RTE One 7.30PM, Friday, September 13, 2013

Aoibhinn investigates a condition which prevents over 100,000 people in Ireland from getting a good night’s sleep, Jonathan meets a team of scientists who are not only looking at repairing bones but re-growing them, and Kathriona finds out how seaweed could be big business for Ireland!

Part 1 : Seaweed

Many seaweeds are of interest for industrial applications (e.g. nutraceutical, pharmaceutical, animal feeds) for the valuable compounds they contain. In the Western world seaweed cultivation is in its infancy but its development is necessary to allow supply to industry without pressure on wild populations. Kathriona meets the Irish researchers who are working in this area and find out how important this crop could be for areas as diverse as biofuel and cosmetic industries.

Part 2 : Sleep Apnoea

With up to 200,000 people in Ireland estimated to be suffering from sleep apnoea and growing research highlighting how devastating the effects of the disorder can be, the Department of Transport has issued a new ruling that any person diagnosed with the condition must declare so on their driving licence application. Prof Walter McNicholas is one of the world’s leading experts in this field and Aoibhinn meets him and his team in the state of the art Sleep Lab facility at St Vincent’s Private Hospital to look at their work in diagnosing and treating the condition.

Part 3 : Weird Science - Willow Trees

One toilet flush produces 8litres of wastewater. One shower is 80litres of wastewater. That’s a huge amount. And all of this has to be cleaned. So how could willow trees help us out?

Part 4 : Growing Bones

An Irish team of researchers led by Prof Fergal O’Brien at RCSI, have made an exciting breakthrough, having developed a new organic material which harnesses the body’s own regenerative power to repair damaged bones and cartilage.   Fergal’s company Surgacoll can demonstrate some great advances in both animal and human health care, and we will also meet Ireland and Leinster rugby star Gordon Darcy who discusses the potential impact of this ground-breaking research in elite sports.