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Mosaic Science Podcast

The Mosaic Science Podcast - audio documentaries and audio versions of our weekly longread. Mosaic is a digital magazine that publishes compelling stories exploring the science of life. Produced by the Wellcome Trust. More at mosaicscience.com.
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Jan 30, 2017

Most people in the world speak more than one language, suggesting the human brain evolved to work in multiple tongues. If so, are those who speak only one language missing out?

Written by Gaia Vince

Read by Kirsten Irving

Produced by Barry James Gibb 

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Jan 23, 2017

When Tal Golesworthy was told he was at risk of his aorta bursting, he wasn’t impressed with the surgery on offer – so he came up with his own idea.

 

Written and read by Geoff Watts

Produced by Barry James Gibb 

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Jan 16, 2017

Despite decades of promising research, the many men who want their own contraceptive pill still have nothing. One of them, Andy Extance, looks at the obstacles – practical, political, economic – and meets the people hoping to make male birth control a reality.

Written by Andy Extance

Read and produced by Barry James Gibb 

 

 

Jan 9, 2017

Like many balding men, Rhodri Marsden has learned to accept losing his hair. But male stoicism and other coping strategies – from hats and wigs to dark humour – often mask deep distress, and even suicidal feelings. Will modern medicine ever find a ‘cure’ – or does the solution lie elsewhere?

Jan 2, 2017

Chrissie Giles on her generation’s climb to Peak Booze.

This episode originally aired in Dec 2015

Written and read by Chrissie Giles
Produced and edited by Barry J Gibb

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Dec 26, 2016

More than a century after their discovery, we still don’t really know what blood types are for. Do they really matter? 

This episode originally aired in May 2015. 

 

Written by Carl Zimmer
Read by Segun Akingbale
Produced and edited by Barry J Gibb

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Dec 19, 2016

If mega-rich people could buy places on clinical trials, would this help drive forward the development of new treatments that could benefit everyone? Alexander Masters thinks it might just work.

This episode originally aired in Nov 2015.

 

Written and read by Alexander Masters
Produced and edited by Barry J Gibb

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Dec 12, 2016

The extreme survival tricks of hibernators could help us overcome life-threatening injuries.

Written by Frank Swain
Read by Michael Regnier
Produced and edited by Barry J Gibb
Mosaic jingle composed by Mark Richardson

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Dec 5, 2016

It’s supposedly getting easier for innovative drugs for rare diseases like Duchenne muscular dystrophy to reach the market. So why is hesitancy still proving devastating to desperate families?

Written by Andy Extance
Read by Pip Mayo
Produced and edited by Jennifer Whyntie
Mosaic jingle composed by Mark Richardson

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Nov 28, 2016

As old age approaches, Geoff Watts confronts an inevitable future in the care of robots. But that doesn’t mean he likes it.

Written and read by Geoff Watts
Produced and edited by Barry J Gibb
Mosaic jingle composed by Mark Richardson

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Nov 21, 2016

A haze has periodically wafted over Asia for 20 years. But despite rising public health concern, the pollution remains as opaque as the smoke itself, Mike Ives reports.

Read by Pip Mayo
Produced by Jen Whyntie
Edited by Barry J Gibb
Mosaic jingle composed by Mark Richardson

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Nov 14, 2016

How discovering an equation for altruism cost George Price everything.

Written and read by Michael Regnier.
Produced by Barry J Gibb

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Nov 7, 2016

Where do a zebra’s stripes, a leopard’s spots and our fingers come from? The key was found years ago – by the man who cracked the Enigma code, writes Kat Arney.


Read by Kat Arney
Produced by Jen Whyntie
Edited by Geoff Marsh

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Oct 24, 2016

Written by Carrie Arnold, read by Pip Mayo. 

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Oct 17, 2016

In times of economic trouble, governments can choose to cut public services to save money. But at what cost? Our podcast meets those on the sharp end of austerity in the UK to find out what it means for mental health.

Written by Mary O'Hara, read by Pip Mayo. 

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Oct 10, 2016

In this audio piece, three men talk about living with a condition that affects how the penis looks and works.

Hypospadias occurs when the opening that is usually at the tip of the penis is found on the underside. It affects between 1 in 200 and 1 in 300 male babies – yet many of us have never heard of it.

In this audio piece, Chris Chapman meets three men living with hypospadias. James, Paul* and Wilf describe the confusion and shame of growing up different, and the physical and psychological difficulties they continue to face. They also explain how supportive relationships with family, doctors and people on online forums have helped them live better with the condition.

For more information, see:

Warning: This piece contains graphic description of penile surgery. 

*Paul’s name has been changed.

Audio producerChris Chapman

Art directorPeta Bell

IllustratorTravis Bedel

Oct 3, 2016

‘Cyborg’ is a loaded and attention-grabbing term, bearing associations from sci-fi novels and Hollywood, and whether it’s an entirely accurate label for these activities is up for debate. Some commentators broaden the definition to include anyone who uses artificial devices, such as computer screens or iPhones. Others prefer to narrow it. As early as 2003, in an article entitled ‘Cyborg morals, cyborg values, cyborg ethics’, Kevin Warwick, the professor who pioneered the cyborg movement in the academic sphere, described ‘cyborgs’ as being only those entities formed by a “human, machine brain/nervous system coupling” – essentially “a human whose nervous system is linked to a computer”.

 

Written by Frieda Klutz, read by Kirsten Irving. 

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Sep 26, 2016

"Gomez is one of Achatz's regular patients at the A C Camargo Cancer Center in São Paulo, Brazil. He is extraordinarily susceptible to cancer. So too are many members of his extended family; cancer is so common among them - and premature death so painfully familiar - that until they learned very recently of the cause, some believed their family was cursed. Gomez's is not the only family affected. The 'cure' afflicts hundreds of thousands of people in Brazil."

