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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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Aug 1, 2016

"Rabies is a vicious killer, a virus transmitted through saliva. Any warm-blooded mammal is susceptible. Dogs can become infected through a bite by a rabid wild animal or fellow canine; in turn, a bite from an infected dog is the most common method of human infection."

 

The WHO wants to eliminate rabies in Asia by 2020. But how, when rabid dogs are running India ragged? Mary-Rose Abraham reports.

 

Written by Mary-Rose Abraham, read by Pip Mayo, produced by Jen Whyntie, audio editing by Geoff Marsh.

 

For more stories and to read the text original, visit mosaicscience.com

 

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If you liked this story, we recommend Can India's urban future be a healthy one by Michael Regnier, also available as a podcast.

Jul 25, 2016

"Pontoon boats were enlisted. Donning an orange life jacket, the Monroe County medical examiner boarded one, along with a gaggle of sheriff’s deputies. They hoisted the kayaker’s gruesome find from the chilly lake into the vessel and noted the meagre facts: Adult white male. No ID. Wearing an overcoat, even though it was 26 June."

 

 

For decades, unidentified bodies have been consigned to the back rooms of morgues and all but forgotten. Now a handful of campaigners are on a quest to find out who they are and where they come from. Deborah Halber reports.

 

Written by Deborah Halber, read by Pip Mayo, audio editing by Geoff Marsh

 

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If you liked this story, we recommend This is what happens after you die by Moheb Costandi, also available as a podcast.  

 

Jul 18, 2016

"There are several main ways that sperm are harvested, including needle extraction. As the name suggests, this method involves inserting a needle into the testis and drawing out some sperm. It’s often used in live patients but, because minimising invasiveness does not matter the same in dead people, doctors tend to use other methods post-mortem."

 

What drives the partners of men who have died to try and have their babies? Jenny Morber delves into the legally and ethically fraught world of post-mortem sperm donation.

 

Written by Jenny Morber, read by Pip Mayo, audio editing by Geoff Marsh

 

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If you liked this story, we recommend This is what happens after you die by Moheb Costandi, also available as a podcast.  

 

 

Jul 11, 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.  

Jul 4, 2016

"Today, after just one miscarriage, the statistics tell me that I have an 80 per cent chance of my next pregnancy being successful. Regardless, I have been worrying that my miscarriage was the result of something that might make me prone to it happening again. I simply don't know, and it's the same for most women experiencing miscarriage, whether their first or their fifteenth."

 

Holly Cave wants to know why her pregnancy ended at nine weeks. There are no easy answers, but talking about miscarriage could help us change the way we think about it.

 

Written by Holly Cave, read by Pip Mayo, produced by Jen Whyntie.

 

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If you liked this story, we recommend On menopause by Rose George, also available as a podcast. 

 

 

Jun 27, 2016

"Charles is an African giant pouched rat, a species endemic to sub-Saharan Africa. He's also a pioneer, one of 30 of his species that live and work here in Morogoro, a few hundred kilometres west of Tanzania's largest city, Dar es Salaam, on a programme to sniff out tuberculosis (TB)."

 

Rats can smell tuberculosis. Dogs can smell cancer. Now they're being trained to save your life. Emma Young reports.

 

Written by Emma Young, read by Kirsten Irving, produced by Jen Whyntie.

 

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If you liked this story, we recommend What the nose knows by Emma Young, also available as a podcast.

Jun 20, 2016

"In Myanmar healthcare and politics are inextricably linked. The repressive military junta that took power in the early 1960s choked off funding for health and other social services, and even though its ruling generals ceded power to a nominally civilian government in 2011, experts say the health system will take years - probably decades - to recover from half a century of neglect."

As Myanmar prepares for a historic election on 8 November 2015, its leadership is rolling out plans for dramatic health sector reforms. But there are enormous obstacles, including the legacy of war and a rising threat of drug-resistant infectious diseases in restive border areas. Mike Ives reports.

Written by Mike Ives, read by Pip Mayo, produced by Jen Whyntie. 

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If you liked this story, we recommend Cradle of Resistance: How Malaria defeats our drugs by Ed Yong, also available as a podcast.

