Since 2003, human DNA has been completely decoded. Scientists are currently working on decoding all of the body's own proteins, the so-called Proteom code - this process is almost complete. From the results, medicine hopes new findings in the search for drugs against cancer, infections, and disease.
2016 • Health
Everybody is talking about Measles – but what does the virus actually do in the body? Is it really so harmful that you need a vaccination? We go deep into the body of an infected person and see what Measles does and how the immune system reacts to it!
More than 150 years ago, Edo, the forerunner of Tokyo, had the highest population of any city in the world. But it was ravaged by large-scale fires more frequently than any other major urban center. Yet after each conflagration, Edo rose from the ashes like a phoenix. We'll take a look at how the city managed to overcome such huge disasters and continue to grow.
Organic food is a huge trend: it promises a healthier and better life. But can Organic food really live up to the expectations or is it just baloney?
We bring you a special episode, celebrating the award of this year's Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine to Tasuku Honjo, Distinguished Professor at Kyoto University. His basic research has led to the development and clinical applications of Opdivo, a groundbreaking new anti-cancer drug that works with immune cells. It has given hope to many cancer patients, and surprised clinical specialists. We'll explore what innovation Opdivo has brought to cancer treatment, and what challenges remain.
The Cholesterol Question is a hard-hitting investigation into the heart of cholesterol’s controversial journey, from essential biological substance to Public Enemy Number One and possible rehab. It’s a villain that’s simple to understand, easy to implicate and, we thought, easy to medicate. But it’s a story almost stranger than fiction. At Stanford University, Dr. Christopher Gardner reveals the debatable science behind our assault on dietary fat and cholesterol – a massive intervention that many believe only made us fatter and sicker.
A fresh perspective on autism research with the developing "Bacterial Theory" of autism. The fastest-growing developmental disorder in the industrialized world, autism has increased an astounding 600 per cent over the last 20 years. Science cannot say why. Some say it's triggered by environmental factors and point to another intriguing statistic: 70 per cent of kids with autism also have severe gastrointestinal symptoms. Could autism actually begin in the gut? The Autism Enigma looks at the progress of an international group of scientists who are studying the gut's amazingly diverse and powerful microbial ecosystem for clues to the baffling disorder.
If you’ve been to a children’s birthday party lately, chances are at least one of the little guests had a portable needle loaded with epinephrine. Its standard equipment for a growing generation of highly allergic kids: more than three times as many children have food allergies now than twenty years ago. And one out of every three children is now allergic to foods, animals, or plants. Something puzzling, and frightening, is going on with our immune systems. The Allergy Fix travels across Canada and to the US, the UK and Germany to investigate why allergies are on the rise – and what’s being done about it.
Lyme disease, a mysterious tick-borne illness, is the fastest spreading vector-borne disease in the United States, and over the past decade, the tick that carries Lyme has been spreading across Canada with alarming speed. Ticked Off: The Mystery of Lyme Disease, is a fascinating and eye-opening documentary that explores a disease that has devastating effects, is often misdiagnosed and mistreated, and continues to be mired in a medical controversy. More than 30,000 cases are reported in the USA every year, but the real number could be as high as 300,000. And despite hard evidence that the Lyme-carrying, deer tick has already established populations across Canada, some people claim that patients here are still being told that they cannot contract Lyme in this country. Doctors agree that if it’s caught early Lyme disease can usually be cured with two to four weeks of antibiotics. There are others who believe that if it’s not caught early, the infection can develop into a debilitating condition they call Chronic Lyme. Yet unlike West Nile, Encephalitis or SARS, where the medical profession and scientists joined forces to find better treatments or a cure, many patients, who claim to have chronic Lyme, say that they are being denied treatment and left to suffer. So why is this happening?
From Oscar-nominated director Scott Hamilton Kennedy (The Garden) and narrated by Neil deGrasse Tyson, Food Evolution investigates the brutally polarized debate surrounding GMOs and our food. Traveling from Hawaiian papaya groves to banana farms in Uganda to the cornfields of Iowa, Food Evolution wrestles with the emotions and the science driving one of the most heated arguments of our time.
2018 • Health
Just as humans have always sought food to survive, we have also sought the means to preserve that food. Right from the very moment of a kill or a harvest, food begins to break down. With preservation, we can plan for times of scarcity during times of plenty.
From the first row of planted crops, the practice of agriculture rendered man's hunter-gatherer lifestyles obsolete in favor of settled life and stable food supplies. This led to a skyrocketing population and enabled humans to develop skills outside of gathering the food needed to survive.
Nearly half of us take a vitamin or mineral supplement every day, but what are these pills sold on every high street actually doing for us? Digging deeper than the eye catching words on the packaging, Dr Giles Yeo investigates who really needs a supplement by putting our diets to the test.
Could a machine replace your doctor? Dr Hannah Fry explores the incredible ways AI is revolutionising healthcare - and what this means for all of us. This film chronicles the inside story of the AI health revolution, as one company, Babylon Health, prepare for a man vs machine showdown. Can Babylon succeed in their quest to prove their AI can outperform human doctors at safe triage and accurate diagnosis?
Periodontal disease affects more people worldwide than any other illness, according to the Guinness World Records. It destroys gum and bone, eventually causing teeth to fall out. Periodontal disease may also be linked to life-threatening illnesses, such as pneumonia and diabetes. One drawback of standard treatments is that it's difficult to restore damaged tissue. But a drug developed in Japan regenerates gum and bone, and saves teeth. We'll also look at ways to maintain good oral hygiene, even when disaster strikes.
Hear firsthand from individuals struggling with addiction and follow the cutting-edge work of doctors and scientists as they investigate why addiction is not a moral failing, but a chronic, treatable medical condition. Easy access to drugs like heroin, fentanyl, and even prescription medications like OxyContin has fueled an epidemic of addiction - the deadliest in US history. Now, science is revealing how addiction affects the brain, and top experts are gathering evidence about how we should address our drug problem, from embracing evidence-based treatments, to rethinking public policies.
Many clinical trials target the nation's most acute health issues. With deaths from liver disease soaring by 40 per cent in a decade, more and more patients are waiting for vital liver transplants. There is a shortage of organ donors and many donated organs are rejected as only those in excellent condition are considered suitable for a transplant procedure. Surgeons Richard Laing and Thamara Perera are part of a team at QEHB trialling a revolutionary way to tackle this crisis, by maximising the number of donor organs that can be safely re-used. The film follows the trial every step of the way, as Richard receives a donor liver that would usually be rejected and tries to prove it is viable for transplant by rejuvenating and testing it on a perfusion machine. This machine sustains the liver by mimicking the supply of blood, oxygen and nutrients an organ receives inside a live, healthy human body. Once the donor liver has proved itself fit for transplant, the surgical team start to remove grandmother Connie O'Driscoll's severely diseased liver. Once the donor liver has been disconnected from the perfusion machine, they have just 20 minutes to place it in Connie's body and plumb it into the complex and delicate network of hepatic blood vessels.
Two procedures so formidable, they would not have been attempted even a few years ago. Surgical teams at the Queen Elizabeth are constantly pushing the limits of what is possible. But despite state-of-the-art diagnostic scanning, sometimes cancer surgeons don't know exactly what they are up against until they open the patient up on the operating table. Even with the most meticulous planning, sometimes they must resort to taking critical decisions live in the theatre. 74-year-old Jasmine Harkness has been referred to the specialist sarcoma unit with a vast tumour in her abdomen, weighing more than three stone - a third of her total body weight. It is consuming her, displacing organs including her stomach and liver. Unless it can be removed, she has just four weeks to live. Sarcoma specialists Sam Ford and Professor David Gourevitch can't be sure whether they will be able to save Jasmine until they open her up and inspect her anatomy. Such is the risk of this surgery - five years ago they would not have embarked on this intervention. Sue Sinclair, lead anaesthetist and matriarch of theatre, keeps the others in check - working alongside them as they battle to detach the tumour from Jasmine's organs and blood vessels, and remove it intact. Whenever it presses heavily on vital blood vessels, Jasmine's blood pressure plummets, placing her life in grave danger. It will take unwavering focus to keep her alive. The tumour has grown so invasively that it has crushed and displaced Jasmine's internal organs. Sam and David have a puzzle on their hands to identify what and where everything is. At times, dark humour is the only way to release the tension as they grapple with blood, guts and mind-boggling complexity.
