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A new saliva gland, Bill Bryson on the Human Body, and the return of the Dust Bowl

Marnie Chesterton on a new saliva gland found right under our noses, Bill Bryson describes his wonder at the human body, and some hints of a return of the US mid-west Dust Bowl.

Marnie Chesterton presents an update on the week's science.

Behind your eyes, above your mouth but below the brain, two 3cm saliva glands have been hiding since anatomy began. So reports a new study by Matthijs Valstar and Wouter Vogel of The Netherlands Cancer Institute. They describe to Marnie how they found these hitherto unnoticed glands, and importantly how knowledge of these will help people treated for head and neck cancers to get on with their lives in the future. It may be that radiotherapies have been inadvertantly destroying the glands in the past, leading to difficulties eating and breathing.

Bill Bryson is the latest in BBC Inside Science's flick through 2020's Royal Society Book Prize shortlisted authors. He talks to Adam Rutherford about his work, The Body: A Guide for Occupants, and his continuing awe at its complexity.

And Roland Pease reports on evidence of a return to the Dust Bowl conditions that so devastated agriculture and livelihoods in the US mid-west during the 1930s. This time, we can see the dust storms gathering from space. But that doesn't mean that intensive agriculture, extreme weather and climate change aren't combining to do what might be a re-run of some of the disastrous issues from those years.

Presented by Marnie Chesterton
Produced by Alex Mansfield

Produced in collaboration with The Open University.

Available now

34 minutes

Broadcasts

  • Thu 29 Oct 2020 16:30
  • Thu 29 Oct 2020 21:00

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