The startling discovery that hundreds of thousands of Brazilians have a genetic mutation that undermines their ability to resist cancer is helping labs worldwide in their search for new treatments for the disease. Sue Armstrong reports."

Written by Sue Armstrong, read by Pip Mayo, audio editing by Jen Whyntie.

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If you liked this story, we recommend Mosaicscience – Decisions-on-a-knife-edge by Charlotte Huff, also available as a podcast.

 

#brazil #cancer #mutation #genetics #disease #health #society #saopaolo #genes

Sep 16, 2016

"Kim is unique. Throughout her life she had built up a constellation of values and impulses - endurance, single-mindedness, self-reliance and opposition to authority - that all clicked in when she was confronted with her twin diagnoses. She was predisposed to win. Not everyone is. But as genetic information becomes cheaper, more accessible and more organised, that barrier may lower."

When Kim Goodsell discovered that she had two extremely rare genetic diseases, she taught herself genetics to help find out why.

Written by Ed Yong, read by Segun Akingbola and produced by Barry J Gibb

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If you liked this story, we recommend Mosaicscience – Cradle-of-resistance, Ed Yong's report from the Thai-Myanmar border, one of the last bastions in the fight against malaria drug resistance.

 

Sep 12, 2016

"The best way to get Brian to do something is to tell him that he can’t. Within a year of the accident, Brian was back on the slopes, skiing with disabled ski teams. In his first year he made it to the International Paralympic Committee’s Alpine Skiing World Cup, and came in seventh in the world. But it wasn’t enough. It wasn’t the same."

Brian Bartlett lost his leg at 24. Rose Eveleth hears how a man who just wanted to ski again invented a new kind of knee.

Written by Rose Eveleth, read by Kirsten Irving and produced by Jen Whyntie.

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Sep 5, 2016

"By the time you read this, I’ll be recovering from the Brighton Marathon. What I’ve learned is that running a marathon isn’t about running a marathon. I mean, it is and it isn’t. I’ll explain what I mean later. But I began by asking what it takes to run 26.2 miles – are hard work and determination enough, or is there something else? Something you’re born with?"

 

What drives people to run a marathon? Join Hayley Birch as she tackles 26.2 miles, aided by science.

 

Written by Hayley Birch, read by Kirsten Irving, produced by Barry J Gibb, edited by Geoff Marsh

 

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If you liked this story, we recommend Brazil's billion-dollar gym experiment by Catherine de Lange, also available as a podcast. 

 

Sep 1, 2016

"In Canada at least, wheelchair basketball is a chance for disabled and able-bodied athletes to compete with and against each other. I knew in advance that some of the players I was watching do not use wheelchairs off the court, and that these chairs are sporting kit like hockey sticks or bicycles. Yet seeing those players stand up still profoundly challenged my preconceptions. I am so accustomed to thinking of wheelchair use in binary terms: you either use one or you don’t. Now I’m struggling to unlearn that notion."

 

In Canada, wheelchair basketball brings people together regardless of their abilities. Lesley Evans Ogden asks whether this kind of integration could help dispel stigma, discrimination and misconceptions about disability more widely.

 

Written by Lesley Evans Ogden, read by Kirsten Irving, audio editing by Jen Whyntie.

 

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If you liked this story, we recommend City cycling: health versus hazard by Lesley Evans Ogden, also available as a podcast. 

 

Aug 16, 2016

They were the forgotten army. Taken captive during World War 2, this is a tale of detainment and disease through internment and ingenuity long unspoken and told through the voices of those who survived.

Audio producer: Chris Chapman
Sound designer: Eloise Whitmore
Assistant producer: Ellie Pinney
Fact checker: Laura Dawes
Editor: Mun-Keat Looi

Hear and read accompanying extras and a full transcript for this story on Mosaic.

For more stories visit mosaicscience.com

If you liked this story, we recommend Voices in the dark: what it's like to hear voices, another Mosaic audio documentary also available on our podcast.

Subscribe to the Mosaic podcast on iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts. Please leave us a rating and review.

 

Aug 15, 2016

"Research has shown that disabled people are less likely to have a long-term partner or marry than non-disabled people, although this is very dependent on impairment type. When a 2014 newspaper poll asked Britons if they had ever had sex with someone who had a physical disability, 44 per cent said ‘No, and I don’t think I would’.  

So how can we shift the negative images of disability and sexuality that still dominate society’s attitudes? Disabled people and their allies have been campaigning for change for decades. While it is not going to be easy, change is on the way, but with it comes new controversies."

 

What can disabled bodies teach us about sex, and why should we listen? 

 

Written by Katharine Quarmby, read by Kirsten Irving, produced by Barry J Gibb

 

Read the full text original and accompanying 'DVD extras', published on Mosaic.

 

 

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If you liked this story, we recommend The future of sex by Emily Anthes, also available as a podcast. 

 

 

Aug 8, 2016

"For almost an hour, the residents of this neighbourhood will stretch, balance, sweat and lunge. It's hard to spot the instructor through the throng, wedged in as she is between the church wall and a parked mini camper van, her disembodied voice counting down the exercises above and around the crowd. Children, parents, grandparents - most of them in lycra shorts and trainers - have gathered today, as they do five days a week, not to pray but to work out."

 

Can a grand vision of 4,000 free public gyms overcome inequality and fight Brazil's health crisis? Catherine de Lange reports.

 

Written by Catherine de Lange, read by Pip Mayo, produced by Barry J Gibb.

 

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If you liked this story, we recommend City cycling: health versus hazard by Lesley Evans Ogden, also available as a podcast. 

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