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?
The body's superhuman abilities are most starkly revealed in the area of trauma - one of the world's biggest killers. Medical teams have traditionally tried to reverse the changes which occur when the body goes into trauma, but doctors are now beginning to realise that the changes which occur in the body after an injury such as the loss of blood and severe drops in temperature serve an important purpose in the recovery process.
Benjamin Woolley presents the gripping story of Nicholas Culpeper, the 17th century radical pharmacist who took on the establishment in order to bring medicine to the masses. Culpeper lived during one of the most tumultuous periods in British history. When the country was ravaged by famine and civil war, he took part in the revolution that culminated in the execution of King Charles I. But it is Culpeper's achievements in health care that made him famous. By practicing (often illegally) as a herbalist and publishing the first English-language texts explaining how to treat common ailments, he helped to break the monopoly of a medical establishment that had abandoned the poor and needy. His book The English Physician became the most successful non-religious English book of all time, remaining in print continuously for more than 350 years.
2007 • Health
In the US, 80% of girls have been on a diet by the time they're 10 years old. In this honest, raw talk, neuroscientist Sandra Aamodt uses her personal story to frame an important lesson about how our brains manage our bodies, as she explores the science behind why dieting not only doesn't work, but is likely to do more harm than good. She suggests ideas for how to live a less diet-obsessed life, intuitively.