The Prism Podcast – Episode 20

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Caroline Finucane, Science Editor at NHS Choices in the UK, is our guest today.




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Stand up for reason whenever you have the chance.

Sometimes easier said than done…


The Prism Podcast – Episode 19


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Melanie Clemmer RD is our guest today.

Episode 19

Melanie Clemmer RD

Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator who needs an outlet to talk about the lack of scientific literacy when it comes to nutrition.  She considers her approach as “evidence based” and blogs about this regularly at


Discussion about Dietitian vs Nutritionist.


Disease entitlement?  Do you agree or disagree?

Diabetes – Gum disease connection or lack thereof?

Controlled carbs, moderate protein, adequate fat.

Low Carb performance discussed

Volek and Phinney –


Make your meal plan sustainable.

The Diet Fix – Yoni Freedhoff MD


Gary Taubes article:


How to read news articles critically:


Her favorite logical fallacy:

-reducio ad hitlerum

-appeal to ancient wisdom


Beef – Grass fed vs Grain fed.  Her take…listen in at minute 49.

New nutrition labels?  Pro or con?


Limit your exposure to the ads…shop the perimeter of the grocery store!


Grocery shopping:

Paradox of Choice:


WOD:  Catathrenia –

The Prism Podcast – Episode 18

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Ryan Oilar is our guest today.


Episode 18

Ryan Oilar


As a USA Triathlon and USA Cycling certified coach, Ryan Oilar brings with him a competitive triathlon background.  As a 9:35 Iron-distance finisher, he has successfully coached many athletes in all distances, and has earned his Master’s Degree in Sport-Exercise Psychology.  Coach Ryan specializes in long course racing and has been competing in triathlons for over a decade, as well as more than 10 marathons.

USA Triathlon –

USA Cycling –

What is sport psychology?

Visualization and Mental imagery:

Become a better swimmer – breathe out more/better!

The first 20 minutes info:

Pollyanna principle:


Fat Tire –

Midas Touch –


Word of the Day:

The Prism Podcast – Quickie #1

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Root Canals and Cancer? Oil Pulling?

The Prism Podcast – Episode 17


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Dr. Kim Kutsch is our guest today.

Episode 17

Dr. Kim Kutsch

About Kim and his dental office:

What is Air Abrasion in dentistry?  Technically, it’s not “air” abrasion but that’s what is has always been called.

Carifree (for patients and dental peeps):

Cavity formation process:

CAMBRA = CAries Management By Risk Assessment

First 5 program information:

DentaQuest Foundation info:

The Usual Suspects in Cavity formation:






Bacteria share DNA?  Will we ever win the battle with caries?

The sciencey stuff about Carifree:

73% caries reduction!!  Impressive.

Active Listening explained:

Homework assignment – go google “ph of bottled water”

Let us know what you find.

What is this “biofilm” we keep talking about?

More discussion about Probiotics!

Salivary transplants?

10Barrel Brewing Co.

Oregon Trail Brewing

And again –


Word of the Day: Lexophile!


Special thanks to Symphony of Science for closing song permission.

The Prism Podcast – Episode 16


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The ever popular Dr. Clay Jones is sitting in as a guest host with Jason and Grant. In this episode, we discuss probiotics.


Episode 16

Co-host Clay Jones



Lee Majors –

Probiotics discussed at length – here are a bunch of links:

Colic – What it is/isn’t and what do you do about it.

Probiotics and colony counts –

Are supplements all they seem?

A good discussion about probiotics in babies…from JAMA.


Pouchitis – who know?!

Probiotics and dentistry:


Bristol Stool Chart – Memorize it!  Ha!

Check out Mary Roach’s book “Gulp.”

Antibiotics and probiotics:

Wintefest is put on by the Brewers Guild of Indiana:

Word of the Day = borborygmi

Thanks again to Symphony of Science for the closing song permission!

The Prism Podcast – Episode 15


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Julie Frantsve-Hawley, Senior Director of the Center for Evidence Based Dentistry at the American Dental Association is our guest today.

Episode 15

Dr. Julie Frantsve-Hawley is the senior director of the American Dental Association’s Center for Evidence-based Dentistry. She leads many of the ADA’s EBD educational programs, including the EBD Champions Conference, the advanced EBD workshop, and conducts custom EBD training programs for dental school faculty. She developed and launched the ADA’s EBD website and evidence-based practice guidelines program at the ADA. She is also the former director of the ADA’s Health Screening program.