Jun 13, 2016

"Below the surface, the bottom of Pavilion Lake is dotted with something resembling coral reefs: domes and cones and weird shapes much like artichokes. These are not corals, though, which are colonies of tiny animals: they are rock formations called microbialites, made by and coated in cyanobacteria. Sometimes misleadingly referred to as 'blue-green algae', these bacteria probably even made the rocks they live on, absorbing nutrients from the water and leaving stone behind. Like plants, they live on sunlight, and they thrive in shallow waters down the steep underwater slope to the point where sunlight fades to gloom.

They are the reason for NASA's interest, and my visit. The people I've come here to see have even bigger things in mind. They want to know what the rare formations in Pavilion Lake might tell us about the origins of life on Earth, life on other worlds and, indeed, what life is, exactly."

If we met new life – on this planet or the next – would we know it when we saw it? Matthew Francis investigates.

Written by Matthew Francis, read and produced by Barry J Gibb.

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If you liked this story, we recommend People are animals too by Peter Aldous, also available as a podcast.

Jun 6, 2016

"The results were part of a well-known and seemingly mundane phenomenon that has been driving a quiet revolution in immunology. Its proponents hope that by cutting drug doses, it will not only minimise harmful side-effects but also slash billions from healthcare costs, transforming treatment for conditions such as autoimmune disorders and cancer. The secret? Teaching your body how to respond to a particular medicine, so that in future it can trigger the same change on its own."

Jo Marchant asks if we can harness the mind to reduce side-effects and slash drug costs.

Written by Jo Marchant, read by Kirsten Irving, produced by Barry J Gibb, audio editing by Geoff Marsh.

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If you liked this story, we recommend Hacking the nervous system by Gaia Vince, also available as a podcast.

May 30, 2016

Priyanka Pulla asks if there can ever be legitimacy in ‘quackery’.

 

Written by Priyanka Pulla

Read by Kirsten Irving

Produced by Barry J Gibb

Audio editing by Geoff Marsh

 

Read the full text original published on Mosaic.

For more stories visit mosaicscience.com

 

If you liked this story, we recommend Reservoir dogs and furious rabies by Mary Rose Abraham.

 

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

May 16, 2016

Some people suffer eye pain so excruciating they feel suicidal, yet ophthalmologists see nothing wrong. Meet the 82-year-old doctor whose radical idea about the real source of this pain is turning heads.

 

Written by Bryn Nelson

Read by Kirsten Irving

Produced by Barry J Gibb

Audio editing by Geoff Marsh

 

Read the full text original published on Mosaic.

For more stories visit mosaicscience.com

 

If you liked this story, we recommend The man who grew eyes by Moheb Costandi, also available on our podcast.

 

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May 9, 2016

Why is asbestos still killing people? Nic Fleming finds out in a twisting tale of industry cover-ups and misinformation that spans decades.

 

Written by Nic Fleming

Read by Pip Mayo

Produced by Barry J Gibb

Audio editing by Geoff Marsh

 

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

For more stories visit mosaicscience.com

 

If you liked this story, we recommend In conversation with...Harold Vamus by Alok Jha, 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.

May 2, 2016

Having stamped out a number of tropical diseases – including malaria – decades ago, is America today complacent about a rising wave of infectious disease? By Carrie Arnold.

 

Written by Carrie Arnold

Read by Kirsten Irving

Produced by Barry J Gibb

Audio editing by Geoff Marsh

 

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

For more stories visit mosaicscience.com

 

If you liked this story, we recommend How malaria defeats our drugs by Ed Yong, 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.

Apr 25, 2016

Ill-health is the price rural Indians have to pay for seeking a better life in the city. Twenty-nine villages near Hyderabad are helping to explain why, Michael Regnier discovers.

 

Written by Michael Regnier

Read by Michael Regnier

Produced by Barry J Gibb

Audio editing by Geoff Marsh

 

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

For more stories visit mosaicscience.com

 

If you liked this story, we recommend City cycling: health versus hazard by Lesley Evans Ogden. 

 

 

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

Apr 21, 2016

Mosaic celebrates its second year anniversary in March 2016. To mark this, we'll be sharing a series of 15min talks featuring Mosaic writers and stories produced in association with the inspiration and ideas series 5x15.

