In recent years, researchers have started to understand why people love the foods they do, and that there may be a way to make snacks taste sweeter without adding any extra sugar – and it's all down to a trick that happens in the brain. This film meets a scientist who has grown a tomato that is sweeter and juicier than anything likely to be found on a supermarket shelf, and follows those hoping to become elite, professional tasters.
Giles Coren, the food critic takes up three extreme diet regimes in a bid to push the very limits of life expectancy. Giles's search to find a diet which might extend his life comes after his great-grandfather lived to the grand old age of 93. His grandfather passed away aged 76 and his father Alan died aged 69. The Coren men are bucking the global trend of living longer so Giles, now in his mid-forties, wants to find out what he can do to avoid a premature death.
Everybody is talking about Measles – but what does the virus actually do in the body? Is it really so harmful that you need a vaccination? We go deep into the body of an infected person and see what Measles does and how the immune system reacts to it!
In this third Horizon special, Dr Chris Van Tulleken is joined by his brother Xand and Dr Guddi Singh to take us through the latest developments and answer current concerns. Though the effect of the coronavirus pandemic has been devastating to many, the team reveal the breakthroughs in genetics, medicine and modelling that have provided a way out of this situation and given hope and confidence that, in the event of a future pandemic, we can take it on and win.
Two procedures so formidable, they would not have been attempted even a few years ago. Surgical teams at the Queen Elizabeth are constantly pushing the limits of what is possible. But despite state-of-the-art diagnostic scanning, sometimes cancer surgeons don't know exactly what they are up against until they open the patient up on the operating table. Even with the most meticulous planning, sometimes they must resort to taking critical decisions live in the theatre. 74-year-old Jasmine Harkness has been referred to the specialist sarcoma unit with a vast tumour in her abdomen, weighing more than three stone - a third of her total body weight. It is consuming her, displacing organs including her stomach and liver. Unless it can be removed, she has just four weeks to live. Sarcoma specialists Sam Ford and Professor David Gourevitch can't be sure whether they will be able to save Jasmine until they open her up and inspect her anatomy. Such is the risk of this surgery - five years ago they would not have embarked on this intervention. Sue Sinclair, lead anaesthetist and matriarch of theatre, keeps the others in check - working alongside them as they battle to detach the tumour from Jasmine's organs and blood vessels, and remove it intact. Whenever it presses heavily on vital blood vessels, Jasmine's blood pressure plummets, placing her life in grave danger. It will take unwavering focus to keep her alive. The tumour has grown so invasively that it has crushed and displaced Jasmine's internal organs. Sam and David have a puzzle on their hands to identify what and where everything is. At times, dark humour is the only way to release the tension as they grapple with blood, guts and mind-boggling complexity.
Chocolate reduces stress. Fish stimulates the brain. Is there any truth to such popular beliefs? The findings of researchers around the world say yes: It appears we really are what we eat. A study in a British prison found that inmates who took vitamin supplements were less prone to violent behavior. And in Germany, a psychologist at the University of Lübeck has shown that social behavior is influenced by the ingredients consumed at breakfast. But what really happens in the brain when we opt for honey instead of jam, and fish rather than sausage? Scientists around the world are trying to find out. Neuro-nutrition is the name of an interdisciplinary research field that investigates the impact of nutrition on brain health. Experiments on rats and flies offer new insight into the effects of our eating habits. When laboratory rats are fed a diet of junk food, the result is not just obesity. The menu also has a direct influence on their memory performance. The role of the intestinal flora has been known for some time, but scientists are currently discovering other relationships. So-called "brain food" for example: The Mediterranean diet that’s based on vegetables and fish is said to provide the best nutrition for small grey cells. Omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fish, for example, protect the nerve cells and are indispensable for the development of the brain - because the brain is also what it eats!
2020 • Health