Episode Descriptions

101 – New Hope for Living with ALS and Stem Cell Medicine
ALS- a debilitating disease named after the famed Yankee baseball player Lou Gehrig—is not common but when it strikes it is devastating. It’s victims may initially notice weakness in one area but soon the effects of the condition are felt throughout their bodies. Many patients have trouble breathing—and severe shortness of breath which can make living with the disease very difficult. While there’s no cure yet for ALS there are therapies that can help with the effects of the disease. In this segment we look at a diaphragm pacer that can help ALS patients breathe better for a longer period of time. This can obviously improve their quality of life and researchers are now looking into whether this device itself can actually help ALS patients live longer.

Stem cells and their benefits can be very controversial but there’s no controversy regarding the benefits of stem cells taken from a baby’s Umbilical cord blood. Because of the unique properties of these cells they’ve been used in clinical trials to help treat injuries and conditions that were previously thought to be very difficult to treat. In this segment we meet a young family who used their daughter’s umbilical cord blood to help treat her hearing loss. We also explore why researchers believe these particular stem cells have so much potential to treat many different conditions.

102 – Food Allergies and Head Lice
Head lice—just hearing the words can cause many of us to feel the need to scratch. But as viewers will see in this segment there is much research going on involving head lice. Head lice can become resistant to over the counter products and continue to plague their victims. This can lead to a debilitating stigma for both the children who have head lice…and their families. But there are new treatments that can destroy even the persistent head lice.

Food allergies are among the most mysterious conditions on the planet. They can be both very common and mild—or they can be severe and in some cases life-threatening. But new discoveries have given researchers the ability in some cases to help people better know whether they have a mild allergy or one that is much more severe. In this segment we focus on peanut allergies. New molecular tests can analyze which proteins are causing the reaction—if it’s one protein then the allergy is severe and all precautions need to be taken.

201 – Overactive Bladder and Shoulder Replacement Surgery
The name sort of says it all—an overactive bladder is a bladder that works overtime and not in a good way! Patients, mostly women, who have overactive bladder tell horror stories of losing control of their bladders in a grocery store or in church and because of the nature of the condition many people are ashamed to bring it up to a medical professional—so they just suffer in silence. But there are treatments that can help patients, mostly women, manage this condition. In this program we’ll hear from patients who have found ways to control their overactive bladder. We’ll hear about standard therapies and newer innovative treatments that are making a difference in patients’ lives.

When one hears about someone getting joint replacement surgery it’s usually a knee replacement operation or a hip replacement. But in the last several years orthopedic surgeons have another way to help their patients with debilitating arthritis—shoulder replacement surgery. In this program we go into the operating with orthopedic surgeons who show us the latest procedures in remarkable area of medicine. There is the standard replacement operation that works like other joint replacements and then there is another procedure—called the “Reverse Shoulder” only relatively recently approved by the FDA. We’ll see what symptoms make a person a candidate for either one of these operations and hear from patients who have had these procedures.

202 – Sacroiliac Joint Disorder, Fabry Disease and Hair Restoration
The sacroiliac joint is part of the lower spine and joins the sacrum—the last five vertebrae in the spine with the iliac arteries in the legs. While not as well- known as the other causes of back pain disorders of these joints can be excruciating! In this program we take viewers into the surgical suite to see how disorders of the sacroiliac joint are corrected and treated. The goal of the operation is to stabilize the area and stop the pain. We’ll meet patients who have undergone the procedure and hear how it’s helped them get back to living an active, healthy life.

Fabry disease is a mysterious and rare hereditary condition that if left undiagnosed or untreated can result in severe organ damage (particularly of the kidneys) and ultimate death by the age of 40. It’s passed along the X chromosome from mother to child–like Hemophilia. But unlike hemophilia which only affects the cells that control blood-clotting Fabry disease affects potentially every cell in the body. But geneticists and researchers have made great strides in understanding this condition and developing specific therapies to treat it. In this program we’ll meet a family with Fabry disease—and hear from the doctor who treats them and the genetics expert who explains how the disease develops and why it can cause such serious consequences if left untreated.

