The extraordinary inside story of the biggest scientific challenge of our age – following a small band of vaccine scientists around the world who took on Covid-19 and ultimately delivered the weapon to beat it. As news of the coronavirus broke around the globe, a small group of scientists jumped into action to tackle one of the greatest medical challenges of our time: to create a vaccine against a virus no-one had ever seen before and to do so in record time, all during a deadly, global pandemic.
Understand the importance of persuading the public to protect themselves during health crises. History shows that handwashing, social distancing and grassroots campaigning all play important roles in helping to shift behavior and save lives.
Track the importance of data mapping and analysis in the quest to improve public health. The painstaking work of past data detectives made us aware of epidemic "curves" as well as the extent of health inequalities among different U.S. communities.
Learn about the surprisingly recent invention of medicine that combats illness directly, such as antibiotics. From the accidental discovery of penicillin to today's hunt for antivirals, this history underpins work to find COVID-19 treatments.
Discover the role vaccination plays in our growing ability to prevent the spread of illness. Travel through the remarkable history of vaccines and learn how new ones are developed when never-before-seen diseases emerge.
In this third Horizon special, Dr Chris Van Tulleken is joined by his brother Xand and Dr Guddi Singh to take us through the latest developments and answer current concerns. Though the effect of the coronavirus pandemic has been devastating to many, the team reveal the breakthroughs in genetics, medicine and modelling that have provided a way out of this situation and given hope and confidence that, in the event of a future pandemic, we can take it on and win.
Chocolate reduces stress. Fish stimulates the brain. Is there any truth to such popular beliefs? The findings of researchers around the world say yes: It appears we really are what we eat. A study in a British prison found that inmates who took vitamin supplements were less prone to violent behavior. And in Germany, a psychologist at the University of Lübeck has shown that social behavior is influenced by the ingredients consumed at breakfast. But what really happens in the brain when we opt for honey instead of jam, and fish rather than sausage? Scientists around the world are trying to find out. Neuro-nutrition is the name of an interdisciplinary research field that investigates the impact of nutrition on brain health. Experiments on rats and flies offer new insight into the effects of our eating habits. When laboratory rats are fed a diet of junk food, the result is not just obesity. The menu also has a direct influence on their memory performance. The role of the intestinal flora has been known for some time, but scientists are currently discovering other relationships. So-called "brain food" for example: The Mediterranean diet that’s based on vegetables and fish is said to provide the best nutrition for small grey cells. Omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fish, for example, protect the nerve cells and are indispensable for the development of the brain - because the brain is also what it eats!
2020 • Health
Dr Ronx investigates why more men die from Covid-19 than women, a situation that has parallels with many other diseases, including SARS, cancer and HIV. The programme also looks into a dangerous gender data gap that risks undermining how women are treated within the healthcare system, leading to misdiagnoses and deaths.
2021 • Health
Explores the spread of Covid-19 across four continents during 2020. Featuring contributions from medical professionals, a look at the initial outbreak in China and suggestions that the authorities attempted to cover up the danger, and an examination of how the decisions taken by governments and public health officials helped shape the course of the infection.
2021 • Health
An intimate, feature-length documentary following the stories of four patients at London's King's College Hospital who have been struck down by Covid-19. The film follows the patients and their families over a six-month period, offering a stark reminder of how frightening and destructive the Covid-19 virus can be.
2020 • Health
COVID-19 is far from the first pandemic to wreak havoc in the world. A long line of infectious diseases have devastated and in some cases destroyed entire societies. Almost all of them started in animals and made the jump to humans. We are terrified of pandemics. And with good reason. Infectious diseases have cost the lives of countless people over the centuries, devastating families, towns, and even societies. The Black Death spread across Europe and Asia in the 14th century leaving millions dead in its wake. Between the 15th and 18th centuries, European colonists brought smallpox to the Americas, the Pacific region and to Australia. In Europe, the 17th century saw a series of major epidemics. And at the end of the First World War, more people died of the Spanish flu than on the battlefield. This documentary examines the causes of these epidemics - whether it be lack of hygiene, interaction with animals, overcrowding, or the growth of cities - and how people travelling helped to spread disease and promote pandemics. It also sheds a light on the impact these infectious diseases have had on politics and societal change. Today, the world is facing COVID-19. Measures such as quarantine and lockdowns are being rolled out in an effort to control the spread of the virus; and, just as our ancestors did before us, some are questioning how effective they are. Over the centuries, scientists managed to develop treatments and medicines to help control or even eradicate infectious diseases. Virologists are facing that task again with the coronavirus, as the world frantically searches for ways to overcome a pandemic which threatens our modern way of life.
