nile virus. In this episode, we take a close look at the virus whose recent emergence in the Western Hemisphere serves as a crucial reminder of how pathogens know no political boundaries and how working across disciplines is the only way to effectively control and prevent disease outbreaks. We are also so excited to be joined by Dr. Sarah Wheeler, Biologist at Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District, who talks us through the ecology of this mosquito-borne disease and shares the birds-eye view of the situation in North America. Last but certainly not least, we round out this episode with a delightful and informative song about West Nile virus: West Nile Story by MC Bugg-Z and the Fairfax County Health Department. Check out this action-packed episode wherever you get your podcasts!

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    • 1 hr 46 min
    Ep 83 Diabetes: Short & Sweet

    Ep 83 Diabetes: Short & Sweet

    Almost everyone is familiar with diabetes mellitus in some way. Whether we know family or friends that have been diagnosed with the condition or we’re directly impacted ourselves, diabetes mellitus has become a household name. And this is perhaps not surprising given its extremely high prevalence - nearly 9% of adults around the globe are estimated to live with the disease. But although we may know someone with diabetes, how much do we know about diabetes itself? How does it work? Why does it cause the acute symptoms and long-term complications it does? Where does an infamous scientific rivalry fit into the story of diabetes? How long have humans been dealing with this disease, and how far has treatment come since the early days of diabetes? And importantly, how has our perception and portrayal of diabetes changed over the course of its history? In this episode, we seek to answer all these questions and many more about the globally-prevalent diabetes mellitus.

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    • 1 hr 51 min

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5
1.5K Ratings

1.5K Ratings

mybffisapodcast ,

Episode 88 Endometriosis

Thank you <3

havenpatterson ,

Love you guys!!

So factual, funny and perfect! You guys are the best, i love this show

Gobbli Oodigli ,

One of my favourites

Thanks so much Erins for putting together this great podcast. It’s incredibly fascinating. Great information and resources, and entertaining. One of the few podcasts with episodes I’ll listen to multiple times.

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