25 Days of CoDI : Day 4

On the fourth day of CoDI Clarkson made it clear to me, that dental health is a priority


Jan Clarkson: Bad Teeth = Bad Health Jan Clarkson

Do bad teeth really = bad health? We sat down with Jan Clarkson, Co-Director of the Dental Health Services Research Unit (DHSRU) at the University of Dundee, to find out just how serious not taking care of our teeth can be…


It’s no secret that a lackadaisical approach to dental care leads to fillings and gum disease. However, the latest research evidence suggests it could also cause serious illnesses like heart disease, cancer and diabetes.


Oral disease is the most widespread chronic disease. Consequently, it affects 4 Billion, is often invisible and is accepted as an unavoidable consequence of life and ageing.


As a result, there is increasing concern that the high burden of oral diseases represents a widely underestimated public health challenge, for almost all countries worldwide. Despite being highly preventable, the global cost of oral disease is $300 billion and not everyone has equal access to dental care.

Female in pain after a tooth extracted, close-up







Poor oral health can have detrimental consequences on physical and psychological wellbeing. As a result NHS choices and popular daily press provide evidence that bad teeth = bad health. Yet people continue to neglect their teeth.

Bad Teeth = Bad Health



So are these publishers right?  And if so why aren’t people listening? Are there other places to look for trusted evidence? Maybe, probably, but where?


This CODI event will challenge your assumptions about the importance of oral health and debate the evidence for ‘Bad teeth = Bad health’

Bad Teeth = Bad Health

The common risk factors that oral disease shares with other chronic diseases/conditions are:

  • Diet

– Risk factor for dental caries, coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes, cancers and obesity

  • Tobacco smoking/chewing

– Risk factor for oral and other cancers, periodontal disease, coronary heart disease, stroke, respiratory diseases and diabetes

  • Alcohol consumption

– Risk factor for oral and other cancers, cardiovascular disease, liver cirrhosis and trauma

Bad Teeth = Bad Health
Common Risk Factor Approach

Jan’s Research

Jan’s research is in dental clinical effectiveness and knowledge translation. She has worked in health services research throughout her career, focusing especially on issues relevant to dental practices.

Much of her research is embedded in service delivery and summarizing evidence. Consequently, the outcome has informed changes to Scotland’s dental remuneration policy and education. Her current research, in partnership with NHS Education for Scotland, focuses on the challenge of getting dental care providers to use best evidence.

As Joint Chief Investigator of three national multi-centre randomized controlled trials, it’s safe to say she has lot of responsibility. She manages research funds of £10m with collaborators across 10 sites. Furthermore she is involved with the recruitment of 180 UK dental practices and over 4000 of their patients. The results of this research will not only impact Scotland. In addition, as joint leader of Cochrane Oral Health, she works with international colleagues to provide summaries of the world best evidence

In 2016, in recognition of her contribution to dentistry, Jan was marked with the award of an Honorary Fellowship, from the Faculty of General Dental Practitioners, (part of the Royal College of Surgeons England).

In conclusion, Jan really knows what she is talking about, yet she still wants to hear what you have to say! She cannot know everything however, and she cannot view dental health from the same angle as everyone else. Therefore it is up to you, to come and hear what she has to say, and to have your say in debating the matter!

Jan’s show takes place on Sunday 7th August, Stand in the Square (Venue 372), 3-4pm, £8 (£6)

Purchase tickets at:  http://www.outstandingtickets.com/show/103/performance/1538/book-tickets


Bad Teeth = Bad Health

25 Days of CoDI : Day 3

On the third day of CoDI Dean and Cross brought to me, my very own science adventure…

Lewis Dean and Kate Cross: Choose Your Own Science Adventure

Kate and Lewis come as a double act. They had such a good time at their first two CODI shows that they’re coming back for a third in 2016.

Science Adventure
Kate, Susan and Lewis @ CoDI 2014

We tracked them down to ask them about their research and themselves.

What is your name and what is your job title?

KC: Kate Cross, Lecturer in Psychology, University of St Andrews
LD: Lewis Dean, Public Engagement with Research Manager, Research Councils UK

Tell us about your research in one sentence.

KC: I study psychological differences (and similarities) between men and women.
LD: I’m interested in the evolution of human culture; basically why we’re the primate with hammers and computers and science


Who/what inspired you to do research?

KC: When I was a 2nd-year undergraduate student I was taught by a Prof called Anne Campbell. She studied girl gangs in New York, so she had some interesting stories to tell about her work! She clearly loved what she did and it was exciting to hear her speak about it.
LD: There are three writers who had a massive impact on me – James Herriot and Gerald Durrell inspired my interest in animals and Jared Diamond got me thinking about how humans evolved.


