They are the miracle pills that shouldn't really work at all. Placebos come in all shapes and sizes, but they contain no active ingredient. Now they are being shown to help treat pain, depression and even alleviate some of the symptoms of Parkinson's disease. Horizon explores why they work, and how we could all benefit from the hidden power of the placebo.
The latest episode of Medical Frontiers is part of a special series which looks at superfoods around the country. This time we visited Oita Prefecture, where fewer people have died from colorectal cancer over the past 10 years than anywhere else in the country. Research has found that's due to 3 foods the locals eat regularly that help maintain gut health: kabosu citrus fruit, shiitake mushrooms and onions. We'll look at the part these superfoods play in the local diet, share the latest findings on their key components and bring you some healthy, delicious recipes using them.
Stem cells found in the bone marrow are crucial for our health because they are needed to become new blood cells that sustain and protect our bodies. But when the transformation goes wrong, harmful mutations can cause the cells to start replicating without control -- a type of cancer known as leukemia. Danilo Allegra and Dania Puggioni explain how this happens and how certain treatments provide hope for those suffering from the disease.
Dr Kevin Fong examines what can be done to reduce the number of mistakes being made by surgeons in the operating theatre. Speaking to professionals in high-pressure careers - including airline pilots, firemen and Formula One pit workers - he explores the coping mechanisms they each employ when faced with emergency situations, and looks at how these tactics could be transferred to the world of surgery.