Type 1 and type 2 diabetes are characterized by increased blood glucose levels. They affect almost half a billion people around the globe, and this number is projected to rise as we reach the middle of the century. In most individuals, blood glucose levels are kept within a healthy range by a hormone called insulin, which is secreted by the pancreas, but this fine-tuned regulation can go wrong in type 1 and type 2 diabetes. In this animation, we lay out our current understanding of these diseases and explore active areas of research that aim to restore the body’s blood glucose control.
Our skin is home to billions of microorganisms, the vast majority of which are bacteria. Much like the microbiome in our gut, these microbes play a crucial part in keeping us healthy. They are part of a finely balanced ecosystem of friendly or ‘commensal’ bacteria, which protect our skin by creating an inhospitable environment for would-be invaders, bolstering the physical integrity of the skin, and training the immune system to distinguish commensal inhabitants from pathogens. A number of skin conditions are now understood to be influenced by a breakdown of this microbial ecosystem. Researchers are working out whether restoring the balance can treat these conditions. Understanding the ecology of this rich community is likely to be an important part of both dermatology and the study of the microbiome. Read more in https://www.nature.com/collections/sk…
Researchers have run numerous military-style simulations to predict the consequences of fictitious viral outbreaks. We discuss how these simulations work, what recommendations come out of them and if any of these warnings have been heeded.
24:08 One good thing
Our hosts pick out things that have made them smile in the last week, including audience feedback, the official end of the Ebola outbreak in the northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, and an enormous t-shirt collection.
28:50 The latest coronavirus research papers
Benjamin Thompson takes a look through some of the key coronavirus papers of the last few weeks.
President Trump’s preferred coronavirus treatment is the focus of a new study suggesting it could cause more harm than good, but not everybody agrees. We discuss the fallout as trials around the world are paused and countries diverge over policy advice.
12:12 Are we rushing science?
Coronavirus papers are being published extremely quickly, while normally healthy scientific debate is being blown up in the world’s press. Is there a balancing act between timely research and accurate messaging?
18:49 One good thing
Our hosts pick out things that have made them smile in the last week, including hedgerow brews and a trip into the past using AI.
Recipe: Elderflower ‘Champagne’
22:30 The latest coronavirus research papers
Noah Baker takes a look through some of the key coronavirus papers of the last few weeks.
The Coronapod team pick through the latest news, plus we hear from the researchers making lemonade out of lockdown lemons.
In this episode:
01:10 Can contact-tracing apps help?
Governments around the world are banking on smartphone apps to help end the spread of the coronavirus. But how effective might these apps might be? What are the risks? And how should they fit into wider public health strategies?
13:30 Antiviral remdesivir shows promise
Early results from a US trial of the antiviral drug remdesivir suggest it shortens recovery time for patients with COVID-19. We unpick the findings.
16:52 One good thing
Our hosts pick out things that have made them smile in the last week, including blooming trust in scientists, cooking experiments, and a neighbourhood coming together to clap for healthcare workers.
21:34 Unexpected opportunities
We hear from three researchers making the most of lockdown, studying tiny earthquakes, building balcony-based citizen science projects, or enlisting gamers to fight the coronavirus.
Benjamin Thompson, Noah Baker, and Amy Maxmen discuss the role of antibody tests in controlling the pandemic, and how public-health spending could curtail an economic crisis. Also on the show, the open hardware community’s efforts to produce medical equipment.
In this episode:
02:08 Betting on antibodies
Antibody tests could play a key role in understanding how the virus has spread through populations, and in ending lockdowns. We discuss concerns over their reliability, how they could be used, and the tantalising possibility of immunity.
10:25 Economy vs public health, a false dichotomy
Jim Yong Kim, former president of the World Bank, argues that strong investment in public health is crucial to halt the ongoing pandemic and to prevent a global financial crisis. We discuss his work with US governors to massively increase contact tracing, and his thoughts on how researchers can help steer political thinking.
19:00 One good thing this week
Our hosts talk about staying positive, and pick a few things that have made them smile in the last 7 days, including a tiny addition to the team, a newspaper produced by children in lockdown, and a gardening update.
22:51 Open hardware
Researchers are stepping up efforts to design and produce ventilators and personal protective equipment for frontline medical staff. We hear how the open hardware movement is aiding these efforts, and the regulations that teams need to consider if their designs are to make it into use.
Technology Feature: Open science takes on the coronavirus pandemic
Coronavirus Testing and Tracking (1) are the two pillars of surveillance which will hopefully replace the “shotgun” method of universal distancing that America has tried so far. Quarantining only those who are contagious makes much more social and economic sense than quarantining everybody, and it seemed to work in South Korea (2) and Taiwan (3).
There are problems both with testing-accuracy and availability- and tracking, which is in tension with individuality and freedom.
Still we have no choice but to try, because people and businesses need to socialize and make some money.
Some epidemiologists predict that Covid 19 will smolder on, hopefully not overtaxing our health system, until “herd immunity” gets to 60-70 percent of the population.
As a highly susceptible octogenarian, I plan to keep my distance and become one of the minority protected by herd. And maybe an effective immunization or drug will come along.