What is Grumpy Science?

A year after we launch Grumpy Science, we decide to write about it. After all, we are a couple of curmudgeonly old guys that do whatever we want whenever we want. So what exactly is Grumpy Science? Grumpy Science is a videocast that is co-hosted by Bob Dennis and myself. It evolved from our Friday afternoon impromptu meetings that we could never bring ourselves to call “Happy Hour”. It basically morphed into “grumpy hour” in which we complained about a lot of things and then we realized that we were mostly complaining about science related subjects. After all, we had both existed in the scientific community professionally for a few decades. So we decided to start a videocast to share our grumpy thoughts with what appears to be at least 3 or 4 viewers that watch and occasionally send questions. If reading is not your forte (but you have, after all, gotten this far so maybe it is) then you can probably get much of the same information that you have read in our blog from the videocast. Of course, if you read it in the blog, then why bother watching the video? Admittedly, the publications and the posts in this blog has a bit more detail, but if you are just looking for the big picture, there are plenty of those shows to annoy you about a wide range of topics and probably be a bit more entertaining. Or at least, we were entertained when we made the videos. The underlying them of the show - and many of the blog posts is the Why – why would we spend over a decade developing something so that virtually anyone would have an objective measure of brain health? In 2004, when Bob and I first met, we discovered that we shared that common goal. Today, we still do. We’re just a bit grumpy about the bumps and hurdles that we had to crawl over (neither of us are physically adroit at leaping) and in hindsight, we try to laugh at the idiots that tried to get in our way. This includes administrators that declared that the Brain Gauge could be dangerous because someone could swallow it (and choke) or wrap the cord around their neck (and choke) – yes, from two different review boards. Unbelievable, but true. And that just scratches the surface of the stuff that we have put up with. So you can probably guess that we grumble quite a bit about people that are putting a choke hold on good science reaching the public.

Why do we say that the Brain Gauge is a revolutionary new tool? From a so-called grumpy point of view, one reason that it’s revolutionary is because traditional medical health care has shunned the idea of people taking responsibility for their own health. The vast majority of people that do this are those that have given up on traditional medicine – in some cases, many have been told that there is nothing left for them to do – and then they start looking at alternative methods. Many people are realizing that it takes decades (if ever) to bring laboratory science into practice. The Brain Gauge is one tool that actually made it out of the lab and into the field with the intent of being easy to use. Most of the tools that come out of labs need a significant amount of training to administer and interpret the data. Our perspective was that anyone that could read should be able to test themselves. For decades, blood pressure could only be obtained at a physician’s office. Now, people are much more aware of their cardiovascular health. Why shouldn’t they be more aware of their brain health? It is probably just as, if not more, important than physical health. Sorry folks, the heart rate variability measure that you are getting from your watch is only tied to your autonomic nervous system (you can read about that here). There’s a bit more to brain health than that!

If you want to sample Grumpy Science, you can peruse the table of contents on GrumpyScience.com to see what interests you – or you could just start at the beginning and binge watch to the end. One of our favorite comments was from a viewer who said “best all nighter of my life” - he had just watched all the episodes! We don’t recommend doing that – no telling what kind of brain trauma that might result from that much grumpy science at once. But – as with this blog – we welcome comments and suggestions for topics that you might want to hear about. And so that the show is not a complete intellectual wasteland, we occasionally have a guest. We hope you enjoy it and all kidding aside, we hope you learn something from it – regardless of how many answers we make up!

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