How Skin Begins // Dr. Dan

Yi_4_epidermis_dermis

Images of Epidermis and Dermis using fluorescent tags. Courtesy of Rui Yi, CU Department Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology

Boulder researchers have discovered a key mechanism by which skin begins to develop in embryos, shedding light on the genetic roots of birth defects like cleft palate and paving the way for development of more functional skin grafts for burn victims.  We bring you an interview with lead researchers, Associate Professor Rui Yi of CU Department of Molecular, Cellular and Development Biology, who explains some of the secrets he has been uncovering about “How Skin Begins” [3:27]

 

 

 

 

 

drdan

Doctor Dan

How do you reconcile a flair for competition and performance with a penchant for science and learning.  We’ll hear from Doctor Daniel Rudnicki, who’s first career was as a competitive and professional figure skater, then after getting an undergraduate degree in Biochemistry and PhD in Organic Chemistry from CU he then founded a biotech company.  But still needing an outlet for his urge to perform he has created the persona of Doctor Dan to bring enthralling and flashy science presentations to local schools. [19:08]

Host: Chip Grandits
Producer: Chip Grandits
Engineer: Chip Grandits
Executive Producer: Beth Bennett

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Cricket Chorus // Foliage Science

This week’s How On Earth features the following two segments:

Snowy Tree Cricket. Photo credit: Scott Severs

Snowy Tree Cricket.
Photo credit: Scott Severs

Late-summer Cricket Chorus (start time: 1:02) One of the most poetic sounds of the end of summer is …. no, not your kids kicking and screaming because summer is over. It’s the sound of crickets, katydids and other melodic insects “chirping” at night. Our focus here is Snowy Tree Crickets in Colorado. They are called “temperature” crickets because you can calculate what the temperature is outside based on how many times these crickets “chirp” in a certain time period. How On Earth’s Shelley Schlender took a stroll recently with two Boulder naturalists — Steve Jones and Scott Severs — to learn more about how, and why, crickets in general make their chirping sound, and why we hear so many of them in the evenings this time of year. Some resources about crickets and their brethren: 1)  http://songsofinsects.com/  2) biology and recordings of nearly all singing Orthopterans (crickets, grasshoppers, katydids), at  Singing Insects of North America (SINA)  http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/Walker/buzz/.

Big Blue Canyon, Colo. Photo credit: Jeff Mitton

Big Blue Canyon, Colo. Photo credit: Jeff Mitton

The Science of Aspen (and other) Foliage (starts: 9:40) One of the most iconic images of Colorado is aspen groves quaking in early fall in their brilliant yellow, orange and even red hues. This year, the aspen, and many other plants, are changing colors earlier than normal. Due largely to the extended warm and dry conditions, many aspen leaves are fading and shriveling without turning bright colors. Dr. Jeff Mitton, an evolutionary biologist and a professor emeritus at the University of Colorado Boulder, talks with host Susan Moran about what dictates the timing and intensity of foliage. Dr. Mitton also writes a bimonthly column, called Natural Selections, in the Daily Camera. Here’s one (of many) on crickets.

Hosts: Maeve Conran, Susan Moran
Producer: Susan Moran
Engineer: Maeve Conran
Contributions: Shelley Schlender
Executive Producer: Susan Moran

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Saving Summer: The National Wildlife Federation Report

NWF LogoThe National Wildlife Federation just released its report, Safeguarding Summer: From Climate Threats to Iconic Summer Experiences. This report chronicles the latest scientific findings on these trends and shows how we can engage on these issues to save our summers now and for future generations. This week Beth interviews the lead author, Frank Szillosi, about the findings and predictions. You can find the entire report at the NWF website, https://www.nwf.org/Home/Latest-News/Press-Releases/2018/08-15-18-Safeguarding-Summer.
Hosts: Beth Bennett and Maeve Conran
Producer: Beth Bennett
Engineer: Maeve Conran
Additional Contributions: Susan Moran & Joel Parker
Executive Producer: Beth Bennett
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Email Anxiety // Food Waste

Bedtime laptop workThis week’s How On Earth offers two features:
Work-Email Anxiety (start time: 7:58) If you’re wondering why you often feel anxious on Monday mornings, despite having spent time with your family and friends over the weekend, you might recall the amount of time you spent glued to your smart phone or laptop, checking email because you worried that your boss would be expecting you to be virtually on hand. You’re hardly alone. Samantha Conroy, an assistant professor of business management at Colorado State University, discusses with How On Earth host Susan Moran a new survey-based study (under review) that she co-authored. It found that not only employees but their partners at home suffer from high anxiety when the employee feels pressured to be virtually available via email after hours.