Specialist maxillofacial surgeons Tim Martin and Sat Parmar prepare for a marathon operation on 53-year-old Teresa. Four weeks ago, Teresa was diagnosed with a fast-growing cancerous tumour in her face and she will die within weeks unless it is removed. The procedure involves radical surgery to the entire right-hand side of her face, and means she will lose both her upper jaw and right eye. It is an enormous undertaking for Teresa, and for Tim and Sat, too. Using 3D imaging, the team plan how to remove the tumour and, most importantly, how they will rebuild Teresa's face. Tim and Sat are all too aware that whilst removing the tumour will save her life, it will be devastating if she is left disfigured and unable to face the world. To give her the best possible outcome, they intend to fill the cavity left in Teresa's face with a section of bone and muscle removed from her hip, using a 3D-printed plastic guide that helps them cut out the correct shape bone.
The brain was once thought to be the body's control tower, issuing commands to the other organs. But scientists are discovering that communication flows between all the organs in our bodies. They transmit messages that can boost immunity, improve memory, strengthen bones and even lengthen lifespan. Innovative treatments are being developed to harness the power of this hidden network. But what happens when there's a communication breakdown? We look for clues using the latest technology.
2018 • Health
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.
Cataract and glaucoma are eye diseases that progress by aging. Both are severe diseases that can cause blindness, but in Japan, unique treatment methods and causes are being investigated. For cataracts, the world is paying attention to a Japanese doctor who has devised an innovative surgical method which is in just over 3 minutes. And distinctive research is progressing at Japanese universities as to what kind of ingredients can delay the progression of glaucoma. How can we save people from blindness? Explore with us the forefront of Japanese ophthalmic medical care.
A treatment method that overturns a common sense of the medical community that "the brain cell does not regenerate" has been developed in Japan, and its practical application is imminent. The key to the treatment are "stem cells", which regenerate various body tissues on a daily basis. Japanese researchers have discovered that stem cells, which have been thought to be absent in adult brains, actually exist in small numbers. A therapy that stimulates brain stem cells in an innovative way and regenerates the brain is entering the final phase of a clinical trial.
A treatment developed in Japan can dramatically improve stroke aftereffects such as paralysis. Until recently, medical experts thought that after 6 months, stroke patients would see little improvement, even with intensive rehabilitation. A treatment called transcranial magnetic stimulation, or TMS, is overturning that idea. Using magnetic pulses to stimulate the brain, it has helped people improve movement and speech, sometimes years after a stroke. We'll also learn how to spot a stroke and help with rehabilitation at home.
Chronic lower back pain can be both debilitating and frustrating. The cause is often unclear, making it difficult to treat. As a result, many people give up on medical treatment. Now, researchers in Japan are using new approaches that target the body and the brain to successfully offer relief. One therapy eases pain with injections of saline solution. In another, a simple exercise helps people overcome the fear of pain and promotes recovery.
Series Final. For those suffering from a chronic illness or degenerative disease, our rapidly evolving world is offering more promise for a cure than ever before. But with so many treatment options and so much conflicting information available, it's also becoming more difficult for those suffering to make critical treatment decisions.
Youth may be wasted on the young, but luckily, you can buy it back. People are using everything from face-lifts to second skin tech to keep their youthful advantage. However, with so many unproven therapies on the market, how many actually work?
NOVA takes you inside the operating room to witness organ transplant teams transferring organs from donors to recipients. Meet families navigating both sides of a transplant, and researchers working to end the organ shortage. Their efforts to understand organ rejection, discover ways to keep organs alive outside the body, and even grow artificial organs with stem cells, could save countless lives.
Benjamin Woolley presents the gripping story of Nicholas Culpeper, the 17th century radical pharmacist who took on the establishment in order to bring medicine to the masses. Culpeper lived during one of the most tumultuous periods in British history. When the country was ravaged by famine and civil war, he took part in the revolution that culminated in the execution of King Charles I. But it is Culpeper's achievements in health care that made him famous. By practicing (often illegally) as a herbalist and publishing the first English-language texts explaining how to treat common ailments, he helped to break the monopoly of a medical establishment that had abandoned the poor and needy. His book The English Physician became the most successful non-religious English book of all time, remaining in print continuously for more than 350 years.
2007 • Health
Explained examines why diets are often unsuccessful. It looks at the science that suggests that low carb, low fat, and body type diets as well as supplements and detoxification regimes simple do not work in helping most people lose weight. While the diet industry pushes us to avoid calories the food industry encourage us to eat more of them.
This brings viewers the most complete picture of the process of organ donation and transplantation ever put on screen. Based at The Freeman Hospital in Newcastle, one of Europe's leading multi-organ transplant centres, the film follows a group of seven patients ranging in age from eight months to 56 years old, all in desperate need of a new heart.
2018 • Health
100 years ago a new word in medicine was invented: “vitamin". This year the world will spend over $100 billion on vitamins and supplements. Dr. Derek Muller takes us on a world-spanning investigation of vitamin science and history, asking how do we decide whether to take vitamin supplements or not?
2018 • Health
Food Choices focuses on how the food we consume affects not only our personal health, but that of the entire planet. Filmmaker Michael Siewierski takes an in-depth look at how the consumption of animal products has a long-lasting, negative effect on the earth’s biosphere. Not only does he report on facts relating to the unethical treatment of animals raised for human consumption, but he also addresses the addition of genetically modified organisms (GMOs) and antibiotics to animal feed. This trickle-down effect results in the poisoning of both our bodies and the planet.
2016 • 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
Whether they make you fat, fart, or freak out, microbes play a central role in your life. Right beneath your nose—on your face, in your gut, and everywhere in between—trillions of bacteria, viruses, and fungi are so abundant in your body, they outnumber your human cells. But these aren’t just nasty hitch-hikers. Many are crucial to your survival. Evidence suggests that a diverse microbiome can keep you healthy and, conversely, a damaged one could kill you. NOVA Wonders peers into this microscopic world to discover the fascinating, bizarre, and downright surprising secrets of the human microbiome, including the world’s largest stool bank, which transforms raw stool into life-saving poop pills.
Fresh or processed, white or red - how does meat measure up? It's been getting a lot of bad press recently with new links to cancer and heart disease. But 98 per cent of us in the UK are still meat eaters. Chris Bavin, a greengrocer by trade and a carnivore by nature, wants to know if he can keep meat in his diet and stay healthy. He teams up with top scientists to put meat under the microscope and examine it as never before. They follow 40 volunteers on a groundbreaking study to find out exactly how much meat is good for us, test whether paying more for chicken makes it any better for us, discover a way to dramatically reduce the health risks associated with processed meats and reveal an unlikely lean supermeat that won't break the bank.
2016 • Health
An ambitious account of the story of human physiology in a feature-length dramatised documentary. Harnessing the magic of the most modern visual effects, we tell the story of the human body—inside and out—as it lives, grows, and dies on this predestined journey we call life. This unique National Geographic docudrama traces the life of a man, Adam, from the Cradle to the Grave, explaining the science behind our highs and lows, the rites of passage we all go through and exploring the inner workings of our bodies and how they change through time. The 90-year-old narrator, Adam, reflects on his life from conception through boyhood, adolescence and beyond, revealing the events that shape him. Along the way we meet the class bully, Adam's first love and the sergeant major preparing him and fellow recruits for Vietnam. With the aid of stunning computer-generated visuals, we go under the skin to reveal how Adam's body responds to major life events, and his story is told in dramatic scenes from the 1950s to the present day.
2016 • Health
What are the principles behind Homeopathy and does it work?
By 2050 the world’s population is estimated to reach over 9 billion, 30% larger than it currently is. If we continue to farm and eat the way we do today, we’d potentially need an additional landmass the size of Europe to produce enough food to meet the growing demand. So what does the future of food look like and how will we grow enough food for us all to eat in the years to come? In Tonight’s programme we visit some of the urban ventures that are maximising the use of public space to grow fruit and vegetables and teach the next generation how to farm. We speak to the owner of an indoor miniature farm housed inside a small shop about the new aquaponic technology he uses, and we go 100 feet below ground to see how one entrepreneur is growing high-value salad crops in old WWII bomb shelters, four storeys beneath the London Underground!
