The Human Condition
A comprehensive, up to the minute look at health and wellness today. Find out the latest thinking on key health topics such as HIV/AIDS, addictions, nutrition, heart desease, cancer, and more; visit medical and scientific organizations around the world; and hear from those who have experienced crucial health challenges in there lives.
All videos are closed captioned.
26 Half Hour Lessons
Lesson 1: “THE FABRIC OF HEALTH”
In recent years there has been graphic evidence of the increasing interest in health as a science, a profession, and a way of life. Although statistics generated by public health authorities attempt to codify just what "health" is for population groups as a whole, health is a much more personal concept. As this program will illustrate, an individual's state of well being, and susceptibility to disease, are influenced by a blending of factors.
Lesson 2: “IN HUMAN TERMS”
Whether the health enemy is the Black Death that ravaged fourteenth century Europe or chronic, lifestyle diseases that plague humanity today, disease and illness inflict a staggering social and economic toll on family, community, state, national, and world resources. In comparing prevailing health and disease, and mortality and morbidity trends in various parts of the world to those of earlier decades, it soon becomes apparent that shifts have occurred. Among populations that live in industrialized nations, for example, chronic diseases are exacting a far greater toll and demanding far greater attention from the health delivery systems than communicable diseases. This program chronicles and analyzes the balance between health and disease throughout the world community, looking specifically at segments of the population that are most at risk.
Lesson 3: “STATE OF MIND”
Although the direct relationship between psychological health and physical health has long been recognized, there still is a great deal of misinformation and, to a degree, social stigma surrounding the subject of mental illness. This program looks at the epidemiology of mental disorders and promising treatment approaches that are emerging as researchers learn more about biology of such diseases. The diagnosis and treatment of depression—a leading illness throughout the world—and bulimia, a disease which affects teenagers and young adults, are probed in depth.
Lesson 4: “LIVES IN BALANCE”
Stress has been referred to as an inevitable consequence of modern life, and yet the fact that two people, in seemingly identical situations, may react quite differently to the same set of circumstances indicates that response to stress is individual. Since unrelieved stress can result in serious health problems, the program explores a variety of approaches that have been specifically designed to help individuals control their responses and cope with stress.
Lesson 5: “BEHIND CLOSED DOORS”
The increasing incidence of violent and abusive behavior in the United States poses a serious health problem. This program explores the factors that underlie domestic violence, child abuse, assault, and suicide, and the affect these acts have on emotional and physical health. In examining strategies that are making headway in combating such destructive behaviors, the importance of individual responses to violence becomes apparent. Such services, designed to help the perpetrators as well as victims suffering from the consequences of violent and abusive behavior are helping to break the cycle of violence that is often handed down from one generation to the next.
Lesson 6: “IT’S PERSONAL”
Sexuality is an integral part of our humanness. This program explores the development of sexual behavior, and the range of sexual experience and preference that exist within society today. It also probes the question of whether or not the fear of the AIDS virus and other sexually-transmitted diseases has really caused sexual behavior patterns to change.
Lesson 7: “RISKY BUSINESS”
Adolescents and young adults are at the highest risk for contracting sexually transmitted diseases. These diseases, primarily caused by viruses and bacteria, are spread from one person to another during sexual activity. This program looks at the current incidence of STDs, and how the use of contraceptives not only protects sexual partners, but unborn children from contracting health problems associated with such diseases.
Lesson 8: “THE CODE”
The fascinating interplay between heredity and environment in determining the health of an individual begins at conception. With the completion of the Human Genome Project, research into the genetic links to disease and other aspects of the “human condition” is receiving a great deal of attention. In fact, the field of genetics is often referred to as the emerging frontier in the field of health and wellness.
Lesson 9: “HALEY OR MATTHEW’S STORY”
By engaging in healthy behaviors and reducing risks prior to pregnancy, an expectant mother can positively influence the well being of the child and ultimately the adult he or she becomes. This program examines the prenatal environment of the developing fetus, and those factors and conditions that impinge upon the developmental process. New procedures for detecting and intervening in fetal problems are explored, as are various approaches to birthing and their effect on maternal health, infant health, and the psychosocial health of the evolving family unit.
