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A new way to repair diseased livers has been unveiled by researchers at the University of Cambridge. They've found a way to grow the cells that line the branching system of pathways inside the liver - the bile ducts. It's a big step forward. Chris Smith heard from Kourosh Saeb-Parsy, who is part of the team behind the work... Like this podcast? Ple…
 
One thing we're all hoping for is that the new coronavirus vaccines will give us 'herd immunity' - this would mean that so many people are immune to the virus that it would start to die away as it can't find new hosts to infect. But how does herd immunity work in practice, and are the vaccines we have likely to put us in this fortunate position? Ev…
 
Virologist Dr Chris Smith catches up with RNZ's Kim Hill with an update on the Covid-19 latest news including encouraging data on the performance of the vaccines, but discouraging news on the stances of some prominent European leaders towards AstraZeneca's vaccine. Also, new Covid variants in America, and why scientists suspect flu might be waiting…
 
Osteoarthritis is a painful condition caused by wear and tear to the slippery cartilage that normally coats and lubricates the bone surfaces in our joints. This doesn't repair itself very well, so, when it wears out, joint replacement is usually the only option. But recently, scientists out of Penn State University in the US have shown that the ant…
 
About 70% of our planet is covered in water, and the vast majority of that water is in the salty oceans. But in a paper published recently, scientists from Germany propose that the Arctic Ocean was - at a relatively recent few points in Earth's history - actually entirely freshwater. Rivers and meltwater flushed out the salt, and lower sea levels w…
 
Many of us may love driving, but nature certainly doesn't love us doing it! Alongside the pollution, there's the noise of traffic, which isn't just a nuisance for humans. Lots of research shows man-made noise affects nearby animals, and now another study shows that insects are also being impacted: female crickets get so confused by road noise that …
 
In the online world, a battle is brewing between tech giants Google and Facebook and the Australian government. The government are proposing a law to force organisations like Google pay the news outlets that produce the news content they currently run for free on their websites, where it draws huge amounts of traffic. The tech companies have retali…
 
The things we see inhabiting our planet have evolved fantastic adaptations and habits to overcome issues in their environment that get in the way of an ultimate happy ending. This week an international collaboration led by scientists from Japan, have established the first life cycle in a creature other than the famous cicadas where they erupt from …
 
Erosion is carrying away millions of tonnes of the soil we depend upon to keep our crops alive, every year. To try to prevent soil losses, farmers have moved away from some traditional techniques, like deep ploughing, and they're also planting short-lived "cover-crops" that protect the soil surface over winter. They then sow seed directly through t…
 
Anyone who's had surgery knows that recovery is often accompanied by discomfort. But scientists in Germany, writing in the British Medical Journal recently, explain how playing music and soothing words to patients while they are "under" during surgery results in less self reported pain and lower use of painkillers - specifically opioids - afterward…
 
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