This Way Up for Saturday 24 October 2015
HRT alternatives, DNA tests and privacy, science news and Mexican soft drink tax.
From SSRIs to black cohosh, what are some of the alternatives to Hormone Replacement Therapy? So far we've looked at the science of menopause, why it happens, the symptoms and at the risks and benefits of HRT. You can listen to previous episodes in the series here.
Our guide is menopause specialist Dr Bev Lawton. She's the director of the Women's Health Research Centre at the University of Otago and a past president of the Australasian Menopause Society.
Kashmir Hill of fusion.net on worries about the privacy of genetic information provided to genealogy and health analysis websites like Ancestry.com and 23andme.com. Privacy advocates' worst fears have been realised with US law enforcement agencies gaining access to this information. Also Amazon is cracking down on the writers of fake online reviews, an issue Kashmir highlighted the last time we spoke to her.
Naked Science with Dr Chris Smith and some very old (4.1 billion years old!) crystals have been found in Australia suggesting life might have began 300 million years earlier than previously thought. Also how sound waves can improve a medicine's effectiveness, and are first borns really any brighter than their siblings?
The Mexican government's being criticised over a vote to water down its tax on fizzy drinks. David Agren's been following the issue in Mexico City.
Probiotics and the brain, disrupting virtual reality, tech news and a complete family tree for birdlife.
There's a saying that the heart rules the head, but new research is showing that our guts could play an important role too.
A team of researchers in Ireland have found that people taking a specific kind of probiotic bacteria experienced positive effects on their stress levels and memory. Although it's a preliminary study with a small sample size, it raises the prospect that some probiotics could play a role in improving cognitive function, easing anxiety and even in treating mild depression.
Simon Morton talks with Ted Dinan, head of psychiatry at University College Cork.
A local startup called 8i is trying to take virtual reality technology into our homes, and not just for gaming either. It's just attracted a $20 million dollar investment and won a NZ innovation award. We go and see what the software can do.
Peter Griffin looks at the future prospects for virtual reality. Also You Tube makes a premium offering, and the next generation of TVs called OLEDs hits NZ.
Emily Moriarty Lemmon of Florida State University has found a new, fast, and cheap way of compiling a complete family tree of thousands of bird species using their DNA.