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
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.
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.
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.
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