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The Naked Scientists Special Editions


Special items and features produced by the Naked Scientists team including coverage of the Cambridge Science Festival, the BA Festival of Science and the AAAS Conference.

Special items and features produced by the Naked Scientists team including coverage of the Cambridge Science Festival, the BA Festival of Science and the AAAS Conference.
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Barrington, United Kingdom




Special items and features produced by the Naked Scientists team including coverage of the Cambridge Science Festival, the BA Festival of Science and the AAAS Conference.




Dr. Chris Smith The Naked Scientists 36 West Green Barrington Cambridgeshire CB2 5SA +44 (0) 7092 01 96 9


Is CRISPR-Cas9 a Cure or a Carcinogen?

CRISPR makes it possible to snip out undesired bits of DNA from our cells. This process holds the potential to cure genetic conditions such as cystic fibrosis. However, it seems that doing this isn't without risk. Marika Ottman went to the University of Cambridge and spoke with biochemist Jussi Taipale to learn more...


Regenerating enamel

Researchers have found a way to regenerate the enamel - or apatite - that's damaged by tooth decay. Katie Haylor spoke to Alvaro Mata from Queen Mary University of London... Sound effects from


Fish Elevator Invented to Study Deep Sea Fish

We know more about the surface of mars than we do about the depths of our own ocean, but scientists from the California Academy of Science created an invention that allows researchers to bring never-before seen species from coral reefs in the deep sea to the ocean's surface. In the spirit of World Ocean's day tomorrow, Marika Ottman spoke with lead author Bart Shepherd to learn more...


How are new robots helping with surgery?

Millions suffer from osteoarthritis, a condition that causes joints, especially knee and hip joints, to become stiff and painful. Luckily these joints can be replaced by an implant with usually good results. However, scientists are going one step further, bringing robots into the operating theatre to improve precision, and patient outcomes. The Nuffield Hospital in Cambridge recently brought in one of these robot helpers, and Chris Smith spoke with the director of the hospital, Adrian...


Active commutes may improve heart health

Any activity on your daily commute, like walking to the bus instead of just hopping in the car, might reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease, says a new study from the University of Cambridge, published in the journal Heart...


Kangaroo Care: the science of snuggles

We all love a good hug, whatever our age! Babies are no different. There's growing evidence that skin-to-skin contact is beneficial for babies, so Katie Haylor spoke with Laura Baird and Kelly Spike from Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge to find out what it's all about...


An update on Hawaii eruptions

Hawaii's Big Island has been experiencing a series of volcanic eruptions. What's causing them, and how is it likely to change in the future? To find out, Chris Smith talked to Jessica Johnson, a volcanologist at the University of East Anglia...


Could exercise at work be bad for you?

Exercise is good for us, it's one of the best things you can do to keep your mind and body healthy for a long age. But perhaps not all exercise is equal. A new analysis out in the British Journal of Sports Medecine reports that exercise at work is associated with an increased risk of early death in men. So what's going on? Georgia Mills spoke to study author Pieter Coenen, of VU University in Amsterdam.


Understanding neurodegeneration mechanisms in disease

Neurodegeneration is a process involved in several serious and debilitating diseases, for which there is often no cure. One of the first steps on the journey towards a treatment to stop neurons dying is understanding how and why they do so. Now, scientists from Cambridge University and the University of Toronto have announced a mechanism that explains how neurons die in two diseases, motor neurone disease and a type of dementia called fronto-temporal dementia. Georgia Mills spoke to...


Can birds cope with extreme spring weather?

Are you struggling to know what to wear for the weather at the moment? One day in the UK it's freezing, the next rain, the next a veritable heat wave. Apart from playing havoc with BBQ plans, this extreme variation in weather is also affecting local wildlife. Georgia Mills went for a stroll along the river Cam with the RSPB's Richard Bradbury to find out more.