2020 • Health
By the close of the Industrial Revolution, the American food supply was tainted with frauds, fakes and legions of new and untested chemicals, dangerously threatening the health of consumers. Based on the book by Deborah Blum, The Poison Squad tells the story of government chemist Dr. Harvey Wiley who, determined to banish these dangerous substances from dinner tables, took on the powerful food manufacturers and their allies. Wiley embarked upon a series of bold and controversial trials on 12 human subjects who would become known as the “Poison Squad.” Following Wiley’s unusual experiments and tireless advocacy, the film charts the path of the forgotten man who laid the groundwork for U.S. consumer protection laws, and ultimately the creation of the FDA.
Xand van Tulleken, Raksha Dave and John Sergeant discover the parallels of the Great Plague of 1665 with the Covid-19 pandemic. Ch1. Outbreak The epidemic is traced back to its source in the parish of St Giles in the Fields, now at the heart of London's theatre district. The program also examines the symptoms of the disease and uncovers new research into the plague bacteria that could overthrow accepted ideas about how the infection was spread. Ch2. Decimation Xand heads to St Barts hospital to look back at historical records which show that nursing staff stayed behind and risked their lives to help the sick. Elsewhere, John investigates why infection rates were so different between the rich and poor, examining clothes typical for each group in the 17th century. Ch3. Aftermath Xand visits Samuel Pepys' parish church and discovers the sad tale of the Poole family, who within 11 days lost all five of their children. He also heads to Eyam in Derbyshire, revealing the heroic story of self-sacrifice that saw all 700 villagers lock themselves in to try to stop the disease from spreading to surrounding areas. Raksha Dave trials 17th-century disinfection methods and reveal a surprising substitute that can be just as effective as modern antibacterial cleaners.
2020 • Health
How can we cope with this tricky virus now rampant worldwide? The key to this battle lies in our immune system. Through the high-tech “eyes” of next-generation microscopes, we will see how our immune defense corps combat against pathogens and what mechanism is expected to help develop treatment.
2020 • Health
The coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 has upended life as we know it in a matter of months. But at the same time, an unprecedented global effort to understand and contain the virus—and find a treatment for the disease it causes—is underway. Join doctors on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19 as they strategize to stop the spread, and meet the researchers racing to develop treatments and vaccines.
Dr Chris van Tulleken, Dr Hannah Fry and Michael Mosley examine the latest research and explore some of the big questions about Covid-19 and the pandemic it has created. Michael visits the UK government's high-security laboratory Porton Down, where vaccines are being tested. He also uncovers what the experience of the 2002 SARs epidemic reveals about this one. Both were caused by coronaviruses, but certain key changes to today's virus have allowed it to infect the world, where SARs was contained.
In just over 100 days, a new coronavirus has taken an unprepared world by storm, infiltrating every corner of the globe, sending entire nations into lockdown, killing thousands and infecting countless more. Across the world, governments are scrambling to react, hospitals are struggling to cope and an increasingly anxious public are starting to panic. The world's media is awash with data, information and misinformation. But what are the facts? What is COVID-19 and why is this strain of coronavirus so dangerous? What happens in our bodies when the virus attacks? How does this compare to previous pandemics? What do all the the numbers really mean, and how can data modelling help us look for an exit strategy? This programme investigates the scientific facts and figures behind the biggest public health crisis in living memory, and explores the latest research from the frontline of the medical and scientific fightback.