 

Gaia Vince discusses the remarkable nerve that connects our brain to the rest of our vital organs. If we can learn to control this, the future of medicine could be electric. You can find her story Hacking the nervous system on Mosaic and its podcast.

 
Gaia Vince is a journalist and broadcaster specialising in science and the environment. She has been the front editor of the journal Nature Climate Change, the news editor of Nature and online editor of New Scientist. Her book Adventures in the Anthropocene: A Journey to the Heart of the Planet We Made won the 2015 Royal Society Winton Prize for Science Books. Her work has appeared in the Guardian, The Times Science, Scientific American, Australian Geographic and the Australian. She has a regular column, Smart Planet, on BBC Online, and devises and presents programmes about the Anthropocene for BBC radio. 
 

This talk was recorded at London's Conway Hall on 16 March 2016 as part of the 5x15-Mosaic event 'Stories from the future of medicine'.

 

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

Apr 18, 2016

Notoriously illegal and synonymous with hedonism, LSD and ecstasy started life as aids to psychotherapy. Sam Wong meets the band of psychiatrists who are looking to reclaim them for medicine again.

 

Written by Sam Wong

Read by Pip Mayo

Produced by Barry J Gibb

Audio editing by Geoff Marsh

 

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

For more stories visit mosaicscience.com

 

If you liked this story, we recommend Britain's patient outlaws, by Katherine Quarmby.

 

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

Apr 14, 2016

Mosaic celebrates its second year anniversary in March 2016. To mark this, we'll be sharing a series of 15min talks featuring Mosaic writers and stories produced in association with the inspiration and ideas series 5x15.

 

In the final talk, Alexander Masters describes his personal journey setting up an unlikely 'dating agency' to match neglected research for desperately needed drugs for rare cancers with the mega rich that might just fund it. You can find his story A Plutocratic Proposal on Mosaic and its podcast.

 

Alexander Masters is the author of Stuart: A Life Backwards, the critically acclaimed book about a homeless man called Stuart Shorter who he met while studying at Cambridge University and working in a homeless shelter. It won the Guardian First Book Award and was chosen as a World Book Night Title. He wrote the television adaptation of the book — a joint BBC/HBO venture from Sam Mendes’ studio. His latest book is The Genius in my Basement, an intimate portrait of one of the greatest mathematical prodigies of the twentieth century.
 

This talk was recorded at London's Conway Hall on 16 March 2016 as part of the 5x15-Mosaic event 'Stories from the future of medicine'.

 

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

Apr 11, 2016

In Northern Ireland, more people took their own lives in the 16 years after the Troubles than died during them. Why? Lyra McKee finds out.

 

Written by Lyra McKee

Read by Kirsten Irving

Produced by Barry J Gibb

Audio editing by Geoff Marsh

 

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

For more stories visit mosaicscience.com

 

If you liked this story, we recommend The male suicides: how social perfectionism kills by Will Storr, 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.

Apr 7, 2016

Mosaic celebrates its second year anniversary in March. To mark this, we'll be sharing a series of 15min talks featuring Mosaic writers and stories produced in association with the inspiration and ideas series 5x15.

 

Here, Charles Fernyhough explores what he has learned in over a decade of study on auditory hallucinations - people who hear voices. You can hear more from him in the Mosaic radio documentary Voices in the dark on Mosaic and its podcast.

 
Charles Fernyhough is the author of Pieces of Light and The Baby in the Mirror, as well as two novels, The Auctioneer and A Box of Birds, and has contributed to the GuardianTIME IdeasSunday Telegraph, Financial TimesSydney Morning Herald, and Focus Magazine. He has published many scientific articles on the relation between language and thought, and his ideas on thinking as a dialogue with the self have been influential in several fields. He is a part-time Professor in Psychology at Durham University, where he directs Hearing the Voice, a project on inner voices funded by the Wellcome Trust. His latest book, The Voices Within: The History and Science of How We Talk to Ourselves, will be published by Profile in April 2016. 

 

This talk was recorded at London's Conway Hall on 16 March 2016 as part of the 5x15-Mosaic event 'Stories from the future of medicine'.