WWF-Food rpt coverFixing Food Waste  (start time: 17:59)  We’re all guilty of it: waste. Tossing out peaches, broccoli and other food that has gone bad in the fridge. Or leaving pasta on our plate untouched at an Italian bistro. More than one-third of all food that is produced in the United States is wasted – in the field, at restaurants, in our own kitchens. The conservation organization World Wildlife Fund recently published a report on the huge environmental and health impacts of food waste, and on what can be done to reduce waste, and ultimately preserve grasslands and other natural habitat. Monica McBride, manager of Food Loss & Waste  at World Wildlife Fund, co-wrote the report, called “No Food Left Behind.” She shares the findings and recommendations with Susan Moran. Check out these resources at WWF on what you can do: A Food Waste Quiz and tips on reducing waste.

Hosts: Chip Grandits, Susan Moran
Producer: Susan Moran
Engineer: Chip Grandits
Headline Contributions: Beth Bennett, Joel Parker, Shelley Schlender
Executive Producer: Beth Bennett

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Low Carb & Lifespan//Down syndrome & Inflammation

credit: healthline

credit: healthline

Low Carb Diets and Lifespan (starts 3:00) Dr. Ron Rosedale, MD, gives a “second opinion” about a widely publicized report in the prominent medical journal The Lancet.  The Lancet report contends that low carb diets (40% carbs or less) shorten lifespan, and moderate carb diets (roughly 55% carbs) promote longer lifespans. The study is being hailed as proof for why people should “eat carbs in moderation.” But what if the Lancet study didn’t go low enough on carbs to reveal potential benefits of a VERY low carb diet?  Dr. Rosedale advocates a very low carb, adequate protein, high fat diet, meaning roughly 15% of calories from carbohydrates, 15% from protein and 70% from fat.  (GO HERE for extended version)

Espinosa Lab VisualDown syndrome and Inflammation (starts 15:25) Joaquin Espinosa,  executive director of the Crnic Institute for Down syndrome, discusses the inner workings of cells in people with the genetic mutation known as Down syndrome.  His findings may explain some common characteristics of Down syndrome, such as shorter stature, cognitive challenges, protection from some cancers, and increased risk of pneumonia and Alzheimer’s.   Espinosa’s lab used Boulder’s Somalogic protein analysis tool to inspect thousands of the different proteins our bodies make.  The lab discovered a few hundred proteins that are noticeably different for people with Down syndrome.  These proteins do not specifically influence height or how to take a test.  Instead, they reveal an out-of-balance immune system. ( GO HERE FOR EXTENDED VERSION)

Host: Susan Moran & Maeve Conran
Producer: Shelley Schlender
Engineer: Maeve Conran
Executive Producer: Beth Bennett

Additional Contributions:  Joel Parker

 

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Aerogel as Clear as Glass//New Science Standards for Colorado Schools

credit - CU-Boulder

credit – CU-Boulder

Aerogel as Clear As Glass:  (Starts 4:00)   Most aerogels “windows” are kind of foggy looking.  A CU-Boulder science team has created something better.  It’s a liquid made from recycled plant material, a liquid that hardens into a  gel that’s almost as light as air, almost as clear as glass, yet it can insulate against temperature changes.  This “gel” is flexible enough, you can wear it like a glove. And they’ve made it from a rather environmentally friendly source — it’s cellulose, created by microbes “digesting” the beer mash that gets left over after  making beer. 

erin_furtak-webNew Science Standards for Colorado Public Schools (Starts 13:30):  CU Boulder Education Research expert Erin Furtak explains new, more hands-on and interactive way to learn science.  These will soon be part of Colorado Public Schools.  The new science standards will be the first update of Colorado Science Education Standards in well over a decade.  In addition to teachers using these standards, parents can, too.

