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.
2015 • Health
Scientific advancements are challenging the concept of what it means to be human. Technology embedded in our bodies is fairly common: artificial limbs, pacemakers. But new research is taking us beyond replacement parts and into a new realm that is changing the nature of the human body and the human mind. Will the fusion of biology and technology change how we think, how we feel, how we experience the world?
2015 • Technology
After millennia of speculation about what goes on inside the human brain, we now have the tools to explore its hidden reaches. These tools are leading to research that may help those suffering from afflictions such as epilepsy and Alzheimer's disease. They are also shedding light on the mystery of consciousness and what makes us who we are.
2015 • Brain
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.
2015 • Health
We are surrounded by clean, raw energy waiting to be tapped - energy that could eventually replace fossil fuels. Finding new ways to harness the energy around us takes a rare breed of scientist-engineers: men and women with a combination of technical skill, imagination, and unwavering focus. If we act now, developments in energy production could avert disaster and usher in a new era of clean, safe energy.
2015 • Economics
California is on the brink of an apocalypse. The state faces a future of drought that will cost billions in lost farm revenue and thousands of jobs. But the challenges facing the state are not unique: All over the world, governments are struggling with bigger populations and a diminishing supply of freshwater. Innovators across the globe are seeking solutions in emergent technologies to prevent a planet-wide water crisis.
2015 • Environment
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.
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
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
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.