According to current estimates, a widely available COVID-19 vaccine will likely be available within the next 12 months. Why so long? Learn how vaccines are developed and explore the current state of the coronavirus landscape, guided by the scientists on the ground trying to find a solution.
The government rates the global outbreak of a deadly flu virus as a major threat to the UK. It could happen at any time. To predict the impact of the next pandemic more accurately than ever before, new data is needed - and lots of it. Dr Hannah Fry is on the case. She sets out to recruit the nation to download the BBC Pandemic app in a ground-breaking experiment to help plan for when the next deadly virus comes to the UK. How quickly will it spread? How many could it kill? What can we do about it? The BBC Four Pandemic experiment will find out. Hannah masterminds the experiment and adopts the role of Patient Zero by walking the streets of Haslemere in Surrey to launch the outbreak. Meanwhile, emergency physician Dr Javid Abdelmoneim finds out why flu is still such a danger to society a century after Spanish flu killed up to 100 million people worldwide. He meets researchers trying to discover what makes some people more contagious than others and visits a factory that will produce vaccine when the next pandemic flu virus emerges. Armed with the information he gathers and the results of the BBC Four Pandemic experiment, Hannah and Javid make a shocking revelation.
2018 • Health
In December 2019 the Chinese authorities notified the world that a virus was spreading through their communities. In the following months it spread to other countries, with cases doubling within days. This virus is the “Severe acute respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus 2”, that causes the disease called COVID19, and that everyone simply calls Coronavirus.
Officially designated as a pandemic, it seems as if COVID-19 has taken over the world. Lucky for us, this isn’t the first time we’ve had to deal with a serious virus outbreak. Experts share the methods currently in place to slow down this infectious disease.
The opioid epidemic has devastated America. But what is the situation here? A new report from Public Health England raises serious concerns about Britain's own relationship with painkillers. Dr Michael Mosley embarks on an immersive journey to Britain’s opioid frontline and meets patients struggling with addiction and GPs fighting a constant battle to help those suffering from chronic pain. He also uncovers worrying evidence of people abusing over-the-counter opioids and discovers how easy it is to buy strong opioids online.
By the middle of January many people struggle to keep up their resolutions to be more active. The result is that the UK wastes nearly £600 million a year on unused gym memberships. But new science has the answers. Medical journalist Michael Mosley teams up with scientists whose latest research is turning common knowledge about fitness on its head. They reveal why 10,000 steps is just a marketing ploy and that two minutes of exercise is all a person needs each week. They discover how to get people to stick to their fitness plans and what exercise can actually make everyone more intelligent. Whether it is for couch potatoes who hate the thought of exercise, someone too busy to consider the gym, or even for fitness fanatics who are desperate to do more - science can help everyone exercise better.
2020 • Health
It’s the world’s first human body rig – two ordinary people are filmed going about their typical day while covered from head to toe in medical, monitoring equipment. What will they discover about how their lifestyle affects their health and what will the rest of us learn about how the human body works?
2017 • Health
At an extraordinary moment in the history of one of the world’s oldest and most controversial drugs, Horizon investigates the very latest medical and scientific research into the effects of cannabis on the brain and the body. Medicinal cannabis became legal in the UK on 1 November 2018, but it is still shrouded in controversy. A&E doctor Javid Abdelmoneim wants to find out whether it will help or harm patients. Javid meets the young epilepsy patient responsible for changing the law around medicinal cannabis in the UK and sees the remarkable effects it has on his condition. He visits a medicinal cannabis farm in Denmark to learn how a company known for growing the recreational drug are now producing medicinal cannabis to be exported all over Europe. He travels to Israel, to find out why they have been using cannabis as a medicine for over 20 years and meets the scientists studying the safety and effectiveness of cannabis in treating pain. And he meets the so-called godfather of cannabis, who at 88 years old is still an active research scientist and considered the world’s leading cannabis expert. In the UK Javid encounters the first British patient to be prescribed intoxicating herbal cannabis to treat her chronic condition. He meets psychiatrists at King’s College London who reveal their new study linking cannabis more strongly than ever to alarming mental health problems. And he takes part in a groundbreaking trial looking at the effects of the different chemicals in cannabis on the brain.