Seventy years ago, when the coldest thing in your house was a pantry, most of the food we ate was harvested, sent straight to the shops and would have been on our plates before it started to go off. However, the advent of the home freezer and advances in various preservation techniques changed all of that and now we’re used to eating what we want, when we want, regardless of the time of year when the food is actually grown. So how do they keep the food for so long? And does the quality stay the same?
With more research being done into the link between what we eat and how we feel, the health-food industry is booming, and so-called superfoods are leading the way. Many people admit to buying such products because they believe they make them feel significantly better - but is this true? Jonathan Maitland investigates whether superfood claims are fact or fiction
One in five families eat convenience foods at least three times a week and a government survey showed only one in six mothers cook from scratch every day. In the first of four food programmes over the next fortnight, the Tonight programme investigates why some of us can’t cook or won’t cook and what can be done to get Britain back in the kitchen. The UK has the largest consumption of ready meals in Europe. It’s no surprise; they are cheap, convenient and easy. A few minutes in a microwave and dinner is served. But for some families the ready meal isn’t always the first choice, it’s sometimes the only choice.
Sleep has long been regarded as nothing more than a way to charge our batteries. But what if it can control our weight, allow us to make memories, and help us to fight off diseases like Alzheimer’s? We travel the world to investigate how revolutionary new technology has revealed the sleeping brain as an energetic and purposeful machine.
2016 • Health
Channel 4 investigation looks into Coca Cola’s fight back on the incoming sugar tax, its close ties with influential scientists and some of the private lengths they are going to undermine a raft of public policy initiatives. The Coca Cola Company controls half the global soft drinks market; the one issue at the top of their agenda is a sugar tax.
If you were told you could get fit with just a few minutes of exercise a week would you believe it? Anja Taylor looks at whether exercise impacts aging and if changes in your mitochondria resulting from exercise effectively retard aging.
Thousands of chemicals are used in everyday products – in our water, our food and in the air we breathe. It’s the chemical soup of modern life and it’s virtually impossible to escape them. Is there adequate regulation and testing, or are we in the midst of an uncontrolled, human experiment?
Chris Packham invites us inside his autistic world to try to show what it is really like being him. For most of his life, broadcaster and naturalist Chris didn't tell anyone about the one thing that in many ways has defined his entire existence. Chris is autistic - he has Asperger's Syndrome, which means he struggles in social situations, has difficulty with human relationships and is, by his own admission, 'a little bit weird'. But what if there was a way of taking away these autistic traits? Would Chris ever choose to be 'normal'? Chris's long-term partner Charlotte discusses the problems Asperger's creates in their relationship, and Chris travels to America to witness radical therapies that appear to offer the possibility of entirely eradicating problematic autistic traits.
2017 • Health
This programme explores the way our experiences shape our minds and bodies as we make the journey from the most helpless to the most sophisticated organism on earth. Dr Chris and Dr Xand van Tullekan uncover how we develop new skills - whether riding a bike or learning to walk.
In this programme, Drs Chris and Xand van Tulleken discover the everyday miracles that keep you alive. They explore the extraordinary lengths our bodies go to in order to keep our organs working at every moment of every day.
Over your lifetime you undergo an extraordinary change - no other animal on earth goes through such a dramatic metamorphosis. In this programme, Chris and Xand van Tulleken explore the latest understanding of how we all grow.
Do you know when an advert is really an advert? Can you be sure that the game you're playing isn't trying to make you buy something? When it comes to protecting our children from sugary food, the world of online advertising is the new frontier. Harry Wallop investigates and finds big name brands marketing fattening food in the games children play. Dispatches goes undercover in the ad world, creating a high-sugar drink to see who's willing to promote it to young children, and revealing the tricks of the trade.
2014 • Health
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.
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.
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.
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.
The use of embryonic stem cells has ignited fierce debate across the spiritual and political spectrum. But what if we could create manmade stem cells - or find super cells in adults that could forever replace embryonic cells and remove the controversy? Today, we are on the brink of a new era - an age where we may be able to cure our bodies of any illness. Stephen Hawking has spent his life exploring the mysteries of the cosmos, now there is another universe that fascinates him - the one hidden inside our bodies - our own personal galaxies of cells. Hawking takes us on a fascinating journey exploring what these wondrous and baffling mechanisms are capable of. He is joined by the scientists who are on the front lines of discovery in this field including Dr. Doris Taylor who is customizing a donor's heart with the recipient's stem cells - her goal is to revolutionize heart transplants, Dr. Paul Lu and Dr. Mark Tuszynski may have created a breakthrough that could cure paralysis, and Dr. Vincent Giampapa who believes that stem cells can be used to stem the tide of aging and create a fountain of youth.
2014 • Health
Psychopaths have long captured the public imagination. Painted as charismatic, violent predators lacking in all empathy, they provide intrigue and horror in equal measure. But what precisely is a psychopath? What is it that drives them to cause harm, even kill? And can they ever be cured? Presented by psychologist professor Uta Frith, this is an in-depth exploration of the psychopathic mind including one of the most notorious of all, Moors murderer Ian Brady. Through an ongoing correspondence between the Horizon team and Brady, the film features some of the very last letters he wrote. The film also features a series of candid interviews with prison inmates who not only describe their crimes but why they think they committed them. Horizon explores not only how each individual's crimes were shaped by their own life experiences, but also gives an insight into how these people think and behave. Working with the world's experts in the field, the film sheds light on the biological, psychological and environmental influences that shape a psychopath. And it looks to the future, with groundbreaking research that suggests a lifetime of incarceration is not the only option to manage violent and dangerous psychopaths.
Is there any way to slow or even prevent the ravages of time? Veteran presenter Johnny Ball looks back over the 45 years that Horizon, and he, have been on air to find out what science has learned about how and why we grow old. Charting developments from macabre early claims of rejuvenation to the latest cutting-edge breakthroughs, Johnny discovers the sense of a personal mission that drives many scientists and asks whether we are really any closer to achieving the dream of immortality.
In recent years, eating has become a health hazard. We love our potato chips, candy, and fast food…however bad they are for our health. And we still continue to consume these products in ever greater quantities. After the war on tobacco, a new battle is underway: the fight for healthier food. So, why do we consume so much processed food and why are we so hooked on it? How exactly does the relentless agribusiness keep us coming back for more? How does it mold our tastes, influence our cravings and feed our addictions? The few independent researchers who dare raise concerns about processed food are often ignored. Opposite them, the giant multinationals who fund the majority of research into nutrition are highly organized, and present at every level of decision-making. They are even involved in government campaigns on nutrition and health. Remi, our French-American reporter, will investigate current eating habits in Europe and America, and meet those involved in this new global food war. We will hear from scientists tracking sugar addiction, the businessmen playing on our weaknesses, legal experts preparing to challenge the might of the industry, and simple lovers of good food. A compelling documentary that reveals the latest ways the agribusiness is trying to tempt us, and the ways we as consumers can try to resist.
2013 • Health
As his name suggests, rapper and documentary maker Professor Green has a past relationship with cannabis. Before finding success as a musician he sold weed, and between the ages of 16 and 24 he smoked cannabis every day - but things have changed since then. With those days behind him, Professor Green, aka Stephen Manderson, embarks on a uniquely personal film to take an in-depth look at our relationship with Britain’s most popular illegal drug and explores the arguments for and against legalisation. Stephen explores today’s booming UK cannabis industry, from the realities of life as a dealer, grower and even weed robber, to the consumers with ever-increasing options about how and what they buy. With cannabis laws around the world now changing – as US States like California fully legalise the drug – Stephen meets those hoping to make their future millions out of legalisation here in the UK. As he comes to reflect on his background and wrestle with his own past, Stephen explores addiction and the links between cannabis use and mental health.
2017 • Health
Gloria and Chris settle the argument over whether tea and coffee are good or bad for us - and if the same is true for both. There is also the truth about a food often touted as a way to fight cancer. And, after reports suggesting reusing plastic water bottles is a bad idea, tests reveal if we should be using a fresh one every time.
