Segments in this Video

Introduction: Are Health Tests Really a Good Idea? (02:12)


Technology gives doctors the chance to detect a disease earlier. Michael Mosley puts himself through screening tests that are available to healthy individuals to discover which ones are useful.

Heart Disease (03:00)

Mosley's father and grandfather died from heart disease. Mosley takes a cardiac assessment test with his general practitioner.

Framingham Heart Study (02:35)

Three generations of families spend an afternoon every year as guinea pigs to participate in the study. Created after the World War II, the study is the leading authority on cardiac assessment tests. Daniel Levy explains that the study originally coined the term "risk factor."

Heart Scans (02:20)

Blood pressure and cholesterol tests performed by a general practitioner are great at assessing risk factors, but a heart scan can locate fatty deposits that can become clots and see how well the cardiovascular system is operating. Dr. Paul Jenkins escorts Mosleyinto the screening room.

Mosley's Heart Scan (03:31)

Jenkins performs the test; the entrance of the dye surprises Mosley. He receives a small dose of radiation because the scanner uses x-rays. A radiologist gives Mosleyhis results.

Mosley's Diagnosis (03:31)

Dr. Diamond and Mosley's general practitioner tell him to start on a statin. Mosley visits Dr. Mark Dweck for a second opinion. Dweck explains that most people have this type of buildup at his age and his recommendation would be the same.

Plaque Buildup (01:50)

Dweck shows Mosley a large plaque he removed from a stroke victim. Mosley feels better about his diagnosis and will start taking statin. He is not convinced an elaborate health test is necessary for healthy people.

Cancer Tests (02:01)

Mammogram's save thousands of lives in the UK every year. If a patient receives a positive diagnosis of a lump, it is biopsied to tell if it is cancerous or not. The biopsy cannot tell whether or not the cancer is fast or slow growing which leads to over diagnosis.

Over Diagnosis (04:21)

Dr. Iona Heath describes the "mammography wars." Mosley explains PSA test inadequacies. Many men had surgical procedures that left them impotent and incontinent.

Mosley's PSA Test (02:45)

At Cambridge Addenbrooke Hospital, men with elevated PSA's take part in an active monitoring program. Vincent Gnanapragasam states there was no difference in fatalities in a study between men who completed surgery and those who declined.

Bowel Cancer (02:52)

Removing polyps during a scope can help patients avoid bowel cancer. If polyps are cancerous, there is a 45% chance that the cancer will be eradicated by removing that polyp.

Mosley's Bowel Scope (04:12)

Mosley sees his rectum and bowel on the monnitor. Dr. Maggie Vance detects a polyp, removes it and sends it to be biopsied; she is sure it is benign.

Do It Yourself Genetic Testing (03:27)

Mosley wonders whether humans should dabble with their DNA. He meets geneticist Dr. Ewan Birney who shows him a bookcase filled with books that map the human genome. Birney explains that there are on average 3,000,000 differences from the book to an individual which determine eye color, smell receptor, and diseases.

Mosley's DNA Results (03:13)

Diseases are a product of many variants: environment, lifestyle and genetics. Birney recommends performing a DIY test for fun, but not for health. Mosley opens his results.

Alzheimer's Report (02:30)

Mosley has a 50% chance of developing Alzheimer's by the age of 85. He decides not to open any other locked test.

Getting Ahead of Symptoms (02:51)

Daniel Welch believes rigorous screening takes away resources from the sick. Heath compares medical screening to polluting a clear glass of water.

Screening, a Personal Decision (03:27)

Mosley believes some screenings are beneficial; lifestyle changes can work. Professor Peter Elwood monitored men for 35 years to provide quantitative evidence of lifestyle choices. He discovered fewer heart attacks, less dementia, and an increased life span by six years/

Credits: Are Health Tests Really A Good Idea? (00:45)

Credits: Are Health Tests Really A Good Idea?

For additional digital leasing and purchase options contact a media consultant at 800-257-5126
(press option 3) or

Are Health Tests Really a Good Idea?

DVD (Chaptered) Price: $300.00
DVD + 3-Year Streaming Price: $450.00
3-Year Streaming Price: $300.00



Despite living longer and healthier lives than ever before, we have never been more obsessed with our health. And in an effort to detect the signs of silent killers lurking inside, more and more of us are turning to health tests. In this surprising BBC Horizon film, human guinea pig Michael Mosley puts himself through a battery of health tests available to people who feel perfectly well. From a simple assessment to a state of the art heart CT scan, Michael asks whether the pricey Harley street test was really worth the cash... And what about the risks associated with these tests? Scans come with radiation exposure and even the simplest of tests lead to anxiety and possible overdiagnosis. Does testing healthy people actually do more harm than good? A BBC Production.

Length: 53 minutes

Item#: BVL115614

ISBN: 978-1-68272-964-9

Copyright date: ©2015

Closed Captioned

Performance Rights

Prices include public performance rights.

Not available to Home Video and Publisher customers.