Lesson 10: “THE GROWING YEARS”
Childhood is a critical time for healthy human development. This program examines major health risks during infancy, early childhood, childhood, and adolescence and preventive strategies that are proving successful in decreasing the likelihood of debilitating illnesses and injuries. As the program illustrates, adolescent attitudes toward health, and their perception that death is decades away, influence teenage behavior patterns and affect well-being. As in each stage of the life cycle, health patterns established during this period can later impact the adult's health profile.
Lesson 11: “WEB OF ADDICTION”
This program analyzes current research regarding
chemical use and abuse, and the nature of addiction and dependency,
whatever the substance. Interwoven with this investigation is
the human side of addiction, as those who are dealing with the problem
share the pain of their physiological, psychological, economic, and
social bondage. Psycho-biological treatment strategies, as
well as community and worksite intervention programs that are having
success, are examined from professional, patient, and family points of
Lesson 12: “FEELS SO GOOD (HURTS SO BAD)”
This episode takes a dual look at two drugs—tobacco and alcohol—not illegal in the strict sense of the term, but potentially devastating to the health of those who are addicted. Since the Surgeon General reported the dangers of cigarette smoking in 1964, the number of public venues where smoking is allowed has dwindled, and the demographic profile of the typical smoker has changed dramatically. The relationship between smoking, disease, disability and death is well documented, as are the health benefits of quitting. Alcohol, another familiar substance, has devastating effects not only on addicted individuals, but also on family members, friends, and productivity in the work place. Through personal profiles we witness the early impetus towards problem drinking, and the multi-generational consequences of the disease.
Lesson 13: “WHAT YOU DON’T KNOW…”
From the time of conception, human development and health are affected by the environment in which a person lives. Population growth, urbanization and industrialization, modern agricultural methods and energy sources have each had a part in polluting the environment and affecting the quality of human life. This program focuses on health hazards in the environment with particular attention on the health consequences of air pollution and contaminated water. It also looks at environmental hazards in the workplace and home, and the benefits and costs of “curing” the ills that exist.
Lesson 14: “FOOD FOR THOUGHT”
Few people would disagree with the statement that nutrition is essential for sustenance, health, and well being. What may be surprising, however, is the health cost of nutritional illiteracy. Discarding fads and fancy, this program looks at the critical elements of good nutrition, factors that influence eating habits, and how well-informed consumers can make good nutritional decisions for themselves and their families.
Lesson 15: “WEIGHING IN”
Poor food choices, combined with increasingly sedentary lifestyles, are blamed for the dramatic increase in obesity over the last several decades. Close to 35% of women and 31% of men over the age of 20 are now considered obese, and at increased risk for cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, certain types of cancer, and osteoarthritis. This episode explores the problems of obesity, and examines successful and unsuccessful approaches to weight loss.
Lesson 16: “WORKING IT OUT”
As a measure of health, physical fitness is not the exclusive province of highly-trained athletes. It is a multi-faceted concept— involving muscle strength and endurance, cardiovascular/pulmonary endurance, flexibility, and body composition—that all people can embrace, regardless of their chronological years or athletic ability. In this episode, the health benefits of regular physical activity, as well as sufficient sleep, rest and relaxation, are documented by individual experience as well as professional analyses.
Lesson 17: “GERM WARFARE”
As life expectancy increases, and the population ages, we see increasing occurrences of chronic illnesses, particularly in industrialized countries of the world. This program examines chronic conditions that most frequently limit the activities of people in various age categories: under the age of 18, young and middle-aged adults, and adults 65 and older. It also looks at the factors that influence whether or not a disease, developmental condition, or injury leads to disability. Two chronic conditions - diabetes and arthritis - are studied in greater depth.
Lesson 18: “THE MODERN PLAGUE”
The emergence and spread of the HIV virus in the closing decades of the twentieth century clearly illustrate the fact that an outbreak of a communicable disease can no longer be considered local or regional problems. With the AIDS epidemic as a case in point, we join the front-line fight against disease. . .seeing how communicable diseases are transmitted and spread; and gauging the effectiveness of methods currently used to prevent and treat them. Individual, community, national, and international groups are attempting to control the transmission of AIDS through risk reduction programs that are both culture- and age-specific. But how effective are they? At the same time, researchers are striving to isolate the causes of AIDS and develop a vaccine and potential cure.
