Learning on the Go – Some Podcast Recommendations

As researchers, clinicians, and/or trainees, there never seems to be enough time in the day to get all the stuff done that we want to get done. There seems to always be more papers that we want or should read. One of my favorite ways to try to stay up to date with the latest research publications is listening to podcasts. I enjoy listening to podcasts while commuting and doing chores, and sometimes while working in the lab when no one else is around. Depends on my mood whether I can listen to a podcast while exercising or would prefer to listen to more energetic music.

Below is a list of some of my favorite cardiology podcasts. This is not a comprehensive list and I am not affiliated with any of these podcasts. I also am not endorsing any of the content discussed in the below podcasts. This list is also biased towards those podcasts that are easily accessible via smartphone podcast/listening applications and do not require downloading individual episodes from specific websites. These podcasts are not listed in any particular order.

  • Circulation on the Run: Summarizes the articles published in a specific issue of Circulation and has a more in-depth discussion of a featured article.
  • Discover CircRes: Summarizes the articles published in a specific issue of Circulation Research and also has a more in-depth discussion of a featured article often with the article’s corresponding author as well as the trainee involved in the article.
  • The Bob Harrington Show: Interviews and discussions of various topics in cardiology and the practice of medicine.
  • This Week in Cardiology: Dr. John Mandrola summarizes and provides his insight on some of the top news in cardiology for the week.
  • JACC Podcast: Dr. Valentin Fuster, editor-in-chief of the Journal of American College of College (JACC) provides an overview and summary of the articles published in a specific issue of JACC.
  • Eagle’s Eye View Your Weekly CV Update from ACC.org: A weekly cardiovascular update from Dr. Kim Eagle, editor-in-chief of ACC.org.
  • ACCEL Lite Features ACCEL Interview on Exciting CV Research: Interviews and summaries of some of cardiology’s most interesting research topics, hosted by Dr. Spencer King III.
  • Heart: Summaries of original research, editorials, and reviews from the BMJ’s Heart
  • Heart Sounds with Shelley Wood: Discusses some of the top stories in cardiology covered by the TCTMD reporters.
  • CardioNerds: This is a podcast that I just started listening to. It discusses high yield cardiovascular topics in a case discussion format.
  • AP Cardiology, ACC CardiaCast, Cardiac Consult A Cleveland Clinic Podcast for Healthcare Professionals: Three different podcasts that provide summaries of various cardiology topics.
  • JAMA Editors’ Summary, JAMA Clinical Reviews, JAMA Medical News Interviews and Summaries: Three different podcasts which provide summaries of various medical topics.
  • Annals of Internal Medicine Podcast: Highlights and interviews from a specific issue of Annals of Internal Medicine. The American College of Physicians has another podcast, Annals On Call Podcast, which features Dr. Bob Centor discussing influential articles that are published in Annals of Internal Medicine. I have not yet started listening to Annals on Call, but hope to do so in the near future.
  • ED ECMO: Discusses resuscitative extra-corporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) and extra-corporeal life support (ELS). At the University of Minnesota, cardiologists manage veno-arterial ECMO (VA-ECMO). More to come about this during an upcoming blog!

I am always open to hearing suggestions for new podcasts related to science/medicine or other topics!


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Making Epidemiology Make Sense For Clinicians

I discovered epidemiology through an interest in evidence-based practice and clinical research. Seeing patients brought up research questions, and I wanted to be able to answer those with numbers. What I learned is that our results differed from the few published studies that crafted the informal, “word on the street” guidelines we abided by, not because their research was flawed, but because our patient populations were different. Had the situation been two Table 1’s side by side, we would’ve seen the clear demographic differences.

Hannaford and Owen-Smith did a proof-of-concept literature search in 1998 to see how many population studies (epidemiologic studies) provided relevant data to answer their specific clinical question. There are a few points of comparison between epidemiology and clinical practice here:

Clinical vs Epidemiologic Research

So, this is where adjustment versus stratification comes in. Multivariable adjustment is a statistical method that attempts to isolate the effect of our exposure (oral contraceptives) on the outcome (cardiovascular risk). We often adjust for factors related to both, because we don’t want a relationship such as age (younger women more likely to be on oral contraceptives and are at decreased risk of cardiovascular events compared to older women) to secretly be explaining a statistical association. Specifically, Hannaford and Owen-Smith note that “in effect, these adjustments level the epidemiological playing field so that the real effects of combined oral contraceptives can be determined, but at a cost of losing information about the effects of the adjusting factor (in this case smoking) among contraceptive users.” There are many other ways to control for confounding, such as randomization, restriction, matching, stratification, and of course, adjustment. But more often than not in epidemiology, we use adjustment because it’s answering our question.

The clinical mind searches for subgroup analysis as the most efficient way to answer the question “What about my patient?” Such as – “What about men? Women? Comorbidities?” without having to calculate a beta coefficient (given the authors even provided it). In other words, instead of smoothing out the data over all possible groups (smokers, those with diabetes, etc.), we want to plot individual points on the graph.

Hannaford and Owen didn’t find many epidemiologic studies that answered their very specific clinical question in 1998 – hopefully the odds would be higher 20 years later. But, compromising epidemiologic methods or clinical methods isn’t the answer to meet in the middle. So, what can we do? Epidemiology provides methods to systematically think about patterns and causes of disease for the clinician. Many of my colleagues are physicians seeking additional research training. They compare anesthesia protocols for outcomes after colon cancer surgeries, while my academic colleagues look at cumulative environmental exposures and lifetime risk of colon cancer. The overarching topics are similar, but the questions and resulting methods are incredibly different.

How do we make population studies more relevant to clinicians? There are many ways, and I’d love to hear your thoughts, but some to get us started include: interdisciplinary teams of epidemiologist and clinicians when designing studies and analyses; utilizing different but valid methods such as stratification with or instead of adjustment (and powering our studies for subgroup analysis), and…what else?

Bailey DeBarmore Headshot
Bailey DeBarmore is a cardiovascular epidemiology PhD student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her research focuses on diabetes, stroke, and heart failure. She tweets @BaileyDeBarmore and blogs at baileydebarmore.com. Find her on LinkedIn and Facebook.