The doctors look at the awesome work that goes on inside the liver, and Dr Chris extracts snot from members of the public for a very useful experiment.
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'He's Dr Chris.
'He's Dr Xand.
'And yes, we're twins.'
Do you know how brilliant your body really is?
My finger's got yellow pus in it.
-Well, we're going to show you.
In this series we'll be pushing our bodies to their limits...
I like the sound of this.
..by doing extraordinary experiments on each other.
-This is my sick.
-To uncover what goes on inside...
Ugh! that just came out of my ear.
Wow, that's amazing!
From the bizarre...to the incredible.
So now I'm seeing things.
It's time to find out what you're made of.
Chris? Chris? Chris?
-on Operation Ouch!
We blend up a liver to show you something amazing.
What on earth is going on here?
You'll find out soon, Xand.
And I'm on a mission to get your snot.
Oh, there's a couple of nice ones on there!
Our first patient was expecting a normal day.
And now they've ended up in accident and emergency.
Let's see him get fixed.
This is accident and emergency in Manchester,
the place for all medical mishaps and...
What on earth's happened here?
Has he superglued his hands to his nose?
No, Xand. this is eight-year-old Max
and the problem is not with his nose.
A few minutes ago, I realised that my lip was all swollen.
-Did he say he had a swollen lip?
Oh, it is swollen! But why are you holding it?
When it touches my teeth it hurts.
It hurts if it touches your teeth, got it.
So how did Max's lip end up so large?
Well, it's all a bit of a mystery.
Max was having a normal day. He'd been to school, like normal.
And then afterwards he'd been swimming, like normal.
And then he came home, had one of his favourite meals.
Mm, meat pie. Yummy.
Then he sat down to watch his favourite cooking show.
This is making me hungry.
But just as they were getting to dessert,
Max felt something funny going on with his lip.
It started to tingle...
and then it grew...
and it grew...
-and it grew.
It really stung when it started going really big.
I bet! And with such strange swelling,
let's open the case of Max's mystery mammoth mouth.
Has he had any allergic reactions in the past?
Yes. He's got allergies to peanuts and white fish.
OK, and he's not had any nuts or anything near him?
So Max doesn't think he's eaten nuts or white fish,
which he's allergic to.
But with symptoms like this, he's taking a medicine called
antihistamine, just in case it is an allergic reaction.
Well, here's someone who can bust that lumpy lip.
It's Dr Sara Syed.
So was it sore? Was it tingly?
-It was stinging.
-It was stinging, was it?
It didn't feel like your throat was getting tight or anything?
Dr Sara needs to give Max a thorough examination to find out
whether or not he's having an allergic reaction.
-Can you just say "ahh" for me?
If he is, the biggest concern is
that it could get worse and cause his throat to swell up,
making it hard to breathe.
-OK, is that sore at all?
OK, there's no swelling at the back of your throat, which is good.
Luckily Max's throat and airways are clear, but what about his lip?
Is it from an allergy?
It looks like some form of allergic reaction, OK?
Just with there being the swelling and this tingling,
it kind of all fits in with that picture.
The good news is that the antihistamine has started to work
and another 20 minutes later, Max's lip is looking smaller.
-How are you feeling?
High five, antihistamine!
What exactly has made him have that allergic reaction
is a little bit of a mystery. It seems like his immune system's
just responded quite strongly to something.
It might be that Max has developed a new allergy.
To try and find out,
he'll return for an allergy test in a week's time.
We'll be back later to find out how he gets on.
-And now to our lab...
..where we do incredible experiments...
Oh, looks disgusting.
..to show you how your body works.
It's not pretty to look at but it is brilliant stuff.
And today's lab is all about amazing enzymes.
-Xand, your crackers.
-Chris, this is no time for personal insults.
Get your crackers for the experiment.
Now, your body is full of loads of little proteins called enzymes,
which help to break down the food you eat
into chemicals your body can use.
For example, this cracker is made of starch, which your body can't use,
but in your spit you have an enzyme called amylase.
Now, the amylase enzyme breaks down the starch into sugar,
which your body can use.
This bit of the experiment you can try at home.
Get a cracker. Don't eat it.
