What helps heal the injured brain of an athlete or soldier? Can the Lake Champlain Basin adapt to climate change? How does acupuncture relieve pain? At local research centers, scientists are looking for ways to help people with traumatic brain injury and painful connective tissue disorders. They are exploring how the Northeast can prepare for a warming world.
Season 5 of Vermont Public Television's "Emerging Science" spotlights people doing research on problems as personal as chronic pain and as global as climate change. The first of four new “Emerging Science” programs will premiere on Wednesday, Oct. 17, at 7:30 p.m. Programs will be rebroadcast the following Saturday at 10:30 a.m. and the following Sunday at 1 p.m. They will also be available on demand at vpt.org.
On Oct. 17, "Climate Change: A Northeast Primer" explores the effect of climate change on habitat, water quality and life in the region. The program hears from farmers in Burlington’s Intervale who lost their 2011 harvest to Tropical Storm Irene. Studies that may help people adapt to an unpredictable future include the work of spouses Tom and Pat Manley, professors of geology at Middlebury College who are studying the movement and composition of Lake Champlain to understand how it will behave as the climate changes, and UVM biologist Nick Gotelli, who experiments on how ants will respond to climate change.
In a scene from Vermont Public Television’s "Emerging Science" program on climate change, researchers Nick Gotelli, Aaron Ellison and Shannon Pelini check a chamber at their Warm Ant project. Located at the Harvard Forest in Massachusetts, the chambers show how ants may respond to climate change. Gotelli is a University of Vermont biologist. The program premieres Wednesday, Oct. 17, at 7:30 p.m.
The program airing Oct. 24, "Acupuncture: A Connective Tale" features the research of University of Vermont neurology professor Helene Langevin, who is exploring the role of connective tissue in acupuncture and the importance of connective tissue to overall health. The episode profiles Vicky Dubois of Burlington, Vt., who suffers from the connective tissue disorder scleroderma.
The Oct. 31 program, "Traumatic Brain Injury in Sports," features research by Kalev Freeman at the University of Vermont’s College of Medicine. It profiles young Kacy Chicoine of Huntington, Vt., whose life has been altered by a series of concussions while playing hockey.
The Nov. 7 program is "Traumatic Brain Injury at War." It focuses on studies by Matt Friedman of the National Center for PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and Tom McAllister of Dartmouth-Hitchcock exploring the association between PTSD and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). Jom Hammack at UVM studies PTSD at a microscopic level. Sgt. Andrew Reeves, a veteran of the Iraq war who was injured by an improvised explosive device in 2004. He has been diagnosed with TBI and PTSD.
Besides four new TV programs, the "Emerging Science" project includes Web content and community events. To spark students’ interest in science, VPT is working with Vermont educators to develop classroom materials and lesson plans for middle school and high school.
Producer of the programs is Anya Huneke. Executive producer is Dorothy Dickie. Vermont EPSCoR is the project’s funder. EPSCoR, the Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research, is designed to fulfill the National Science Foundation’s mandate to promote scientific progress nationwide.