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.
Nearly half of us take a vitamin or mineral supplement every day, but what are these pills sold on every high street actually doing for us? Digging deeper than the eye catching words on the packaging, Dr Giles Yeo investigates who really needs a supplement by putting our diets to the test.
Our lifespan is increasing by 2.5 years every decade - and a third of all babies born today can expect to live to 100. But living longer can come at a cost. Old age itself brings with it a range of debilitating illnesses, many of which are the result of accumulating damage during our lifetime. Three diseases in particular have become the main killers in the developed world - cancer, heart disease and dementia. But a revolution in bio-medicine is now offering new hope for the treatment of these ailments, and the potential to extend our lives still further. Methods such as gene editing and stem cell therapies are transforming the way medicine can conquer disease today. These extreme frontiers of medicine do, however, also come with a range of ethical dilemmas - when is the right time to try out an experimental technique on a patient? Should we gene edit human embryos? And is it right to use cells from aborted foetuses for medical treatments?
Gloria Hunniford and Chris Bavin make sense of which foods we should and shouldn't be eating. Gloria reveals her own experience of being diagnosed as pre-diabetic. With headlines suggesting millions are at risk of developing diabetes, she exposes how changing your diet can stop the condition in its tracks, and perhaps even reverse it. Chris unpicks which fruit and veg are best to eat. After years of working as a greengrocer, even he's unsure if he's eating enough, and how those five-a-day really stack up.
Presenter Michael Mosley finds out how the early days of surgery were dark and barbaric, when the surgeon’s knife was more likely to kill you than save you, and invasive medicine generally meant being bloodlet by leeches to within an inch of your life.
Michael heads to Spain to search for some of the most powerful tastes on the planet, whilst James travels high in the Peruvian Andes to discover how a bitter potato - a cousin of the humble spud - has been tamed to help the inhabitants survive the extreme altitude. Using the latest imaging techniques to take us inside our food, right down to the molecular level, Michael and James offer us a whole new way of thinking about taste: far more than being just delicious, it's actually a matter of survival.