Made Of Stronger Stuff

Episodes

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Broadcast
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Serotonin2021040720210608 (R4)
20210609 (R4)
Psychologist Kimberley Wilson and Dr Xand van Tulleken take a journey around the human body, asking what it can tell us about our innate capacity for change. In this episode, they explore serotonin - a chemical involved in everything from sleep to bowel function, appetite to blood clotting.

Xand and Kimberley find out why serotonin’s reputation as the “happy chemical” is misleading, explore the interaction between serotonin and dopamine in sex drive, and hear about new approaches to treating depression using psychoactive drugs.

Producer: Dan Hardoon

Researcher: Emily Finch

Executive Producer: Kate Holland

A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4

Kimberley Wilson and Xand van Tulleken explore one of the body\u2019s misunderstood chemicals.

Kimberley Wilson and Xand van Tulleken ask - one body part at a time - how can we change?

T Cells2021041420210622 (R4)
20210623 (R4)
Psychologist Kimberley Wilson and Dr Xand van Tulleken take a journey around the human body, asking what it can tell us about our innate capacity for change. In this episode, they zoom in on T cells: a type of white blood cell that forms a critical part of the body’s ability to fight off infection.

Xand and Kimberley discover how scientists are hacking into the immune system and hear the story of 5-year-old Zac, who has undergone an innovative form of immunotherapy for leukemia.

Producer: Dan Hardoon

Researcher: Emily Finch

Executive Producer: Kate Holland

A Whistledown Production for BBC Radio 4

Kimberley Wilson and Xand van Tulleken find out how our immune system can be reprogrammed.

Kimberley Wilson and Xand van Tulleken ask - one body part at a time - how can we change?

The Appendix2021022420210713 (R4)
20210714 (R4)
Psychologist Kimberley Wilson and Dr Xand van Tulleken take a journey around the human body, to find out what it can tell us about our innate capacity for change.

In this episode, Kimberley and Xand zoom in on the appendix, long written off as a useless body part. But new research reveals that this worm-shaped part of our digestive system can actually tell us a lot about human evolution, and the relationship between brain and body.

Xand and Kimberley find out the surprising truth about what the appendix actually does, hear how it might be implicated in neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson's disease, and peep behind the curtains of a nightmare appendectomy.

Producer: Dan Hardoon

Executive Producer: Kate Holland

A Whistledown Production for BBC Radio 4

Kimberley Wilson and Xand van Tulleken find out why the appendix isn\u2019t useless after all.

Kimberley Wilson and Xand van Tulleken ask - one body part at a time - how can we change?

The Eyes2021012720210629 (R4)
20210630 (R4)
Psychologist Kimberley Wilson and Dr Xand van Tulleken take a journey around the human body, to find out what it can tell us about our innate capacity for change.

In episode one, Kimberley and Xand take a closer look at the peepers, the mince pies… the eyes! They discover why we don’t always see reality, experience the power of sensory illusions, and hear the amazing story of Jason Esterhuizen, whose sight has been partially restored with the help of a brain implant.

Producer: Dan Hardoon

Executive Producer: Kate Holland

A Whistledown Production for BBC Radio 4

Kimberley Wilson and Xand van Tulleken ask - one body part at a time - how we can change.

Kimberley Wilson and Xand van Tulleken ask - one body part at a time - how can we change?

The Hands2021031720210803 (R4)
20210804 (R4)
Psychologist Kimberley Wilson and Dr Xand van Tulleken take a journey around the human body, asking what it can tell us about our innate capacity for change. In this episode, Kimberley and Xand explore a body part they each thought they knew like the back of their hand.

They hear about a neural-enabled prosthetic hand which can relay the sensation of touch, and discover the brain’s extraordinary ability to accommodate extra fingers and missing limbs.

Producer: Dan Hardoon

Researcher: Emily Finch

Executive Producer: Kate Holland

A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4

Kimberley Wilson and Xand van Tulleken explore extra fingers and cutting-edge prosthetics.

Kimberley Wilson and Xand van Tulleken ask - one body part at a time - how can we change?

The Heart2021021720210706 (R4)Psychologist Kimberley Wilson and Dr Xand van Tulleken take a journey around the human body, to find out what it can tell us about our innate capacity for change. In this episode, Kimberley and Xand focus on the heart, which has been branded the seat of emotion by generations of poets and songwriters.

