Over the past year, Horizon has been behind the scenes at one of Britain's leading cancer hospitals, the Royal Marsden in London. The film follows Rosemary, Phil and Ray as they undergo remarkable new treatments - from a billion pound genetically targeted drug designed to fight a type of skin cancer, to advanced robotic surgery. We witness the breakthroughs in surgery and in scientific research that are offering new hope and helping to defeat a disease that more than one in three of us will develop at some stage of our lives.
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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.
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.
Imagine if the food you eat could 'clean' your body and make you feel well. Dr Giles Yeo investigates the latest diet craze and social media sensation - clean eating. In a television first, Giles cooks with Ella Mills, the Instagram entrepreneur behind Deliciously Ella, one of the most popular brands associated with clean eating, and examines how far her plant-based cooking is based on science. She tells him clean has lost its way: "Clean now implies dirty and that's negative. I haven't used it, but as far as I understood it when I first read the term, it meant natural, kind of unprocessed, and now it doesn't mean that at all. It means diet, it means fad". Giles sifts through the claims of the Hemsley sisters, who advocate not just gluten-free but grain-free cooking, and Natasha Corrett, who popularises alkaline eating through her Honestly Healthy brand. In America, Giles reveals the key alternative health figures whose food philosophies are influencing the new gurus of clean. He discovers that when it comes to their promises about food and our health, all is not always what it appears to be. Inside a Californian ranch where cancer patients have been treated with alkaline food, Giles sees for himself what can happen when pseudoscience is taken to a shocking extreme.
There are more bicycles than people in the Netherlands. The Dutch don’t seem to care about what is special about their bike culture. The film invites regular cyclists and scientists from all walks of live to talk about Dutch cycling culture. When talking to people in the Netherlands they come up with many different aspects as to why cycling is as important as it is. The film shows many different angles why cycling has remained so popular in the Netherlands. In the end it leads to a general conclusion. Talking about why we cycle means we are dealing with a bigger questions; What kind of society we want to be?
2017 • Health
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
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.
1/3 • Surgeons: At the Edge of Life • 2018 • Health