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.
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.
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.
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