Naked Scientists Podcast

Naked Scientists episode

Sun, 9th Nov 2008

National Pathology Week

Toe Tag (c) Dep. Garcia

This week's Pathological programme brings you a glimpse into the world of the pathologist. We attend a real autopsy to discover how a pathologist uncovers a cause of death, and hear how Cambridge scientists have found a new way to stop Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in its tracks. We also find out how a common rock can lock away carbon, why forest fungi give out less greenhouse gases when they're warm, and shed some light on the workings of world's smallest solar panels. Plus, in place of Kitchen Science, Ben tries to stop a virtual outbreak of the plague!

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In this edition of Naked Scientists

Full Transcript

  • 14:31 - Kitchen Science - Plague Outbreak!

    In place of this week's Kitchen Science experiment, Ben attended a National Pathology Week event run by the Royal College of Pathologists and the Natural History Museum, simulating an outbreak of plague in Central London. Would you know how to contain an outbreak before it beco...

  • 20:26 - Multiple Sclerosis: Successful Treatment

    A recent Pathology success story - the drug CamPath, which is also known as alemtuzumab and was originally developed at Cambridge University's Pathology department, has now been shown to have a positive effect in sufferers of multiple sclerosis...

  • 26:13 - The Royal College of Pathologists

    We were joined by Professor Adrian Newland, president of the Royal College of Pathologists, who explained what the role of a pathologist is, told us all about National Pathology Week, and how pathologists on TV can give the wrong impression...

  • 30:17 - How are blood cells made?

    How are blood cells made?



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I was wondering whether you could ask your guest how many mutations are necessary for a bacterium to become airborn, where it was previously not. Or if this is too vague, what are the chances of a particular bacterium of becoming airborn over say 10 generations. Bernard Mcgee, Sun, 9th Nov 2008

There was a question in this show about whether or not the UK has a 'body farm'. In response to that question it was mentioned that the US has a rather famous body farm but there was no reply as to where it is located. The answer -- the body farm is located at the University of Tennessee in Knoxville, Tennessee in the US. There are some documentary shows that have toured the facility and a few books (such as Stiff by Mary Roach) that describe it in detail if you are interested in this topic. ecogirl10, Fri, 14th Nov 2008

Thanks Susie, great info! chris, Sun, 16th Nov 2008

Arun Pandyan asked the Naked Scientists: Chris, I listen to the podcast regularly. I live near Dallas Texas. Love your program. There was a reference to 'body farm' by one of the callers on the radio show. The 'body farm' referred to by the caller is a plot of land that has cadavers scattered about it. Researchers study the bodies to figure out how the environment affects decomposition of the bodies. A Google search on 'body farm' even brings up a video of one such location. Best Regards, Arun Pandyan What do you think? Arun Pandyan , Thu, 20th Nov 2008

Yep, that would be the Forensic Anthropology Facility at the Uni of Tennessee, set up by Dr Bill Bass in 1971. This body farm has provided pretty much all of the info we have on rates of decomposition, so just think how many forensic investigations have benefited from this research facility!
I believe there's also been a second body farm set up at Western Carolina university. Unfortunately that's right next to Tennessee, so it's not really going to be studying decomposition in a different climate, which would be useful.
(Sorry, i'm a forensics student - maybe it's all a bit too exciting for me!) steph, Thu, 20th Nov 2008

So do they know how many bodies lie here? Chemistry4me, Wed, 26th Nov 2008

The "Body Farm" is a human forensic anthropology research facility at the Uni. of Tennessee in Knoxville.  They leave human corpses in various states & environments, to experimentally record what happens to them.  See Mary Roach's book Stiff.
Evan, Sat, 13th Dec 2008

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