Dr. Frantsve-Hawley has been the PI on several grants from the National Institute for Dental and Craniofacial Research, the National Library of Medicine, and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. She is involved in dissemination and implementation research projects aimed at helping clinicians implement science into practice. She is also the editor on a textbook on Evidence-Based Dentistry that is currently in press.

Dr. Frantsve-Hawley, received her PhD from Harvard University, and conducted postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, San Francisco.

The Center for Evidence-Based Dentistry =

Find out what it’s all about, how it’s implemented and what kind of progress has been made.

Zebrafish –

Onion cutting:

EBM vs SBM – There is a four part series, here is a link to part 1:

Julie offers some great advice on how to read a journal article starting with the Methods section!

Evidence Based Dentistry Champions Conference:


Cochrane Collaboration is discussed.

A link to the Oral Health Group:

Confirmation Bias mentioned and discussed!

What is it?

Anchoring Effect:

Dental Quality Alliance:

Word of the Day:             Gobemouche

Apologies to Queen!

Thanks again to Symphony of Science for the closing music permission!

Uninformed is a choice…ignorance!


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I just came across a short but sweet blog post by Seth Godin.  It is linked just below.

His words ring so true when it comes to what we know vs what we don’t know and how we choose to go about changing those two categories in our lives.

I’ve heard it said many times, “I’d prefer not to know.”  This usually pertains to some sort of food or “medicine” that someone claims works for them.  The classic n=1 dream that they don’t want disturbed.  Other times it is because they are deep-rooted in a belief that they cannot tolerate losing.

If you’re reading this I hope you will take a minute or two to evaluate the things that you know and that you don’t.  Most likely there are some answers (or at least more questions) to help you learn something more about what you know or something completely new!


oh yeah…that link:

The Prism Podcast – Episode 14


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Bryan Chung M.D., Ph.D. is our guest on this episode of The Prism.


Episode 14

Dr. Bryan Chung

Before medical school, I completed a BSc in Biology from Queen’s University, my MSc in Rehabilitation Science (mostly biomechanics, with a lot of epidemiology thrown in) with the School of Physical and Occupation Therapy at McGill Univeristy, and then my PhD in Medical Science (mostly research methods and biostatistics, with a lot of musculoskeletal physiology and sport medicine mixed in) at the Sport Medicine Centre at the University of Calgary. After medical school (also in Calgary), I completed my residency in plastic surgery in 2012 in Halifax, Nova Scotia and am a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons of Canada (which the title given for board certification in Canada). After all of that, I did a hand surgery fellowship at NYU in New York.


Dietician vs Nutritionist


Bryans take on “tickling fetish”

Discussing fitness/nutrition with patients – when and how.

Bulletproof Coffee –

Inflammation discussed

Where is the inflammation and does the diet matter acutely?

CRP and dentistry:

What is ESR?

Heavy discussion about Peer Review!

Bryan also sits on the editorial board of the Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine, and is a peer-reviewer for that journal and several others, including the Cochrane Collaboration, which publishes the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews.

Perfect practice > practice practice.

The Lindy Hop!!

The almost famous beer question wraps up the interview.

After the interview I had an email exchange with Bryan about  – I read his comments after the interview.

WOD:  Intaxication


Special thanks to Dr. Andy Miles for the word of the day suggestion.


And, again, closing song is from



The Prism Podcast – Episode 13


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Dr. Mark Crislip is our guest today.


Episode 13

Dr. Mark Crislip

5 page CV…let’s just say he has experience!

What is the Society for Science-Based Medicine?

  • A Society for a community of like-minded individuals, both in and out of health care, who support Science-Based Medicine.
  • People should not suffer, die and lose hope, time and money due to pseudo-medicine.

The mission of the Society for Science-Based Medicine includes, but is not limited to,

  • Educating consumers, professionals, business people, legislators, law enforcement personnel, organizations and agencies about Science-Based Medicine.
  •  Providing resources and information for information concerning all aspects of Science-Based Medicine. Providing a central resource for communication between individuals and organizations concerned about Science-Based Medicine.
  • Supporting sound consumer health laws for the practice of Science-Based Medicine and opposing legislation that undermines Science-Based Medicine.
  • Encouraging and aiding legal actions in support of the practice of Science-Based Medicine.