They find out whether it’s medically possible to die from a broken heart, hear from a woman who lived for 16 months without a human heart, and Xand opens up about how Long Covid is affecting his heart.

Producer: Dan Hardoon

Researcher: Emily Finch

Executive Producer: Kate Holland

A Whistledown Production for BBC Radio 4

Kimberley Wilson and Xand van Tulleken talk artificial hearts and broken heart syndrome.

Kimberley Wilson and Xand van Tulleken ask - one body part at a time - how can we change?

The Hippocampus2021033120210817 (R4)
20210818 (R4)
Psychologist Kimberley Wilson and Dr Xand van Tulleken take a journey around the human body, asking what it can tell us about our innate capacity for change. In this episode, they peep inside the brain's temporal lobes in search of the hippocampus: the seahorse-shaped seat of memory.

The pair meet a memory athlete who reveals his techniques, explore how new insights from neuroscience can help us make better memories, and Kimberley gives Xand a memory test he’ll (hopefully) never forget...

Producer: Dan Hardoon

Researcher: Emily Finch

Executive Producer: Kate Holland

A Whistledown Production for BBC Radio 4

Kimberley Wilson and Xand van Tulleken discover how we can make better memories.

Kimberley Wilson and Xand van Tulleken ask - one body part at a time - how can we change?

The Liver2021031020210727 (R4)
20210728 (R4)
Psychologist Kimberley Wilson and Dr Xand van Tulleken take a journey around the human body, asking what it can tell us about our innate capacity for change. In this episode, Kimberley and Xand muse on the personal and social significance of the liver.

They explore the amazing science of liver regeneration, discover the unexpected roots of our cravings for alcohol and fatty foods, and hear the poignant story of the first person in the UK to give part of their liver to a stranger.

Producer: Dan Hardoon

Researcher: Emily Finch

Executive Producer: Kate Holland

A Whistledown Production for BBC Radio 4

Kimberley Wilson and Xand van Tulleken examine the body\u2019s heaviest organ: the liver.

Kimberley Wilson and Xand van Tulleken ask - one body part at a time - how can we change?

The Nipples2021030320210720 (R4)
20210721 (R4)
Psychologist Kimberley Wilson and Dr Xand van Tulleken take a journey around the human body, to find out what it can tell us about our innate capacity for change. In this episode, Kimberley and Xand examine the nipples – the least rude naughty bits!

They hear from a nipple tattooist, explore why nipples are both milk dispensers and erogenous zones, and question why some nipples spark more outrage than others.

Producer: Dan Hardoon

Researcher: Emily Finch

Executive Producer: Kate Holland

A Whistledown Production for BBC Radio 4

Kimberley Wilson and Xand van Tulleken meet a nipple tattooist and talk topless photos.

Kimberley Wilson and Xand van Tulleken ask - one body part at a time - how can we change?

The Spine2021021020210615 (R4)
20210616 (R4)
Psychologist Kimberley Wilson and Dr Xand van Tulleken take a journey around the human body, to find out what it can tell us about our innate capacity for change. In this episode, Kimberley and Xand pull their shoulders back and examine the spine.

They debunk some myths about contortionists’ spines, ask whether standing tall can really improve your confidence, and explore how we can change our relationship with pain.

Producer: Dan Hardoon

Executive Producer: Kate Holland

A Whistledown Production for BBC Radio 4

Kimberley Wilson and Xand van Tulleken explore contortion, posture, and pain.

Kimberley Wilson and Xand van Tulleken ask - one body part at a time - how can we change?

The Vagus Nerve2021032420210810 (R4)
20210811 (R4)
Psychologist Kimberley Wilson and Dr Xand van Tulleken take a journey around the human body, asking what it can tell us about our innate capacity for change. In this episode, Kimberley and Xand are on the trail of the body’s longest cranial nerve – the vagus nerve – a critical highway which unites the body and brain, and a key part of the parasympathetic nervous system, which is responsible for rest and relaxation.

They discover why you really are what you eat, find out how vagus nerve stimulation (VNS) is being used to treat conditions including epilepsy and depression, and explore the future of bioelectronic medicine. And they answer the question: how much influence do our bodies have over our minds?

Producer: Dan Hardoon

Executive Producer: Kate Holland

A Whistledown Production for BBC Radio 4

Kimberley Wilson and Xand van Tulleken travel along one of the brain's superhighways.

Kimberley Wilson and Xand van Tulleken ask - one body part at a time - how can we change?