Host, Producer, Engineer: Shelley Schlender
Contributions by: Beth Bennett
Executive Producer: Beth Bennett

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Dogs for Diabetics

Dogs4Diabetics Founder Mark RueffenachtDogs have an incredible sense of smell – it’s so good, people can train dogs to sniff our everything from illegal drugs and explosives to lost people and even computer “thumbnail” drives, that maybe someone is trying to sneak into a high security building so they can sneak out information.  So how about dogs sniffing for something life-saving, such as a dangerous drop in blood sugars for an insulin-injecting diabetic? For a healthy person, the amount of sugar in the entire bloodstream at anytime is roughly 1 teaspoon. One teaspoon of sugar in around 5 liters of blood. That’s it.  For most people, the body’s own insulin production keeps blood sugars in a relatively healthy range, with the pancreas adjusting insulin levels in miniscule amounts to keep blood sugars in balance. For a diabetic who injects insulin, the injection itself can end up putting too much or too little insulin into the body, and this is especially dangerous when it forces blood sugar levels to go far lower than they normally would.  Modern technology is reducing the risk, somewhat, through continuous blood glucose monitoring devices. But even these have a lag time, and since sometimes a diabetics blood sugar levels can change dramatically in just 30 minutes, there’s still risk. But now, there are new “blood sugar monitors”. They don’t require batteries. They’re very friendly, they have incredible noses, and they even come equipped with wagging tails.  In today’s edition of How on Earth, we talk about “Dogs for Diabetics”.

For more information, visit these links:
https://dogs4diabetics.com
https://www.virtahealth.com/team
https://www.facebook.com/groups/BoulderDiabetes
https://www.meetup.com/Boulder-Low-Carb-Diabetes-Meetup

Host, Producer, Engineer: Joel Parker
Contributions by: Shelley Schlender
Executive Producer: Beth Bennett

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Vascular Disease & Aging Part 2

healthy heart

healthy heart

This week on How on Earth, Beth finishes up her interview with Professor Doug Seals, aging researcher. He explains the role of vascular damage in heart disease and how lifestyle choices such as exercise and diet can maintain healthy vasculature. In addition, he discusses some of his experiments in older humans with supplements and pharmacologic agents such as mito-Q, NAD+ supplementation and cur cumin. For more detail, visit his lab website (https://www.colorado.edu/intphys/research/cardiovascular.html) or the Healthy Aging site (https://healthyagingproject.org/).

Host: Beth Bennett
Producer: Beth Bennett
Engineer: Beth Bennett
Executive Producer: Beth Bennett
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What’s Happening Inside Your Arteries?

Arterial DamageThis week’s How on Earth guest, Dr Doug Seals, researches vascular aging. Several events occur as we age that conspire to damage blood vessels, culminating in what is popularly known as hardening of the arteries. But lifestyle modifications to exercise and diet can prevent and even reverse this trend. This week’s show gives background and mechanisms of this aging; next week’s episode will delve more deeply into solutions and interventions. To find out more about the Seals’ lab research visit their website: https://healthyagingproject.org/
Host:
Producer:Beth Bennett
Engineer: Beth Bennett
Executive Producer: Beth Bennett
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Wildfire Health Impacts // Detained Immigrant Children Suffer Medical Woes

We offer two feature interviews on this week’s show:

Wildfire-induced hazey Denver skyline Photo credit: Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

Wildfire-induced hazey Denver skyline
Photo credit: Kevin J. Beaty/Denverite

Health Impacts of Wildfire Smoke (start time: 4:22) It’s peak wildfire season. Smoke from forest and grass fires contains particulates that can irritate eyes, throat and lungs — especially in children, the elderly, and people already suffering from asthma, allergies, heart disease. How On Earth host Susan Moran interviews Anthony Gerber, MD/PhD, a pulmonologist and an associate professor of medicine at National Jewish Health and the University of Colorado, Denver, about the medical risks of breathing smokey air and what people can do to minimize the impact. The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment also offers info and warnings on air quality in Colorado.

Migrant children at detention center in Texas, Photo credit: Women News Network

Migrant children at detention center in Texas, Photo credit: Women News Network

Detained Migrant Children Suffer Medically (start time: 17:02) Since April, when the Trump administration’s controversial zero-tolerance policy went into effect to crack down on families crossing the border illegally, more than 2,300 migrant children have been separated from their parents and detained in government detention centers. More recently, about 200 of the children have been reunited with their parents, but bulk of them have not. As a result, many of the children suffer from physical and mental health problems. Colleen Kraft, a pediatrician and president of the American Academy of Pediatrics, talks with host Susan Moran about the medical impacts on migrant children.

Hosts: Susan Moran, Joel Parker
Producer: Susan Moran
Engineer: Joel Parker
Executive Producer: Beth Bennett

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