The best of the BJSM podcasts part 2: Perspectives from a younger member of the BJSM community

By Nejat Hassen

And we’re back! Here is part 2 to Nejat Hassen’s list of favourite podcasts. To see the first part of this two-part blog on the best of BJSM’s 2019 podcasts follow the link here.

*Click each title to access the individual podcast*

#1 Physical inactivity: A global public health problem

Sitting is the new smoking, they say.

Office jobs and technological advancements have subjected us to our chairs for 10-12 hours a day. As a result, increases in physical inactivity have contributed to the globally rising number of chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes.

In this podcast, Dr. Fiona Bull describes the WHO’s global efforts to increase physical activity. The plan includes interdisciplinary collaboration among community leaders, healthcare professionals, policy makers, urban designers, government, and the general public. The hope is to create strategic plans that improve physical activity levels for all.

You may ask, with all the campaigns, free yoga classes, and added bike lanes in cities, why are people still physically inactive? Many people still do not understand the benefits of physical activity. Exercise is medicine, but unless we use culturally sensitive strategies to help people connect to the message, we will not see improvements. The WHO translates their physical activity guidelines into Arabic, Russian, and Portuguese. It uses images that people of various cultures can easily identify with.

All these efforts will not be matter unless the individual makes a conscious decision to incorporate physical activity into their lifestyle. Only then will we see (hopefully) a drop in the statistics above!

For more information on the WHO’s work on physical activity, check out their Global Action Plan on Physical Activity 2018-2030!


 #2 Talking Tendinopathy and Solving the Soleus Conundrum

The more active we are, the more resilient our muscles and tendons become. When we are sedentary, our muscles and tendons become lazy and weak. So when ‘Weekend Warrior William’ decides to complete a 5K race without prior training, he’s going to feel it in his Achilles!

The Achilles tendon and soleus muscle carry the greatest burden of our body weight. The constant pounding of the ground will see many runners suffer from tendinopathy in their Achilles. According to the current literature, the most common treatment recommendation is rest. In this podcast, Dr. Seth O’Neill argues for the contrary, suggesting a gradual return to exercise program that integrates rehabilitation techniques will help maintain functionality and strength. Looking after the patient’s mental health is also highlighted, an element often left out of many return to exercise programs.

It’s crucial to treat Achilles tendinopathies effectively to get the best results (and start running again too). Check out this sample exercise program for Achilles tendinopathy rehab from the Achilles Tendinopathy Toolkit.

For more information on Achilles tendinopathy check out these articles:

Achilles tendon disorders: etiology and epidemiology

Clinical risk factors for Achilles tendinopathy: a systematic review


#3 Preventing overdiagnosis in 2018

Medicalisation of bodily phenomena is increasing the rate of overdiagnosis and overtreatment.

Today, “just in case” diagnoses and treatments are telling more people that they are sick. Early forms of disease, although asymptomatic, are quickly taken care of. Mammograms that detect benign masses during routine checkups lead to numerous women undergoing unnecessary chemotherapy, and even mastectomies.

But how much medicine is too much medicine? In this podcast, Dr. Ray Moynihan  (@RayMoynihan on Twitter) discusses the fine line between treating patients with what is deemed necessary and when it is sometimes better to say no. Is x procedure REALLY needed? Will it inflict anxiety in the patient? Perhaps it will encourage lifestyle changes for the better? At the end of the day, it is a juggling act. Deciding how much is too much medicine requires a healthy dose of skepticism, and having the courage to say “I don’t know”.

Interested in learning more about overdiagnosis? Check out the upcoming Preventing Overdiagnosis conference in Sydney, Australia this December!

Check out the infographics below about breast cancer and prostate cancer screening from Cancer Research UK:

#4 Research imbalance: Sport and Exercise in Women versus Men

♪Anything you can do, I can do better♪

Most anatomical/physiological/health-related research has been conducted on men, by men, since the beginning of time. But for some reason, the gender discrepancy seems more exaggerated in sport and exercise medicine.

Gender bias in medical data is costing women their health. Most health recommendations shoulder on the findings of research done on men, therefore inappropriately influencing the health of women. This doesn’t mean that those research studies’ results should be discounted. However, health generalizations derived from such studies should be critically analyzed before making big health claims.

In this podcast, Dr. Jacky Forsyth discusses the implications of conducting medical research on women, and stresses the need for more research outlets for female researchers. She introduces the Women in Sport and Exercise Academic Network, an opportunity for female researchers to network and learn from one another. To learn more about the conference, check out her contribution to the BJSM blogs here.

For more information on female athletes’ health, check out our recent e-edition here.

#5 Combat sports: ringside medicine with the fight doctor

Boxing, wrestling, mixed martial arts, taekwondo, karate, and kickboxing are all included under the umbrella of combat sports. Due to the nature of the sports, concussions and orthopedic injuries are a dime a dozen. Regardless, I believe combat sports is the purest form of athleticism.

For the North American sports fan, much of concussion talk focuses on hockey or football. In this podcast, Dr. John Neidecker introduces a sporting culture many listeners may be unfamiliar with. He discusses guidelines combat sports federations implement in the event of a suspected head injury. Depending on whether the fighter loses consciousness during a knockout, guidelines insist on a 30-90 day suspension as a medical precaution.

As a combat fighter myself, I understand the concern of injuries – I distinctly recall flying across the dojo after taking a kick to the chest during a practice fight. However, it makes me question how such a rule would affect the mental health of the fighter. Stepping away from the ring for a long period of time must surely affect the fighter’s competitive edge. Additionally, I wonder if there is increased underreporting of head injuries in order reduce competition time lost. Nevertheless, the Association of Ringside Physicians’ concussion protocol is meticulous and admirable. Now if only the NFL or NHL had similar guidelines…

For the full consensus statement on concussion management in combat sports click here.

That’s the Top 10 list. Listen to our FREE podcast via the free BJSM app (‘BJSM’). New podcast drops every Friday. 400 clinicians in your pocket. ..”And we hope you have a physically active day!”


Nejat Hassen is a master’s student at the School of Population and Public Health at the University of British Columbia. She has a keen interest in exercise medicine and rheumatology and practices SEM as a registered kinesiologist and karate instructor. She is currently a Research Assistant at the Centre for Hip Health and Mobility and considers herself a BJSM enthusiast.

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