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Biology-related podcasts as part of the KYTOS Enrichment Programme. Visit: www.kytosbiology.org.uk for full details Visit: www.youtube.com/mriexplains for Science video tutorials 'KYTOS Biology' podcasts and the 'mr i explains' YouTube channel are proudly sponsored by Curriculum Press - producers of global education resources for over 25 years. Visit https://curriculum-press.co.uk/ for details.
 
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show series
 
In this podcast, I’m joined by Poppy GT who discusses the various treatments available for those suffering with depression. Should someone opt to have psychotherapy as opposed to being prescribed antidepressants, or could a combination of both be the most effective form of treatment?
 
Human embryonic development is the development and formation of the human embryo. It is characterised by the processes of cell division and cellular differentiation of the embryo that occurs during the early stages of development. In biological terms, the development of the body entails growth from a single-celled zygote to an adult human being. Th…
 
Any person, at any stage of their life, can experience an eating disorder. Of people with eating disorders in the UK, around 10% have Anorexia nervosa compared to 40% with Bulimia nervosa; binge eating disorder along with several other conditions make up the remaining 50%. Anorexia is a serious mental health condition which significantly impacts a …
 
Head lice, or Pediculosis capitis, is a common condition caused by infestation of the scalp with head lice. While some people can have lice infestations with no symptoms, for most, the tell-tale sign is itching. Itching can affect the scalp, neck, and ears, and is caused by an allergic reaction to the louse saliva, which is injected under the skin …
 
Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is recognised to be an autoimmune disease that causes preclinical systemic abnormalities and eventually leads to synovial inflammation and destruction of the joint architecture. Our understanding of this chronic inflammatory disease has evolved considerably during the past decade. Introduction of novel therapeutic strategi…
 
Vasectomy is a safe, effective, and permanent method of birth control for men. It is also the most cost-effective form of birth control, costing half as much as a tubal ligation (having a woman's "tubes tied"). A successful vasectomy will last for life, but if circumstances change, the procedure can be reversed. In this podcast, I'll discuss how th…
 
Acne is a common skin condition where the pores of your skin become blocked by hair, sebum (an oily substance), bacteria and dead skin cells. Those blockages produce blackheads, whiteheads, nodules and other types of pimples. Acne is the most common skin condition that people experience; it's estimated that 80% of people between the ages of 11 to 3…
 
Microbial genes have been found to perform a variety of functions including coding for enzymes to hydrolyse food we can't digest, coding for proteins that form essential nutrients, making vitamins we can’t produce and even helping to release energy from our diet. In addition to playing a vital role in metabolism, our microbiome stimulates the immun…
 
2020 proved to us all that health is unpredictable. The pandemic, not only catalysed a global crisis as services were strained and lives were lost, but also forever altered the way we practice medicine. We saw a 50% drop in A&E visits, whilst more importantly a great proportion of appointments were moved online. This shows the great adaptability an…
 
Autism is lifelong developmental disorder with no known cures. A significant amount of research has been conducted into the causes of autism and research is increasing into the treatment of autism. Given that research has indicated there appears to be functional and structural differences in the brains of individuals with autism as well as the fact…
 
Culling is defined as the killing of animals in order to reduce population numbers. Culls can happen for various reasons, including health and disease control and prevention, or to protect other species. However, the ethics make the subject a strongly polarising one, and while culling in some cases may be necessary, it can be unclear when culling s…
 
There's no doubt that Gregor Mendel is one of the great biologists of our time. His findings on inheritance led to multiple new fields of research, most notably genetics, in which breakthroughs have revolutionised biology and medicine. His work helped to create the modern understanding of how evolution and selection works, and his mathematical meth…
 
Sometimes, scientists can take advantage of real-world incidents to help us understand the function of particular parts of the brain. Psychologists can carry out case studies on people who have experienced bran injuries. They are not interested so much in the actual injury, but what that injury can tell us about the normal functions of the brain. (…
 
There will always be elements of near death experiences (NDE's) that are difficult to explain scientifically. This is partly because researchers are entirely dependent on the reports people provide of their individual experience, which means the data is received second-hand and there is no way of verifying that the report given is accurate. Some re…
 
Are ‘ordinary’ people capable of carrying out wicked and immoral acts against other individuals, if the context suggests that is what is expected of them? These are the questions that Philip Zimbardo was trying to answer in his infamous study, 50 years ago. (With thanks to our sponsor 'Curriculum Press' for providing content for this podcast)…
 
Just one week before I recorded this podcast, the FDA, the Food and Drug Administration authorised e-cigarette products for use in the US for the first time ever, claiming that...'the benefit to adults trying to quit smoking outweighs the risk to young'. Vaping is often seen as the 'safer' alternative but research suggests that this is simply not t…
 