In this episode, they unpick the dramatic shift in advice on drinking alcohol. After warnings that there's no longer any safe limit, what's the truth on whether it's still ok to have a drink? And what about all the previous reports that suggest the occasional drink might actually be a good thing? The shocking secrets of how Britain snacks are revealed, but it seems the mid-afternoon energy slump that prompts millions to reach for treats may just be all in the mind. Also, the controversial 5:2 diet is put to the test. With the experts still divided, could regular fast days really be the key to losing weight?
Gloria Hunniford and Chris Bavin unravel the truth behind food stories that have dominated the front pages. In this episode, they discover how it's not just what you eat that can make a difference to how you feel, but when you have it and how you cook it. The truth behind the headlines about the dangers of cooking with olive oil, and barbecues, is revealed. Several long-established beliefs are put to the test, with experiments to see whether three meals a day is the most effective way to fuel your body, and if breakfast really is the most important meal of the day.
Gloria Hunniford and Chris Bavin make sense of which foods we should and shouldn't be eating. Gloria reveals her own experience of being diagnosed as pre-diabetic. With headlines suggesting millions are at risk of developing diabetes, she exposes how changing your diet can stop the condition in its tracks, and perhaps even reverse it. Chris unpicks which fruit and veg are best to eat. After years of working as a greengrocer, even he's unsure if he's eating enough, and how those five-a-day really stack up.
Following reports that taking extra vitamins is pointless and possibly even dangerous, Gloria discovers whether the vitamins she takes each day are really necessary or if she can get all the nutrients she needs from her food? Chris tests out a new meal plan to see what difference changing what you eat makes to how you power through the day, and even how you sleep.
For every pound we spend on food shopping, 77p goes to the supermarkets, giving them a huge influence over what we eat. But can we trust the supermarkets to tell us the truth about what we are buying and how it was produced? Or do their profits come first? In an experiment to discover the hidden truths about our everyday foods, Horizon has built the first ever truly 'honest supermarket'. Drawing on the latest scientific research and leading experts from across the UK, the team have built a supermarket where the products are labelled with the real story of how they are produced and their effect on us and the environment. We invite the British public to come in and discover the truth about their favourite foods. And in our on-site lab, new scientific discoveries reveal the food facts the supermarkets aren't telling you. Presented by Dr Hannah Fry and dietician Priya Tew, The Honest Supermarket takes a cold hard look at what's really going on with the food we eat. From new research that reveals you're likely to be ingesting plastic particles along with your bottled water to the lab tests that uncover the disturbing truth about just how old your 'fresh' supermarket fish really is… You'll never look at the food on your supermarket shelves in the same way again.
Follows two patients through groundbreaking 'first in-human' trials for CAR T-cell therapy, a treatment described as the beginning of the end of cancer. Not allowed to meet and separated by two floors of a hospital, 53-year-old Graham and 18-year old-Mahmoud are nevertheless bound together by their commitment to the treatment and their faith in the science. Terminally ill, the trial represents their only option. How do their ages and life experiences affect their physical and emotional response? For Martin Pule, the scientist who has developed the treatment, the responsibility of curing patients is both exciting and daunting. He knows he stands on the cusp of a breakthrough that could radically change the way we treat cancer. At the heart of this film is the complex relationship between the patients and the clinical team. How much hope can the patients be given when they are effectively going into these trials as human guinea pigs? The patients and clinical team must weigh up hope with realism and their response is a profound and revealing reflection of the human condition.
2019 • Health
Heart disease is the number one cause of deaths worldwide, but there are researchers frantically working to change that. Meet the people inventing the future of cardiac health, from new ways of imaging the body, to the possibility of 3D printing a functioning heart.
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
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!
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?
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. <br /><br /><strong>More on autism here: <a href="https://www.mastersincommunications.org/autism-how-affects-communication/" target="_blank">Autism: how it affects communication and the way people are working to improve it</a>
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