Review: Vital Signs


Vital Signs is a 10-minute weekly audio version of Discover Magazine’s regular article. Each episode a true story is told involving a medical mystery of some kind, written in the first person by the doctor. A great concept, and a good listen, though it isn’t quite as fascinating as it sounds.

Some of the “medical mysteries” are more engrossing than others, but generally the episodes are at the very least interesting. Sometimes, though, the language becomes too technical, making it very difficult to follow without a medical degree.

Perhaps the biggest issue with Vital Signs is the narrator, whose reading skills significantly reduce the impact of the story being told. ANyone who listens to audiobooks knows how important a good reader is, and one that presents stories in a monotone way, or is simply a bad actor, can ruin an otherwise engrossing novel.

Overall Vital Signs is a good podcast, and one that many will enjoy — particularly those in the medical field.

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Ratings for Vital Signs
6.5/10 Entertainment value
Some stories are better than others, but they’re usually at least interesting.
9/10 Quality of content
The stories are written by doctors, so the content is always of good quality, though sometimes too good with an exorbitant amount of medical jargon.
7/10 Production quality
Excellent audio quality, but the narrator’s robotic reading of the stories reduces their impact.
7/10 Overall
If you’re in the medical field, this is a must-listen; if you’re not, you may or may not find this podcast consistently enjoyable. At 10 minutes each, it’s definitely worth a try.

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