Xand van Tulleken, Raksha Dave and John Sergeant discover the parallels of the Great Plague of 1665 with the Covid-19 pandemic. Ch1. Outbreak The epidemic is traced back to its source in the parish of St Giles in the Fields, now at the heart of London's theatre district. The program also examines the symptoms of the disease and uncovers new research into the plague bacteria that could overthrow accepted ideas about how the infection was spread. Ch2. Decimation Xand heads to St Barts hospital to look back at historical records which show that nursing staff stayed behind and risked their lives to help the sick. Elsewhere, John investigates why infection rates were so different between the rich and poor, examining clothes typical for each group in the 17th century. Ch3. Aftermath Xand visits Samuel Pepys' parish church and discovers the sad tale of the Poole family, who within 11 days lost all five of their children. He also heads to Eyam in Derbyshire, revealing the heroic story of self-sacrifice that saw all 700 villagers lock themselves in to try to stop the disease from spreading to surrounding areas. Raksha Dave trials 17th-century disinfection methods and reveal a surprising substitute that can be just as effective as modern antibacterial cleaners.
2020 • Health
Nestled in the tissues of your neck is a small, unassuming organ that wields enormous power over your body: the thyroid. Emma Bryce explains how the thyroid, like the operations manager in a company, is tasked with making sure that all the cells in your body are working properly.
Our lifespan is increasing by 2.5 years every decade - and a third of all babies born today can expect to live to 100. But living longer can come at a cost. Old age itself brings with it a range of debilitating illnesses, many of which are the result of accumulating damage during our lifetime. Three diseases in particular have become the main killers in the developed world - cancer, heart disease and dementia. But a revolution in bio-medicine is now offering new hope for the treatment of these ailments, and the potential to extend our lives still further. Methods such as gene editing and stem cell therapies are transforming the way medicine can conquer disease today. These extreme frontiers of medicine do, however, also come with a range of ethical dilemmas - when is the right time to try out an experimental technique on a patient? Should we gene edit human embryos? And is it right to use cells from aborted foetuses for medical treatments?
Stem cells found in the bone marrow are crucial for our health because they are needed to become new blood cells that sustain and protect our bodies. But when the transformation goes wrong, harmful mutations can cause the cells to start replicating without control -- a type of cancer known as leukemia. Danilo Allegra and Dania Puggioni explain how this happens and how certain treatments provide hope for those suffering from the disease.