What are the latest techniques being developed to stop counterfeit drugs at the border? Why do countries still prefer bi- and multilateral agreements over global deals, and how does trade play into financial crises? This February, Horizon uncovers what’s setting the course for global trade.
From invisible online markets, past border controls and straight to the consumer, fake pharmaceuticals are on the rise, but now a mix of anti-counterfeiting technology is helping halt the wave of fake drugs and their often lethal consequences.
Bygone Asian cotton and porcelain trade routes could have spurred the consumption of luxury goods in Europe, researchers believe, while scientific cooperation with modern Asia is still leading to new technological advances.
Much of the focus in trade talks around the world at present is on regional deals, rather than global agreements. But researchers say the goal of multilateral pacts will remain in the medium and longer term, given the pressures of globalisation.
Even though we all spend about a third of our lives asleep, there's still plenty left for us to learn about the science of sleep. This month, Horizon looks at the importance of shuteye for our physical and mental health, and how sleep-deprived brains may be both awake and asleep at the same time. Plus, we investigate what exactly drives us to sleep and wake up, the effects of insomnia, and how the way our bodies use sleep to form memories is inspiring scientists to discover ways to improve our brains.
Hormones are blamed for everything from weight gain to mood swings and this December, Horizon takes a closer look at these chemical regulators and their effects on our bodies and minds. We explore the impact of the so-called love hormone on the human-dog relationship and what it can tell us about social disorders. We find out what’s being done to neutralise the hormone-disrupting chemicals that are found in water and sewage, and we discover the importance of hormonal rhythms in tracking disorders that can lead to obesity, heart disease and osteoporosis.
Studying environments that are similar to Mars, and their microbial ecosystems, could help prepare biologists to identify traces of life in outer space.
For many people who struggle to get a good night’s rest, being able to switch on and off the brain circuits that control sleep would be a life-changer. The good news is that’s exactly what scientists hope to do, but first they need to get a better understanding of what’s going on.
Extremophile bacteria have adapted to survive inhospitable niches.
A better understanding of sleep pressure could advance therapies.
Sleep expert says that around 10 % of people are at risk of insomnia and employers should invest in therapy for those affected.