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Professor Sir Anthony Epstein

29 minutes
First broadcast:
Wednesday 02 April 2014

Fifty years ago, almost to the day, a team of researchers in London introduced the world to an extraordinary new virus; now called Epstein-Barr virus or EBV after its discoverers Sir Anthony Epstein and Dr Yvonne Barr. About 95% of us have been infected by the virus, and we stay perfectly healthy. But in some people, under certain circumstances, it can cause a range of seemingly unrelated diseases - from Burkitt’s lymphoma in African children, to nasal cancers in south China, and glandular fever in Europe and the US. Sir Anthony Epstein speaks to Dr Graham Easton about the lucky breaks that lead to the discovery and the history of this curious virus.

Bus Driver Detox
Worldwide, going by bus is an incredibly safe way to travel, accounting for fewer than 1% of road deaths in countries like the UK, Australia and Singapore. It is a different story in India however, where bus drivers and passengers make up 8% of all road deaths. Enforcement of drink driving laws is lax, and many bus drivers drink on the job. The state-run bus company Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation estimates that 5% of their employees are affected by alcoholism and is now taking a bold step to deal with the problem - putting their drivers into rehab. Sanjoy Majumder reports from Bangalore.

Placebo Sleep
Psychologists Christina Draganich and professor Kristi Erdal of Colorado College in the United States wanted to investigate the power of placebo on the effects of sleep. They wondered if simply making people think that they had slept badly, or soundly, could influence their mental performance as a result. The experiment they came up with involved tricking some students into thinking they had either slept poorly or well, and they used an ingenious set of impressive sounding tests to convince them. The study was published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory and Cognition.

(Photo: Courtesy of professor Sir Anthony Epstein )


3 items
  • Sir Anthony Epstein

    The man who discovered the Epstein-Barr virus 50 years ago

  • Bus Driver Detox

    An alcohol detox programme helping bus drivers in India get sober

  • Placebo Sleep

    How just thinking you have slept well can boosting cognitive performance


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