Robotics surgery is on the cutting edge of medical procedures for complex operations like prostatectomy to lung cancer surgery. But there is a place for robotic technology in hair restoration as well. In this segment we take a look at a robotics system that works to restore hair lost to male pattern baldness or for other reasons. We delve into how the technology works and why it may be the answer to a problem that perhaps is not life-threatening—but can severely affect a person’s self- esteem and quality of life.

301 – Cervical Disk Replacements and Cardiac Imaging
The cervical spine is located in the upper part of the spinal cord and is made up of cervical vertebrae. Cervical disks are the cushions that lie between the cervical vertebrae and act as shock absorbers that allow free movement of the neck. Over time, a loss of space between the cervical vertebrae due to cervical disk degeneration can come about. When this happens, cervical disk replacement surgery may be called for. This Segment will raise awareness and educate viewers on how the need for cervical disk replacement is determined, including the symptoms to look for. It will also discuss advancements that have been made in cervical disk replacement.

The progress that has been made in cardiac imaging technology has created fundamental changes in cardiac care, enabling doctors to identify a condition at an earlier stage and with greater accuracy. New imaging tools are used to make this happen. This Segment will raise awareness and educate viewers on the effectiveness of today’s cardiac imaging tools and how these advancements are assisting patients and physicians.  Also in this segment, we will encourage viewers to become proactive in their healthcare, as they make more informed choices while working collaboratively with their doctor.

302 – Dental Health and Hypoparathyroidism
A dental implant is a surgical component that interfaces with the bone of the jaw, or skull, to support a full or partial replacement of teeth. It also encompasses other dental procedures such as a crown or bridge. This Segment will raise awareness and educate viewers on advancements that have been made in the area of dental implants. Also covered in this segment will be the history of dental implants, how doctors determine the need for this procedure, and the risk factors involved. We’ll also look at who may be candidates for this procedure, and learn about the latest advancements in dental implant technology.

Parathyroid glands help control the level of calcium in the body. They do this by producing parathyroid hormones, called PTH. Hypoparathyroidism is a disorder in which the parathyroid glands in the neck do not produce enough parathyroid hormone. This condition typically occurs when there is injury to the parathyroid glands during thyroid and neck surgery. This Segment will raise awareness and educate viewers on Hypoparathyroidism; with discussions on risk factors, signs, symptoms, diagnosis and testing. It will also aid in understanding the complications of living with Hypoparathyroidism, and the progress that has been made in the scientific advancements for this disease.

303 – Chronic Kidney Disease and Cervical Dystonia
It’s estimated that chronic kidney disease affects about 2 out of every 1,000 people in the United States. In its early stages, there may be no symptoms whatsoever. Over time though, kidney function will be reduced and at some point, may cease altogether. At this stage, the kidneys are no longer able to remove enough waste and excess fluids from the body, so patients will need dialysis or a kidney transplant. Diabetes and high blood pressure are the two most common causes of chronic kidney disease. This Segment will raise awareness and educate viewers on chronic kidney disease; with discussions on who is most at risk, symptoms to look for, progression of the disease, the potential for kidney failure, and the importance of proper disease management.

Cervical dystonia, also called spasmodic torticollis, is a painful condition in which neck muscles contract involuntarily causing the head to twist or turn to one side, or, to uncontrollably tilt forward or backward. It is a rare disorder that can occur at any age, even infancy, but most often presents in middle-age, with women being most at risk. This Segment will raise awareness and educate viewers on cervical dystonia, its signs, symptoms, diagnosis, and risk factors. It will also look at the biology of the condition, the advancements in its treatment, patient care, and a look at what the future holds in dealing with this disease. This Segment will also encourage viewers to become proactive in their healthcare, and to work collaboratively with their health care provider.