Lesson 19: “HEART OF THE MATTER”
Although medical advances and lifestyle changes have made significant inroads in the fight against coronary heart disease, it is still the number one killer of both men and women in the United States. This program examines the risk factors that, when mitigated or reduced, decrease the possibility of atherosclerosis and the complications of heart disease. Symptoms of the disease are often different for men and women. But the treatment techniques that are shown for treating cardiovascular disease have advanced far beyond that which would have seemed possible only a few short years ago.
Lesson 20: “BRAIN ATTACK”
Stroke is the most common sudden injury to the brain, the third leading cause of death in the U.S. and the principal cause of adult disability. This program follows the cases of two victims of stroke: a pregnant woman who suffered an ischemic stroke just two weeks before her baby was due, and a healthy middle-aged man who experienced a cerebral hemorrhage as he was preparing for work. Life, death, or how much recovery is possible is influenced by the care these victims receive in the first few hours after the stroke, and the speed with which they reach a hospital facility.
Lesson 21: “DIAGNOSIS: CANCER”
Cancer is not a single disease; it is a constellation of more than 100 different diseases linked by a common characteristic: the abnormal growth of aberrant cells within the body. Although cancer is the second leading cause of death in the United States, many cancers can be cured, especially if detected early. The fact that individual types of cancer tend to be more prevalent among specific groups of people is one avenue of research that investigators examine in their attempt to isolate factors that play a role in cancer’s development. In addition, this program focuses on the biological and environmental factors that lead to cancer, and the importance of early detection and a healthy lifestyle in its cure.
Lesson 22: “LIVING WITH CANCER”
Not long ago, people with cancer had few treatment options. Today, advances in technology and scientific research have increased the number of effective treatment approaches. Biomodulation, gene therapy, and angiogenesis-inhibiting drugs are now becoming partners with the more traditional forms of treatment. Surviving the physical ravages of cancer, however, is only part of the battle. Cancer exacts a psychological, social, and spiritual toll as well. Often the support of family and friends, and other cancer victims, can become an important factor in living with cancer.
Lesson 23: “AGE HAPPENS”
Why do people grow old? Is it possible to slow down the aging process? These questions may one day be answered. But for now, the inevitability that each person will grow old is the one thing that all human beings have in common. This episode focuses on the psychological and physiological aspects of aging, and factors that assist older people in maintaining their health and functional independence.
Lesson 24: “FINAL CHAPTER”
A range of cultural issues and attitudes surrounds death and dying. Certainly the age of the dying person, the extent of the illness or injury, as well as the legal and ethical ramifications, are factors that need to be considered in prolonging life and continuing medical support. In recent years, the hospice movement has provided valuable assistance for many dying persons and their families. Because the death of a loved one can have significant health consequences for family and friends, the support provided by familial and social networks plays an extremely important role in easing the pain of separation and loss.
Lesson 25: “THE MEDICAL MARKETPLACE”
In any systemized plan for providing medical services, there are various levels of care that can be extended to those in need, from acute care and rehabilitation services to long-term and home-care assistance. This program compares the major ways in which the various levels of health care are delivered. . .examining the impact of new medical technologies, and contrasting managed care to more traditional approaches. Despite the expertise of health care workers, and technological advances in the field of medicine, individuals must assume a large measure of responsibility for their own health care. This program probes the relationship between the patient and members of the health care team and provides guidelines for assessing medical and health information, and for evaluating health care systems and providers.
Lesson 26: “WHAT PRICE?”
This program delves into two very critical issues: inequalities in health care and health care delivery, and ethical considerations in allocating limited resources to alleviate this problem. In the face of such challenges, one question that is often raised is not "Can we?" do something in medicine, but "Should we?" Is health care a right or a privilege, and who decides? Where does an individual's responsibility for practicing healthy behaviors fit into the picture? And what role should health professionals play in cost/resource distribution, the "manipulation" of life, and in health promotion and disease prevention vs. curative care? In this program, these ethical issues are juxtapositioned with public and private efforts to contain costs and equalize access.