Pain, Pus and Poison


Season 1, Episode 1 of 3

Pain is all in the brain. When we break a leg or pull a muscle, millions of nerve cells in our brains fire to release chemicals telling us 'it hurts'. To fight the pain, our brains release their own natural painkillers. The problem is, these homemade medicines aren't enough. Herbs, willow bark and poppies were used by our ancestors for their painkilling powers. The scientific revolution really began with the isolation of morphine by Friedrich Serturner at the start of the 19th Century - and continued into the 20th century when scientists like Arthur Eichengrun, who survived the horrors of a concentration camp, found a way to synthesize a stable form of a safe painkiller which he called aspirin, a drug that could be manufactured on an industrial scale.

Previously Aired

7 a.m.
2:02 a.m.
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