This Way Up Part 1 for Sat 24 October

HRT alternatives, DNA tests and privacy, science news and Mexican soft drink tax.

Menopause: Part 4 - HRT alternatives

Dr Bev Lawton.

Dr Bev Lawton. Photo: Supplied.

From SSRIs to black cohosh, what are some of the alternatives to Hormone Replacement Therapy? So far we've looked at the science of menopause, why it happens, the symptoms and at the risks and benefits of HRT. You can listen to previous episodes in the series here.

Our guide is menopause specialist Dr Bev Lawton. She's the director of the Women's Health Research Centre at the University of Otago and a past president of the Australasian Menopause Society.

Alternative Medicine for Menopause
Australasian Menopause Society
U.S. National Library of Medicine 
NZ Family Planning leaflet

DNA tests and privacy

Kashmir Hill of on worries about the privacy of genetic information provided to genealogy and health analysis websites like and Privacy advocates' worst fears have been realised with US law enforcement agencies gaining access to this information. Also Amazon is cracking down on the writers of fake online reviews, an issue Kashmir highlighted the last time we spoke to her.

Woman scientist

Photo: Public Domain

Naked Science

Dr Chris Smith of The Naked Scientists

Dr Chris Smith of The Naked Scientists Photo: SUPPLIED

Naked Science with Dr Chris Smith and some very old (4.1 billion years old!) crystals have been found in Australia suggesting life might have began 300 million years earlier than previously thought. Also how sound waves can improve a medicine's effectiveness, and are first borns really any brighter than their siblings?

Mexico cuts soft drink tax

The Mexican government's being criticised over a vote to water down its tax on fizzy drinks. David Agren's been following the issue in Mexico City.

This Way Up Part 2 Sat 24 October

Probiotics and the brain, disrupting virtual reality, tech news and a complete family tree for birdlife.

Probiotics and the brain

There's a saying that the heart rules the head, but new research is showing that our guts could play an important role too.

A team of researchers in Ireland have found that people taking a specific kind of probiotic bacteria experienced positive effects on their stress levels and memory. Although it's a preliminary study with a small sample size, it raises the prospect that some probiotics could play a role in improving cognitive function, easing anxiety and even in treating mild depression.

Simon Morton talks with Ted Dinan, head of psychiatry at University College Cork.

stressed woman

Photo: Public Domain

Disrupting virtual reality

Simon tries out the 8i VR experience

Simon tries out the 8i VR experience Photo: RNZ

A local startup called 8i is trying to take virtual reality technology into our homes, and not just for gaming either. It's just attracted a $20 million dollar investment and won a NZ innovation award. We go and see what the software can do.

Tech news VR, You Tube and OLED TVs

Peter Griffin

Peter Griffin Photo: Supplied

Peter Griffin looks at the future prospects for virtual reality. Also You Tube makes a premium offering, and the next generation of TVs called OLEDs hits NZ.

A family tree for birds

Bird tree of life

Bird tree of life Photo: Supplied

Emily Moriarty Lemmon of Florida State University has found a new, fast, and cheap way of compiling a complete family tree of thousands of bird species using their DNA.