Is there any way to slow or even prevent the ravages of time? Veteran presenter Johnny Ball looks back over the 45 years that Horizon, and he, have been on air to find out what science has learned about how and why we grow old. Charting developments from macabre early claims of rejuvenation to the latest cutting-edge breakthroughs, Johnny discovers the sense of a personal mission that drives many scientists and asks whether we are really any closer to achieving the dream of immortality.
In this episode, Gabriel uncovers the cases of an engineer who fixed his own heart, a toddler whose bones were repaired before he was even born and a girl whose immune system attacked her own brain. We meet a man who can taste words and find out how his condition is helping develop new ways to enable blind people to navigate and even recognise colours. And we encounter a man who was immobilised by MS but can now cycle and scuba-dive thanks to a pioneering new treatment that has reversed his disease.
One in five families eat convenience foods at least three times a week and a government survey showed only one in six mothers cook from scratch every day. In the first of four food programmes over the next fortnight, the Tonight programme investigates why some of us can’t cook or won’t cook and what can be done to get Britain back in the kitchen. The UK has the largest consumption of ready meals in Europe. It’s no surprise; they are cheap, convenient and easy. A few minutes in a microwave and dinner is served. But for some families the ready meal isn’t always the first choice, it’s sometimes the only choice.
Two procedures so formidable, they would not have been attempted even a few years ago. Surgical teams at the Queen Elizabeth are constantly pushing the limits of what is possible. But despite state-of-the-art diagnostic scanning, sometimes cancer surgeons don't know exactly what they are up against until they open the patient up on the operating table. Even with the most meticulous planning, sometimes they must resort to taking critical decisions live in the theatre. 74-year-old Jasmine Harkness has been referred to the specialist sarcoma unit with a vast tumour in her abdomen, weighing more than three stone - a third of her total body weight. It is consuming her, displacing organs including her stomach and liver. Unless it can be removed, she has just four weeks to live. Sarcoma specialists Sam Ford and Professor David Gourevitch can't be sure whether they will be able to save Jasmine until they open her up and inspect her anatomy. Such is the risk of this surgery - five years ago they would not have embarked on this intervention. Sue Sinclair, lead anaesthetist and matriarch of theatre, keeps the others in check - working alongside them as they battle to detach the tumour from Jasmine's organs and blood vessels, and remove it intact. Whenever it presses heavily on vital blood vessels, Jasmine's blood pressure plummets, placing her life in grave danger. It will take unwavering focus to keep her alive. The tumour has grown so invasively that it has crushed and displaced Jasmine's internal organs. Sam and David have a puzzle on their hands to identify what and where everything is. At times, dark humour is the only way to release the tension as they grapple with blood, guts and mind-boggling complexity.