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Distillations explores aspects of humanity’s scientific and cultural legacy and asks the question, “How did we get here?” Our hosts are Michal Meyer, historian of science and editor in chief of Chemical Heritage magazine, and Bob Kenworthy, CHF’s in-house chemist. Each month they’ll guide us through engaging topics about history, technology, and science.

 

All posts in Medicine

Episode 126: Best of Distillations #7

We bring you some of our favorite segments from past Distillations episodes this week: Palmer the Poisoner, medicinal maggots, and the placebo effect.

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Posted In: History | Medicine | Society

Episode 125: Chem-moo-stry

Today the Distillations team delves into the weird and wonderful world of its favorite barnyard animal: the cow. First find out why so few populations are lactose tolerant. Then take a literal peek inside the body of one of these creatures.

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Posted In: History | Medicine | Society

Episode 120: Nuclear Medicine

In the midst of Japan's nuclear crisis, it's easy to forget that radioactive isotopes are often employed to save human lives. This week we look at diagnostic and therapeutic applications of nuclear medicine.

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Posted In: Medicine | Technology

Episode 118: Placebos

This week, we celebrate April Fools' Day with a little medical trickery. First, we learn about Franz Mesmer's questionable 18th-century cures. Next we hear how fooling the brain is sometimes the only way to get accurate scientific results.

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Posted In: History | Medicine

Episode 116: Crime Fighters

From primetime to print, forensic scientists are usually depicted as courtroom heroes, but their real-life work makes for more than a thrilling story. On today's episode we look at how one such scientist sealed the fate of Palmer the Poisoner in the 19th century. Then we speak with forensic scientist Mike Eyring, whose team helped solve the biggest serial murder case in U.S. history.

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Episode 109: East Meets West

In this episode we learn about yoga and acupuncture.

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Posted In: Medicine

Episode 107: Medical Gross Out

Today’s show will have your skin crawling… literally. In honor of Halloween we bring you a show revealing a scarier (and squirmier) side of science.

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Posted In: History | Medicine

Episode 103: Herbal Remedy

Before pharmaceuticals existed, all medicines had to come from natural sources—like plants. On this week’s show we focus on such remedies.

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Episode 101: Best of Distillations #5

This month Distillations takes a step back to bring you some of our favorite segments from past episodes: Glenn Seaborg, the Three Sisters, and Living with Illness.

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Posted In: History | Medicine | Society

Episode 96: Infamous Science

Innovation can be messy work, and sometimes outright disastrous. This week on Distillations we’re looking at some of the 20th century’s most infamous scientific missteps.

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Posted In: History | Medicine | Society