Tackling cancer in Tasmanian Devils

Tasmanian devils are black, carnivorous, scavenger marsupials that live - perhaps unsurprisingly, on the island of Tasmania. In recent years an intriguing type of cancer has been decimating their numbers, pushing the animals to the brink of extinction. Known as "Devil Facial Tumour Disease" - or DFTD - the cancer is spread when an affected animal bites - and literally implants - some of the tumour from its own mouth into the face of another devil. The tumours avoid detection by the immune...


Why are some people tastier to mosquitoes?

Every year millions of people contract malaria, which is a blood parasite infection spread by mosquitoes. And part of the reason why the infection spreads so successfully, scientists now know, is because the parasite makes an infected human over-produce certain skin odours that are irresistible to a mosquito. Chris Smith spoke to Ailie Robinson, researcher at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the lead author on the new study that's uncovered how this happens


A new model for motor neurone disease

Motor neurone disease (MND) is a degenerative disease affecting around 5,000 people in the UK. It attacks people's ability to move, speak and breath, and usually is fatal within two years. At the moment there is no cure, but scientists are trying to find out more about what causes MND and how we might one day treat it. This week, a paper out in Nature Neuroscience describes a new model for MND, which has revealed some unexpected clues about how the disease operates, and may even lead to a...


Ivory, bear bile and tiger skins: Confiscated contraband

When people take wildlife products over a border that is under the control of CITES. Some of it is illegal, and this is when Border Force step in, confiscating the items in question and when possible, returning them to the wild. But what do people bring through? Georgia Mills was shown the Dead Shed, by senior Border Force officer Grant Miller, a horrific stash of animal and plant products that had been confiscated at Heathrow Airport. This content may be upsetting to some people.


Reprogramming skin cells to treat Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis, or MS, affects hundreds of thousands of people. It's a condition where the body's own immune system attacks a protective layer around nerve fibres called myelin. This prevents messages being conveyed quickly and faithfully through the brain producing symptoms that can include difficulty with vision, movement, speech, balance and sensation. In recent years scientists have begun to explore the use of stem cells to combat the progression of the disease. As author Stefano...


Is walking with friends better than walking alone?

Was exercising more one of your new year's resolutions? Has it ended up a broken promise at the bottom of your to-do list? Georgia Mills spoke to Catherine Meads from Anglia Ruskin University, who may be able to help.


New treatment for heavy periods

Up to a third of women experience debilitatingly heavy periods. This can cause significant disruption. It can also lead to depression; time off work; and, in severe cases, even lead to a low blood count or anaemia. Currently, heavy periods are treated hormonally or surgically, but these options have side effects and can affect fertility. So is there a better treatment? Edinburgh University's Jackie Maybin thinks so.


Toothpaste ingredient fights malaria

Scientists have shown that a toothpaste ingredient could be used as an anti-malarial drug. Spread by mosquitoes, malaria is caused by Plasmodium parasites, and kills over half a million people every year, 70% of them children. In recent years the parasite has also become resistant to most of the existing anti-malarial compounds. This new discovery, by researchers at the University of Cambridge, was aided by Eve, an artificially-intelligent 'robot scientist'. Chris Smith was joined by Steve...


Find out about flu

It's winter time again in the northern hemisphere and the influenza virus - the 'flu - is making its seasonal rounds. The virus infects millions of people every year, and vulnerable individuals with underlying health complaints including heart disease, kidney problems and diabetes, as well as pregnant women, the very young and the over 65s are at higher risk of developing a severe infection. To find out how flu spreads and causes disease, and how you can protect yourself, Naked Scientists...


Tinnitus therapy trial success

Around one in ten people have to live with tinnitus, this is a persistent noise ringing in the head when there's nothing external causing it. The severity of tinnitus can range from irritating to completely life-changing, by making it nearly impossible to work or sleep, and there is no cure. But now, scientists have come up with a way to reduce the severity of symptoms, by stimulating parts of the brain responsible for causing the phantom sounds. Georgia Mills spoke to Susan Shore, from...