Geneticist Spencer Wells presents a broad view of the DNA Testing industry from its beginnings to its broader acceptance by the general public. Now an individual can, for the first time in history, read his own genetic blueprints.
What is a virus? How does it affect humans and how does it spread? Doctors, virologists and scientists examine the spread of the Zika virus, what effect this growing epidemic may have on large populations, and possible next steps to stop the illness.
2016 • Health
Following the release of his book on the gut, Dr Michael Mosley returns to Insight for a discussion with fellow experts and ordinary Australians about how the gut can play an integral role in our overall physical and mental health.Increasingly, research is shedding light on the previously mysterious world of the gut and the 1-2 kilograms of microbes that live there, forming each person's unique microbiome , the genetic ecosystem of bacteria, viruses, fungi and other organisms that lives inside and on our bodies from birth. This week's Insight tackles the ground-breaking science and personal stories around the gut's potential to change our lives.
2017 • Health
We look at scientific research that links the way babies are born with health in later life, particularly the increased risk of children developing certain immune-related conditions, including asthma, type 1 diabetes, obesity, cardio-vascular diseases, mental health disorders and even some cancers.
2015 • Health
Episode 4 – reveals the surprising impact sugar can have on our health. The added sugars in most packaged foods are one of the deadliest ingredients in our modern diet. But the naturally-occurring sugars, antioxidants and nutrients found in most fruits and berries make these sweet treats some of the healthiest foods on our planet.
Episode 3 – spotlights some of nature's tiniest packages that deliver a powerful protein punch. Protein is an essential component of our diet, and for centuries, products of animal origin were thought to be one of the best sources. But, new evidence proves diets high in beans are one of the most important dietary predictors of survival for older people around the world.
Episode 2 – exposes how the industrial revolution opened the floodgates for highly-processed convenience foods that became "our daily bread." But those pseudo-grains are known to contribute to chronic disease. Natural, whole grains support longevity and lower the risk of heart disease. Grain of Truth also explores the debate over gluten as a dietary evil.
Episode 1 – explores the extraordinary health benefits of plant-based diets and the amazing revolution taking place on how we approach our relationship with food. Dr. Greger outlines how a diet comprised of whole, plant-based foods can dramatically improve well-being and longevity.
For 70 years we've waged war against harmful bacteria using antibiotics. But bacteria are fighting back and today more and more bacterial infections are becoming resistant to antibiotics. Drug-resistant superbugs are spreading; not just MRSA - also TB, pneumonia, e-coli. In Britain, hundreds are already dying of these infections - mainly the very young or the frail and elderly. But experts warn that unless we crack the problem, by 2050 we'll be facing a massive health crisis with over 10 million people dying of resistant bacterial infection worldwide every year.
2017 • Health
The World Health Organisation has described stress as 'the health epidemic of the 21st century'. In this programme Fiona Phillips wants to understand why we are experiencing increased amounts of stress in our lives and what actions we can take in order to reduce it. Fiona explores some of the very latest scientific research behind stress and demonstrates a number of techniques and lifestyle changes which are designed to keep our high stress levels in check.
2017 • Health
For hundreds of years, psychiatry has treated voices and hallucinations as an enemy - regarding them as 'insanity' or 'madness' and seeing them as something to be quashed and even frightened of. But today, new scientific and psychological insights into how the brain works are leading to a radical rethink on what such experiences are - and how they should be treated. Horizon follows three people living with voices, hallucinations and paranoia, to explore what causes this kind of phenomena. Providing a rare first-hand insight into these experiences, they reveal just what it is like to live with them day to day. They examine the impact of social, biological and environmental influences on conditions traditionally associated with insanity, such as schizophrenia and psychosis, and within the film they look at how new ways of understanding the brain are leading to a dramatic change in treatments and approaches, and examine whether targeting the root causes of psychosis can lead to recovery. Above all, they try to uncover why it happened to them - and whether it could happen to you.
Our lifespan is increasing by 2.5 years every decade - and a third of all babies born today can expect to live to 100. But living longer can come at a cost. Old age itself brings with it a range of debilitating illnesses, many of which are the result of accumulating damage during our lifetime. Three diseases in particular have become the main killers in the developed world - cancer, heart disease and dementia. But a revolution in bio-medicine is now offering new hope for the treatment of these ailments, and the potential to extend our lives still further. Methods such as gene editing and stem cell therapies are transforming the way medicine can conquer disease today. These extreme frontiers of medicine do, however, also come with a range of ethical dilemmas - when is the right time to try out an experimental technique on a patient? Should we gene edit human embryos? And is it right to use cells from aborted foetuses for medical treatments?
In this episode, Gabriel uncovers the cases of an engineer who fixed his own heart, a toddler whose bones were repaired before he was even born and a girl whose immune system attacked her own brain. We meet a man who can taste words and find out how his condition is helping develop new ways to enable blind people to navigate and even recognise colours. And we encounter a man who was immobilised by MS but can now cycle and scuba-dive thanks to a pioneering new treatment that has reversed his disease.
This time, we meet a girl with two hearts, a man who can sing two notes at once, a woman who can bend in amazing ways, a girl who is allergic to everything and a man who can run 350 miles without stopping. These remarkable cases reveal the secret inner workings of our bodies - the ultimate piece of natural engineering.
This time, we meet a man who feels no pain, a woman who can smell Parkinson's disease, a man who can remember every face he has ever seen and a survivor of a head injury who woke up to find he could suddenly play the piano. These remarkable cases are shedding new light on one of the most mysterious parts of the human body - our brain.
In this episode, we take a look at the human body's amazing capacity for survival. We meet a man who injects himself with deadly snake venom, a woman who leads a normal life with only half a brain, a girl who collapses 50 times a day and the only man in the world to be completely cured of HIV.
This week, we meet a girl whose heart has formed outside her ribcage, a man who can spend nine minutes underwater without taking a breath, a woman who is growing a second skeleton and a paralysed man who is regaining movement thanks to a chip implanted into his brain that can 'read' his brain signals.
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.
Michael heads to Spain to search for some of the most powerful tastes on the planet, whilst James travels high in the Peruvian Andes to discover how a bitter potato - a cousin of the humble spud - has been tamed to help the inhabitants survive the extreme altitude. Using the latest imaging techniques to take us inside our food, right down to the molecular level, Michael and James offer us a whole new way of thinking about taste: far more than being just delicious, it's actually a matter of survival.
In the opening episode, they explore how this chemistry fuels and builds our bodies. Michael begins by trying the first meal most of us enjoyed, human breast milk, which contains everything a baby needs - fats, carbs, vitamins and minerals. As we grow, we continue to seek the same chemistry in our diet but from a wide variety of scrumptious fare as Michael and James discover. In San Francisco, they unravel why sourdough bread is so good for us, in the Philippines, they learn how a river weed - rice - has become a comforting staple food, and in Bulgaria, they discover why letting your mushrooms sunbathe may help you get a calcium boost from your dairy food.
Our hard-wired stress response is designed to gives us the quick burst of heightened alertness and energy needed to perform our best. But stress isn’t all good. When activated too long or too often, stress can damage virtually every part of our body. Sharon Horesh Bergquist gives us a look at what goes on inside our body when we are chronically stressed.
Nearly one-third of adults engage in problem drinking at some point in their lives. Health professionals assess drinkers at risk on a spectrum ranging from low-risk to an alcohol use disorder that can range from mild to severe. Risky Drinking challenges viewers to recognize when their drinking may be putting them at risk and offers information that could help millions of people lead healthier lives. Through case studies and expert analysis, the film investigates the broad spectrum of risky drinking at different ages and stages in people’s lives,
2017 • Health
As new parents can attest, children develop so much in the first year of their life it's hard to keep up. From the moment they draw their initial breath - itself an incredibly complicated biological feat - to their first steps, it's a year of remarkable development. In The Science of Babies, Nat Geo explores the amazing biomechanical benchmarks achieved in the first 12 months of human life. Using CGI, fMRI and other tools, viewers can watch as a baby's lungs draw breath for the first time, and can witness the heart grow exponentially in order to power this incredible developing creature. Perhaps even more fascinating is the manner in which the neurosynapses develop, creating the essence of what will become a new personality and intellect. This film explores the amazing mechanics behind the initial milestones in a human infant's life, and even compares them to babies of other species. Beyond simply being a beautiful film to watch, the technology that Nat Geo uses to help tell the tale is remarkable.
