Presenter Michael Mosley finds out how the early days of surgery were dark and barbaric, when the surgeon’s knife was more likely to kill you than save you, and invasive medicine generally meant being bloodlet by leeches to within an inch of your life.
Just over 100 years ago, cutting into the brain was a terrifying prospect for both patient and surgeon. They could expect the result to be the surgeon bloodied and defeated, and the patient dead. From freak accidents involving crowbars through the skull to notorious lobotomies with icepicks, this programme reveals how, through mishap and misadventure, brain surgery has become the life-saving discipline it is today.
2009 • Astronomy
With a family history of heart problems, presenter Michael Mosley takes a personal interest in these pioneers, who teetered on the scalpel-edge between saviour and executioner. Michael has a go at heart surgery, meets a man with no heartbeat and witnesses an operation where the patient is cooled until their brain stops and has all of their blood sucked out.
2009 • Health
These days, transplant surgery saves thousands of lives every year and almost everything, from heart to eyes, can be replaced. But in the beginning, transplants killed rather than cured, because surgeons didn’t understand that they were taking on one of the most efficient killing systems we know of – the human immune system.
2009 • Health
Thought of as a modern phenomenon, it actually started over 400 years ago with a spate of botched nose jobs. Since then, surgeons have been entranced with the idea that not only could they fix the body, but could even fix our sense of self-esteem. Presenter Michael Mosley undergoes both 16th-century bondage and 21st-century botox in his journey of discovery.
2009 • Health
After being diagnosed with a rare and deadly form of malignant melanoma - acral lentiginous melanoma - Dr George McGavin embarks on a highly emotional and deeply personal journey as he goes through treatment for his cancer. George’s treatment is targeted drug therapy, using drugs approved for use by the NHS only weeks before his diagnosis. During this journey, he is given unprecedented access to the process and science behind his medical treatment and diagnosis. He also meets some of the most highly regarded scientists in the field of cancer research in his quest to understand not just his disease but what the future holds as a whole for cancer treatment. Amongst them are Professor Sir Michael Stratton, director of the Wellcome Sanger Institute and chief executive officer of the Wellcome Genome Campus, whose work resulted in the discovery of the mutation in the B RAF gene responsible for his form of melanoma. George also travels to Houston, Texas to meet Professor James P Allison, winner of the 2018 Nobel Prize in Medicine, to find out about his pioneering work in the field of immunotherapy - the greatest breakthrough in cancer research in a century. Back home in his own hospital, he meets a unique group of stage four melanoma patients who owe their lives to Professor Allison’s work. Ultimately, his journey culminates when he receives his prognosis, after three months of treatment, which will determine his future. Will these groundbreaking drugs actually work?
2019 • Health
Renowned geneticist and author Spencer Wells reveals how changes in our genetic code have fueled major changes in our appearance and capabilities over time, and why scientists believe we're continuing to rapidly evolve today. By understanding these changes, we are better prepared for the future.
2018 • Health
Angela Rippon investigates the disease that took her mother's life and is now starting to affect her friends. She undergoes a series of tests to discover if she has any early signs of the disease and makes the difficult decision about whether to take a genetic test that could predict her future risk. Along the way, Angela finds out some of the surprising ways people can help to protect themselves. She discovers why getting a good night's sleep could help prevent Alzheimer's and how learning a new language might be more effective than any current drug treatment. Angela also visits a number of people who are living with the disease, including Bob, the husband of one of her oldest friends. She meets families that carry a gene for early-onset Alzheimer's and discovers how they could be the best hope of finding a cure for this devastating disease.
2016 • Health