—————————————————  = the famous blog.  = all things Mark Crislip.


Infection discussion – dental infections to hospital infections.


Joints not seen as much.


Should we take antibiotics when we brush and floss?


“Cockroaches don’t like light” – shining a light on bad practices has a tendency to weed out some…

Do you watch Portlandia?

What is the craziest alt-med claim?

Grant Strips.

Dentistry and SBM?

The influence of Ron Burgundy.

And the all important Beer Question!


Word of the Day:  Cornstalk.


Thanks again to Dr. Crislip…oops, I mean Mark.


And thanks to SymphonyofScience for permission on the closing song!

The Prism Podcast – Episode 12


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Dr. Robert Weyant is our guest on this episode of The Prism.

Episode 12

Dr. Bob Weyant

Professor and Chair
Department of Dental Public Health
346 Salk, School of  Dental Medicine
University of  Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh PA 15261


Journal of Public Health Dentistry

Link to digital CV:    


Evidence Based Dentistry –


As will be obvious later (if you are listening), some of us needed some clarification so here’s this:

Epidemiology =


An intermediate area between fact-based and problem-based learning/teaching:


-Active learning is the goal…”sticky learning”


Forest Plot intro:


100,000 lives campaign:


Systematic review explained:


A discussion of the state of dental journals.  The woo and the true.


Who/What is DentaQuest?


What drives people in the U.S. vs U.K. to select dentistry as a profession?

A survey of 2012 U.S. dental graduates revealed:

Time Flexibility

Service to Others

Self- employment

Working with Hands

Income Potential

Economy is changing so will there be solo dentists 10-15 years from now?

PCORI model – Patient Centered Care

Stefan Larsson TED talk – watch it and let us know what you think.

The article being discussed:                Metagenomic analysis…it’s ok if your brain is Maremagnum at this point.

More on Cariology/Caries/Cavities:

The Brain Science Podcast:


Ex: Without language we would go bumping around in the dark and eventually take leave of our senses under the welter of the incomprehensible, withdrawing, as some people do, into a closed world in order to protect ourselves against the unbearable onslaught.
Ex: Specific types of information are considered imperative to decipher the intricate process of surviving in a modern, mid-nineties maelstrom of socio-economic crises.


Special thanks to Symphony of Science for the closing music.


The Prism Podcast – Episode 11


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Episode 11

Interview with Susan Gerbic

Affectionately called the Wikipediatrician, Susan Gerbic is the co-founder of Monterey County Skeptics, a member of the Independent Investigation Group (IIG), and a self-proclaimed skeptical junkie. Susan is also founder of the “Guerrilla Skepticism on Wikipedia” project and the “World Wikipedia” project.

Meet Susan:


Guerrilla Skepticism

Deepak angry with Susan?


Who is Tim Farley?


What is TAM (The Amazing Meeting)


Uri Geller


Senator Pell and James Randi


Honey Badger


Skeptic Action

on Facebook:

Web of Trust –


Grants Foot Detox – He is the one with the blonde hair.


What’s the harm?


Skeptic Love

Show some love to the skeptic books, tapes, podcasts (hint, hint), meetups, etc.


David Gorski Wikipedia page:


A very nice blog about Susan, her motivations, and cancer.


Word of the Day!



Thanks again for listening and reading.  Please contact us with any comments, really ANY!

Closing music used with permission from


The Prism Podcast – Episode 10

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Prism Podcast Episode 10 Show Notes

Sphere of Monson:


Alkaline Mouthrinse!

Carifree CTX4 Treatment rinse.

Rinsing after brushing

The interview with Dom Zero will be coming soon.  In the meantime, some research:

From Colgate:  A lot of work has been done in this area. Plaque and saliva samples are taken at various intervals after brushing to determine the level of fluoride in the oral cavity. Elevated levels of fluoride have been found in saliva, plaque and the oral soft tissues after use of fluoridated toothpaste, which persist at potentially active concentrations for hours. Both experiment and mathematical modelling suggest that the soft tissues are the main oral reservoir for fluoride.
There is also variation in the time of day – overnight when salivary flow is reduced the fluoride concentration 12 hours later is similar to those found 1-4 hours after brushing during the day.


