Michael Mosley and James Wong explore the effect that our food has on our most important and, in terms of energy consumption, our greediest organ. It influences our diet by generating cravings for foods such as fat - the most energy-rich food of them all. James heads off to Peru to reveal the surprising link that fat-rich, indulgent chocolate has with breast milk. Sometimes these cravings almost become an addiction - like coffee for example. So we visit a remarkable lab where a team is studying the effect of caffeine on bees and how that may help explain the hold that caffeinated drinks have over us. Together, Michael and James take on some of the hottest chillies on the planet to show what the burn does to our brains. Using the latest imaging techniques and incredibly detailed specialist photography, this is a whole new way of thinking about our relationship with food and the powerful effect it has on our minds.
Horizon investigates a new era of Alzheimer's research, which is bringing hope to millions of sufferers across the world. New scanning and gene technology is allowing scientists to identify the disease at its earliest stages, often 15 years before symptoms appear and the brain cells are destroyed. A series of new drugs trials in Colombia, the USA and Europe are showing startling success in reducing beta amyloid, the protein which is a hallmark of the disease. It is also becoming clear that changes in lifestyle can prevent the development of the disease. A new system inside the brain has been discovered which clears amyloid when we are in deep sleep, but allows it to accumulate if we don't sleep well. The programme reveals that for sufferers in the early stages of the disease, brain connections, or synapses, can be strengthened and even replaced by absorbing enough of the right nutrients. A UK-wide trail helps sufferers in the early stages to concentrate on improving everyday tasks, and in the process not only make their lives easier, but helps to reactivate the planning and organisational parts of the brain. In an ageing world, where the biggest risk of developing Alzheimer's is old age, the scientific breakthroughs in Alzheimer's disease are bringing hope where once there was despair.
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.
Reveals just how dangerous too much fat is to our most vital internal organs. The programme follows a specialist pathology team as they conduct a post-mortem on the body of a 17-stone woman whose body was donated to medical science. Their findings, as they dissect the body and its organs, are startling, exposing the devastating impact of obesity with stunning visuals and fascinating medical facts. Morbid obesity reduces life expectancy by an average of nine years and is blamed for over 30,000 deaths in the UK every year. With 65 per cent of people already overweight or obese, this extraordinary film is a powerful contribution to the debate about fat, food, lifestyle and how the health service will cope with the growing obesity crisis.
2016 • Health
Is sugar the new tobacco? How did the food industry get us to stop asking the question: is sugar toxic? It all starts with a secret PR campaign dating back to the 1970s. For forty years, Big Sugar deflected all threats to its multi-billion dollar empire, while sweetening the world's food supply. As obesity, diabetes, and heart disease rates skyrocket, doctors are now treating the first generation of children suffering from fatty liver disease. The sugar industry is once again under siege. They dodged the bullet once. Can they do it again?
2015 • Health