The Sunday Session with Francesca Rudkin

Newstalk ZB

News, opinion, analysis, lifestyle and entertainment – we’ve got your Sunday morning listening covered with The Sunday Session with Francesca Rudkin on Newstalk ZB. read less
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Dr Michelle Dickinson: nanotechnologist on the new developments that led to a toddler who was born deaf hearing unaided
6d ago
Dr Michelle Dickinson: nanotechnologist on the new developments that led to a toddler who was born deaf hearing unaided
Amazing science news this week comes from the UK, where a 1 year old baby who was born deaf due to a genetic condition called auditory neuropathy was treated with gene therapy.    Six months later, the researchers involved in this ground-breaking study, which was presented at the annual meeting of the American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy in Baltimore this week, reported that the toddler can now hear unaided and her prognosis is great for her being able to hear in the future. Auditory neuropathy is caused by a variation in a gene called the OTOF gene. This gene produces the protein needed to allow the inner hair cells in the ear to communicate with the hearing nerve which sends signals to the brain. Patients with the condition are unable to hear as the lack of proteins mean the ear cells can't communicate with the brain.    The gene therapy treatment involved the baby being given an injection into her cochlea that contained a modified virus called AAV1 which was loaded with a working copy of the OTOF gene.  This virus delivered the working gene to the ear cells, and the gene-reading machinery within those cells used the new information to build RNA which directs the correct proteins to be made that can carry out their job as normal.  The amazing thing about gene therapy is that you only need one treatment for the results to last a lifetime. One of the impressive things about this study is the young age of the patient.    Typically, auditory neuropathy isn’t diagnosed until a child is 3 years old. However because the older sister of this patient was also born with auditory neuropathy, the diagnosis was given in this patient when they were only a few weeks old. By being able to determine and treat the cause of her deafness before the age of one, the researchers believe that she won’t have significant delays in her speech as she grows up. While gene therapy is relatively new, we are working on a gene therapy here in New Zealand at the Malaghan institute that treats cancer, called CAR-T cell therapy.  LISTEN ABOVESee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Francesca Rudkin: How can we raise more competent kids?
1w ago
Francesca Rudkin: How can we raise more competent kids?
This week I received a letter in the post. It was from my 17-year-old son who lives at home with us and is in his final year of school.   The address was in the top right hand side of the envelope where the stamp goes, and my name was underneath the address. The writing was tiny and illegible – and my eye sight isn’t that bad.   It is a miracle this letter, a half-hearted attempt at writing a Mother’s Day card which ended in him jokingly asking for petrol money, actually made it into my letter box.   It is a reminder of the little things we assume our children can do, but the reality is they have never needed to. Why send a letter when you can email, text, or Insta someone?   I shouldn’t really worry about this. I can remember a former producer here at Newstalk ZB, aged 25, asking me how she should address an envelope when sending out movie tickets to a listener. I thought she was joking. She was dead serious. Anyway, she’s a superstar at what she does and is killing it in Australia, so I’m not so too worried about my son not knowing his way around an envelope. However, it did make me think about the fact my son is hoping to head away to university next year, and whether he is ready for solo adulting.    Many wiser parents than I, tell me teenagers, especially boys, learn to do what they need to do when they have to. So don’t worry about whether they can iron a shirt or change a tyre or knock out a spaghetti bolognaise. They will work it out when they have to.   But I just can’t quite leave it to chance. I want my children to leave home and love it out there, and be useful and competent.   Motivating me on my new crusade is data just released by Britain’s Office for National Statistics, which revealed that a third of all men under the age of 35 still live with their parents. The figure for women is less than a quarter.  Now there are some very real reasons why this is happening. High rents, the difficulty in raising a home deposit, a cost of living crisis, and poor mental health means adults are getting around to adulting later in life. And then, there’s the reality that life is so much easier when you live with someone who might just do your cooking, cleaning and laundry.   So, it felt like the universe was speaking to me as Mother’s Day approached this year. My son isn’t as useless as the envelope implies – he’s held down a part time job for 18 months, works hard and is a responsible kid – and it’s not like we’ve done everything for our children, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t a whole lot of other little things to start trying to skill him up on to make sure the adulting kicks in a lot earlier than 35.  LISTEN ABOVESee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Joan's Picks: Real Americans and The Coast Road
05-05-2024
Joan's Picks: Real Americans and The Coast Road