Don’t rinse after brushing in order to maintain protective fluoride levels.


And Fluoride

ACT Mouthrinse – sodium fluoride concentration and bottle size


Chiropractics and JADA

Chagrined!  Look it up


ADA membership required for the full article but the abstract is here:


A comprehensive evaluation of the study:


and another evaluation by Dr. Grant Ritchey (ask him for an autograph):


Activator videos:



Flogging a dead horse:


VAS – a pain assessment tool.  Several types exist:


Tooth Fairy Science =


Word of the day = Petrichor.  Courtesy of @scienceporn on Twitter.


Next episode is an interview with Susan Gerbic, a tireless skeptic advocate!


Closing music used with permission from


The Prism Podcast – Episode 9


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Episode 9

Enjoy Not Knowing


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Knowing takes time: so, enjoy the not knowing while it lasts.

There is a lot of talk the last few years about science being a religion or the answer to everything – scientism.  The accumulation of quality data can result in more and more certainty about a given topic.  A single research project does not equal a definitive solution.  One must also take into account the role of philosophy in guiding humans down a path ethical behavior.  While there may be some that take this view of science being the end-all, be-all, I believe it means something different and more important.


Like Carl Sagan said, “science is more than a body of knowledge, it’s a way of thinking; a way of skeptically interrogating the universe.”  Using science and the scientific method can provide an avenue to increase or improve one’s experience with the vast world around them.  The scientific method has been used since the 17th century to formulate, investigate, test and retest phenomenon of all types.


Scientific Method:

Form a question.

Develop a hypothesis

Predict the outcome





The fact that the method is old is irrelevant.  Most things from the 17th century would not be applicable to today.  It is worthwhile to note that the methodology has changed little in that time.  Also, the process has been scrutinized and tweaked for improvement throughout its lifeline.


The method simply provides an organized way for us all to communicate about a variety of, often complicated, topics.  It allows us to study them from different angles and then test and retest the data.  It allows scientists to spot breakthroughs or problems in projects or data.  It also provides room for interpretation, biases, and logical fallacies to rear their ugly heads.


The beauty of science is that it gives us insight into how the world works.  We can learn to “appreciate wonders of nature even more,” as Richard Feynman says.  The amazement of the workings of nature can provide a spiritual experience as we contemplate the awesome power, complexity and vastness of the universe.


To quote another great scientific mind, “We can only gain and grow with each discovery that there is structure underlying the most accessible levels of things that fill us with awe.”  Dr. Robert Sapolsky put it eloquently in his book, the Trouble with Testosterone: and Other Essays On the biology Of the Human Predicament.”  To put it another way, the more we know about something the more we can and should be in awe of it.  Nature will never cease to impress us or confuse us.


As amazing and inspiring as science is it is unlikely to ever hold all of the answers.  There is so much interconnectedness and complexity that “not knowing” is something with which we should gain comfort.  To put it another way, “ignorance is valuable.”  Stuart Firestein has a great book (and TED talk) about Ignorance.


Dr. Firestein tells us that throughout school we are taught that the information is known with 100% certainty.  However, he explains, this is rarely the case.  Most scientists, when sitting around having a beer, discuss all the things that still need to be done.  They are motivated by the unknown and the fact that every answer reveals more questions.  More discoveries simply result in a “higher quality of ignorance.”


Our love of science and learning comes naturally.  In 2nd grade nearly 100% of kids are scientists.  By 10th grade less than 10% are in the scientist category.  Something horribly wrong is happening.  Instead of teaching children OUT of science we should be encouraging their curiosity.  We need their enthusiasm and imagination and they need our support.


We need the scientific method to keep and organized approach to the maelstrom of biology, chemistry, and the cosmos.  As we unravel bits and pieces here and there take a minute to appreciate the success and then look further into what is left to learn…and then share it passionately with those around you.


Finally, I will end with another quote from Dr. Sapolsky:

“The purpose of science is not to cure us of our sense of mystery and wonder, but to constantly reinvent and reinvigorate it.”



