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Distillations Podcast

Distillations explores the human stories behind science and technology, tracing a path through history in order to better understand the present. 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 we examine the intersections of culture, history, and material science.

 

All posts in Medicine

Episode 138: Your Genome

On today's episode of Distillations we go straight to the source ... your DNA. First, we learn how technological advances are putting the dream of a $1,000 genome within reach. Then we discuss the implications of having genetic information at our fingertips.

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Posted In: Medicine | Society | Technology

Episode 129: Taste

Today's show explores one of our favorite senses: taste. First, revist the tongue map you may have studied as a kid. Next, learn how a natural sweetener might benefit waistlines—and even the world.

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Posted In: History | Medicine

Episode 127: Best of Distillations #8

We bring you some of our favorite segments from past Distillations episodes this week: mesmerism, the impacts of climate change, and why its chic to be a geek.

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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