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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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Now displaying: 2019
Dec 9, 2019

More and more people are donating organs, but demand still far exceeds supply. What can the world learn from the country that does it best?

Written by Chris Baraniuk

Read and produced by Graihagh Jackson

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If you liked this story, we recommend Abortion, contraception, pregnancy: how women's bodies became a battlezone, by Sophie Cousins, also available as a podcast. 

 

Dec 2, 2019

One in three French people think vaccines are unsafe, but across the country vaccine coverage is rising. Alex Whiting looks at how France is fighting back against vaccine scepticism.

Written by Alex Whiting

Read by Kirsten Irving

Produced by Graihagh Jackson

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If you liked this story, we recommend Violent crime is like infectious disease – and we know how to stop it spreading, by Samira Shackle, also available as a podcast.

Nov 25, 2019

E-cigarettes were invented by business, not medicine. But as more smokers make the switch, some health experts believe we’ve finally hit on something that could stub out smoking for good.

Written by Simon Usborne

Read by Brian Yim Lim

Produced by Graihagh Jackson

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If you liked this story, we recommend Violent crime is like infectious disease – and we know how to stop it spreading, by Samira Shackle, also available as a podcast.

Nov 18, 2019

A million Rohingya refugees in crowded shelters with poor sanitation – ideal conditions for infections to spread. Here’s how to stop these deadly outbreaks.

Written and read by Gaia Vince.

Produced by Graihagh Jackson

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If you liked this story, we recommend Why we still haven't stopped cholera, by Rose George, also available as a podcast.

Nov 11, 2019

Smiling is one of the fundamental ways people communicate, so what happens if your face can’t do it?

Written by Neil Steinberg
Read by Charlotte Hussey
Produced by Graihagh Jackson

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

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If you liked this story, we recommend The engineer who fixed his own heart, by Geoff Watts, also available as a podcast.

Nov 4, 2019

You may not think of the buzz and whine of insects as musical, but the distinctive pitch of mosquito wingbeats could tell us how to fight malaria. Daniel A Gross meets the researchers who are pricking up their ears.

Written by Daniel A Gross

Read by Barry J Gibb

Produced by Graihagh Jackson

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If you liked this story we recommend How malaria defeats our drugs, by Ed Yong, also available as a podcast.

Oct 28, 2019

We now know there’s a cheap, safe treatment that could save thousands of lives each year. But those who need it can’t always access it.

Written by Samira Shackle

Read by Kirsten Irving

Produced by Graihagh Jackson

To read this story and more, go to mosaicscience.com

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If you liked this story, we recommend Abortion, contraception, pregnancy: how women's bodies became a battle zone, by Sophie Cousins, also available as a podcast. 

Oct 21, 2019

Researcher Áine Kelly is using her experience of growing up in care to help others in the system. What role does first-hand experience have in expertise, and how important is it in making health and social care better? Michael Regnier explores a new kind of expert.

Written and read by Michael Regnier

Produced by Graihagh Jackson

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If you liked this story, we recommend How going hungry affects children for their whole lives, by Chris Baraniuk, also available as a podcast. 

Oct 14, 2019

Traditionally, expectant mothers have been excluded from clinical trials, but could this practice be doing more harm than good? Emily Anthes investigates.

Written by Emily Anthes

Read by Charlotte Hussey

Produced by Barry J Gibb

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If you liked this story, we recommend Give and take: the ethics of donating breast milk, by Carrie Arnold, also available as a podcast.

 

Oct 7, 2019

Food poverty is on the rise in rich countries. And evidence suggests the impact can last for years afterwards.

Written by Chris Baraniuk

Read by Kirsten Irving

Produced by Graihagh Jackson

To read this story and more, visit mosaicscience.com 

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If you liked this story, we recommend Life and death under austerity, by Mary O'Hara, also available as a podcast. 

Sep 30, 2019

What’s it like to hear voices? Are they hallucinations or a normal human experience? Chris Chapman explores what they are, why they happen and how they are being understood.

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

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If you liked this story, we recommend Postpartum psychosis: "I'm afraid of how you'll judge me, as a mother and as a person", by Catherine Carver, also available as a podcast. 

Sep 23, 2019

General anaesthetic is supposed to make surgery painless. But now there’s evidence that one person in 20 may be awake when doctors think they’re under.

Written by David Robson

Read by Brian Yim Lim

Produced by Graihagh Jackson

To read this story and more, visit mosaicscience.com.

