Naked Scientists Podcast

Naked Scientists episode

Sat, 27th Aug 2011

Drugs from the Sea, and Thalidomide at 50

King's College, Old Aberdeen (c) Anilocra @ Wikipedia

This week, Chris explores some of the cutting edge research taking place in Aberdeen.  We meet a scientist making new cannabis-like chemicals that lack the side effects of the real thing, talk to a man exploring the deepest part of the Pacific – 7 miles down – to find out what’s living there.  Plus, thalidomide - 50 years on.  Scientists now know why it had the damaging effects it did on unborn babies, but can they make a safe form of the agent so it can be used to treat cancers, leprosy and HIV?

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In this edition of Naked Scientists

Full Transcript

  • 14:36 - Exploring the Deepest Oceans

    Alan Jamieson and his team have been tackling the task of exploring the ocean's deepest points, hadal regions, named after the greek underworld Hades...

  • 21:33 - Shopping Online - Are Reviews Trustworthy?

    If you shop online, you probably increasingly find yourself relying on the reviews other purchasers have posted for some products, but how do you know who to believe? Thankfully, Computer Scientist Chris Burnett is online and on the case...

  • 25:48 - Making Thalidomide Safe

    It’s 50 years this year since the drug thalidomide was withdrawn from sale after it was linked to birth defects but Neil Vargesson has been trying to find out how it works in order to produce a safer version...

  • 32:30 - The Causes of Clubfoot

    On the subject of limbs, and how they can go wrong...

  • 38:11 - Vitamin A, Brain Shrinkage and Depression

    It’s known that a deficiency or an excess of vitamin A, otherwise known as retinol, and its derivative retinoic acid can affect the birth of new nerve cells, but is this true in adults too? Chris Smith spoke to Peter McCaffery…

  • 44:39 - Translational Traffic Jams

    Are all genes made equal? In other words, do the protein recipes that they encode all get turned out at the same rate? Surprisingly, the answer is no. With the help of a mathematician, molecular biologist Ian Stansfield is trying to find out why.

  • 51:55 - Yeast's Sense of Direction

    Fungal infections can be deadly, but who would have guessed that yeasts have better directional sense than many humans? Dr Alex Brand has been investigating the directional growth of yeast cells using microscopic obstacles and electric fields.



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I was surprised to hear the discussion with Neil Vargesson about safe forms of thalidomide, because I thought it was now accepted that the problems were caused by only one of the chiral forms of the molecule. I heard that fairly recently on some science programme, but I forget which. Is that no longer accepted as the case? etrino, Tue, 6th Sep 2011

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