I made a documentary about cohort studies in epidemiology, on BBC Radio 4

August 4th, 2011 by Ben Goldacre in onanism, podcast | 10 Comments »

I made a documentary about prospective cohort studies in epidemiology, they’re the tool we use to find out if one thing is associated with another, where trials are impossible. It’s really good. Instead of reading about it, listen here:


Or listen live when it’s repeated tonight on Radio 4 at 9pm.



Previously from me on Radio 4:


– This documentary on the placebo effect:

My Placebo programme on BBC Radio 4

Part two of my Radio 4 show on the placebo effect, 9pm tonight (Monday)

– This award winning one on The Rise of the Lifestyle Nutritionists:

– And this documentary on libel and science:

– If you prefer video, here’s me shouting in a car:


– More of that kind of thing here:

(Declaration: me and Mrs Bad Science both work on these kinds of datasets).

If you like what I do, and you want me to do more, you can: buy my books Bad Science and Bad Pharma, give them to your friends, put them on your reading list, employ me to do a talk, or tweet this article to your friends. Thanks! ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

10 Responses

  1. jdwalker said,

    August 4, 2011 at 7:58 pm

    Do any of those have subtitles or transcripts?

  2. Popup said,

    August 5, 2011 at 1:51 pm

    Sounds fascinating.

    Is it available for download anywhere?

  3. PaulJ said,

    August 6, 2011 at 12:08 am

    For Popup:

  4. Popup said,

    August 8, 2011 at 11:20 am

    Thanks PaulJ!

  5. mikewhit said,

    August 12, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    You also wrote a Bad Science item in the Graun:

    “Any set of figures needs adjusting before it can be usefully reported”

    Will that be appearing here at some point ? Or have the two columns broken free of each other now …

  6. Stompy said,

    August 13, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    Could someone upload those for the non-uk readers?


    would be fantastic. Thank you!

  7. MedsVsTherapy said,

    August 25, 2011 at 7:17 pm

    “These birth cohort studies are experiments that last a lifetime.”

    No, they are not experiments.

  8. Ufo said,

    October 13, 2011 at 2:15 pm

    The link that Paul posted doesn’t seem to work, would be nice to load this into my ipod and listen while going out for a walk, anyone have a DL link?


  9. Jon Wade said,

    October 26, 2011 at 12:36 pm

    Listening to iPlayer now, great stuff. I never realised cohorts were of such importance. Covered them in my Health Science course (OU) but for reason their importance never stuck!

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