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If you liked this story, we recommend The mind readers by Roger Highfield, also available as a podcast. 

Sep 16, 2019

Twenty-five years after the discovery of the gene behind Huntington’s disease, Peter Forbes reports on the potential first treatment for this devastating condition.

Written by Peter Forbes

Read by Brian Yim Lim

Produced by Graihagh Jackson

To read this story and more, visit mosaicscience.com.  

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If you liked this story, we also recommend The DNA detectives hunting the causes of cancer, by Kat Arney, also available as a podcast. 

 

Sep 9, 2019

Who would risk their own safety tending to the injured and recovering the dead in one of the most violent cities on earth? Samira Shackle rides along with a driver from the world’s largest voluntary ambulance service.

Written by Samira Shackle

Read by Michael Regnier

Produced by Barry J Gibb

To read this story and more, visit mosaicscience.com.  

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If you liked this story, we also recommend Fear and loathing in Thet Kal Pyin: Myanmar's healthcare crisis by Mike Ives.

 

Sep 2, 2019

Nobuaki Nagashima has Werner syndrome, which causes his body to age at super speed. This condition is teaching us more about what controls our genes, and could eventually help us find a way to slow ageing – or stop it altogether.

Written by Erika Hayasaki. Read by Rebecca McIntosh. Produced by Graihagh Jackson.

Read the story at mosaicscience.com

If you liked this story, we recommend Can meditation really slow ageing? by Jo Marchant, also available as a podcast. 

Aug 26, 2019

When a gentle glow feels like a spotlight and everyday sounds hurt your ears, life can get anxious and painful. But, discovers Emma Young, there may be an upside to being highly sensitive.

Written by Emma Young
Read by Kirsten Irving
Produced by Geoff Marsh

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If you liked this story, we recommend How the zebra got its stripes, with Alan Turing by Kat Arney, available as a podcast here: mosaicscience.com/story/how-zebra-…ipes-alan-turing

Aug 19, 2019

Emerging sign languages could reveal how all language evolved – but keeping these fragile languages isolated for research may mean the people who rely on them lose out.

Written by Michael Erard. Read by Michael Regnier. Produced by Graihagh Jackson.

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If you enjoyed this story, we recommend Why being bilingual helps keep your brain fit by Gaia Vince. 

Aug 12, 2019

While it’s healthy to have a variety of bacteria in our guts, there’s one place where a single dominant type is best: the vagina. Meet the researchers trying to make the world healthier, one vagina at a time.

Written by Kendall Powell. Read by Kirsten Irving. Produced by Barry J Gibb.

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For more stories about the science of life visit mosaicscience.com.

If you enjoyed this story, we recommend Abortion, contraception, pregnancy: how women’s bodies became a battlezone by Sophie Cousins, also available as an audio podcast. 

Aug 5, 2019

The East African country’s campaign to end cervical cancer through the HPV vaccine has had to overcome cultural taboos and rumours about infertility – but it’s saving lives.

Written by Sophie Cousins. Read and produced by Graihagh Jackson.

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To read the text of this story, head to mosaicscience.com.

If you enjoyed this story, we recommend Can America cope with a resurgence of tropical disease? by Carrie Arnold, also available as a podcast.

Jul 29, 2019

In the 1970s, radical scientists thought they could change the world – if they could change science first. As told to Alice Bell.

Written by Alice Bell. Read by Nick Dent. Produced by Barry J Gibb.

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To read this story on our website, visit mosaicscience.com.

If you enjoyed this we recommend Reinventing the toilet by Lina Zeldovich, also available as a podcast. 

Jul 22, 2019

For those with breast cancer, a mastectomy may seem the best option. Joanna Moorhead thought so – until the last minute. Now she’s glad she chose less extensive surgery.

Written and read by Joanna Moorhead. Produced by Graihagh Jackson.

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To read this story and others like it, head to mosaicscience.com.

If you enjoyed this, we recommend Making sense of a miscarriage by Holly Cave, also available as a podcast. 

Jul 15, 2019

"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.

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

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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 8, 2019

The rest of the world can learn from Puerto Rican communities rallying together to recover from a natural disaster fuelled by climate change.


Written by Jane Palmer. Read by Michael Regnier. Produced by Graihagh Jackson.

To read the story online, head to mosaicscience.com

If you liked this story, try Climate change is turning dehydration into a deadly epidemic by Jane Palmer, also available as an audio podcast.