401 – Learning about Heart Disease
About 600,000 people in the United States die of heart disease every year. Knowing the warning signs and symptoms is key; unfortunately, many people are unaware of these important signals our bodies often give. In this one-hour special we learn how to protect the heart, lower blood pressure, reduce levels of bad cholesterol, eat healthier and focus on the right kind of exercise. We also speak with physicians who are encouraging their patients to be more proactive in their overall health care while providing them with the tools to have a healthier heart!

501 – Rare Diseases, What are They?
There are approximately 6,800 conditions classified as rare diseases, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH). A disease is considered rare if it is believed to affect fewer than 200,000 people. ​That number alone may not seem high but when considered together, rare diseases affect nearly 30 million Americans or almost 1 in 10 people, and there are certain challenges that are shared by these patients and their families. In this one-hour special we will meet patients who are dealing with Gaucher Disease, MPS II, Chronic Granuomatous Disease and Hypoparathyroidism, and the physicians who work closely with them to help manage life with these rare but often debilitating diseases.

601 – Shoulders, Back, and Feet
Healthy bones and joints allow us to run, jump, play sports – even go for a walk. Our shoulders allow arm and hand movement, our backs help support our entire body, and healthy feet allow mobility as we move from one place to another on our own. But injury and disease can bring many of these functions to a halt. In this episode of Exploration Health, we will explore the areas of shoulder damage, cervical degenerative disc issues, and the debilitating effects that diabetes can have on our feet.

Shoulder damage can happen with age, or repetitive arm movement due to work or sporting activities. In some cases, this may require surgery, such as arthroplasty. A disease called cervical dystonia can cause painful, involuntary muscle movement in the neck. Cervical degenerative disc disease can damage nerves in the neck area, resulting in tingling and weakness in the arms and shoulders. And type 2 diabetes can lead to issues of the feet called neuropathy. Untreated neuropathy can be the cause of debilitating foot ulcers that make mobility difficult and could lead to amputation in extreme cases.

701 – Mysterious Diseases
Due to painstaking medical research, many diseases can often be addressed handily. However, mysterious, sometime called rare diseases can be very different.

Pompe Disease is a rare, neuromuscular disease, that can present in infancy, adulthood, or anywhere in between. Infants often experience weakness, enlargement of the tongue and thickening of the heart muscles, resulting in dangerous, sometime deadly consequences.

Acute Intermittent Porphyria (AIP) is a rare metabolic disease, causing a buildup of natural chemicals that keep red blood cells from working properly – including the transporting of life-sustaining oxygen to organs and tissues.

Urea Cycle Disorder is caused by the lack of one or more of the enzymes of the urea cycle pathway. Without these enzymes there is a buildup of harmful ammonia which can lead to cerebral edema, lethargy, anorexia, hypothermia, seizers, and coma.

Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension is high blood pressure in the lungs due to a thickening of the very small pulmonary arteries. When this pressure is elevated, the heart works harder to pump blood to the lungs, creating dangerous situations, such as heart failure.

801 – You and Your Heart
Heart disease, or, cardiovascular disease, can refer to many different conditions such as the narrowing or blocking of blood vessels that can lead to angina, heart attack, or stroke. Other heart conditions affect heart muscle, heart valves, or the proper rhythm (beating) of the heart. In this program we will explore four unique areas of heart disease.

Heart Failure can occur for two reasons: ischemic heart disease where an artery blockage results in a heart attack that injures heart muscle or, non-ischemic heart disease which is sometimes hereditary. Non-ischemic issues are not artery related, but heart muscle related due to heart valve disease or other causes.

Aortic dissection is a serious condition in which the inner layer of the aorta, the large blood vessel branching off the heart, tears. As blood soars through this tear the inner and middle layers of the aorta separate, called dissection. If blood ruptures through the outside aortic wall, the dissection can be fatal.

Coronary heart disease risk management involves the steps people can take to help lessen the consequences of heart disease. The buildup of a waxy substance called plaque in the arteries can interrupt the supply of blood to the heart. Through lifestyle changes and medications, many of the consequences of heart disease can be brought under control.

