Is a new personalised drug for skin cancer set to revolutionise cancer medicine?In the first of a new series of Frontiers, Geoff Watts finds out about a new cancer drug that has had dramatic results in a previously almost untreatable type of skin cancer.
Neuroscience used to work – by examining the dead or investigating the damaged – but now things have changed. Imaging machines and other technologies enable us to see the active brain in everyday life, to observe the activation of its cells and the mass firing of its neuron batteries. But what picture of the brain has emerged, how has our understanding of it changed and what are the implications for understanding that most mysterious and significant of all phenomena – the human mind?
With Professor Susan Greenfield, director of the Royal Institution, Professor of Pharmacology, Oxford University and Professor of Physics at Gresham College; Professor Vilayanur Ramachandran, Professor of Neuroscience and Psychology, Director of the Brain Perception Laboratory, University of California in San Diego and Professor at the Salk Institute.
Despite dissections of brains both human and animal throughout the following centuries, in 1669 the Danish anatomist, Nicolaus Steno, still lamented that, “the brain, the masterpiece of creation, is almost unknown to us.”
Why was the brain seen as a mystery for so long and how have our perceptions of how it works and what it symbolises changed over the centuries?
With Steven Rose, Professor of Biology and Director of the Brain and Behaviour Research Group, Open University, Dan Robinson, Distinguished Research Professor, Georgetown University and visiting lecturer in Philosophy and Senior Member of Linacre College, Oxford University.
How does the activity of the 100 billion little wisps of protoplasm - the neurons in your brain - give rise to all the richness of our conscious experience, including the "redness" of red, the painfulness of pain or the exquisite flavour of Marmite or Vindaloo?
Professor Ramachandran draws on neurological case studies and work from ethology (animal behavior) to present a new framework for understanding how the brain creates and responds to art. He will use examples mainly from Indian art and Cubism to illustrate these ideas.
Professor Ramachandran demonstrates experimentally that the phenomenon of synesthaesia is a genuine sensory effect. For example, some subjects literally "see" red every time they see the number 5 or green when they see 2.
At Oxford's John Radcliffe Hospital, mum Adele has just heard the devastating news from brain surgeon Jay Jayamohan that her three-year-old daughter Cerys has a malignant brain cancer. This film follows Cerys's battle and shows other patients who are battling similar odds.
The parents of two year old Raj face an unimaginable dilemma. Ray has a brain tumour which, untreated, will kill him within months. Doctors at Oxford's John Radcliffe Hospital can operate but the surgery carries a high risk of paralysis.
GPs are among the most trusted and respected of all professions. They are our first port of call for most NHS treatment with 800,000 people visiting surgeries every day. But Dispatches reveals that failing doctors routinely slip through the system.
Dispatches reveals what life is like for elderly men and women forced to live on today's state pension and deal with the complexities of the government's means-tested benefits to keep body and soul together.
What's really going on inside your stomach? In this documentary, Michael Mosley offers up his own guts to find out. Spending the day as an exhibit at the Science Museum in London, he swallows a tiny camera and uses the latest in imaging technology to get a unique view of his innards digesting his food. He discovers pools of concentrated acid and metres of writhing tubing which is home to its own ecosystem.
The heart is the most symbolic organ of the human body. Throughout history it has been seen as the site of our emotions, the very centre of our being. But modern medicine has come to see the heart as just a pump; a brilliant pump, but nothing more. And we see ourselves as ruled by our heads and not our hearts.
Dr Kevin Fong finds out how close scientists are to being able to mend your heart if it stops working. He meets some of the people who have undergone pioneering heart operations and the scientists who are pushing the limits of cardiac treatment.
Dallas Campbell delves into the Horizon archive to discover how our understanding of intelligence has transformed over the last century. From early caveman thinkers to computers doing the thinking for us, he discovers the best ways of testing how clever we are - and enhancing it.