The JADA Drops The Ball (Big Time)

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Reference: The Journal of the American Dental Association (October 1, 2013) 144, 1154-1163

In the current issue of the JADA, there is an article in the Research Section of the magazine entitled A Pilot Study of a Chiropractic Intervention for Management of Chronic Myofascial Temporomandibular Disorder. (The full article requires ADA membership or registration/payment.)

Having such research in a frequently read (and cited) journal like the JADA is problematic in many ways. Time and my attention span will not permit me to go into great depth into those issues, but I do want to present an outline of the article, how (while no doubt well-intentioned) bad science was constructed atop a foundation of worse science, why the JADA had no business publishing such nonsense, how our body of scientific knowledge was not advanced one iota by this piece, and why the American Dental Association sullies the concept of science based inquiry when it associates with pseudo- and pre-scientific woo.

Article Synopsis

This research, supported by the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), was authored by four Chiropractors, a PhD (all but one of whom are associated with the Palmer College of Chiropractic), two dentists, and an RN (the latter three associated with the University of Iowa College of Dentistry). Their stated goal was to “assess the feasibility of conducting a full-scale RCT to evaluate the effectiveness of AMCT (Activator Method Chiropractic Technique) for the treatment of patients with chronic myofascial TMD (Temporomandibular Disorder).” (Note: RCT = Randomized Controlled Trial) Their rationale was that since many TMDs “can become a chronic problem lasting several years, and patients receive little help from traditional forms of treatment”, perhaps complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) therapies should be considered.

Please continue…

The Prism Podcast – Episode 8


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Robert “Bob” Blaskiewicz is our guest today!


Episode 8

Interview with Bob Blaskiewicz

Bob is the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry’s “Conspiracy Guy” web columnist, a JREF Swift Blog contributor, a blogger at, and a regular panelist on the live weekly web show The Virtual Skeptics (Wed 8PM Eastern) and contributes a monthly essay to the Skepticality podcast. He is a Visiting Assistant Professor of Writing at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, where he specializes in and teaches about World War II veterans’ writings, extraordinary/paranormal claims and conspiracy theory.


Penn & Teller turned Bob onto skepticism…most likely it was this:


A discussion about Bob’s thesis – how thinking goes wrong in creating a memoir.


Memories are fallible and often more imagination than accurate memory.


Conspiracy theory discussion combined with memories.



Importance of the humanities and skepticism/critical thinking.


Paradigm symposium discussion – ancient aliens.


Longer discussion about the history and ongoing Burzynski Clinic issue.



And more about the patients:

Thanks again, Bob, we learned a lot and enjoyed talking to you!


The closing music is used with permission from:

The Prism Podcast – Episode 7


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In this episode, Jason and Grant interview the inimitable Dr. Howard Farran.


Episode 7

Interview with Howard Farran, DDS, MBA, MAGD

A practicing dentist with more than 25 years of clinical experience, as well as a noted international speaker on faster, easier, more efficient dentistry, Dr. Farran received his Bachelor’s Degree from Creighton University, and in 1987, he graduated from the University of Missouri – Kansas City School of Dentistry. Dr. Farran later went on to earn his MBA from Arizona State University in 1999. Dr. Farran has also earned his MAGD and DICOI, and is currently on the faculty of the Arizona School of Dentistry and Oral Health.

Dr. Farran has received the Arizona Public Health Dentist of the Year Award in 1995 by the Arizona Office of Dental Health; and the Arizona Award in 1989 from the Arizona State Dental Association for outstanding contributions made to the profession of dentistry for his efforts to fluoridate the water of Phoenix.

Dr. Farran is the Founder and CEO of Farran Media, LLC, the parent company of, Dentaltown Magazine, as well as the Townie Meeting properties. In 1999 he launched – an online community of more than 160,000 dental professionals all over the globe! Culling important and timely information from the conversations on, Dentaltown Magazine is a leading publication for the dental profession and is distributed to over 120,000 dentists in more than 40 countries each month.

While very successful, Howard has yet to invest in a quality headset – we will needle him about that!

Howards fluoride debate:


His approach to debate is partly fact-based but partly emotion-based.


Naturalistic fallacy!


Fluoride is naturally occurring and has been found to be quite successful in preventing cavities.

He wants his own grenades – the right to bear arms!  ;-)

80% of people are inherently good.  20% are bad and/or sociopathic.  Give people a chance to be good and they will.

