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?
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