 

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

Apr 4, 2016

If you could take the high out of drugs, what would be the point in taking them? Sujata Gupta meets the unorthodox doctor who thinks he can block some of the world's most addictive pills.

 

Written by Sujata Gupta

Read by Kirsten Irving

Produced by Barry J Gibb

Audio editing by Geoff Marsh

 

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

For more stories visit mosaicscience.com

 

If you liked this story, we recommend Saved: How addicts gained the power to reverse overdoses by Carrie Arnold, 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.

Mar 31, 2016

Mosaic celebrates its second year anniversary in March. To mark this, we'll be sharing a series of 15min talks featuring Mosaic writers and stories produced in association with the inspiration and ideas series 5x15.

Jo Marchant discusses the connections between the mind and the immune system, and how we might harness conditioning and the placebo effect to revolutionise medicine. You can find her story You can train your body into thinking its had medicine on Mosaic.

Jo Marchant is an award-winning science journalist based in London. She has a PhD genetics and medical microbiology from St Bartholomew’s Hospital Medical College in London, and an MSc in Science Communication from Imperial College London. She has worked as an editor at New Scientist and Nature and her articles have appeared in publications including the Guardian, Wired UK, The Observer Review, and New Scientist. Her radio and TV appearances include BBC Radio 4’s Start the Week and Today programmes, CNN and National Geographic. Her most recent book, Cure, is a remarkable scientific examination into the relationship between our minds and our bodies. 
 

This talk was recorded at London's Conway Hall on 16 March 2016 as part of the 5x15-Mosaic event 'Stories from the future of medicine'.

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

Mar 28, 2016

Ghana has plenty of water. So why do its people buy plastic pouches from street vendors? Shaun Raviv investigates.

 

Written by Shaun Raviv

Read by Pip Mayo

Produced by Barry J Gibb

Audio editing by Geoff Marsh

 

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

For more stories visit mosaicscience.com

 

If you liked this story, we recommend Blood Speaks by Rose George, 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.

Mar 24, 2016

Mosaic celebrates its second year anniversary in March. To mark this, we'll be sharing a series of 15min talks featuring Mosaic writers and stories produced in association with the inspiration and ideas series 5x15.

In the first, Roger Highfield discusses consciousness, brain scanning and permanent vegetative state. You can find his story The Mind Readers on Mosaic and its podcast.

Roger Highfield was born in Wales, raised in north London and became the first person to bounce a neutron off a soap bubble. He was the science editor of The Daily Telegraph for two decades and the editor of New Scientist between 2008 and 2011. Today, he is the Director of External Affairs at the Science Museum Group. Roger Highfield has written seven books, most recently Supercooperators: The Mathematics of Evolution, Altruism and Human Behaviour, and published thousands of articles in newspapers and magazines.

This talk was recorded at London's Conway Hall on 16 March 2016 as part of the 5x15-Mosaic event 'Stories from the future of medicine'.

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

 

Mar 21, 2016

We all have an inner voice. But for some, hearing voices can be much more distinct and unusual. Through their stories we explore what it means to hear voices and discover how the phenomenon is being understood, from medieval tales of demonic visions to childhood language cognition, a Dutch psychiatrist helping voice hearers find meaning in their voices, and a pioneering ‘avatar’ therapy using computer technology.

 

Produced and narrated by Chris Chapman
Written by Chris Chapman and Penny Bailey

 

See the transcript of this story, along with galleries and other related extras, and more stories on mosaicscience.com

 

If you liked this story, we recommend Can deaf people hear voices? Jemima Hodkinson investigates a seemingly paradoxical experience. And hear Dr Paul Fletcher tell Chris Chapman why We’re all on the verge of hallucinating.

This documentary was first broadcast in December 2014.

Mar 14, 2016

In the war against malaria, one small corner of the globe has repeatedly turned the tide, rendering our best weapons moot and medicine on the brink of defeat. Ed Yong reports.

 

Written by Ed Yong

Read by Pip Mayo

Produced by Barry J Gibb

Audio editing by Geoff Marsh

 

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

For more stories visit mosaicscience.com

 

If you liked this story, we recommend DIY diagnosis: how an extreme athlete uncovered her own genetic flaw, also by Ed Yong and 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.

 

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