How keen is your sense of smell? Well, according to new research published in Frontiers in Psychology, people who witnessed a crime are able to identify criminals by their smell. Police line-ups normally rely on sight, but nose-witnesses can be just as reliable as eye-witnesses. It's not quite time to replace the sniffer dogs, however; the 2010 Ame…
 
Forensics labs are frequently asked to examine documents to determine if they have been altered or forged. An altered document is an original, valid document that has been changed in some way. For example, one common type of altered document is a cheque in which the numbers have been changed to increase the amount drawn. A forged document is one th…
 
COPD or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease is the term given to a group of diseases which affect the lungs. These include emphysema and chronic bronchitis. They are inflammatory diseases and will obstruct air flow to and from the lungs. There is no cure for COPD as it causes permanent lung damage. Treatment can slow down the progression of the c…
 
Obesity is rising dramatically across the world. Since 1975 it is estimated that the number of obese people has almost tripled. One of the chronic diseases that is linked to obesity is type 2 diabetes. The dramatic rise in individuals suffering from this disease is causing a global medical emergency. In a world where our knowledge of the importance…
 
By not being exposed to agents that stimulate our immune system in infancy, we are at greater risk of developing inflammatory responses and autoimmune diseases in later life. Some scientists vigorously reject the hypothesis, arguing that the term hygiene hypothesis was potentially dangerous. This is because it might lead people to believe that they…
 
Sepsis is a condition which results from an uncontrolled and disorganised reaction of the body to an infection. If it is caught at an early stage, a combination of treatments can help to cure it. However, sepsis has the power to kill if left either undiagnosed or untreated. (With thanks to our sponsor 'Curriculum Press' for providing content for th…
 
How did people in the past treat illness, injury and disease? What medicines or 'magic' did they use? In this first of a series of short podcasts, I explore the concept of natural illness vs the supernatural in prehistoric times, the healers and priests of Ancient Egypt and their meticulous medical records on papyri, and how the Ancient Greeks move…
 
English teacher Felicia Isaacs joins KYTOS once again, to discuss the Biology behind one of her favourite poems, 'Death of a Naturalist', by renowned Irish poet Seamus Heaney. In this seminal piece of work, small tadpoles undergo metamorphosis into frogs, and this inevitable change causes a young Seamus to question his love for nature, and the dest…
 
Hormones are chemical messengers that have a specific physiological effect in the body. Research suggests that hormones also have considerable influence on behaviour and emotion in both human and non-human animals. This supports the notion that behaviour and emotion have physiological origins. It is not appropriate, however, to say that hormones ca…
 
In the hope that it might provide a solution to the growing problem of antibiotic resistance, a new treatment is currently receiving a lot of attention. Based on a naturally occurring phenomenon this potential solution lies with a group of viruses called bacteriophages. When most people think of viruses, they usually imagine the ones that infect hu…
 
There is evidence that, when the solar system was young, conditions on Mars and Venus may have been suitable for life. The surface of Mars has clearly been altered by water in the past and it may still exist deep underground. Venus is the nearest planet to Earth and is almost identical to Earth in both size and geological composition. Recent resear…
 
Coral reefs are widely regarded as some of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet. They provide habitat for approximately 25% of all marine species but surprisingly account for a microscopic 0.1% of the world’s ocean surface. Coral reefs are continually under threat from both natural and anthropogenic (human) factors. In this podcast, I will exp…
 
In this podcast, I discuss the characteristics of Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), also known as Multiple Personality Disorder and review the evidence presented in Thigpen and Cleckley’s’ (1954) case study of a person with three distinctly different personalities. It is called a dissociative disorder because there is a division , or dissociati…
 
The prostate gland grows in men at puberty and secretes the fluid that carries the sperm. It remains a constant size until about the age of forty, then it begins to grow again. About 50% of men aged 60 have some enlargement of the prostate gland and this rises to 90% at the age of 80. This enlargement may be benign – effectively harmless. However, …
 
The biology behind Shelley's Frankenstein in an unquestionably fascinating subject. Since the bicentenary of the novel, Frankenstein or The Modern Prometheus, the field of Medicine has progressed beyond recognition. Yet the overwhelming message that comes across to the reader, and indeed the world, is that we can never allow our egos to presume tha…
 
Many biologists consider the microbes in our bodies to be, effectively, another body organ. The bacteria in our intestines help to release nutrients from the food we ingest, manufacture crucial vitamins, protect against infection by out-competing other, harmful bacteria and interact genetically with the immune system reducing inflammation, to name …
 