2007 • Health
Imagine if the food you eat could 'clean' your body and make you feel well. Dr Giles Yeo investigates the latest diet craze and social media sensation - clean eating. In a television first, Giles cooks with Ella Mills, the Instagram entrepreneur behind Deliciously Ella, one of the most popular brands associated with clean eating, and examines how far her plant-based cooking is based on science. She tells him clean has lost its way: "Clean now implies dirty and that's negative. I haven't used it, but as far as I understood it when I first read the term, it meant natural, kind of unprocessed, and now it doesn't mean that at all. It means diet, it means fad". Giles sifts through the claims of the Hemsley sisters, who advocate not just gluten-free but grain-free cooking, and Natasha Corrett, who popularises alkaline eating through her Honestly Healthy brand. In America, Giles reveals the key alternative health figures whose food philosophies are influencing the new gurus of clean. He discovers that when it comes to their promises about food and our health, all is not always what it appears to be. Inside a Californian ranch where cancer patients have been treated with alkaline food, Giles sees for himself what can happen when pseudoscience is taken to a shocking extreme.
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
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
Fiona Phillips teams up with leading scientists to look at how to eat and drink to good health, and she uncovers some surprising truths. She reveals which cheap, everyday foods can give us all the benefits of so-called superfoods at a fraction of the price and why frying can be the healthiest way to cook. Fiona becomes a human guinea pig to test some of the top-selling health drinks and supplements. She investigates whether antioxidant smoothies really give us the healthy boost we think and discovers why multivitamin pills might do us more harm than good. In a unique experiment with scientists from Aston and Liverpool John Moores universities, she sets out to find the healthiest breakfast, and discovers why we'd be better off with bacon and eggs rather than cereal and fruit. To find out whether we can really detoxify our bodies, she puts some popular detox foods and drinks to the test and reveals why we're better off with fresh foods and the odd glass of wine.
2016 • Health
As a woman in New York City leans over a table, about to inhale a line of cocaine, she is unknowingly part of a $30 billion a year industry — an illegal empire governed by fear and violence, bribery and corruption, all spiraling out of control and turning Mexico and the southern border of the United States into one of the deadliest places on earth. In this probing, incisive investigation into the bloodstained path taken by cocaine we travel backwards from the end user in the U.S. all the way to the drug's source high in the South American mountains. We meet the dealers, traffickers, smugglers and farmers who together form its production and distribution chain, as well as the law enforcement agencies and individuals whose mission is to shut the deadly trade down. The cocaine industry is littered with unimaginable sums of cash and more than 35,000 murders in the past five years. Much of this violence occurs on the border between the United States and Mexico. This is just one aspect of the cocaine epidemic which is explored in the feature-length documentary Cocaine: History Between the Lines. This two-hour special goes inside the history of the second most used illicit drug in America. The human appetite for this narcotic goes all the way back to 3000 B.C., when South Americans chewed coca leaves thinking they were a gift from God. But it wasn't until 1855, when cocaine was first extracted from the coca leaf and used in powder form that its use spiked. Initially it was utilized as an anesthesia. Soon, famed psychologist Sigmund Freud touted it as an effective cure for depression and impotence. In 1886, John Pemberton, an Atlanta pharmacist, added it to his new soft drink: Coca Cola or Coke for short. In 1914, the drug was outlawed, but the damage had been done. The 70's ushered in another boost in the drug's use fueled in part by new drug cartels in South America. To combat cocaine's rise, the Reagan administration started the War on Drugs in the 80's. That hasn't stopped the proliferation of the drug in cities across America or with the cartels that continue to feed at the trough of this $30 billion dollar a year business. Cocaine use may have peaked decades ago, but it's never gone away. With the advent of crack cocaine in the 1980s, the trade became deadlier and more toxic than ever before. The high demand for the product has rendered more than 70% of Mexico under the control of the smuggling trade. American law enforcement agencies from Texas to California are fearful that this nefarious element will soon enter their country unchallenged. According to the officers interviewed in the film, border security is lax, and bureaucrats in Washington are doing little to remedy the crisis. For them, the discovery of a dismembered body – whether it be a trafficker, illegal immigrant or innocent bystander - has become a daily occurrence. This harsh reality is lost on most of the users themselves, who run the gamut from the hippest clubbers to the homeless population across America. Each user profiled in the film shares their experiences with the alluring white powder. Whether they use the drug recreationally or habitually, they have all witnessed the hold it can have on a life. From the personal to the political, Cocaine: History Between the Lines is a comprehensive account of a drug that has left much devastation in its wake.
2011 • Health
The acerbically witty and severely facially disfigured broadcaster Adam Pearson presents a personal film about genetics. He and his twin brother Neil are genetically identical and both share the same genetic disease, Neurofibromatosis 1 (Nf1) - yet they are completely different. Adam's face is covered with growths, whereas Neil has none. Neil has short term memory loss, whereas Adam is razor sharp. How can the same genetic disease affect identical twins so differently? Adam is on the cusp of a successful film and television career, but the disease has left tumours on his face that are growing out of control and he could lose his sight. For years, everyone thought Adam's brother Neil had escaped symptoms, but today his life is governed by epilepsy and a mysterious memory loss that suddenly came on during his teens. Determined to save their future, Adam tries to find out why the disease affects the twins so differently.
A countdown show looking at the shocking truth behind what we eat and the often dangerous and misguided methods we adopt in order to lose weight. Scientists, industry experts and exponents discuss the pros and cons of fad diets, 'healthy' foods and extreme exercise regimes. We all know about the benefits of exercise, good diet, looking good and living a healthy lifestyle, but most of the things that are good for us can bring side-effects that are precisely the opposite. Incontinence, infertility, infected genitalia, energy drink madness, hip replacements and even death are commonplace among the beautiful people – as are botched surgeries, extremely dangerous self-harming diets and bizarre exercise programmes.
2013 • Health
Panorama looks at the breakthrough that could change the lives of everyone and everything on the planet. Gene editing is revolutionising medical research and could deliver new treatments - even cures for a host of diseases. It also gives scientists control over evolution, allowing genetic changes to be forced through species. But some are worried about letting the gene genie out of the bottle.
Over 62 per cent of adults in the UK are currently overweight or obese and this figure is set to rise. A common attitude is that obese people should be ashamed - it is their fault, they have no will power and if they could just 'eat less and exercise more', the problem would soon be solved. Yet, despite millions of pounds being spent on this simple message, the UK is getting fatter every year. Cambridge geneticist Dr Giles Yeo believes that for many obese people, simply eating less is a lot harder than you might think - and he is taking a road trip around the UK and America to uncover why. He meets the real people behind some of the more shocking newspaper headlines and, through their stories, reveals surprising truths which dispel commonly held myths about obesity. He gains access to scientists and doctors trialling cutting-edge techniques to tackle the crisis - from a 'miracle' hormone injection to a transfusion of faecal matter, and even learns a thing or two about his own size and relationship with food.
A&E doctor Javid Abdelmoneim is on a mission to find out the truth about alcohol. In January, the government released its new alcohol guidelines. For men, the recommended weekly limit was cut by a third to 14 units per week, equivalent to about seven pints of beer, bringing it in line with the amount recommended for women. So what is behind the change? This is just one question of many that Javid aims to answer as he explores the science of drinking and the new evidence for the health risks of alcohol. Why do some people get drunk quicker than others? What is behind red wine's healthy reputation? Is a nightcap actually good for your sleep? Does lining your stomach work? And can alcohol actually make you eat more?
2016 • Health
Growing resistance to commonly prescribed antibiotics is one of the biggest public health threats of modern times, with the potential to cause 80,000 deaths in the UK over the next 20 years. Experts say the use of a range of NHS 'last-resort' antibiotics in farming is risking the lives of future patients. Tom Heap asks if the commercial pressure to produce cheap meat and poultry is fuelling the rise of superbugs and meets the patients for whom the drugs have already stopped working.
