Science Podcasts

Naked Scientists episode

Sun, 12th Jun 2011

Passengers in a Bacterial Body

Agar plate 1 (c) Gillian Fraser

The good side of microbes goes under the microscope this week as we explore how the 100 trillion bacteria that thrive on us and in us, and even outnumber our own cells ten times over, work with the body to maintain good health. We also hear from the Nobel prizewinner who's turning the stomach bug Helicobacter pylori into an edible vaccine against the flu and how to build better bioreactors to culture them in! Plus, how trees cause clouds to form, more evidence that the building blocks of life came from outer space, how nicotine keeps smokers thin and built-in cardiac stem cells that can mend a broken heart...

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In this edition of Naked Scientists

Full Transcript

  • 02:06 - More evidence that life's building blocks came from space

    Researchers working on fragments of a large meteorite that exploded over Lake Tagish in Canada back in the year 2000 have found more evidence that the molecules of life may have come from space...

  • 05:41 - How nicotine causes weight loss

    Scientists have discovered why ex-smokers commonly complain about gaining weight when they quit, and why active smokers are usually thinner on average: nicotine activates the brain's anti-appetite systems...

  • 09:00 - Using Stem Cells to Fix a Broken Heart

    Paul Riley explains how stem cells in the adult heart can be triggered to produce new muscle cells when the heart is damaged...

  • 14:57 - Better Hearing for Dummies

    Hearing aids work on the general one-size-fits-all principle that if you are finding it hard to hear something you simply turn the volume up. Now unique computer modelling techniques, combined with new ways of carrying out hearing tests, are revolutionising the way that hearing...

  • 21:37 - Planet Earth - Cloud Forming Trees

    Small particles released by tree leaves can cause brighter whiter clouds to form above forests, altering our climate...

  • 26:45 - Friend or Foe? - Gut Bacteria and Probiotics

    We're familiar with the idea of friendly bacteria, and foods, drinks and supplements that promote healthy gut flora are found in all supermarkets. But how friendly are these microorganisms, and what do they actually do?

  • 36:18 - Ulcer Causing Bacteria - Converting the Enemy

    Australian researchers - Rob Warren and Barry Marshall - won the Nobel Prize for their discovery in the 1980s of the bacterium Helicobacter pylori, which causes ulcers and stomach cancer in some of the people who carry it...

  • 42:22 - Naked Engineering - Bioreactors to Grow Your Bacteria

    Harnessing bacteria often involves growing them in large tanks called fermenters or bioreactors; but how do you make sure that the concentration of foodstuffs in every part of that tank is just right for the bugs to flourish and there are no "chemical corners" in which waste can...

  • 58:16 - Do births by caesarean section reduce bacterial immunity?

    Do births by caesarean section reduce bacterial immunity as you are not exposed to your mothers bacteria as you would in a natural birth when you exit through the womb?

  • 59:25 - Have earthquakes been more frequent recently?

    I have a question about earthquakes. It seems like there have been an awful lot of big earthquakes lately. Is there some reason that they seem to be a lot recently? Like once one of the plates moves it somehow affects a lot of the other plates too. Or is it just a coincidence? I ...

 

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