Living Room Logic – Irish Science Podcast

Saturday, October 15, 2022

Do men feel more pain than women? w/ Dr Siobhain O'Mahony

Season 4, Ep. 41
What is more painful, a kick in the jewels or giving birth? Who REALLY experiences more pain: men or women? On today’s show, we sit down with Dr Siobhain O’ Mahony, a senior lecturer at University College Cork specializing in pain neuroscience, women's health, and the gut-brain axis. Dr. Siobhain starts the conversation by defining pain syndromes, different types of pains for both genders, and sex differences in how we perceive pain. She also expounds on the relationship between pain and estrogen level fluctuations, why high estrogen levels cause pain resistance, as well as how it’s entangled with birth control methods. Finally, we explore her research on the role of gut microbiota on anti-inflammatory & anti-pain properties, brain-gut microbiota axis, and healthy dietary changes or supplements that can target pain disorders such as probiotic intake.  Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn: ●     [01:09] Defining “pain syndrome/condition” ●     [02:27] Different types of pains ●     [04:29] Sex differences in how we perceive pain ●     [06:39] The science behind estrogen levels & pain ●     [11:36] Pain interaction with contraceptives ●     [13:55] Dr. Siobhain’s investigative research on gut microbiota  ●     [19:59] Dietary changes to target pain disorders ●     [23:07] Sex difference pain in irritable bowel syndrome Key Quotes by Professor Dr. Siobhain O’Mahony:●     It’s not the levels of estrogen that are important with regard to sexes & sex differences in pain. It’s the fluctuation levels that we have.●     Maintaining a healthy gut microorganism environment is really key to well-being.●     Women have a lower threshold & lower tolerance to pain stimulation than men. 
Sunday, October 2, 2022

How an Irish Mathematician is Uncovering LIFE in the Universe at NASA w/ Dr Caoimhe Rooney

Season 4, Ep. 40
Today, we sit down with Dr. Caoimhe Rooney, a research scientist at NASA whose areas of expertise include mathematical modelling of complex engineering systems, planetary science, public communication and mission design. She has been featured in Forbes 30 Under 30 in 2022. Listen in as Dr. Rooney discusses how participating in Oxford’s Industrially Focused Mathematical Modelling program paved the way for a career in applied mathematics at NASA. She speaks on the delicate balance between performing technical analysis and accepting uncertainty in the field of exoplanet characterisation. Dr. Rooney also talks about the goals of mathematical modelling at NASA and how she typically goes about collecting and applying data in her work. She shares her uniquely challenging experience as the only mathematician on a team of physicists, alongside having to navigate a considerable time difference. Finally, Dr. Rooney speaks on her future goals as well as her initiative to get more women into the field of mathematics via the Mathematigals platform. Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn: ●      [02:43] Why Dr. Rooney chose space ●      [07:42] About Dr. Rooney’s PhD thesis ●      [12:50] Applying mathematical modelling to planetary science ●      [17:10] Factoring clouds into mathematical models ●      [21:52] The goals of mathematical modelling at NASA ●      [27:50] How Dr. Rooney collects data ●      [31:11] Being the only mathematician on a team of physicists ●      [34:57] About Mathematigals ●      [38:46] Dr. Rooney’s goals for the future of her career Key Quotes by Dr. Caoimhe Rooney:●      Something that you might not be able to physically touch or put your hands on will still be underpinned by some sort of mathematical equation. There is always a way that you can take something physical and put it on paper in the form of equations and physics principles.
Sunday, September 18, 2022

When is processed food BAD for you? w/Prof Alan Kelly

Season 4, Ep. 38
Today, we sit down with Alan Kelly, a professor in the School of Food and Nutritional Sciences at University College Cork. Listen in as Professor Alan deep dive into the various myths and misconceptions around processed food. Defining “processing” as the transformation of raw material, he sheds some light on what is actually done to food before it reaches consumers and how we can make more informed choices about what we put into our body. He kicks off the conversation with a brief history of processed food and how various preservation techniques have helped human beings to survive harsh climates and even allowed civilization to make the transition from farms to cities. Professor Alan goes on to make the case that many—even modern—food processing techniques do not necessarily make what we’re eating “unhealthy”. He speaks on the achievement of minimal processing in particular and how current and future technologies are geared towards finding better ways to keep our food safe and stable. Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn: ●    [01:44] Defining “processed food” ●    [05:46] Why processed food allowed civilization to evolve ●    [10:14] The development of preservation techniques for the purpose of survival ●    [13:17] How to look at processing techniques in the modern world ●    [16:06] The regulation of food ●    [18:42] Achieving “minimal processing” ●    [25:48] The pros of preserving food ●    [30:00] Social perceptions of food processing techniques ●    [35:45] Future food processing technologies Key Quotes by Professor Alan Kelly:●    Over thousands of years, we figured out that, to be good for us to eat, to be safe, to be stable, food has to be transformed one way or another.●    Learning how to process food was key to the evolution of cities.●    We need to have confidence that food is one of the most regulated parts of our daily lives.●    Science, food science being no exception, is about solving problems.