Michael Mosley investigates the dramatic rise in e-cigarettes. They're everywhere these days, but what does the latest scientific research on them reveal? Michael reveals what e-cigarettes are really doing to your health. Are they really better for you than cigarettes? What is actually in them? Is passive vapour harmful? And can they really stop you from smoking? Michael meets some of the scientists around the world studying them, asks a group of volunteers to try to give up smoking regular cigarettes using them, and even takes up 'vaping' himself, smoking an e-cigarette every day for a month to see the effects on his own health - no easy task for such a committed non-smoker.
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
The story of a human life, from first cry to final breath, told from within the body. This documentary film combines state-of-the-art special effects, pioneering CGI, startling realistic models and real in-body photography. Exploring human physiology from birth, through the drama of puberty, into adulthood, and finally old age, the programme offers a visually-stunning insight into how our bodies function. Throughout life we undergo a continuous second-by-second transformation, every move we make and every outside stimulus triggers a reaction through the skin, bones, organs, muscles and cells. We breathe on average 700 million breaths in a lifetime, an adult skeleton is replaced every seven to 10 years, we shed as many as 30,000 dead skin cells every minute, and the food we eat travels 30 feet on its journey through our bodies. The Living Body takes you beneath the skin to reveal how our bodies evolve from birth to old age, and the amazing biological systems we need to thrive. Embark on an incredible journey tracing the story of one everywoman using milestones to examine the everyday workings of a living, functioning body in ways not seen before. Cutting-edge miniature endoscopic HD cameras delve deep inside the mouth, throat, heart, lungs, digestive tract, brain and reproductive organs to shed new light on how and why our bodies do what they do. Stunning photography reveals universal moments in human development at the most minute level, providing insight into both our own individual metamorphosis and our shared human experiences.
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.
This documentary film explores the development of the growing fetus from conception to delivery. Open a window into the hidden world of the foetus and explore each trimester in amazing detail. It’s meant to be a joyous event, but in reality, it's a gripping battle for survival. Using cutting edge technology, we go inside the womb and follow the incredible nine month journey from conception to birth, showing how the struggle for life turns into the miracle of birth. Enhanced by poet Roger McGough’s reading of a series of poems written for the occasion.
2015 • Health
Think you know your baby? Think again. This beautifully shot, heart-warming and scientifically revealing film, narrated by Martin Clunes, brings you babies as you've never seen them before. The first two years of our lives are the most critical of all. We grow more, learn more, move more and even fight more than at any other time in our life. We have to master the complex skills of walking, talking and relating to the world around us. But we are not yet built like an adult. We have more bones in our body at birth than an adult does, yet we don't have kneecaps. We laugh 300 times a day as a baby, but in the first few months we can't produce tears when we're upset. Secret Life of Babies reveals all these facts and more, telling incredible stories of babies' resilience and survival skills to boot. This film will surprise, move, amaze and delight all those who have ever come into contact with a baby, whilst taking you from the moment of birth, through to the point where language begins, memories start to kick in, and a new phase of their lives takes over. This is the Secret Life of Babies.
2014 • Health
It was 1952, and polio had reached outbreak levels in America. There was no known cause, no cure, and no help in sight for parents desperate to protect their children. Our nation's hope was placed in a 33-year-old scientist, working from a basement lab in Pittsburgh. His name was Jonas Salk, and in just a few years, he would bring infantile paralysis to its knees and change the course of medical history. Travel back to a world gripped in fear and see how Dr. Salk, with his dedicated staff, a young charity, and a faithful nation, came together to conquer polio.
2010 • Health
The story of how one Russian internet millionaire is turning to cutting-edge science to try to unlock the secret of living forever. Dmitry Itskov recently brought together some of the world's leading neuroscientists, robot builders and consciousness researchers to try to devise a system that would allow him to escape his biological destiny. Entering Dmitry's seemingly sci-fi world, Horizon investigates the real science inspiring his bold plan to upload the human mind to a computer. There are doubters - like the major neuroscientist who tells us 'it's too stupid, it simply cannot be done'. But as we also meet the Japanese maker of Erica, one of the world's most human-like robots, who tells us the destiny of humans is to become robots to overcome the constraints of time, see how a quadriplegic Californian man is already controlling a robot arm with his thoughts, and explore the groundbreaking work of the scientist behind the world's largest neuroscience project - the $6 billion US Brain Initiative - who tells us the effort to map all the activity of the brain could be a crucial step towards mind uploading, Horizon asks is it really so crazy to think Dmitry Itskov could succeed in his goal of bringing about immortality for all of us within 30 years?
In the early days of the space race, agency researchers in Russia and at NASA really weren't sure all what would happen to an astronaut in space. They didn't know if a human mind could handle actually seeing Earth or what would happen to the human body when exposed to long periods of weightlessness. Would their blood forget which way to pump? Would their eyeballs shift or their inner ears wig out? They sent up mice and monkeys and dogs, to see what happened, and in 1961, the Russians strapped a man to a rocket headed for orbit. Yuri Gagarin was the first person in space. The ultimate human guinea pig, he survived, becoming an international hero.
For thousands of years, we’ve regarded sleep as nothing more than an annihilation of consciousness. But there is one compelling fact that has always stood in the way of that view. “Even the Greek philosophers wondered why we needed to sleep,” says neuroscientist, Dr. Kenneth Wright. “If sleep wasn’t important, it’s probably one of the most significant mistakes that evolution ever made.” Yet decades of intense research have failed to discover the key function of sleep. But now, thanks to revolutionary new technology, innovative animal research and extraordinary advances in genetics, all that’s about to change. Join Dr. Jennifer Gardy as she goes on an extraordinary odyssey from a city that never sleeps to an isolation chamber in the Colorado Rockies, from one of the most unique research centres in the world to the world of dreams. Her goal is simple: Discover why we sleep
HUNGRY FOR CHANGE exposes shocking secrets the diet, weight loss and food industries don't want you to know about deceptive strategies designed to keep you coming back for more. Find out what's keeping you from having the body and health you deserve.
Join best-selling author Michael Pollan (Food Rules, The Botany of Desire) on a fascinating journey to answer the question: What should I eat to be healthy? Cutting through confusion and busting myths and misconceptions, In Defense of Food shows how common sense and old-fashioned wisdom can help us rediscover the pleasures of eating and avoid the chronic diseases so often associated with the modern diet. Pollan's journey of discovery takes him from the plains of Tanzania, where one of the world's last remaining tribes of hunter-gatherers still eats the way our ancestors did, to Loma Linda, California, where a group of Seventh Day Adventist vegetarians live longer than almost anyone else on earth, and eventually to Paris, where the French diet, rooted in culture and tradition, proves surprisingly healthy. Along the way he shows how a combination of faulty nutrition science and deceptive marketing practices have encouraged us to replace real food with scientifically engineered "food-like substances." And he explains why the solution to our dietary woes is in fact remarkably simple: Eat Food. Not Too Much. Mostly Plants.
2015 • Health
A searing, two-hour investigation places America’s heroin crisis in a fresh and provocative light -- telling the stories of individual addicts, but also illuminating the epidemic's years-in-the-making social context, deeply examining shifts in U.S. drug policy, and exploring what happens when addiction is treated like a public health issue, not a crime.
2016 • Health
In recent years, close study of the aging process has opened up new ways that could help us all live healthier for longer. Can we move beyond treating individual diseases, and instead treat the aging process itself? But would a longer life necessarily be a better life? A loose-knit group of researchers believe the real breakthrough is extending our health span - the period of life spent free of disease.
The Ebola outbreak of 2014 almost brought the world to its knees, but this crisis has mobilized scientists and researchers, paving the way for new treatments and vaccines. From antibiotics and vaccines to computer programs that predict how viruses will spread, new lifesaving tools will be used to fight a wide range of viruses in the near future, including HIV, influenza, dengue fever, malaria, and a host of other killer diseases.
In the United States, it’s estimated that 30 percent of adults and 66 percent of adolescents are regularly sleep-deprived. This isn’t just a minor inconvenience: staying awake can cause serious bodily harm. Claudia Aguirre shows what happens to your body and brain when you skip sleep.