Jul 1, 2019

The basic chemistry of hair dyes has changed little over the last century, but what do we know about the risks of colouring our hair, and why do we do it?

Written by Rebecca Guenard
Read by Rebecca McIntosh
Produced by Barry J Gibb

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To read the full story visit mosaicscience.com. If you enjoyed this story, try When cuteness comes of age by Neil Steinberg.

Jun 24, 2019

Whether hair pulling, skin picking or cheek biting, body-focused repetitive behaviours blight many people’s lives. How can science help us understand and treat these distressing conditions better?

Written by Sara Talpos. Read by Kirsten Irving. Produced by Graihagh Jackson.

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

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If you liked this story, we recommend My sudden synaesthesia: how I went blind and started hearing colours, also available as an audio podcast.

Jun 17, 2019

In East Harlem, four times as many adults have diabetes as in the neighbouring Upper East Side. Meera Senthilingam meets the New Yorkers stopping poverty being a death sentence.

Audio producer: Meera Senthilingam
Fact checker: Laura Dawes
Editor: Mun-Keat Looi

See an accompanying photo tour of Harlem and read 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.

Jun 10, 2019

The manufacture and distribution of medicines is a global industry, tainted by fake and substandard products. Not only might these drugs not work as expected, but some are even contributing to antimicrobial resistance. So, what’s in your medicine cabinet?

Written by Srinath Perur. Read by Charlotte Hussey. Produced by Graihagh Jackson.

Read the story at mosaicscience.com


If you liked this story, we recommend India is training "quacks" to do real medicine. This is why by Priyanka Pulla. 

Jun 3, 2019

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 How menstrual taboos are putting lives at risk by Rose George, also available on our podcast.  

May 27, 2019

Governments around the world were slow to get to grips with HIV/AIDS. But a big change came when they started understanding it not just as a health issue but as a security threat too. 

Written by Alexandra Ossola. Read by Rebecca McIntosh. Produced by Graihagh Jackson.

Read the story at mosaicscience.com

If you liked this story, we recommend One virus, four lives: the reality of being HIV positive By Patrick Strudwick, also available as a podcast.

May 20, 2019

"The parasite has started to become resistant. The wonder drug is failing. It is the latest reprise of a decades-long theme: we attack malaria with a new drug, it mounts an evolutionary riposte."

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.

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

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If you liked this story, we recommend DIY Diagnosis: how an extreme athlete uncovered her genetic flaw by Ed Yong, also available as a podcast.

May 13, 2019

Cancer rates vary wildly across the world, and we don’t know why. To solve this mystery, scientists are tracking down causes of cancer by the fingerprints they leave in the genome.

Written and read by Kat Arney. 

Produced by Graihagh Jackson.

To read the story, visit mosaicscience.com

If you like this story, we recommend Searching for a diagnosis: how scientists are untangling the mystery of developmental disorders by Linda Geddes. 

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May 6, 2019

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

"I didn’t feel that I had a problem with alcohol, nor did any of my friends. We got drunk, sometimes too drunk, and then suffered the consequences. We were just doing what young people did. But recently, with getting on for 20 years of drinking under my belt, I started to wonder if my generation’s relationship with alcohol was abnormal. When I looked into the numbers I realised that it was. I discovered that 2004 was Peak Booze: the year when Brits drank more than they had done for a century, and more than they have done in the decade since. Leading the way to this alcoholic apogee were those of us born around 1980. No other generation drank so much in their early twenties. Why us?"

Written and read by Chrissie Giles, produced by Barry J Gibb

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If you liked this story, we recommend Breaking Bad News by Chrissie Giles, also available as a podcast.

Apr 29, 2019

Becoming allergic to meat turns your life upside down. Known as alpha-gal allergy, the condition dictates what you can eat, wear, how you relax, and even which medicines are safe. Is research finally starting to catch up?

Editor: Chrissie Giles

Copyeditor: Rob Reddick

Art director: Charlie Hall

Photographer: Daniel Stier

Fact checker: Francine Almash

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

If you liked this story we recommend Sick building syndrome: is it the buildings or the people who need treatment? by Shayla Love.

Apr 22, 2019

In loving memory of Lyra McKee (1990-2019).

This episode was originally broadcast in April 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

For more stories and to read the text original, visit mosaicscience.com where you can also find more of Lyra's magnificent writing.

