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New Scientist Podcasts

Weekly: Miniature livers made from lymph nodes in groundbreaking medical procedure

Season 1, Ep. 244

#244

Researchers have successfully turned lymph nodes into miniature livers that help filter the blood of mice, pigs and other animals – and now, trials are beginning in humans. If successful, the groundbreaking medical procedure could prove life-saving for thousands of people waiting for liver transplants around the world. So far, no complications have been seen from the procedure, but it will be several months before we know if the treatment is working as hoped in the first of 12 trial participants with end-stage liver disease.

Even on a remote island untouched by tourists, fishing, pollution and development, the climate crisis is still wreaking havoc on the coral of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. Reporter James Woodford visited One Tree Island, a refuge ordinarily spared from the reef’s past catastrophic bleaching events, and discovered that this year’s marine heatwave has managed to reach even that protected spot. There, he spoke with coral experts and now shares both the science and the difficult experience of witnessing environmental devastation. 

Russia is suspected of launching a record-breaking GPS jamming attack, a form of electronic warfare that’s been on the rise in parts of Europe since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022. Lasting more than 63 hours, the newest attack impacted thousands of aircraft, which rely on GPS for navigation. Is the threat set to continue – and how can GPS-reliant airlines adjust?

Snakes might be self-aware just like humans – another animal to add to the growing list. The mirror test, which investigates how animals respond to versions of their reflections, has long been used to detect self-recognition in everything from orangutans to roosters and horses. To test snakes, however, a smell-based method had to be invented, which garter snakes have passed. Does this change our understanding of reptiles?

Plus: Detecting what may be the smallest galaxy in the known universe; how babies recognise spoken nursery rhymes heard in the womb; and why you should “yell at” your misbehaving robot.

Hosts Christie Taylor and Timothy Revell discuss with guests Grace Wade, James Woodford, Jeremy Hsu and Chen Ly. To read more about these stories, visit newscientist.com.

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