Audio

Top New Health Podcasts: ‘Flu Vaccine Season’ (BMJ)

With the annual flu season looming, GPs are anticipating a frenzy of vaccinations, perhaps more so than ever this year. As so many ‘flu and respiratory viruses circulate every year, and as the ‘flu vaccine is for one strain of influenza only, is the vaccine worth getting, and what are the risks associated with vaccinating vs. not vaccinating? 

 In this week’s episode, we discuss the high vaccine uptake in New Zealand, and the role that social distancing for COVID-19 may have played in their low numbers of seasonal flu. We also talk about whether or not the message we give to patients about the benefits and risks of vaccination is transparent enough, and how we might communicate better with them to allow them to make an informed decision. We feel pressure to increase vaccination rates, because we believe we are protecting people, but does the evidence support that?

Our guests: Nikki Turner is the director of the Immunisation Advisory Centre (IMAC) at the university of Auckland. She is an academic general practitioner, and a professor at the university. Jeff Kwong is a professor at the University of Toronto, and the interim director of the Centre for Vaccine Preventable Diseases at the university’s Dalla Lana School of Public Health. Newest Oldest Longest Shortest Random 

Morning News Podcast: 2020 Mail-In Ballot Issues, Breonna Taylor Protests

The President is refusing to say he’ll accept the results of the election, casting doubts about the legitimacy of the ballots. Also, protesters marched for a second night in Louisville, Kentucky calling for justice in the Breonna Taylor case. Kentucky’s governor and Louisville’s mayor have called on the attorney general to release the grand jury’s evidence. 

And, the National Coalition for Homeless Veterans says the pandemic is causing more people to reach out for help, reversing decades of progress with homelessness among vets.

Top Science Podcasts: 120,000 Year-Old Human Footprints, Neanderthal DNA ‘Y Chromosomes’

Contributing Correspondent Ann Gibbons talks with host Sarah Crespi about a series of 120,000-year-old human footprints found alongside prints from animals like asses, elephants, and camels in a dried-up lake on the Arabian Peninsula. These are the earliest human footprints found so far in Arabia and may help researchers better understand the history of early hominin migrations out of Africa. 

Continuing on the history of humanity theme, Sarah talks with Janet Kelso of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, about her team’s efforts to fish the elusive Y chromosome out of Neanderthal and Denisovan DNA. It turns out Y chromosomes tell a different story about our past interbreeding with Neanderthals than previous tales told by the rest of the genome. 

Morning News Podcast: Private Space Exploration, Mail-In Voting, Vaccines

Axios Today reports: Private companies are becoming more and more invested in entering the space race. That means smaller missions – with more freedom in what they can study and explore – could completely change our understanding of the universe.

  • Plus, democrats are changing up their voting strategy.
  • And, Johnson & Johnson has reached another vaccine trial milestone.

Guests: Axios’ Miriam Kramer, Alexi McCammond, and Caitlin Owens

Top Science Podcasts: Plastic Diamond-Like Crystals, Rapid Antigen Tests & Stinging Trees

Nature reports on: Coaxing tiny colloid particles into a diamond structure, rapid antigen tests and manipulating cell death and homeostasis in neurodegenerative disease.

In this episode:

00:45 Creating colloidal crystals

For decades, researchers have attempted to create crystals with a diamond-like structure using tiny colloid particles. Now, a team thinks they’ve cracked it, which could open the door for new optical technologies. Research Article: He et al.

07:50 Coronapod

Rapid antigen tests for coronavirus have been described in some circles as ‘game changers’ in the fight against COVID-19. We discuss their strengths and weaknesses, and how they could fit into an overall testing strategy. News Feature: Fast coronavirus tests: what they can and can’t doIf you are involved in a clinical trial for a coronavirus vaccine or treatment, please fill in our survey.

23:52 Research Highlights

Climate change causes greening in the Arctic, and the peptide that gives the Giant Stinging Tree its sting. Research Highlight: A frozen land goes green as Earth warmsResearch Highlight: How the giant stinging tree of Australia can inflict months of agony

26:04 Controlling cellular death

In neurodegenerative disease, cell death can be prevented, however this can lead to the accumulation of incorrectly folded proteins. Now researchers have found targets that can be used to both stop cell death and protein aggregation. Research Article: Xu et al.

32:20 Briefing Chat

We discuss some of the latest stories highlighted in the Nature Briefing. This week we talk about the increasing complexity of scientific writing, and uncovering the real origins of charcoal. Nature Index: Science is getting harder to readNature News: Microscopy illuminates charcoal’s sketchy origins

Morning News Podcast: Supreme Court Nominees, Covid-19 Deaths, stimulus

GOP Senators push to confirm Supreme Court nominee by election day, U.S. coronavirus death toll tops 200,000, and Illinois man has kept Richard Nixon’s unfinished sandwich for 60 years. 

Great Books Podcast: ‘The Old Man And The Sea’ By Ernest Hemingway (1951)

The Great Books presents: John J. Miller is joined by Missy Andrews of the Center for Literary Education to discuss Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea.

The Old Man and the Sea is a short novel written by the American author Ernest Hemingway in 1951 in Cuba, and published in 1952. It was the last major work of fiction written by Hemingway that was published during his lifetime. One of his most famous works, it tells the story of Santiago, an aging Cuban fisherman who struggles with a giant marlin far out in the Gulf Stream off the coast of Cuba.

Top Interview Podcasts: Nobel Prize Geneticist Sir Paul Nurse – “What Is Life?”

In his new book, Paul Nurse, Nobel prize winner and director of the Francis Crick Institute, addresses a question that has long plagued both philosophers and scientists – what does it really mean to be alive?

Speaking to Madeleine Finlay, Paul delves into why it’s important to understand the underlying principles of life, the role of science in society, and what life might look like on other planets. 

Sir Paul Maxime Nurse FRS FMedSci HonFREng HonFBA MAE, is an English geneticist, former President of the Royal Society and Chief Executive and Director of the Francis Crick Institute. 

Morning News Podcast: Status Of Stimulus Bill, Economic Bright Spots

Axios Today reports: We’re halfway through September which means members of Congress are shifting their focus towards their own re-election campaigns, and now a Supreme Court Justice pick. After months of back and forth on a new stimulus bill, it’s now even less likely one will pass before the election.

  • Plus, some not-bad news about our economic recovery.
  • And, on the road with the Biden campaign.

Guests: Axios’ Alayna Treene, Felix Salmon and Hans Nichols.

Morning News Podcast: Supreme Court Debate, 2020 Election Dynamics

Supreme Court vacancy sets off debate as President Trump plans for Ginsburg successor, Joe Biden can’t count on Catholic vote as traditionalists swing to Trump, and scams spreading online that can cost you thousands.