They are the miracle pills that shouldn't really work at all. Placebos come in all shapes and sizes, but they contain no active ingredient. Now they are being shown to help treat pain, depression and even alleviate some of the symptoms of Parkinson's disease. Horizon explores why they work, and how we could all benefit from the hidden power of the placebo.
The possibility of medicine to replace damaged organs in the body is making important headway. This programme reports on efforts to replace the most inaccessible organs with spare parts - the cochlea of a profoundly deaf two year-old and damaged retinal cells with light sensitive electronic chips are two case studies featured in the programme.
This week, we meet a girl whose heart has formed outside her ribcage, a man who can spend nine minutes underwater without taking a breath, a woman who is growing a second skeleton and a paralysed man who is regaining movement thanks to a chip implanted into his brain that can 'read' his brain signals.
Chronic lower back pain can be both debilitating and frustrating. The cause is often unclear, making it difficult to treat. As a result, many people give up on medical treatment. Now, researchers in Japan are using new approaches that target the body and the brain to successfully offer relief. One therapy eases pain with injections of saline solution. In another, a simple exercise helps people overcome the fear of pain and promotes recovery.