We have a lifetime’s association with our bodies, but for many of us they remain uncharted territory. The doctor takes us on a journey through health and illness, offering insights on everything from the ribbed surface of the brain to the secret workings of the heart and the womb; from the pulse of life at the wrist to the unique engineering of the foot. If the body is a foreign country, then to practise medicine is to explore new territory: the explorer and author of Empire Antarctica leads the reader on an adventure through what it means to be human.
It’s 100 years since drugs were first banned, and drug use and drug crime have continued to grow steadily across the world. What are people addicted to? Are any of the policies adopted around the world based on scientific data? Are any of them working? Hari is the author of Chasing The Scream: The First and Last Days of the War Against Drugs; Hitchens is the author of The War We Never Fought. Chaired by Hernando Alvarez, editor of BBC Mundo.
The star, screenwriter and producer of the television drama discuss the stories and period of Jennifer Worth’s best-selling books with Virginia Nicholson.
A classicist and a neuroscientist explore the Ancient Greek words Liberty, Comedy, Charisma, Xenia, Wisdom and Peace and travel both forwards and backwards in time, investigating how these ideas have been moulded by history and have made an impact on history and the human experience. Hughes is the author of Helen of Troy – Goddess, Whore and The Hemlock Cup. Critchlow is named as a British Council's Top 100 UK Scientist for her work in communication.
The winner of the 2014 Wellcome Book Prize introduces his wise and compassionate book Far From The Tree: A Dozen Kinds of Love. Ten years in the writing, it tells the stories of parents who not only learn to deal with their exceptional children but also find profound meaning in doing so. Chaired by Hay Festival President Stephen Fry.
Humans don’t always behave as you expect them to. Sometimes their responses and actions are completely irrational – we don’t always make perfect decisions – but the model we base everything on is a rational one. Why? If we design our systems, our government, and all the products and services we use for perfect, rational people, is it any wonder they aren’t working? The Stanford academic and political advisor believes that change is possible and necessary: that we can create a more local, more accountable, more human way of living that will make us more productive, more fulfilled and ultimately happier.
How can neuroscience help us to understand the sensory processing differences that can give rise to learning difficulties like dyslexia? Goswami is Professor of Cognitive Developmental Neuroscience.
The 1918 global flu pandemic wiped out around 50 million people. In the last 300 years there have been around three flu pandemics every century. We must constantly be on alert for the next one. Global efforts, including those of Professor Derek Smith, to understand how pandemics are caused, will help us mitigate and even prevent future pandemics. However this work has the perverse downside of also generating new, potentially deadly, viruses in the laboratory. Professor Derek Smith will talk about the ethical issues this raises. Chaired by Dan Davis.
BTB can be harmful to humans and is fatal for cattle. Managing a breakdown can be economically disastrous and extremely stressful for farmers. The campaign to eradicate bTB combines challenging diagnostic science, field-by-field biosecurity, veterinary monitoring and political will. Glossop is Chief Veterinary Officer for Wales, and has made the implementation of a comprehensive TB eradication programme her highest priority. Hewinson is a globally respected scientist in the field of TB immunology and diagnostics, who worked on the collaborative project that led to the sequencing of the M Bovis genome. They talk to Peter Florence.
The authors of Doctors Dissected discuss what might be the most formative experiences, or rites of passage, on the journey to becoming a doctor. Psychotherapist Jane Haynes talks to two 'experienced' doctors, her co-author Martin Scurr and contributor Kate Wood, about these unforgettable moments in their lives. Personal, conversational and unpredictable, Doctors Dissected steals behind cultural issues into the heartlands of doctors who are drawn to a life in medicine, conducting an autopsy as to the consequences of choosing a profession in which the practitioner is constantly faced with lonely decisions that very often are a matter of life and death.
In 1902 HG Wells wrote ‘Humanity has come some way, and the distance we have travelled gives us some earnest of the way we have to go. All the past is but the beginning of a beginning; all that the human mind has accomplished is but the dream before the awakening.’ The astronomer boldly explores post-human evolution and offers a SWOT analysis of mankind’s short- and longer-term futures. He considers the risks of asteroid impact, climate change and, most worrying of all, the downsides of biotech, AI and other fast-advancing technologies. Chaired by Dan Davis.
Happiness expert Professor Paul Dolan draws on a variety of studies ranging over wellbeing, inequality and discrimination to bust the common myths about our sources of happiness. He shows that there can be many unexpected paths to lasting fulfilment. Some of these might involve not going into higher education, choosing not to marry, rewarding acts rooted in self-interest and caring a little less about living forever. By freeing ourselves from the myth of the perfect life, we might each find a life worth living. Chaired by Horatio Clare.
