The Science of Sleep • 2016

Category: Health
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Sleep has long been regarded as nothing more than a way to charge our batteries. But what if it can control our weight, allow us to make memories, and help us to fight off diseases like Alzheimer’s? We travel the world to investigate how revolutionary new technology has revealed the sleeping brain as an energetic and purposeful machine.

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Behind that cup of coffee or tea is a global story that goes back to the collision that created the Moon and the evolution of plant and animal life. The key is the molecule that gives your morning cup its kick: caffeine, the most popular drug in history.

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We are What We Eat

In the opening episode, they explore how this chemistry fuels and builds our bodies. Michael begins by trying the first meal most of us enjoyed, human breast milk, which contains everything a baby needs - fats, carbs, vitamins and minerals. As we grow, we continue to seek the same chemistry in our diet but from a wide variety of scrumptious fare as Michael and James discover. In San Francisco, they unravel why sourdough bread is so good for us, in the Philippines, they learn how a river weed - rice - has become a comforting staple food, and in Bulgaria, they discover why letting your mushrooms sunbathe may help you get a calcium boost from your dairy food.

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Why Did I Go Mad?

For hundreds of years, psychiatry has treated voices and hallucinations as an enemy - regarding them as 'insanity' or 'madness' and seeing them as something to be quashed and even frightened of. But today, new scientific and psychological insights into how the brain works are leading to a radical rethink on what such experiences are - and how they should be treated. Horizon follows three people living with voices, hallucinations and paranoia, to explore what causes this kind of phenomena. Providing a rare first-hand insight into these experiences, they reveal just what it is like to live with them day to day. They examine the impact of social, biological and environmental influences on conditions traditionally associated with insanity, such as schizophrenia and psychosis, and within the film they look at how new ways of understanding the brain are leading to a dramatic change in treatments and approaches, and examine whether targeting the root causes of psychosis can lead to recovery. Above all, they try to uncover why it happened to them - and whether it could happen to you.

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While You Were Sleeping

For thousands of years, we’ve regarded sleep as nothing more than an annihilation of consciousness. But there is one compelling fact that has always stood in the way of that view. “Even the Greek philosophers wondered why we needed to sleep,” says neuroscientist, Dr. Kenneth Wright. “If sleep wasn’t important, it’s probably one of the most significant mistakes that evolution ever made.” Yet decades of intense research have failed to discover the key function of sleep. But now, thanks to revolutionary new technology, innovative animal research and extraordinary advances in genetics, all that’s about to change. Join Dr. Jennifer Gardy as she goes on an extraordinary odyssey from a city that never sleeps to an isolation chamber in the Colorado Rockies, from one of the most unique research centres in the world to the world of dreams. Her goal is simple: Discover why we sleep

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Growing resistance to commonly prescribed antibiotics is one of the biggest public health threats of modern times, with the potential to cause 80,000 deaths in the UK over the next 20 years. Experts say the use of a range of NHS 'last-resort' antibiotics in farming is risking the lives of future patients. Tom Heap asks if the commercial pressure to produce cheap meat and poultry is fuelling the rise of superbugs and meets the patients for whom the drugs have already stopped working.

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