Inherited genetic diseases are the second most common reason why babies die but people who carry defective genes, such as the ones that cause cystic fibrosis, are being helped by a technique called PGD - pre-implantation genetic diagnosis.
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.
2001 • Health
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.
2001 • Health
The human body is constantly regenerating itself, but as we get older, the ability for self-repair diminishes. The human foetus, however, has far greater powers of regeneration. The programme explores how modern medicine is looking at ways to tap into the superhuman power of the embryo.
2001 • Health
Not all the microbes that live on us or inside us are benign, and it is only thanks to the superhuman nature of our bodies that we survive constant attack. However, humans are becoming increasingly vulnerable to disease. This programme examines the dramatic increase in allergic diseases such as asthma, eczema and hayfever.
2001 • Health
This documentary film explores the development of the growing fetus from conception to delivery. Open a window into the hidden world of the foetus and explore each trimester in amazing detail. It’s meant to be a joyous event, but in reality, it's a gripping battle for survival. Using cutting edge technology, we go inside the womb and follow the incredible nine month journey from conception to birth, showing how the struggle for life turns into the miracle of birth. Enhanced by poet Roger McGough’s reading of a series of poems written for the occasion.
2015 • Health
Whether they make you fat, fart, or freak out, microbes play a central role in your life. Right beneath your nose—on your face, in your gut, and everywhere in between—trillions of bacteria, viruses, and fungi are so abundant in your body, they outnumber your human cells. But these aren’t just nasty hitch-hikers. Many are crucial to your survival. Evidence suggests that a diverse microbiome can keep you healthy and, conversely, a damaged one could kill you. NOVA Wonders peers into this microscopic world to discover the fascinating, bizarre, and downright surprising secrets of the human microbiome, including the world’s largest stool bank, which transforms raw stool into life-saving poop pills.
As a woman in New York City leans over a table, about to inhale a line of cocaine, she is unknowingly part of a $30 billion a year industry — an illegal empire governed by fear and violence, bribery and corruption, all spiraling out of control and turning Mexico and the southern border of the United States into one of the deadliest places on earth. In this probing, incisive investigation into the bloodstained path taken by cocaine we travel backwards from the end user in the U.S. all the way to the drug's source high in the South American mountains. We meet the dealers, traffickers, smugglers and farmers who together form its production and distribution chain, as well as the law enforcement agencies and individuals whose mission is to shut the deadly trade down. The cocaine industry is littered with unimaginable sums of cash and more than 35,000 murders in the past five years. Much of this violence occurs on the border between the United States and Mexico. This is just one aspect of the cocaine epidemic which is explored in the feature-length documentary Cocaine: History Between the Lines. This two-hour special goes inside the history of the second most used illicit drug in America. The human appetite for this narcotic goes all the way back to 3000 B.C., when South Americans chewed coca leaves thinking they were a gift from God. But it wasn't until 1855, when cocaine was first extracted from the coca leaf and used in powder form that its use spiked. Initially it was utilized as an anesthesia. Soon, famed psychologist Sigmund Freud touted it as an effective cure for depression and impotence. In 1886, John Pemberton, an Atlanta pharmacist, added it to his new soft drink: Coca Cola or Coke for short. In 1914, the drug was outlawed, but the damage had been done. The 70's ushered in another boost in the drug's use fueled in part by new drug cartels in South America. To combat cocaine's rise, the Reagan administration started the War on Drugs in the 80's. That hasn't stopped the proliferation of the drug in cities across America or with the cartels that continue to feed at the trough of this $30 billion dollar a year business. Cocaine use may have peaked decades ago, but it's never gone away. With the advent of crack cocaine in the 1980s, the trade became deadlier and more toxic than ever before. The high demand for the product has rendered more than 70% of Mexico under the control of the smuggling trade. American law enforcement agencies from Texas to California are fearful that this nefarious element will soon enter their country unchallenged. According to the officers interviewed in the film, border security is lax, and bureaucrats in Washington are doing little to remedy the crisis. For them, the discovery of a dismembered body – whether it be a trafficker, illegal immigrant or innocent bystander - has become a daily occurrence. This harsh reality is lost on most of the users themselves, who run the gamut from the hippest clubbers to the homeless population across America. Each user profiled in the film shares their experiences with the alluring white powder. Whether they use the drug recreationally or habitually, they have all witnessed the hold it can have on a life. From the personal to the political, Cocaine: History Between the Lines is a comprehensive account of a drug that has left much devastation in its wake.
2011 • Health
This time, we meet a girl with two hearts, a man who can sing two notes at once, a woman who can bend in amazing ways, a girl who is allergic to everything and a man who can run 350 miles without stopping. These remarkable cases reveal the secret inner workings of our bodies - the ultimate piece of natural engineering.
Every second of your life you are under attack. Bacteria, viruses, spores and more living stuff wants to enter your body and use its resources for itself. The immune system is a powerful army of cells that fights like a T-Rex on speed and sacrifices itself for your survival. Without it you would die in no time. This sounds simple but the reality is complex, beautiful and just awesome. An animation of the immune system.
Coined medicine for the soul by LSD inventor Albert Hoffman, this drug is back in the spotlights. After the widespread use in the 60’s where young kids tried to free their minds by going on psychedelic adventures and the banning of the drug that followed, any scientific research was halted. Yet, LSD was the raft that took people to the brink of enlightenment, madness, life-lasting wonderment and revolutionary insights into reality. This short unbiased documentary gives us a quick history of the use and banning of LSD and the potential it still holds today. Can it be used as a smart drug? Can it cure mental illnesses?