The Hidden Life of the Cell

Category: Health
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There is a battle playing out inside your body right now. It started billions of years ago and it is still being fought in every one of us every minute of every day. It is the story of a viral infection - the battle for the cell.

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The Pioneers

Many clinical trials target the nation's most acute health issues. With deaths from liver disease soaring by 40 per cent in a decade, more and more patients are waiting for vital liver transplants. There is a shortage of organ donors and many donated organs are rejected as only those in excellent condition are considered suitable for a transplant procedure. Surgeons Richard Laing and Thamara Perera are part of a team at QEHB trialling a revolutionary way to tackle this crisis, by maximising the number of donor organs that can be safely re-used. The film follows the trial every step of the way, as Richard receives a donor liver that would usually be rejected and tries to prove it is viable for transplant by rejuvenating and testing it on a perfusion machine. This machine sustains the liver by mimicking the supply of blood, oxygen and nutrients an organ receives inside a live, healthy human body. Once the donor liver has proved itself fit for transplant, the surgical team start to remove grandmother Connie O'Driscoll's severely diseased liver. Once the donor liver has been disconnected from the perfusion machine, they have just 20 minutes to place it in Connie's body and plumb it into the complex and delicate network of hepatic blood vessels.

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Stem Cell Universe

The use of embryonic stem cells has ignited fierce debate across the spiritual and political spectrum. But what if we could create manmade stem cells - or find super cells in adults that could forever replace embryonic cells and remove the controversy? Today, we are on the brink of a new era - an age where we may be able to cure our bodies of any illness. Stephen Hawking has spent his life exploring the mysteries of the cosmos, now there is another universe that fascinates him - the one hidden inside our bodies - our own personal galaxies of cells. Hawking takes us on a fascinating journey exploring what these wondrous and baffling mechanisms are capable of. He is joined by the scientists who are on the front lines of discovery in this field including Dr. Doris Taylor who is customizing a donor's heart with the recipient's stem cells - her goal is to revolutionize heart transplants, Dr. Paul Lu and Dr. Mark Tuszynski may have created a breakthrough that could cure paralysis, and Dr. Vincent Giampapa who believes that stem cells can be used to stem the tide of aging and create a fountain of youth.

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Spilling the Beans

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.

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Science of Babies

As new parents can attest, children develop so much in the first year of their life it's hard to keep up. From the moment they draw their initial breath - itself an incredibly complicated biological feat - to their first steps, it's a year of remarkable development. In The Science of Babies, Nat Geo explores the amazing biomechanical benchmarks achieved in the first 12 months of human life. Using CGI, fMRI and other tools, viewers can watch as a baby's lungs draw breath for the first time, and can witness the heart grow exponentially in order to power this incredible developing creature. Perhaps even more fascinating is the manner in which the neurosynapses develop, creating the essence of what will become a new personality and intellect. This film explores the amazing mechanics behind the initial milestones in a human infant's life, and even compares them to babies of other species. Beyond simply being a beautiful film to watch, the technology that Nat Geo uses to help tell the tale is remarkable.

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Sugar

Journalist Fiona Phillips is on a mission to find out the truth behind the recent headlines on sugar.

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Can We Live Forever?

Scientists are working to understand and even slow the aging process.

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