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.
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.
A treatment method that overturns a common sense of the medical community that "the brain cell does not regenerate" has been developed in Japan, and its practical application is imminent. The key to the treatment are "stem cells", which regenerate various body tissues on a daily basis. Japanese researchers have discovered that stem cells, which have been thought to be absent in adult brains, actually exist in small numbers. A therapy that stimulates brain stem cells in an innovative way and regenerates the brain is entering the final phase of a clinical trial.
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.