Actions taken at the outset of an investigation at a fire and arson scene can play a pivotal role in the resolution of a case. Careful, thorough investigation is key to ensuring that potential physical evidence is not tainted or destroyed, or potential witnesses overlooked. Arthur Conan Doyle’s literary detective Sherlock Holmes is quoted as saying…
 
Forensic entomology involves the application of insect and other arthropod biology in legal investigations. Imagine a scenario whereby a dead body has been discovered in a wood - one way of estimating how long it has been there is to identify the insects that have colonised it. The first insects to colonise an above-ground body are true flies (orde…
 
Neuroplasticity is the brain’s ability to alter its structure and function in response to new learning or changes in the environment. Therefore, when it is said that the human brain is ‘plastic’, it means malleable and able to change. This may seem impossible, but our brains are constantly changing from the moment we are born. Each time we learn or…
 
Whooping cough, also called ‘the cough of 100 days’, is an acute and highly contagious disease of the upper respiratory tract caused by the bacterium Bordetella pertussis. It is transmitted via droplets in the air from coughing and sneezing. The main symptoms are severe bouts of coughing, often followed by vomiting. Before the introduction of a who…
 
Dyslexia is a learning disorder that can be explained by cognitive psychology and theories of memory. Evidence from fMRI scans show that the brain functions differently in a person with dyslexia, resulting in strengths and limitations. It affects the ability to develop effective reading skills due to difficulties with working memory, processing ski…
 
Why would someone elect to have their eggs frozen? The main reason is to store these delicate cells so that they can be used in the future. The technique of freezing and storing sperm cells and embryos has been undertaken for many years. However, the use of frozen eggs for infertility treatment is a relatively new technique. Eggs do not freeze as w…
 
I've been teaching for well over a decade now, and in that time, I’ve supported countless medics, vets, dentists, biomed students, biological sciences undergraduates and a whole host of other applicants with their personal statements for university. Some have been truly fantastic, and undoubtedly would have helped them in securing offers from their…
 
The situational factors that influence any type of social interaction (e.g. the physical environment, the presence of other people) can be applied to sport in very specific ways. This podcast will consider some of the theories and studies that can be applied when considering the topic of sport within social contexts. (With thanks to our sponsor 'Cu…
 
It is crucial that animals with a cardiovascular system can slow (and ultimately prevent) blood loss from injury or damage to body tissues. In addition, the skin (and accompanying secretions from sebaceous glands) is a highly effective barrier to pathogens such as bacteria, viruses and fungi. The repair of skin is vital to the prevention of contrac…
 
As we begin to unlock the secrets held in our DNA, we could all live healthier, for a lot longer - but how much longer is the key question…how far can we push the boundaries? How do we defy the natural phenomenon of ageing...but more importantly, what implications would it have? In this podcast, I’d like to explore the current scientific and medica…
 
Rewilding offers a possible solution to reverse our rapidly deteriorating rural landscape. The natural world is often seen as a resource merely to exploit and the hunting of wild animals in the UK was only banned in 2004. The reintroduction of key species would have positive ecological consequences; a reduction in the number of invasive species, a …
 
Around 273 million sharks are killed each year globally. They’re feared as the archetypal killing machine, and there’s profit to be made from shark-derived products; but they may be more economically and environmentally valuable alive than dead. This podcast will evaluate the psychological, economical, gastronomical, medical, ethical and ecological…
 
Worldwide, the number of potential pathogens is very large, while the resources for disease research and development is limited. To ensure efforts under the World Health Organisation’s blueprint are focused and productive, a list of diseases and pathogens are prioritized for research in public health emergency contexts – what is fascinating, is tha…
 
We are all born with the neural architecture and ability to develop empathy and compassion, but to remain a good person, we must have a series of positive experiences throughout our lives. The Pygmalion effect may certainly account for why people choose to do bad things, but perhaps we should consider other psychological forces; cognitive dissonanc…
 
The perceived role of God in illness and recovery is a primary influence upon the health care beliefs and behaviours of people. Only by understanding an individual's religious beliefs can medical practitioners effectively meet their health care needs, a concept which I examine in this extended podcast. (With thanks to Akpenpuun Joyce Rumun for cond…
 
In May 2017, the Brazilian government declared an end to the public health emergency posed by the Zika Virus. Now, a new disease is threatening Brazil. An outbreak of yellow fever in rural parts of the country is spreading towards urban areas, creating a risk to neighbouring countries in the Americas. Yellow fever is a haemorrhagic disease, spread …
 
Since capital punishment was reinstated by the US Supreme Court in 1976, 932 people have been put to death via lethal injection, 154 by electrocution, 11 by means of the gas chamber, 3 have been hung and 2 have been killed by firing squad. These 5 methods of execution are the most commonly used in the US today; what I want to do in this podcast is …
 
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