Group think; Birds flying in a V…

News now vs news then and how that relates to people, behavior, opinions.

Echochambers prevalent now.

Open access journal controversy:

Government sponsored research should be immediately available online.

Information available now is monumentally more than ever.

Cognitive Dissonance!

You cannot please everyone.

50% of patients choose on price.

50% choose on relationship/respect/trust.

Discussion about online access of information – some good, some woo!

Dentaltown has over 200 online dental classes.  Internationally this is having a profound impact on improving the quality of care.

The ups and downs of being a pioneer.

Amalgam/mercury debate and discussion.

Mercury from human creation creates 6% of mercury in atmosphere…

Dopamine and Serotonin!

Howard’s ironman training is going really well.  Very impressive how far he has come.

Beer of choice: Fat tire.  (Howard does not currently drink alcohol right now).


A real pleasure talking with Howard!

@HowardFarran on twitter





The Prism Podcast – Episode 6

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In this episode, Jason and Grant interview Evan Bernstein from The Skeptics Guide to the Universe.


Evan Bernstein Interview

    Episode 6

    Who is Evan?

    A co-host of The Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe and The Skeptics Guide 5×5 podcasts. He also serves as the Connecticut chapter chairman of the New England Skeptical Society. Evan is a technical adviser for official NESS investigations, and is the SGU’s audio engineer for live remote events. He has been published as part of The Skeptical Blog Anthology book (The Young Australian Skeptics), and he has appeared as a guest on several skeptic-themed podcasts. Traveling the world with his co-hosts, Evan as given live presentations to private corporations and at educational seminars on topics including; the direct harms of pseudoscience, woo in the martial arts, and the truth behind paranormal investigations. Evan earned his BA in Communications from Central Connecticut State University, and by day, owns and manages his financial services corporation. He has been an active participant in the modern skeptical movement since 1996.

    Evan sent us an article prior to recording so we could brief ourselves on one area of discussion:

    For more about The Skeptics Guide to the Universe:

    Science and pseudoscience are briefly discussed as they relate to current television programing.  This concerns us as these “serious” networks appear to promote and support things like Bigfoot.  Online news sites are doing the same.

    Skeptics are treated as the fringe or cynical.  This is backwards from what it should be.

    Critical thinking in childhood needs improved.  Schools – stay tuned for a future podcast about this very topic that we will cover with a science professor (Dr. Rich Kessler).

    Broad discussion about superstition from knocking on wood to throwing salt and whether people believe it or have made it a habit.

    Confirmation bias, athletic superstitions, martial arts and superstition are all discussed..

    Demarcation between the harmless superstitions actions and psychological disease.

    Bruce Hood book used to be called “The Science of Superstition”  but has since been changed to “Supersensense-Why we believe the unbelievable:”

    Believing nonsense can be dangerous, or a slippery slope from simple ideas to dropping a lot of money on scam cancer treatments.   Vaccine avoidance is a form of this.

    Backfire Effect:

    How to help people explore other possible conclusions:

    -gentle questioning

    -provide more options

    -non-threatening environment/discussion

    Getting the word out takes time.  New England Skeptical Society mentioned:

    Internet has helped greatly expand skeptical message!

    Philosophy of science/pseudoscience briefly discussed!

    Massimo Pigliucci suggested as a reference:

    Samual Adams beer.  ;-)

    Please comment on the podcast content, flow, quality, etc.  We are having a great time doing this but know we will constantly learn and improve.  We hope to hear from you.


    Enjoy listening/reading!


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We are pleased to announce that our podcast has been accepted by, and is now available on, iTunes. We will add new episodes as they are released and will fill in our back episodes as our hosting plan allows. As always, thank you for your support, feedback, and encouragement.

You may search iTunes for “The Prism Podcast” or link here:

Last, if you could do us a favor and subscribe to the show, rate us (Five Stars would be nice!), and post a review if you’re so inclined. And be sure to “Like” us on Facebook (/prismpodcast) and follow us on Twitter (@prismpodcast).

Thank you!!

Grant and Jason

Prism Podcast – Episode 5

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In this episode of The Prism, Jason and Grant interview Dr. Clay Jones, a pediatrician and frequent Science Based Medicine blog contributor.

(Please excuse the rough audio for the first 5 minutes or so; after that it clears up.)