Every second of your life you are under attack. Bacteria, viruses, spores and more living stuff wants to enter your body and use its resources for itself. The immune system is a powerful army of cells that fights like a T-Rex on speed and sacrifices itself for your survival. Without it you would die in no time. This sounds simple but the reality is complex, beautiful and just awesome. An animation of the immune system.
An English breakfast, bangers and mash, a bacon butty, and the traditional Sunday roast: dishes synonymous with the great British cuisine. But when the World Health Organisation (WHO) recently said that eating processed meat can cause bowel cancer, and red meat probably causes cancer, many people became concerned that their favourite dinners could be harmful to their health. Tonight How Safe is Meat? Examines the evidence behind the WHO’s announcement, and puts the risks of eating meat in context. Reporter Fiona Foster speaks to leading scientists, medical professionals and representatives of the meat industry to find out: do you really need to bin your bacon buttie?
This video is adapted from Johann Hari's New York Times best-selling book 'Chasing The Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugs.' For more information, and to take a quiz to see what you know about addiction, go to www.chasingthescream.com
Why do we sleep? We spend a third of our lives in slumber, but science has yet to determine exactly why we have do it. Here’s a look at how sleep works, why we’re not getting enough sleep, what happens if you DON’T sleep, and an idea about where sleep came from in the first place.
The series offers a fresh look at the science behind teeth and dentistry, and what we can all do to improve our oral health. The programmes feature patients undergoing treatment for missing or broken teeth, decay, gum disease, and a range of other problems – sometimes to the extreme. The series also features a strong public health message, with experiments on and information about everything from correct tooth brushing to the effectiveness (or otherwise) of over-the-counter tooth whitening kits.
The series offers a fresh look at the science behind teeth and dentistry, and what we can all do to improve our oral health. The programmes feature patients undergoing treatment for missing or broken teeth, decay, gum disease, and a range of other problems – sometimes to the extreme. The series also features a strong public health message, with experiments on and information about everything from correct tooth brushing to the effectiveness (or otherwise) of over-the-counter tooth whitening kits.
In the US, 80% of girls have been on a diet by the time they're 10 years old. In this honest, raw talk, neuroscientist Sandra Aamodt uses her personal story to frame an important lesson about how our brains manage our bodies, as she explores the science behind why dieting not only doesn't work, but is likely to do more harm than good. She suggests ideas for how to live a less diet-obsessed life, intuitively.
Michael explores the final months of foetal development - a time when infants grow strong and develop the vital survival tools they need to take their first breath. He meets a girl born with a rare disorder who was saved from the brink of death by a drug trial that made medical history by creating manufactured bone for the first time, examines the results of a study by Dr Suzanne King into whether unborn children can be affected by stress, and witnessed the critical moment of the first breath and the beginning of a new life.
3/3 • Countdown to Life: The Extraordinary Making of You • 2015 • Health
Michael Mosley reveals what happens during the middle weeks in the womb, a period when faces form, skin takes on its colour, brains are being organised and personalities start to take shape. Told through a series of inspirational human stories, the path to becoming unique human beings is very complex.
2/3 • Countdown to Life: The Extraordinary Making of You • 2015 • Health
Beginning with the first eight weeks when a single cell, no bigger than a speck of dust, transforms into a human foetus, the most sophisticated organism on the planet. This period is the most perilous time in the womb and determines the layout of body organs, when our heart makes its first beat, and when the length of our lives could be decided.
1/3 • Countdown to Life: The Extraordinary Making of You • 2015 • Health
Michael Mosley puts himself through a battery of health tests available to people who feel perfectly well. From an expensive heart scan to a new national screening procedure to detect the earliest signs of bowel cancer, Mosley sets out to discover which if any of the tests are worth doing.
Has anyone ever told you, “Stand up straight!” or scolded you for slouching at a family dinner? Comments like that might be annoying—but they’re not wrong. Your posture is the foundation for every movement your body makes and can determine how well your body adapts to the stresses on it. Murat Dalkilinç gives the pros of good posture.
We hear about calories all the time: How many calories are in this cookie? How many are burned by doing 100 jumping jacks, or long-distance running, or fidgeting? But what is a calorie, really? And how many of them do we actually need? Emma Bryce explains how a few different factors should go into determining the recommended amount for each person.
Nestled in the tissues of your neck is a small, unassuming organ that wields enormous power over your body: the thyroid. Emma Bryce explains how the thyroid, like the operations manager in a company, is tasked with making sure that all the cells in your body are working properly.
How bad can our drinking pattern be for our health? Doctors and genetically identical twins Chris and Xand van Tulleken want to find out. With the current drinking guidelines under review, the twins embark on self-experimentation to see the effects of different drinking patterns on their health. With Chris drinking 21 units spread evenly across the week and Xand having his 21 in single weekly binges, how will their bodies differ after a month? Catching up with the latest research into alcohol drinking patterns, we ask if moderate drinking is genuinely good for us - and whether binge drinking is really that bad.
Infertility affects 1 in 8 couples worldwide. But in the last 40 years, more than 5 million babies have been born using in vitro fertilization (IVF). How does it work? Nassim Assefi and Brian A. Levine detail the science behind making a baby in a lab.
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.
Coined medicine for the soul by LSD inventor Albert Hoffman, this drug is back in the spotlights. After the widespread use in the 60’s where young kids tried to free their minds by going on psychedelic adventures and the banning of the drug that followed, any scientific research was halted. Yet, LSD was the raft that took people to the brink of enlightenment, madness, life-lasting wonderment and revolutionary insights into reality. This short unbiased documentary gives us a quick history of the use and banning of LSD and the potential it still holds today. Can it be used as a smart drug? Can it cure mental illnesses?
Today, whisky is a source of Scottish pride; it's one of the UK's few growth industries. In this last episode, actor Brian Cox reveals how whisky was born and shaped in opposition to the British tax system, and how that history forged the character of Scotland's national drink.
Growing up in the streets of Dundee, actor Brian Cox was surrounded by tobacco. His entire family either smoked it or chewed it and yet Brian reveals, he never took up the habit. To find out why not, Brian travels to Virginia in the US to discover how the habit of smoking kick-started the British Empire and created a global market of addicts.
Dr Chris Van Tulleken calls on the British public to seek out the truth about the top-selling over-the-counter medicines. We spend an astonishing 2.3 billion pounds on pills, potions and lotions from the chemist's shop every year to beat common ailments from headaches to colds to indigestion. But how much do we really know about what we're buying?
Giles Coren, the food critic takes up three extreme diet regimes in a bid to push the very limits of life expectancy. Giles's search to find a diet which might extend his life comes after his great-grandfather lived to the grand old age of 93. His grandfather passed away aged 76 and his father Alan died aged 69. The Coren men are bucking the global trend of living longer so Giles, now in his mid-forties, wants to find out what he can do to avoid a premature death.
So far the volunteers have successfully been losing lost weight, but now the honeymoon period is over. It is the final two months of the diet, and their minds and bodies are fighting back. Dr Chris van Tulleken and Professor Tanya Byron find out if the new personalised diets will help them stay on course, and the experts reveal the scientific secrets to permanent dieting success.
It is time to see if personalised dieting will work in normal life. The volunteers have been given one of three diets to follow - based on their genes, their hormones and their psychology. But now they are back at home, trying to stick to their personalised diets with all the stresses and temptations of real life. Dr Chris van Tulleken and Professor Tanya Byron discover how our genetic makeup can make temptation difficult to resist, how understanding the brain reveals what makes us comfort eat and what science can tell us about why we make disastrous food choices.
The volunteers are put through a series of tests at a residential clinic to understand how their genes, hormones and psychology influence their eating behaviour. They are then put on the diets the experts believe are best suited to them. Can science succeed where other diets have failed?
Fewer children in the United States are getting vaccinated. That’s bad news for those kids, and also for public health in general. Often, the response is to argue and debate and get angry at people who are we see as making terrible, irrational decisions. Instead of doing that, let’s use science to understand why this is happening in the first place.
Diseases that were largely eradicated in the United States a generation ago—whooping cough, measles, mumps—are returning, in part because nervous parents are skipping their children’s shots. NOVA's "Vaccines—Calling the Shots" takes viewers around the world to track epidemics, explore the science behind vaccinations, hear from parents wrestling with vaccine-related questions, and shed light on the risks of opting out.