Real Americans by Rachel Khong. A big multi-generational story told in 3 parts. In the beginning, Lily is living a penurious life in NYC when she meets a mega wealthy man at a party who whisks her off to Paris and they eventually marry. When their parents meet, the dynamics are very weird and uncomfortable. Lily eventually finds herself living on the other side of the country with her son Nick who has never met his father – doesn’t even know who he is – but manages to track him down and they start a relationship, albeit an awkward one. Nick then goes to San Francisco where he connects with his maternal grandmother who narrates the third part of the book – and tells of her marriage in China, set against the background of the Cultural Revolution. She and her husband eventually emigrated to America and she brings this story full circle, with the expose of family secrets. I loved it.  The Coast Road by Alan Murrin. Set in Ireland in the 1990’s before divorce was legal and is primarily about two women, both of whose lives are entirely circumscribed by their husbands. Colette has recently moved into the town after running away from her husband and having a wild affair which didn’t work out – and she’s come to this small town to try and get her life back together – but she struggles – her life is chaotic and catastrophic. She befriends a local woman, Izzy – and when Colette’s husband bans her from seeing their children, Izzy offers to engineer a meeting between Colette and her boys. This is small village life done brilliantly. I reckon it might win prizes.  LISTEN ABOVESee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Mike van de Elzen: Parsnips in a soup with curry oil
05-05-2024
Mike van de Elzen: Parsnips in a soup with curry oil
Parsnips in a soup with curry oil  Cook time: 35 minutes  Prep time: 20 minutes  Serves: 6-12  1 kg parsnips, peeled and chopped   3 white onions, peeled and chopped   10 cloves garlic   3 tbsp sunflower oil   1 cup white wine   1.5 ltr vegetable stock   2 cups cream   salt   Curry oil   1 tbsp coriander seeds   1 tbsp cummin seeds   2 tbsp garam masala   1 tsp turmeric   1/2 cup sunflower oil   1 tsp salt  Start by heat a large deep based pot over a medium heat.   Add in the oil and then the onions and garlic, slowly cook them out but be careful, not to allow it the stick and start to colour up. The end result wants to be a white creamy soup not brown.   Once soft, add the parsnips and continue to sauté for another minute before adding the wine. Once the wine is reduced add the stock and season with salt.   Cook out for 30 minutes before testing.   To make up curry oil, start by making a basic curry powder. Toast of the coriander seeds, cumin seeds until fragrant. Place into the pestle and mortar and crush. Add in the garam masala and turmeric. Bingo, you have just made a basic curry powder!! Place the curry powder into a pot with the oil and salt, bring to the simmer. Turn off and allow to cool before passing through a chux cloth. Don't push it through, just allow it to drip. Blitz the soup and add in the cream, check the seasoning.  Serve in bowls with a drizzle of oil. LISTEN ABOVESee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.
Dr Michelle Dickinson: nanotechnologist explains why we prefer beer served cold
05-05-2024
Dr Michelle Dickinson: nanotechnologist explains why we prefer beer served cold
Why do we like our beer cold but our sake warm? This was the question posed by two scientists who were out drinking together. Their results have just been published in the journal Matter. The researchers measured the contact angle of different solutions that had varying concentrations of water and ethanol - which is the most common form of drinking alcohol. This gave them insights into how molecules within the solution were interacting with each other. At low alcohol concentrations like those found in beer, they found that at room temperature ethanol forms more pyramid-shaped structures around the water molecules. Pyramid structures lead to a taste profile that is perceived as less alcoholic and so warm beer tastes like it has less alcohol in it. When they reduced the temperature in the 5 percent ethanol (beer equivalent) solution from room temperature to 5C the ethanol transformed from a pyramid shape to a long chain-like structure. These structures lead to a more of an alcohol taste on our tongue which is why professional tasters often report a stronger ethanol-like taste in beer after it has been in the fridge. With ethanol being characterised by a bitter, slightly sweet taste, being able to taste it in beer is a desirable thing which explains why cold beer tastes better than warm beer. From the study, the researchers suggest the perfect pint should be consumed at 5C, which luckily is about the temperature of your fridge. So why do we like sake warm? Well, as the level of alcohol in a solution is increased, the ethanol naturally starts to arrange itself end-to-end in a chain structure giving high alcohol containing drinks like sake its potent alcohol taste at room temperature without you needing to cool it down. It is this chain-like structure that gives alcohol its burning sensation and ethanol taste that drinkers seem to like when consuming alcoholic beverages. Not only can this research help us to serve up our favourite drinks at the perfect temperature but it could also help the alcoholic drinks industry to produce lower alcohol-containing drinks that still taste great when served at the correct temperature. LISTEN ABOVESee omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.