What’s your show about?

KC: It’s a show about ‘Questionable Research Practices’. These are things that scientists sometimes do – whether knowingly or unknowingly – which make it more likely that their results are wrong.

LD: And they end up telling the world that they’ve found something real, when it’s really not clear that they have.


Why did you pick that topic?

LD: Well, last year we did a show about current controversies in psychology, and as part of it we did a brief demonstration of how one Questionable Research Practice called p-hacking works. (It’s when researchers do several lots of tests on their data but only report the ones that ‘worked’)

KC: Our audience wanted to know more, and we wanted to cover more – about how common these practices might be, about some of the consequences of them, and what we could do about them. So we decided to come back and devote a whole show to it.

LD: But nobody wants to come to a 50-minute lecture entitled “Questionable Research Practices, Why They’re Bad, And How To Stop Them”

KC: (We are certain about this)

LD: So instead, we’re going to do a bit of silly theatre. We’re going to show the sorts of situations where scientists might be likely to use Questionable Research Practices, and some of the consequences that QRPs can have.

KC: While avoiding any accusations flung at particular scientists or groups.

LD: Of course. We’ll also do some Q&A.

KC: Yes. Think of it as being part half ‘chat with a couple of researchers’ and half Greek-tragedy/detective movie/British farce mashup.


Well what more could you wish for? If you’ve already seen the duo in action, you know what a treat you’re in for with this show, if you haven’t, well you’d be a fool to miss another!

Lewis & Kate’s show takes place on Saturday 6th August, Stand in the Square (Venue 372), 3-4pm, £8 (£6)

Purchase tickets at: http://www.outstandingtickets.com/show/102/performance/1537/book-tickets


@CatharineCross @CODIfringe #CODI2016 (1)

25 Days of CoDI: Day 2

On the second day of CoDI, it came as news to me, that exercise is bad for you…


Professor Derek Ball: Exercise is Bad for You

What is your background?

derek ballI have a non-standard background. First of all I trained as a registered general nurse (RGN) in London in the mid 1980’s, before entering higher education.  My first degree was in Sport Science, which I studied at Manchester Metropolitan University. Following this I completed a PhD in Medical Sciences (diet and exercise performance) in the Medical School at Aberdeen University. My first job after finishing my PhD was at the Marine Biology department (the Gatty) in St Andrews. Here I studied the effects of temperature change on fish muscle performance. My experience in St Andrews was especially relevant, and really set my career using molecular biology to understand muscle function.


What do you do now?

I am an Associate Professor in Applied and Integrative Physiology and the Director of Post-Graduate Studies in Human Health and Disease, at Heriot-Watt University. I have been at Heriot-Watt University since 2006. I arrived here in Edinburgh after working for the Ministry of Defence on life support systems on nuclear submarines.


How does your CoDI talk fit with your research?

My research focuses on human metabolism and health and the effects of our lifestyle on these factors. Exercise is a good experimental model to use when looking at the response to an increase in energy expenditure and how the body simultaneously co-ordinates several different organ systems to meet these demands. However, sometimes we can over-stress the body and this tells us something about the limits to the human body and how these are manifested. Exercise is generally thought to be good for us but there are exceptions to this rule and my talk will explore some of these more controversial ideas by looking at several organ systems.


Why are you participating in CoDI 2016?

I participated in CoDI 2015, discussing whether we should allow athletes to take performance enhancing drugs and the possible implications. I enjoyed the experience so much that I volunteered to appear again in 2016.


What are you looking forward to most from CoDI?

First and foremost interacting with you the audience. The audience are always interested in hearing what you have to say. Secondly, taking the CoDI experience back to the lecture theatre, last year’s experience helped me to engage with my students more effectively!

Derek’s show takes place on Friday 5th August, Stand in the Square (Venue 372), 3-4pm, £8 (£6)

Purchase tickets at: http://www.outstandingtickets.com/show/101/performance/1536/book-tickets

With special thanks to sponsors Royal Society of Biology

Derek Exercise



25 Days of CoDI : Day 1

To celebrate CoDI returning for a 4th year in 2016, we shall be running a blog for the following 25 days titled ’25 Days of CoDI’, to give you all a taste of what CoDI has in store for you at #edfringe 2016! So take a seat, get comfy, and feast your eyes upon our first post…


On the first day of CoDI, Beltane revealed to me…

The first CoDI act of 2016… Professor Stephen Lawrie: Mental Health is… Mental


No your mam’s new car isn’t mental, and neither is Kanye’s new song… Stephen Lawrie’s talk on mental health however, well yes, that is mental!