For more than twenty-five years, David Nott has taken unpaid leave from his job as a general and vascular surgeon with the NHS to volunteer in some of the world’s most dangerous war zones: Afghanistan, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Darfur, Congo, Iraq, Yemen, Libya, Gaza and Syria. He has also volunteered in areas blighted by natural disasters, such as the earthquakes in Haiti and Nepal. Driven by both the desire to help others and the thrill of extreme personal danger, he is now widely acknowledged to be the most experienced trauma surgeon in the world. Since 2015, the foundation he set up with his wife, Elly, has disseminated the knowledge he has gained, training other doctors in the art of saving lives threatened by bombs and bullets.
A third of men and women visiting their GP have symptoms that are medically unexplained. In most, an emotional root is suspected and yet, when it comes to a diagnosis, this is the very last thing we want to hear, and the last thing doctors want to say. The consultant neurologist takes us on a journey through the very real world of psychosomatic illness.
The sexual abuse of children by adult men is a global problem. It appears to happen in every sector of society and the exposure of paedophile rings is a daily news story. But why does it happen at all? Batmanghelidjh runs Kids Company, Kennedy is a human rights lawyer, Berelowitz is Chair, national inquiry into child sexual abuse linked to the family.
Every year the Next Big Thing session at Hay profiles some of the most extraordinary and visionary research work being adventured in the UK. From brain imaging to materials discovery, three Royal Society Research Fellows discuss their work in cutting edge science with broadcaster Claudia Hammond.
Aged 24, the writer’s world caved in. He could see no way to go on living. This is the true story of how Haig came through crisis, triumphed over an illness that almost destroyed him and learned to live again. Chaired by John Mitchinson.
Across the world, 44.4 million people live with dementia. Hundreds of millions of people are affected by the dementia of parents, partners, siblings or friends. And as much of the world struggles with an aging population, dementia is set to become ever more of a challenge for societies and individuals. But still most people who are diagnosed, or who are dealing with the diagnosis of a loved one, feel as though they are alone. Professor Andrews, one of the most distinguished clinicians in the UK, aims to fill this gap, providing practical information and support for living with, or caring for, dementia.
‘You can have a dog put to sleep but my mother had to go through hell.’ End of life issues are especially difficult for people with dementia and their family carers, as the person themself is often unable to make and communicate their views in a way that would be respected by our autonomy-centred healthcare decision-making frameworks. Drawing on empirical data from a socio-legal study funded by the British Academy, Professor Rosie Harding of the University of Birmingham explores the social, ethical and legal challenges of maximising dignity for those dying with, and of, dementia.
There are 6.5 million unpaid carers in the UK. There’ll be more soon as the demography changes. The Professor of Law and Director of the Centre for Health and Social Care Law examines the reality of today and the implications for the future with film-maker Anne Cottringer.
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Do our workplaces promote health and well-being? And, if they did, what difference would it make? Dame Carol Black is an Expert Adviser to the Department of Health, the Chair of Nuffield Trust, the leading independent advisory body for healthcare policy in the UK, and the Principal of Newnham College. She was author of a 2008 report for the government on well-being at work.
The NHS is our most treasured institution, but even caring doctors have too many patients and too little time, while patients often feel too overwhelmed, embarrassed, intimidated or ill to ask the right questions. Dr Hammond will show you how to get your GP to listen to you and take your symptoms seriously, how to get hold of your patient records so you can ensure they’re correct, how to get a second opinion and, most importantly, how to get better (and in turn help make the NHS better too).
As society becomes more liberal, the Churches often seem more entrenched. The Oxford historian explores how Western Christianity’s complex and often divisive ideas about sex, marriage and gender have their roots in a story that began 3,000 years ago. Chaired by Anita Anand.
A Cultural History of Insanity from the Bible to Freud, from the Madhouse to Modern Medicine examines the human encounter with Unreason in all its manifestations, the challenges it poses to society and our responses to it. Chaired by Stephanie Merritt.
The Supervet recounts this often-surprising journey that sees him leaving behind a farm animal practice in rural Ireland to set up Fitzpatrick Referrals in Surrey, one of the most advanced small animal specialist centres in the world. We meet the animals that paved the way, from calving cows and corralling bullocks to talkative parrots and bionic cats and dogs.