Apr 15, 2019

In the early 2000s, when there were just two psychiatrists serving over 12 million people, Zimbabwe had to get creative to treat depression. Now, one bright idea – the Friendship Bench – is spreading far and wide.

Written by Alex Riley. Read by Kirsten Irving. Produced by Graihagh Jackson.

To read the story, visit mosaicscience.com

If you like this story, we recommend How To Get To A World Without Suicide by Simon Usborne. 

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Apr 8, 2019

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

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

If you liked this story, we recommend listening to City Cycling: Health Versus Hazard by Ian Birrell, also available as a podcast.

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Apr 1, 2019

New biomedical techniques, like next-generation genome sequencing, are creating vast amounts of data and transforming the scientific landscape. They’re leading to unimaginable breakthroughs – but leaving researchers racing to keep up.

Editor: Rob Reddick
Copyeditor: Tom Freeman
Art director: Charlie Hall
Fact checker: Francine Almash
Illustrator: Dávid Biró
 
To read the story, visit mosaicscience.com. If you liked this story, we recommend 'The DNA detectives hunting the causes of cancer' by Kat Arney.
Mar 25, 2019

Boxers know they risk injury in the ring. But there’s a more insidious danger they don’t often talk about: the long-term brain damage that repeated blows to the head can cause. Lyra McKee meets the families who are breaking the silence.

Written by Lyra McKee. 
Read by Kirsten Irving. 
Illustrated by Gabby Laurent. 
Produced by Barry J. Gibb. 

To read the story, visit mosaicscience.com. 

 

If you liked this story, we recommend 'The Alzheimer's Enigma' by Michael Regnier.

Mar 18, 2019

Millions of people are left dead or disabled by surgical complications each year when one simple piece of kit could have saved them. Jane Feinmann discovers how it has helped transform medicine in Mongolia.

Written by Jane Feinmann. 
Read by Rebecca McIntosh. 
Produced by Graihagh Jackson. 

If you liked this story, we recommend DIY prosthetics: the extreme athlete who built a new knee by Rose Eveleth, also available as a podcast.

Mar 11, 2019

Is there real science in the spiritualism of meditation? Jo Marchant meets a Nobel Prize-winner who thinks so.

Written by Jo Marchant
Read by Pip Mayo
Produced by Barry J Gibb

For more stories and to read this story, visit mosaicscience.com

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If you liked this story, we recommend Mosaicscience – Secrets-of-the-strong-minded by Emma Young, also available as a podcast.

Mar 4, 2019

Half of people with Parkinson’s disease experience hallucinations, paranoia and delusions. Mary O’Hara reports on a new hope.

Written by Mary O'Hara

Read by Michael Regnier

Produced by Graihagh Jackson

Feb 25, 2019

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.

If you liked this story, we recommend Can meditation really slow ageing? by Mary Rose Abraham, also available as a podcast.

Feb 18, 2019

One in ten people struggle to recognise their emotions. New research suggests a vital link between our ability to sense our physical bodies and knowing how we feel.

Written by Emma Young

Read by Charlotte Hussey 

Produced by Graihagh Jackson

Feb 11, 2019

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

Feb 4, 2019

A network of compassionate volunteers caring for their terminally ill neighbours is allowing more people in Kerala, India, to end their days at peace and at home. Jeremy Laurance meets the man leading the movement.

Written by Jeremy Laurance

Read by Graihagh Jackson

Produced by Graihagh Jackson 

If you liked this story, we recommend 'The sex workers who are stopping HIV', also available as an audiobook. 

Jan 28, 2019

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

Jan 21, 2019

The need to mend broken hearts has never been greater. But what if we could simply manufacture a new one? Alex O’Brien studies the legacy of Texan surgeons and artificial hearts.

Written by Alex O'Brien, read by Pip Mayo, produced by Barry J Gibb, audio editing by Ellie Pinney.

Jan 14, 2019

An early halt to a trial of deep brain stimulation for depression reveals little about the treatment but more about the changing nature of clinical trials.

Written by David Dobbs

Read by Brian Yim Lim

Produced by Graihagh Jackson

Jan 7, 2019

Calories consumed minus calories burned: it’s the simple formula for weight loss or gain. But dieters often find that it doesn’t work. Cynthia Graber and Nicola Twilley of Gastropod investigate.

Written by Cynthia Graber, read by Charlotte Hussey, produced by Graihagh Jackson.

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

If you liked this story, we recommend The fat city that declared war on obesity, by Ian Birrell, also available as a podcast.