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Childbirth: All or Nothing

   2015    Medicine
What's your idea of the perfect birth? Do you want every medical intervention known to science or do you want to go it alone, without the help of a doctor or midwife? And what about after birth? Perhaps you'll hang on to your baby's placenta and carry it around with your newborn until it dries and drops off naturally? Or maybe you'll decide to eat it by whizzing it up into a smoothie? This film follows four pregnant women all making very different choices around their births, all determined to do it their way." 37-year-old Jo plans to deliver her baby completely alone on board her barge, without the assistance of any medical professional. By contrast, 34-year-old Anna is opting to sidestep the pains of labour and book in for a c-section at the Portland Hospital in London. Anna wants all the medication available and she doesn't want to feel a thing. There are plenty of unusual plans for after the birth too. In Devon, 33-year-old Lisa plans to lotus birth - she'll leave her baby's umbilical cord attached to its placenta and she'll keep it fresh by dusting it with salt, rose petals and lavender oil. 35-year-old Kati from Manchester is going to whizz her afterbirth into a smoothie and consume it over a number of days. She hopes it will help her stave off post-natal baby blues and bounce back as quickly as possible. Fending off bewildered looks and concerns from friends, family and medical professionals, each woman is going against convention to have the birth she wants. There are free and frank discussions between mums and daughters and decisions to go against medical advice. So does breaking with the norm and sticking to your guns pay off? And what really is the perfect birth?

Ebola: The Search for a Cure

   2014    Medicine
The Ebola virus is one of the most virulent infections known to science. This special episode of Horizon meets the scientists and doctors from all around the world looking for the cure and hears first-hand accounts of what it is actually like to catch and survive the disease

Playing God

   2012    Medicine
Adam Rutherford meets a new creature created by American scientists, the spider-goat. It is part goat, part spider, and its milk can be used to create artificial spider's web. It is part of a new field of research, synthetic biology, with a radical aim: to break down nature into spare parts so that we can rebuild it however we please. This technology is already being used to make bio-diesel to power cars. Other researchers are looking at how we might, one day, control human emotions by sending 'biological machines' into our brains.

The Knowledge of Healing

   1998    Medicine
The documentary 'The Knowledge of Healing' is an illuminating examination of Tibetan medicine, a practice which has developed over two millennia into a modern day successful method of healing that rivals western medical practices. Unlike Western medicine, based on biochemistry, Tibetan medical thinking (which is strongly rooted in Buddhist principles) views the human body as governed by an elaborately organized system of energies flowing through a network of channels. In the 12th century, the Gyüshi (Knowledge of Healing) was created, a text codifying this intricate system. The medications used comprise herbs, roots, minerals, etc. After flourishing for centuries, most Tibetan medical schools were destroyed by the Chinese in the 1950's and 1960's, and many physicians were executed. Speaking from exile, the Dalai Lama argues for the value of Tibetan medicine, while his personal physician Dr. Tenzin Choedrak describes the principles behind it. We follow physicians in India and Siberia treating patients for a variety of ailments from paralysis to heart disease, and meet researchers in Israel and Switzerland to see how western clinical studies are testing the effectiveness of Tibetan medicine.

Adoration in the Forest

   2010    Art
Painted over five centuries ago, Filippo Lippi's nativity is like none other: it shows the birth of Christ in a dark, wooded wilderness. There are no shepherds, kings, ox, ass – there is no Joseph. Its beauty inspired Michelangelo, Leonardo da Vinci and Botticelli. But it also conceals a deeply personal story. It was painted for Cosimo de Medici, a wealthy banker who feared that his money was dragging him straight to hell. The artist's life was equally surprising. One of the most celebrated painters of his day, Filippo Lippi was also a Carmelite friar, but he was no stranger to the temptations of the flesh, to which he frequently yielded. Shortly before painting his Adoration, he caused uproar by seducing a twenty year-old nun. His paintings rejoice not only in divine beauty, but in the beauty of women. In later times, the Adoration's history was interwoven with that of rulers and dictators. It became a bargaining chip after Napoleon's allies seized twenty merchant ships. And in the 20th century, it was hidden by the Nazis in a potassium mine, where specialist american officers, known as Monuments Men, stumbled upon it. they were now told to get it ready to be shipped out. In an unprecedented turn of events they refused. This is the only known case in the whole of the Second World War of American officers refusing an order. It was sent to the National Gallery of Art, but in 1949 Lippi's Adoration was returned to Germany.
Series: The Private Life of a Masterpiece
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