COVID-19 is far from the first pandemic to wreak havoc in the world. A long line of infectious diseases have devastated and in some cases destroyed entire societies. Almost all of them started in animals and made the jump to humans. We are terrified of pandemics. And with good reason. Infectious diseases have cost the lives of countless people over the centuries, devastating families, towns, and even societies. The Black Death spread across Europe and Asia in the 14th century leaving millions dead in its wake. Between the 15th and 18th centuries, European colonists brought smallpox to the Americas, the Pacific region and to Australia. In Europe, the 17th century saw a series of major epidemics. And at the end of the First World War, more people died of the Spanish flu than on the battlefield. This documentary examines the causes of these epidemics - whether it be lack of hygiene, interaction with animals, overcrowding, or the growth of cities - and how people travelling helped to spread disease and promote pandemics. It also sheds a light on the impact these infectious diseases have had on politics and societal change. Today, the world is facing COVID-19. Measures such as quarantine and lockdowns are being rolled out in an effort to control the spread of the virus; and, just as our ancestors did before us, some are questioning how effective they are. Over the centuries, scientists managed to develop treatments and medicines to help control or even eradicate infectious diseases. Virologists are facing that task again with the coronavirus, as the world frantically searches for ways to overcome a pandemic which threatens our modern way of life.
Learn about the surprisingly recent invention of medicine that combats illness directly, such as antibiotics. From the accidental discovery of penicillin to today's hunt for antivirals, this history underpins work to find COVID-19 treatments.
As the narrative goes, fat is bad. Well, it's actually more nuanced than that. The type of fat you eat is more impactful on your health than the quantity. George Zaidan examines triglycerides, the varied molecules that make up fat, and how to identify which types of fat you are consuming.
Gloria and Chris settle the argument over whether tea and coffee are good or bad for us - and if the same is true for both. There is also the truth about a food often touted as a way to fight cancer. And, after reports suggesting reusing plastic water bottles is a bad idea, tests reveal if we should be using a fresh one every time.
If you were told you could get fit with just a few minutes of exercise a week would you believe it? Anja Taylor looks at whether exercise impacts aging and if changes in your mitochondria resulting from exercise effectively retard aging.
Episode 3 – spotlights some of nature's tiniest packages that deliver a powerful protein punch. Protein is an essential component of our diet, and for centuries, products of animal origin were thought to be one of the best sources. But, new evidence proves diets high in beans are one of the most important dietary predictors of survival for older people around the world.
Episode 2 – exposes how the industrial revolution opened the floodgates for highly-processed convenience foods that became "our daily bread." But those pseudo-grains are known to contribute to chronic disease. Natural, whole grains support longevity and lower the risk of heart disease. Grain of Truth also explores the debate over gluten as a dietary evil.