Dental-Paleo Rhapsody

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“Is this real life or is this just fantasy?”

A recent article discussing dentistry and paleo has garnered some attention lately.  (   Oddly, there are no references for any of the claims made in the article.  Seeing how there are so many statements made as fact I find this disconcerting, as I have no reference to verify the comments.

The premise appears to be that humans “mess up” natures perfection in a number of ways.  The specific ways that dentistry is involved with this are then discussed – from jaw formation related to breast/bottle feeding to nutrition.


The simple fact that a paleo style diet will dramatically reduce carbohydrate intake will help to reduce cavity risk!  Unfortunately, the author makes many more leaps of faith throughout the article.


Rather than getting caught in a landslide let’s take a step into reality.  What follows is an analysis of the claims and discussion of the science as it relates to the topics in the original article.


The first paragraph starts out with an appeal to the naturalistic fallacy by stating, “Nature gets it right, humans mess nature up.”  (Also called the “appeal to Nature” –  The naturalistic fallacy happens frequently because many people have a tendency to think that nature knows best.  We think natural is better than processed or synthetic or man-made.  Unfortunately, this error in thinking can easily lead us astray down a slippery slope of thought to illogical conclusions.  It is important for us to take a good look at any subject or product or philosophy and consider it on its merits and not on whether or not it is natural.  After all, cyanide, dinosaurs, and candiru fish ( are all natural too…


The next topic is how feeding a child affects the jaw development. 


“Humans are the only animals with crooked teeth.”

“Recent research has shed some light on why…”

How can someone make these claims but not provide the references?

A simple search on (a few are listed in the references section below) reveals multiple studies demonstrating variations in teeth throughout the animal kingdom.


I wonder how many of the animals with malocclusion were bottle fed, nipple fed, or left to fend for themselves?!


Growth and development of a human (including the jaws) can be affected by genetics, nutrition, environmental factors, and other influences.  Depending on which research you read the act of breast feeding or bottle feeding has anywhere from no influence to moderate influence on the development of the jaws.  Easy come, easy go; little high, little low.  There are hypotheses about the various effects but they are simply unproven hypotheses at this point.  There is some validity to the nutritional value of breast milk being better than formula (less of an issue now than it used to be).  There is also some validity to the value of holding the baby against the chest and the positive psychological impact this can have.  There are also benefits for the mother to breast feed (e.g. glucose tolerance).  It is important to note that the mothers’ nutritional intake will impact the breast milk slightly; conversely, if the mother is abusing drugs, alcohol or herbal medicine these can be passed on to the child via breast milk.


Oral habits such as finger and/or thumb sucking are more important indicators for jaw deformity than breast feeding vs bottle feeding.


Spare him his life from this monstrosity

I cannot find any data to support the idea of lower jaw development being dependent upon the food texture or consistency.  There was one rat study but even it was not supportive of the food texture having any meaningful impact on jaw development.


This section ends with the statement:  “Our modern civilization has given us a life of convenience at a great cost to our health, which we are just beginning to realize.”  The logical fallacy at play is the Appeal to Fear (  Also, that statement has nothing to do with the section on breast feeding.  In fact, our paleolithic ancestor children probably died if they could not breast feed.  We have significantly improved infant mortality because of our modern lifestyle.  This does not mean I agree with the current diet of sugar and carbs in which most people still indulge.


The next section discusses how to eliminate tooth decay naturally.


This should be very straightforward.  We know that caries is multifactorial.  It takes bacteria, a tooth, a food source and the right environment (acidic).  The bacteria are already there “naturally.”  They are also transmissible (yes, you can give your kids or loved ones the cavity bugs).  The food source is sugar.  This idea has been around for a very long time.  Less well published is that carbohydrates break down into sugar.  This is a terrific reason to go Low Carb/High Fat!  Finally, the acid – Soda, juice, energy drinks, acid reflux.


Milk = bad.  Plant oils = bad.  Hey, wait a second!

Caught in a landslide, let’s escape to reality

We were told in the first paragraph that nature gets it right.  While my personal opinion is that we should limit milk and certain oils my point is to highlight the naturalistic fallacy rearing its ugly head again.


My problem with this section of the article is two-fold:  first, a lack of references for the claims;  second is that it becomes more than eliminating tooth decay.


