138 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
    • 4.8 • 15K 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 105 Down in the Mumps

    Ep 105 Down in the Mumps

    We’ve covered measles, we’ve taken on rubella, and now we’re finishing up the classic MMR vaccine by exploring the other M: mumps. To some listeners, mumps may be a painful childhood memory while to others it’s just a letter in a vaccine they were too young to remember getting. But by the end of this episode, we promise that you’ll all be much more familiar with this strange little virus. How does the mumps virus make you sick and give you that classic swollen face look? What is so bad about the mumps that Maurice Hilleman decided to snag a sample from his sick daughter to make a vaccine? Where do we stand with mumps today and what do declining vaccination rates have to do with those not-so-great numbers? Tune in to hear our take on all these questions and many more in this classic TPWKY episode.

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    • 1 hr 17 min
    Ep 104 The Bends: Industrial Revolution, baby

    Ep 104 The Bends: Industrial Revolution, baby

    Don your wetsuit, grab your oxygen tank, and securely fasten your mask, because this week we’re going on our deepest dive yet. In this episode, we’re plumbing the depths of decompression sickness, aka the bends, to get a better handle on how gases and pressure can be so very deadly. We start out with a bit of Gases 101, examining how decompression sickness occurs and why it affects your body in the ways it does. Next, we explore the not-so-distant history of this disease, a history that includes far more tales of bridge engineering than it does of SCUBA diving (but just as fascinating). Finally, we rise to the surface, but not too quickly, with a look at decompression sickness around the world today. Tune in to hear the highs, the lows, and everything in between of this industrial era disease, and feel free to leave your decompression schedule at home.

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    • 1 hr 44 min
    Ep 103 Leptospirosis: Don't blame the rats

    Ep 103 Leptospirosis: Don't blame the rats

    The story of leptospirosis is chock full of variety. In terms of biology, any number of different Leptospira species and serovars can play a role in infection, and the resulting infection can run from asymptomatic to deadly. As for ecology, virtually any mammalian species can either act as an affected reservoir for the pathogens or fall victim to a deadly infection. The history of leptospirosis takes us across continents and through centuries, illustrating how changes in scientific thought and technology shaped our understanding of this and other zoonotic diseases. And the current status of this One Health disease is no less varied, both in the wide distribution of leptospirosis as well as the vastly differing (but disturbingly high) estimates of annual cases and deaths. In this episode, we do our best to tackle as much of the variety in this neglected disease as we can, from its impact on us and our furry friends, to the classic story of its discovery and the biggest remaining gaps in our knowledge today. Tune in for all this and more!

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    • 1 hr 15 min
    Ep 102 Arsenic: Paris Green with Envy

    Ep 102 Arsenic: Paris Green with Envy

    “The king of poisons,” “the poison of kings,” “inheritance powder.” As its various nicknames suggest, arsenic’s notoriety largely stems from its use as a murder weapon. But as we explore in this episode, the world of arsenic is much, much bigger than just as a plot device in an Agatha Christie novel, and it remains one of the most important environmental contaminants today. But how exactly does arsenic affect your body? When did people first start to use arsenic and for what purposes? Where does it have the most impact currently? And, of course, why was it so popular as a murder weapon? Tune in to hear the answers to these and many, many more questions about one of the most notorious poisons out there.

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    • 1 hr 34 min
    Ep 101 Immortality: This Podcast Won't Kill You

    Ep 101 Immortality: This Podcast Won't Kill You

    For what was originally going to be our 100th regular season episode, we wanted to turn the vaguely threatening title of our podcast on its head by exploring a topic that’s not about something that can kill you but rather the hows and whys of staying alive, forever. That’s right, this week we’re taking on the immense and amorphous concept of immortality, viewed primarily through the lens of biology. Why don’t humans or any other organisms live forever, evolutionarily speaking? What can the long search for an elixir of life tell us about our future prospects of life without end? How close has current technology brought us to achieving immortality in even the remotest sense of the word? This may not be your typical TPWKY episode, but we promise laughter, trivia, and existential contemplation about the meaning of life, so you’re not gonna want to miss it.

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    • 1 hr 14 min
    Ep 100 Monkeypox: Here we go again?

    Ep 100 Monkeypox: Here we go again?

    A little over two years into a pandemic, the last thing you probably want to see is headlines announcing yet another disease spreading across the globe. And yet, here we are. Beginning in May 2022, an increasing number of cases of monkeypox have been reported in many countries around the world, both in places where the monkeypox virus is known to occur as well as places where it had previously never been observed. And although the monkeypox virus itself is not new, some of the ways it is acting during this outbreak are. In this episode, we take you through what we knew about monkeypox before this outbreak began, first by exploring the biology of this poxvirus and how it makes you sick before walking through the history of its discovery and past epidemics. Then we shift our focus to the ongoing outbreak: What is different about the patterns we’re seeing today compared to past outbreaks? How has the virus changed? How exactly is it transmitted? And, a question we haven’t asked in a very long time, how scared do we need to be? Tune in to hear us address these questions and many more about this re-emerging poxvirus.

    See Privacy Policy at https://art19.com/privacy and California Privacy Notice at https://art19.com/privacy#do-not-sell-my-info.

    • 1 hr 31 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
15K Ratings

15K Ratings

Ada_Bac ,

Brilliant Podcast

I have been looking for a show like this my whole podcast-listening life! The 2-episode series on vaccine history played an integral role in my decision to vaccinate my 1.5 yo against Covid-19. Thank you for this show and for the really informative episodes.

rowyoirboat ,

Brilliant

I love this educational podcast. I always learn something new from their in depth presentation. Loved the one on the bends and the endometriosis podcasts.

StarSharon ,

Definitely my favorite podcast

Love this podcast. Great research. I’m a science junkie and I can’t get enough. I’ve been reading about this subject since I was a kid and now I get to hear a podcast about it. Yay! The content is in depth. Each episode is compelling to listen to. I’m addicted and I can’t wait for more episodes. Thanks ladies. Update: Season 3 just started with a great episode on syphilis and Erin A.U. had a baby. I missed them during the break. So glad they’re back. As always, top of the line research.
This season, 2022 had some episodes that I felt the hosts seemed less enthusiastic about. I found the mumps episode very mechanical in the delivery.

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