breakthNew developments in science and health lead to fascinating breakthroughs.


Episode One:  Fighting Pandemics

Directed and Narrated by Peter Berg

Interviews with Dr. Maria Croyle, Erica Ollman Saphire and Dr. Ian Crozier

Running Length: 45 minutes

No rating given, but could be PG 13 for hospital scenes

Pandemics (rampant disease) has killed mankind for eons. This episode follows germs/virus that can travel through touch or air. Black Plague, Yellow Fever, Typhoid, Cholera, Spanish Flu, Polio and these are but a few names of diseases we know about---and may have forgotten about as scientists and doctors work for cures or something to hold back the growth. In our time, the Eboli virus is headline news, from the "where did it come from?" to "where will it pop up next?" How does it spread is always of major concern.

Three doctors are involved in this episode. Dr. Maria Croyle who figured out a new way to place a vaccine into a cold virus. Literally killing it on the spot.  Erica Ollman Saphire, put together a world-wide consortium to find antibody treatments for viral hemorrhagic fevers (such as Eboli and with blood vessel ruptures) and specifically Eboli, in the last part of this program. Now, instead of working alone, help is a keystroke away. Then, we meet and follow the adventure of Dr. Ian Crozier, who went to Sierra Leone to help and ended up getting Eboli, himself, despite precautions. He knows right away what he has and from then on, it is a rush to get him---isolated--to the United States and Emory U. where he is treated---and lives to tell about it.  Eboli is determined to stay in the world. Now, though, there is more to fight with, including computer programs that predict what may happen if a disease spreads.

What I found interesting was the time given to the above individuals to talk about their experiences and visit their labs. Questions are asked that you may have wanted to ask. Placing a cure into a virus to prevent anything and everything from happening. There was a time when scientists worked alone and no one to call for aid and now there is a world-wide group. Studying the face of a man who faced death having a contagious disease, that was potentially harmful to those treating him, and living to tell about it. The body really is a resilient creation.

Photography, soundtrack and production values are first rate.

"Breakthrough" is a six part weekly series on The National Geographic Channel, Sunday evenings beginning November 1, 2015. This will be shown in 440 million homes, 171 countries and in 45 languages.  Each episode is on a separate breakthrough in the science and health community. Future episodes will be "More Than Human (Nov. 8)," "Decoding The Brain (Nov. 15)," "The Age Of Aging (November 29)," "Energy From The Edge (December 6)" and "Water Apocalypse (December 13)" which features California. Each episode is either narrated or directed and narrated by a media personality including Peter Berg, Paul Giamatti,  Adrien Brody, Ron Howard, Jason Bateman and Angela Bassett.

Copyright 2015 Marie Asner