Exploring Blood (02:59)
People have always been fascinated and terrified by blood, a substance which gives the body life. Losing half of the body's blood will result in death. Science can now study the potential of blood with modern technology, as Michael Mosley plans to investigate.
Oxygen: Fundamental to Life (02:31)
Mosley prefers to cycle in London to avoid traffic and get some exercise. His muscles begin to ache as he pushes himself, because the blood cells in his body are oxygenating though the air he breathes in. Around twenty trillion red blood cells exist in the body, turning bright red when they extract oxygen from air.
Athletic Use of Oxygen (03:07)
At the Institute of Sport, Exercise, and Health, Mosley measures his VO2 max, or the maximum volume of oxygen he can use. He rides an exercise bike while hooked up to an instrument that measures oxygen.
Oxygen Compensation (03:31)
To allow more oxygen into the bloodstream in the interest of heightening athletic performance, athletes can train at high altitudes. Because there is less oxygen, the body compensates by producing more. Mosley enters an altitude chamber where he remains for four hours; see how his body reacts
Fuel: Fats and Sugars (02:08)
Blood also carries fuel in the form of fats and sugars. Plasma carries the byproducts of food and makes up over half of the blood, delivering the substances as energy or storing them as fat.
Breakfast Studies (02:43)
A new approach to food science called metabolomics, studies metabolites within cells, as Dr. Tanita Casci demonstrates at Glasgow University. Dr. Casci shows the effects of Mosley's two differing breakfasts on his blood, including a surge in prostaglandins, which indicate inflammation in the bloodstream.
Blood Snacks (03:03)
As human blood is quite literally comprised of what the human has eaten, it is a source of nutrients for creatures like head lice, mosquitoes, and leeches. In Roman times, people would drink the blood of young, fit gladiators. Mosley cooks up black pudding with his own blood in the recipe.
Flow: Circulating Blood (02:13)
Blood transports oxygen and nutrients to all parts of the body via arteries, veins, and capillaries circulating through the body. Ancient Romans thought that blood was made fresh every day and burned away through the fingers and toes after its use.
Mapping Blood Vessels (02:14)
Mosley enters an MRI machine where he remains for four hours as the machine maps the blood vessels in his body. The circulatory system appears like plumbing but it is actually highly sophisticated.
Inflammatory Responses (03:42)
Mosley inspects a configuration created by Dr. Peter Vincent of the Imperial College of London that represents the human blood stream. Surgeons often need to join blood vessels and if the angle at which they do so is too extreme, the vessel wall can become aggravated and inflamed, blocking the connection. A naturally curved artery is designed to control blood flow with precision.
Defense: Blood Attacks (03:56)
A stent, or a nickel titanium mesh used by surgeons to hold an artery open, can be blocked because of its straight shape; a new design is the shape of a helix and studies suggest it survives better in the body. Blood carries oxygen and food throughout the body, and it also plays a large role in defending the body. The body reacts to infection and injury by increasing blood flow of white blood cells which are the defense mechanisms of the blood.
Natural Killer Cells (03:18)
After Mosley goes white water canoeing, immunologist Dr. Natalie Riddell studies his blood to see the stress response that has occurred in his bloodstream. After ten minutes of stress-filled canoeing, there is a 50 percent increase in these cells in Mosley's bloodstream.
Blood Clotting (03:08)
The fifth key property of blood is its healing powers. Mosley has is blood drawn to isolate the platelets, which are what clot to prevent blood from leaving the blood vessel if a cut occurs on the skin.
Emergency Response (04:14)
Platelets appear like spiky balls when magnified, growing sticky to cling together. Mosley demonstrates what happens when deadly snake venom comes in contact with fresh human blood: the blood solidifies and turns into a jelly-like substance. Mosley investigates the "vampire face lift."
Vampire Facial (02:53)
After Mosley undergoes the facial that involves injecting platelets into the skin, Mosley examines his own face, thinking perhaps there is a little improvement. People have attributed healing properties to blood for hundreds of years.
Stem Cells and Blood (05:00)
In Geneva, Dr. Saul Villeda studies rejuvenation research. Stem cell research rekindled the interest in blood's healing properties. Stem cells are unique cells that can become many different things.
Credits: Wonderful World of Blood (00:44)
Credits: Wonderful World of Blood
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