Stephen Lawrie is Head of Psychiatry at Edinburgh University, Director of the Scottish Mental Health Research Network, and PsySTAR Director. (PsySTAR  is  a UK PhD training programme for psychiatrists). As an Honorary Consultant Psychiatrist with NHS Lothian, he works as a general adult psychiatrist in Edinburgh.

Professor Lawrie’s overarching goal is developing research tools to provide objective diagnoses and improve the management of major psychiatric disorder. He is particularly interested in clinical applications of brain imaging in psychosis and in the development of novel treatments. These treatments might enhance outcomes in established schizophrenia and possibly even prevent psychosis in high risk populations.

His own research has primarily involved using structural and functional brain imaging. This is used to distinguish patients with schizophrenia from their relatives, and from other patients with major psychiatric disorders, such as bipolar disorder and autism. He has published more than 300 papers in peer reviewed journals, edited six books, and is on the editorial board of several journals. He is currently principal or co-investigator on more than £20M of research and training grants from MRF/MRC, MRC NIHR, Wellcome Trust and the EU. So basically, he knows what he’s talking about. 

Professor Stepehn LawrieTake it away Stephen…

All this talk about Mental Health and Stigma is annoying. It is Dualistic, Ambiguous and Stigmatising!!!

The word MENTAL itself is unhelpful because it exists as something distinct from the physical. It suggests our mental lives are distinguishable from our physical lives and reality. To some the word conjures up things that are imaginary or not real – and to others the word ‘mental’ is an alternative to calling people ‘mad’ or ‘crazy’ or ‘self-destructive’. All these words denote something that is somehow less worthy of serious attention, care and compassion. And this is probably part of the reason that services for mental illness only get around 10% of the funding for physical illness services on the NHS. ‘Mental’ services and practitioners are marginalised and under-resourced.  Ultimately, there is no mental illness or physical illness, there is just illness; and all illness has biological, psychological and social components.


MENTAL HEALTH is even worse! This is mainly because we know quite a lot about treating mental illness and almost nothing about treating or increasing mental health. But ‘mental health’ is a bad phrase because talking of mental health when we are really talking about mental illness is euphemistic, avoiding the real subject and not actually dealing with the problem. So, some people end up talking about treating or preventing mental health (which sounds like a bad thing to do!), when they really mean treating or preventing illness.


And then there is the word STIGMA. It is ok on its own but to talk about the STIGMA OF MENTAL HEALTH or ILLNESS is itself stigmatising. This is both because it is again separating the mental from the physical but also because it misses the point. The real aim of services and sophisticated societies in general should be to promote the SOCIAL INCLUSION of people with mental illness. Reducing stigma is difficult if not impossible, whereas social inclusion is at least partly an achievable goal. The very inclusion of those with mental illness will reduce stigma, and prejudice and discrimination that arise from it.

So, let’s talk about the treatment of and social inclusion for those with mental illness.


Stephen’s show takes place on Thursday 4th August, Stand in the Square (Venue 372), 3-4pm, £8 (£6)

Purchase tickets at: http://www.outstandingtickets.com/show/98/performance/1533/book-tickets

Mental 2





Stephen Mental

Welcome to the 2016 Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas!

Welcome to the 2016 Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas!

SONY DSCWelcome to the 2016 Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas!

For the fourth year running, some of academia’s finest minds will be taken out of their natural university habitat and plonked down in the middle of the Edinburgh Fringe, with only compere extraordinaire Susan Morrison to protect them.

Come hear them speak frankly about some of their most controversial ideas and have your say.

Tickets are already on sale, so check out the programme RIGHT NOW!


We would like to say a big thank you to all of you who helped promote, support and attended out CODI events this fringe.

Also a big well done to our presenters. You can take a look at the photos of the events here.

Cabaret of Dangerous Ideas 2015

Let’s take a #Fringie

This year at the Edinburgh Fringe we have seen the rise of the fringie…



With this in mine we are CALLING TO YOU TO SEND US YOU FRINGIES! @CODIfringe #codi15 

Why? One of our shows in the programme is called “Fashion and the selfie” where Mal Burkinshaw Director of Fashion at the Edinburgh College of Art explores, with you the audience, the role that fashion plays in stereotyping ideals of beauty and the rise of the me me me selfie culture

When are we ever good enough?

Help craft the show- send us your fringies!

Four down twenty to go!

We have firmly set up shop now at The Stand in the Square  in our lovely yurt.

The Yurt's roof (Lucy Gibbons)
Sun shining through the roof of the Yurt!

We have had 4 fantastic shows with many different props and great public discussions.

Here are some photos of the events so far.

Upcoming Events:

Thursday 14th – Women! Science is still not for you 

Friday 14th – Let’s Turn on the smart light!

Saturday 15th- Not so native now 

Sunday 16th – Alas poor Darwin..? 

For the full programme of events click here.