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Music or Podcasts While Running for Enhanced Longevity? Baby’s on Fire versus Watchman Clots

The skeptical cardiologist switched to running as his primary form of cardio exercise in 2014 after reading about a prospective longitudinal cohort study at the Cooper Clinic in Dallas, Texas, which. looked at data from a group of 55,137 adults on whom they had information on running or jogging activity during the previous 3 months. Those individuals who described themselves as having done any running in the last 3 months had a 30% lower risk of all-cause mortality and a 45% lower cardiovascular mortality

At the time I felt the study was not definitive, but food for thought. Evidently, it got me thinking so much that I began running regularly (despite my previous dislike of running).

By 2016 I was running to music while running and wrote a post on matching music tempo to running tempo. I recently revisited that post and updated it with my future self editorial comments.

I mention in that post that there is a body of scientific literature related to music and exercise, and the vast majority of it seems to come from one man,  Dr Costas Karageorghis at Brunel University in London, an expert on the effects of music on exercise.  In his 2010 book, Inside Sport Psychology, he claims that listening to music while running can boost performance by up to 15%.

I also made the point that running as exercise means less minutes exercising weekly to achieve what is optimal for cardiovascular health. If you engage in vigorous exercise such as running or jogging, cycling fast or singles tennis, you only need to achieve 75 minutes per week. Moderate exercise such as walking or elliptical work-outs requires 150 minutes/week.

For the most part, these days, I don’t run while listening to music. I listen to podcasts or listen to nothing but the sounds of the neighborhood. Often while listening to nothing, seemingly brilliant ideas pop into my head, solving long-standing dilemmas or puzzles.

Learning While Running: Podcasts

One podcast I have found particularly enjoyable during my runs is This Week in cardiology (TWIC) by my old cardiology partner and now social media giant, John Mandrola.

These 20 minute, weekly gems consist of Mandrola giving us his take on the latest studies and developments in cardiology. Lately, these episodes typically begin with some insightful, pithy discussion on COVID-19 which, of course, everyone is interested in.

I really appreciate Mandrola’s conservative approach to new procedures and treatments along with his detailed breakdowns of important trials. He is clearly an independent and unbiased thinker which is rare in this space. Most proceduralists (Mandrola is an electrophysiologist) are heavily biased toward whatever procedure they do, Mandrola consistently presents a balanced perspective.

It is not uncommon for him to disagree with a procedure that his EP colleagues strongly embrace. For example, in the august 20 TWIC he has a very thoughtful update and critique of catheter-based left atrial appendage closure. The Watchman device has been heavily promoted to cardiologists as an alternative to anticoagulant therapy in those at high risk of bleeding based on small trials showing non-inferiority to warfarin therapy. Of course, newer oral anticoagulant drugs like apixaban (Eliquis) are superior to warfarin in both efficacy in preventing strokes and safety with bleeding risks similar to that of baby aspirin which is required long term post-Watchman.

Personally, I’ve never referred a patient for the Watchman due to many of the concerns Mandrola expresses.

There is no transcript of the TWIC podcasts (that I can find) which would be a really nice resource however an accompanying list of references (see below) is very useful:

3 – Left Atrial Appendage Closure

– FDA Approves Abbott’s Amplatzer Amulet for Atrial Fibrillation

– Chronic Kidney Disease Tied to Worse LAAO Outcomes

– The Association of Chronic Kidney Disease With Outcomes Following Percutaneous Left Atrial Appendage Closure

What podcasts do you recommend?

Cadpostingly Yours,


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