Science Podcasts

Naked Scientists episode

Sat, 21st Apr 2012

Clock This! - The Science of the Circadian Rhythm

An old style alarm clock (c) Jorge Barrios

The body clock goes under the Naked Scientists' spotlight this week. We unpick the mechanisms that enable human cells, plants and even bacteria to track the time of day and alter their activities accordingly, and we hear the evidence that night work makes you put on weight and boosts your diabetes risk. In the news, how cells grafted into the eye restore sight to blind mice, the three genes that can convert scar tissue back into beating cardiac muscle following a heart attack, and electrical stimulation that returns movement to limbs paralysed by spinal injury. And on the subject of the body clock, can an e-book at bedtime keep you awake at night?

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In this edition of Naked Scientists

Full Transcript

  • 01:36 - I Got Rhythm - Setting the Body's Circadian Clock

    The ancient Greeks were accredited with first pointing out that some plants appear to be able to tell the time by altering their leaf shapes during the day and some of the first evidence of the existence of a similar internal clock in animals, including in us, was produced about...

  • 10:35 - Body Clocks, Obesity and Diabetes

    Our lives are becoming increasingly 24/7 - around 1 in 5 adults works non-standard time, so not the 9 to 5; we regularly travel across time zones for work and pleasure; and around 30% of adults say they have difficulty sleeping. At the same time, over 25% of adults are obese an...

  • 17:08 - Rod transplants restore sight to blind mice

    Rod precursor cells transplanted from the eyes of newborn mice into blind adult animals can restore vision, UK scientists have shown.

  • 21:09 - Getting to Grips with Treating Paralysis

    With over 130,000 people suffering some paralysis as a result of spinal injury each year, devices that can bypass the spine and convert brain activity directly into coordinated movement could immeasurably improve thousands of lives. Now, research at the University of Pittsberg ...

  • 24:37 - Reaching Further with RFID

    RFID, or Radio-frequency identification tags are the small electronic tags that are used for a huge number of applications Ė from security tags in shops, records management, delivery tracking and even marking livestock. Now, research at Cambridge University has led to the creat...

  • 31:23 - Scar tissue re-programmed to become beating heart cells

    Scar tissue in injured hearts can be converted back into healthy cardiac muscle using gene therapy, US scientists have shown.

  • 33:41 - Water Sources in Africa and Orangutan Engineers

    Water sources below Africa, potential anti-cancer effects of Aspirin, a new polymer for cheaper solar cells and how orangutans engineer their nests...

  • 38:21 - Frog Fungi - A Global Problem Affecting Amphibians

    Amphibian species around the world are subject to an increasing threat in the form of a fungus. Over 200 amphibian species are thought to have become extinct and the problem isnít just restricted to frogs, toads and newts. New research suggests it could affect food security to...

  • 44:06 - How Protein Pathways Set Cell Clocks

    Circadian rhythms are clearly important for staying fit, both in terms of good health and of survival of the fittest. They fit chemical cycles to the day and night pattern, and this seems to have offered an evolutionary advantage. But why would that be and what are these essen...

  • 49:41 - Is nausea related to sleeplessness resulting from blindness?

    I've had poor sight all my life. I was born premature and so they said it was retrolental fibroplasia. Before I lost my right eye and last year, I lost my left, but for the last 20 years, I havenít been sleeping very well and feeling so sick and nauseous in the mornings. Any c...

  • 53:06 - Are ganglion cells more sensitive to certain colours?

    Ganglion cells need blue light. Does that mean they're more sensitive to blue than they are to others?

  • 54:56 - Would reading from a screen keep me awake?

    Hi Chris. Love the show. My name is also Chris, and my birthday is 16th Jan too! My question is about those electronic book readers. I occasionally have trouble sleeping, and find that reading a book before bed really helps with this. I was considering getting an e-book...

  • Nano Particles Deliver Drugs to Treat Cerebral Palsy

    Drugs attached to nanoparticles reduce the symptoms of Cerebral Palsy in rabbits if given soon after birth, by getting into the brain and targeting just the cells involved in the disease. This opens the door to treatments for a range of neuroinflammatory diseases including Alzh...

 

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