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.
Horizon investigates a new era of Alzheimer's research, which is bringing hope to millions of sufferers across the world. New scanning and gene technology is allowing scientists to identify the disease at its earliest stages, often 15 years before symptoms appear and the brain cells are destroyed. A series of new drugs trials in Colombia, the USA and Europe are showing startling success in reducing beta amyloid, the protein which is a hallmark of the disease. It is also becoming clear that changes in lifestyle can prevent the development of the disease. A new system inside the brain has been discovered which clears amyloid when we are in deep sleep, but allows it to accumulate if we don't sleep well. The programme reveals that for sufferers in the early stages of the disease, brain connections, or synapses, can be strengthened and even replaced by absorbing enough of the right nutrients. A UK-wide trail helps sufferers in the early stages to concentrate on improving everyday tasks, and in the process not only make their lives easier, but helps to reactivate the planning and organisational parts of the brain. In an ageing world, where the biggest risk of developing Alzheimer's is old age, the scientific breakthroughs in Alzheimer's disease are bringing hope where once there was despair.
Nearly one-third of adults engage in problem drinking at some point in their lives. Health professionals assess drinkers at risk on a spectrum ranging from low-risk to an alcohol use disorder that can range from mild to severe. Risky Drinking challenges viewers to recognize when their drinking may be putting them at risk and offers information that could help millions of people lead healthier lives. Through case studies and expert analysis, the film investigates the broad spectrum of risky drinking at different ages and stages in people’s lives,
2017 • Health
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.
2007 • Health