The first ever vaccine was created when Edward Jenner, an English physician and scientist, successfully injected small amounts of a cowpox virus into a young boy to protect him from the related (and deadly) smallpox virus. But how does this seemingly counterintuitive process work? Kelwalin Dhanasarnsombut details the science behind vaccines.
It’s 4am, and the big test is in 8 hours. You’ve been studying for days, but you still don’t feel ready. Should you drink another cup of coffee and spend the next few hours cramming? Or should you go to sleep? Shai Marcu defends the latter option, showing how sleep restructures your brain in a way that’s crucial for how our memory works.
Over the past year, Horizon has been behind the scenes at one of Britain's leading cancer hospitals, the Royal Marsden in London. The film follows Rosemary, Phil and Ray as they undergo remarkable new treatments - from a billion pound genetically targeted drug designed to fight a type of skin cancer, to advanced robotic surgery. We witness the breakthroughs in surgery and in scientific research that are offering new hope and helping to defeat a disease that more than one in three of us will develop at some stage of our lives.
Surgeon Gabriel Weston discovers the surprising truth about why so many people are piling on the pounds, and how to fight the fat epidemic. She discovers the hidden battles of hormones that control people's appetites, and sees the latest surgery that fundamentally changes what a patient wants to eat by altering how their brains work. Gabriel is shocked to find out that when it comes to being overweight, it is not always your fault you are fat.
Like many, Michael Mosley wants to get fitter and healthier but can't face hours on the treadmill or trips to the gym. Help may be at hand. He uncovers the surprising new research which suggests many of us could benefit from just three minutes of high intensity exercise a week. He discovers the hidden power of simple activities like walking and fidgeting, and finds out why some of us don't respond to exercise at all. Using himself as a guinea pig, Michael uncovers the revealing new research about exercise, that has the power to make us all live longer and healthier lives.
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.
What's worse for us: sugar or fat? To answer the hottest question in nutrition, twin doctors Chris and Xand Van Tulleken go on month-long high-fat and high-sugar diets. The effects on their bodies are shocking and surprising. But they also discover that in the debate about fat and sugar, the real enemy might have been hiding in plain sight.
Dr Kevin Fong explores a medical revolution that promises to help us live longer, healthier lives. Inspired by the boom in health-related apps and gadgets, it's all about novel ways we can monitor ourselves around the clock. How we exercise, how we sleep, even how we sit. Some doctors are now prescribing apps the way they once prescribed pills. Kevin meets the pioneers of this revolution. From the England Rugby 7s team, whose coach knows more about his players' health than a doctor would, to the most monitored man in the world who diagnosed a life threatening disease from his own data, without going to the doctor.
Michael Mosley explores the latest science about how our personalities are created - and whether they can be changed. Despite appearances, Mosley is a pessimist who constantly frets about the future. He wants to worry less and become more of an optimist. He tries out two techniques to change this aspect of his personality - with surprising results. And he travels to the frontiers of genetics and neuroscience to find out about the forces that shape all our personalities.
The heart is the most symbolic organ of the human body. Throughout history it has been seen as the site of our emotions, the very centre of our being. But modern medicine has come to see the heart as just a pump; a brilliant pump, but nothing more. And we see ourselves as ruled by our heads and not our hearts. In this documentary, filmmaker David Malone asks whether we are right to take this view. He explores the heart's conflicting histories as an emotional symbol and a physical organ, and investigates what the latest science is learning about its structures, its capacities and its role. In the age-old battle of hearts and minds, will these new discoveries alter the balance and allow the heart to reclaim something of its traditional place at the centre of our humanity?
In recent years, researchers have started to understand why people love the foods they do, and that there may be a way to make snacks taste sweeter without adding any extra sugar – and it's all down to a trick that happens in the brain. This film meets a scientist who has grown a tomato that is sweeter and juicier than anything likely to be found on a supermarket shelf, and follows those hoping to become elite, professional tasters.
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.
Michael Mosley has set himself a truly ambitious goal: he wants to live longer, stay younger and lose weight in the bargain. And he wants to make as few changes to his life as possible along the way. He discovers the powerful new science behind the ancient idea of fasting, and he thinks he's found a way of doing it that still allows him to enjoy his food. Michael tests out the science of fasting on himself - with life-changing results.
Plastic surgeon Dr Rozina Ali leaves the operating theatre behind for the frontiers of skin science and asks if it is possible to make your skin look younger without surgery. She discovers the latest research about how the foods we eat can protect our skin from damage, and how a chemical found in a squid's eye is at the forefront of a new sun protection cream. She also finds out how sugar in our blood can make us look older, and explores an exciting new science called glycobiology, which promises a breakthrough in making us look younger.
The Ebola virus. No-one knows exactly where it comes from but one thing is certain - it's one of the most virulent infections known to science. This special episode of Horizon meets the scientists and doctors from all around the world looking for the cure and hears first-hand accounts of what it's actually like to catch - and survive - this terrible disease.
As the narrative goes, fat is bad. Well, it's actually more nuanced than that. The type of fat you eat is more impactful on your health than the quantity. George Zaidan examines triglycerides, the varied molecules that make up fat, and how to identify which types of fat you are consuming.
Our skin is the largest organ in our bodies, with a surface area of about 20 square feet in adults. When we are cut or wounded, our skin begins to repair itself through a complex, well-coordinated process. Sarthak Sinha takes us past the epidermis and into the dermis to investigate this regenerative response.
When you breathe, you transport oxygen to the body’s cells to keep them working, while also clearing your system of the carbon dioxide that this work generates. How do we accomplish this crucial and complex task without even thinking about it? Emma Bryce takes us into the lungs to investigate how they help keep us alive.
We all know that mankind can't live without air, food and water...the same is true of salt. The salt on your table is a key to unlocking the story of our planet and the cosmos. Big History reveals how this simple molecule underpins our civilization
Behind that cup of coffee or tea is a global story that goes back to the collision that created the Moon and the evolution of plant and animal life. The key is the molecule that gives your morning cup its kick: caffeine, the most popular drug in history.
Not all the microbes that live on us or inside us are benign, and it is only thanks to the superhuman nature of our bodies that we survive constant attack. However, humans are becoming increasingly vulnerable to disease. This programme examines the dramatic increase in allergic diseases such as asthma, eczema and hayfever.
The human body is constantly regenerating itself, but as we get older, the ability for self-repair diminishes. The human foetus, however, has far greater powers of regeneration. The programme explores how modern medicine is looking at ways to tap into the superhuman power of the embryo.
The possibility of medicine to replace damaged organs in the body is making important headway. This programme reports on efforts to replace the most inaccessible organs with spare parts - the cochlea of a profoundly deaf two year-old and damaged retinal cells with light sensitive electronic chips are two case studies featured in the programme.
The body's superhuman abilities are most starkly revealed in the area of trauma - one of the world's biggest killers. Medical teams have traditionally tried to reverse the changes which occur when the body goes into trauma, but doctors are now beginning to realise that the changes which occur in the body after an injury such as the loss of blood and severe drops in temperature serve an important purpose in the recovery process.
Changes to the bacteria that live inside all of us are responsible for increasing the number of people with allergies, suggests new research. The programme investigates this claim by conducting a unique experiment with two allergic families in order to find out just what it is in the modern world that is to blame.
When pioneering developmental psychologist Professor Uta Frith started her training back in the 1960s, she met a group of beautiful, bright-eyed young children who seemed completely detached from the rest of the world. It turned out they had just been given the then-new diagnosis of autism.
A hormone is a class of regulatory biochemicals that is produced in all multicellular organisms by glands, and transported by the circulatory system to a distant target organ to coordinate its physiology and behavior. Hormones serve as a major form of communication between different organs and tissues.
When you eat something loaded with sugar, your taste buds, your gut and your brain all take notice. This activation of your reward system is not unlike how bodies process addictive substances such as alcohol or nicotine -- an overload of sugar spikes dopamine levels and leaves you craving more. Nicole Avena explains why sweets and treats should be enjoyed in moderation.
2014 • Health