Heart valve disease occurs if even one valve stops working properly. These four valves have flaps that open and close with each heartbeat, making sure blood flows in the proper direction through the four chambers. Infections, age, and birth defects, may cause one or more valves to not open fully or let blood leak back into the heart chambers, making the heart work harder.

901 – Modern Surgery: Improving Heart Health
Cardiovascular disease is one of the leading causes of death worldwide. It is responsible for 45% of deaths in the western world and nearly 25% in developing countries. Prevention strategies, such as educational campaigns aimed at the general public, have the potential of greatly reducing the incidence of cardiovascular disease at every stage. But in order for such campaigns to be effective, it is necessary to both understand and reduce the many risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Learning about effective forms of heart disease management is important, and regular checkups with diagnostic testing are often recommended.

Understanding Mitral Valve Disease is also an important part of an overall understanding of Heart Disease. Mitral valve disease is a condition of the heart’s mitral valve. When a mitral valve is not working properly, you can experience symptoms such as fatigue and shortness of breath, caused by the defective valve allowing blood to flow backwards into the left atrium. When this happens, the heart cannot pump enough blood out of the left ventricular chamber to supply the body with oxygen-filled blood. However, many people with mitral valve disease experience no symptoms at all.

In this one-hour special we will learn about Heart Disease and Mitral Valve Disease, be introduced to important forms of disease management, and learn about new surgical techniques available for patients. We will also learn how to improve our overall heart health by lowering blood pressure, reducing levels of bad cholesterol, eating healthier, and focusing on the right kinds of exercise. Also, we will speak with physicians who are encouraging their patients to be more proactive in their overall health care while providing them with the tools necessary to have a healthier heart!

1001 – Waging the War on Cancer
According to the National Cancer Institute more than 10 million Americans are cancer survivors. Decades after the United States embarked on the War on Cancer the word Cancer itself continues to prompt fear and dread as it conjures up images of a hopeless patient riddled with disease. But, that image, while often accurate in the past, is slowly changing. Though cancer is still the second leading cause of death in the United States – next to heart disease – patients today are living longer and enjoying healthier lives. In this one-hour special, we will explore the consequences that can come with Advanced Melanoma, and the importance of screening and prevention, the role of gene mutation, and the ongoing work to manage this disease. We will also explore the mysteries of Glioblastoma – a type of brain cancer – its history, symptoms, the importance of patient care, and the crucial role of the care giver. We will then look at the cancer, Multiple Myeloma, as we learn about the ongoing research of this disease, and the advancements made in long term management. In all three of these disease stories, we will meet patients who have been able to take advantage of the medical progress that has been made in these areas, and learn about the many research breakthroughs in recent years.

1101 – Exploring Surgery and Uncommon Diseases
In this one-hour special we will explore the advancements made in Knee Surgery and Cartilage Repair. We will learn about the anatomy of the knee, which patients may be candidates for corrective surgery, the technological advancements that have been made in recent years, and the goal of getting patients back on their feet and enjoying their daily lives. We will then discuss a rare disease known as Multicentric Castleman Disease. This disorder involves an overgrowth of cells in the body’s disease-fighting network – the lymphatic system. We will discuss the symptoms of this disease, its history, how it is often under-diagnosed, and the importance of an accurate and timely diagnosis. In addition, this one hour will raise awareness of Cataract Surgery, and IOL replacement procedures, the technology involved, and how patients manage their symptoms after surgery. In closing we will discuss MPS II, also known as Hunter syndrome. Hunter syndrome is a rare genetic disorder that occurs when an enzyme the body needs is either missing or doesn’t work properly, eventually causing permanent, progressive damage affecting appearance, mental development, organ function and physical abilities. While there is no cure for MPS diseases, there are ways of managing and treating the medical problems they bring about. Overall, this one-hour program will encourage viewers to become more proactive in their own healthcare, helping them to make informed choices by working collaboratively with their doctor.