Oral health can affect health, well-being, and athletic performance.  Appropriate self-care involves a comprehensive oral health regimen which should be customized for the individual based on their risk factors for cavities, gum disease, and other stresses.  If you are high risk then diet alteration is critically important.  Also, take a look at the reference for Carifree in the references section.


Finally, we have reached the Biomimetic Dentistry section. 


Biomimetic is a marketing term.  Dentists, using all kinds of materials, have been “mimicking” natural tooth form for ages.  George Washington had a great set of dentures that were made to mimic real teeth.  Depending on the source you may read that he had teeth made from ivory, bone, or other teeth.


Research is being done to constantly improve materials to make them more similar to real teeth.  However, we have a long way to go to design anything as amazing as a real tooth.  If your tooth fails for some reason (cavity, fracture, gum disease) you should realize that, unless you change how you care for your mouth you will likely need the tooth/teeth tended to again.


Next, amalgam is attacked.  The composition and handling of amalgam has changed dramatically in the 150+ years that it has been around as a filling material for cavities in teeth.  It has done incredibly well and is 2nd only to gold as an all-around tough material for fillings.  Amalgams do not cause teeth to break.  The claims made in the article are an example of the Hasty Generalization fallacy (  Time and function cause teeth to break.  Research overwhelmingly supports the long-term benefits of amalgam. Currently, there are materials that rival the toughness of amalgam.  These tooth colored fillings come with a price.  Literally, they are often more expensive.  Also, they are more technique sensitive to place.


Oh mama mia, mama mia, let me go!


The outcome of any material to last in the mouth is dependent on the individual cavity risk, tooth position, oral habits, size of the filling, quality of the placement, and strength of the material itself.


I’m not sure why the author goes on to disparage “most dentists” by saying they place amorphous blobs as fillings.  The quality of filling placed by your dentist is going to be on a bell curve just like anything else in medicine.  We also run into the naturalistic fallacy again.  I wonder if evolution means what the author thinks it means (


The advice I would give would be to take the time to get to know your dentist and ask questions about the diagnosis, treatment, options, prevention, etc.  Trust of your medical providers is important so take the time to hold up your half of that relationship.


In conclusions, there is much more that could be said about any one of these areas.  My hope is that this helped provide some common sense to an area that can sometimes lack it.  If you are more interested in any of these subjects or want more about critical thinking please comment and/or check out some of the reference websites.


If I’m not back this time tomorrow

Carry on, carry on


Jason Luchtefeld, DMD



Veterinary research:

Vet Rec. 2012 Jul 14;171(2):44. doi: 10.1136/vr.100829. Epub 2012 Jun 15

J Vet Dent. 2011 Summer;28(2):102-9

J Vet Dent. 2011 Spring;28(1):8-15

Can Vet J. 2010 Mar;51(3):267-70

Breast vs bottle research:

Ir Med J. 2012 May;105(5 Suppl):31-6

Pediatrics. 2012 Jun;129(6):1134-40. doi: 10.1542/peds.2011-3121. Epub 2012 May 28

BMC Res Notes. 2012 Mar 16;5:150. doi: 10.1186/1756-0500-5-150

Braz Oral Res. 2013 Jan-Feb;27(1):62-9. Epub 2012 Dec 4

Breastfeed Med. 2012 Dec;7(6):464-8. doi: 10.1089/bfm.2011.0123. Epub 2012 Sep 10.


nt J Pediatr Otorhinolaryngol. 2012 Apr;76(4):500-6. doi: 10.1016/j.ijporl.2012.01.005. Epub 2012 Feb 5.

Preventing Cavities Section:

J Am Dent Assoc. 2013 Oct;144(10):1148-1152.

Br J Sports Med. 2013 Sep 24. doi: 10.1136/bjsports-2013-092891. [Epub ahead of print

BioMimetic Dentistry section:


Clin Cosmet Investig Dent. 2013 May 15;5:33-42. doi: 10.2147/CCIDE.S42044. Print 2013.

Oper Dent. 2013 Apr 3. [Epub ahead of print]

J Dent Res. 2010 Oct;89(10):1063-7. doi: 10.1177/0022034510376071. Epub 2010 Jul 26

Note: apologies to Queen for my butchering of some of the lyrics of Bohemian Rhapsody

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