Simply chew it up
and let it sit on your tongue and we'll see what happens.
'These crackers are going to start tasting very different.'
The savoury cracker is getting sweeter,
because the amylase in the saliva
is breaking down the starch into sugars, which are sweet.
You've made a real mess.
Why don't you try it and you'll notice the difference too?
So what's going on?
Well, the enzymes in our spit change the starch into sugar and
you've got lots of other enzymes around your body, all changing
substances from one thing to another, including in your liver.
Now, this is an animal liver but it's very similar to a human one.
This liver does loads of different jobs.
It's a really important chemical factory that extracts all
the nutrients from the foods you eat so that your body can use them.
But when food breaks down, your body sometimes makes poisonous toxins.
But don't worry, the enzymes in your liver make them safe.
One example of a toxin produced by your body is hydrogen peroxide.
Now hydrogen peroxide's actually used by hairdressers
to bleach people's hair.
Here we go, Xand.
There is some hydrogen peroxide.
Oh, great, are we going to do our hair?
No, we're going to do an excitement on the liver to find out how it
-breaks down poisonous hydrogen peroxide.
-Of course we are.
'So we're going to show you
'how enzymes change a poison and make it safe.
'Normally these processes take place inside the liver
'but we need to see them in action, so we're cutting it up
'and blending it and now all the enzymes are released
'and what goes on inside the liver
-'will now happen on the outside for us all to see.'
OK. You hold that.
'So we're going to show you what happens when enzymes
'in the liver break down hydrogen peroxide.
'If this works it'll look pretty amazing.'
'All that frothing might look dangerous,
'but it's actually the opposite.
'The liver enzymes are turning the dangerous hydrogen peroxide
'into harmless oxygen and water.
Oh, it's really good, there you go.
OK, now swirl it around a bit.
So all the bubbles in that foam are bubbles of oxygen.
We've put the liver in there and the enzymes in the liver are
detoxifying the hydrogen peroxide,
turning it into water and oxygen.
-Can we prove it's oxygen?
-Of course we can prove it's oxygen.
'Now, things don't burn without oxygen,
'so let's see if there is oxygen present in these bubbles.'
So this is one of our special scientific tapers,
which as you can see is glowing, but not on fire.
When I put it in the oxygen...
Whoa, that's really good! Whoa!
The smouldering taper is set on fire by the oxygen that's been created.
This shows that the enzymes in the liver have turned the
dangerous hydrogen peroxide into harmless water and oxygen.
This is exactly the same chemical reaction that occurs
inside your liver. It cleans up the toxic chemicals and makes them safe.
Can I have my hair done now?
-Nice to be out and about.
-Walking to the park, seeing friends.
But there are always dangers lurking on the street
and I'm not just talking about Xand.
I'm talking about street danger.
For example, there could be a car coming around this corner.
HORN SOUNDS Stop! I've got you covered, Chris.
There could be broken glass in the street.
Yep, already noticed and avoided. On we go.
And finally, there's the danger
of unidentified flying objects falling out of the sky.
Honestly Chris, I think that is extremely unlikely.
Oh, look, a rogue pineapple's
just fallen out of the sky and onto Xand's foot.
-Admittedly, that was very unlikely.
-Unlikely and painful.
It's also a minor injury.
So what should you do if you bruise your foot?
The correct answer is C.
So to treat a bruised foot, you just do something very simple.
Put something cold on it to relieve the pain and reduce the swelling.
-Good enough to play football on?
-Oh, we forgot the football. Bother.
How does he do that?
So, to treat a bruised foot, put something cold on it,
but if you're worried, tell an adult.
Time to see how Max is getting on.
Let's head back to accident and emergency.
Back in Manchester, eight-year-old Max has returned to hospital
for an allergy test after his lip swelled up like this.
Wow! It was a whopper!
Max had been to school,
then swimming and then had dinner at home.
And all of a sudden his lip started to swell up like a big balloon.
So this is what you look like normally.
But the cause of his mega mouth is still a bit of a mystery.
Max is allergic to peanuts and white fish,
but he hadn't eaten either of those things that day.
However, Max has a theory.
Uh-oh, Mum's in trouble!
Mum said she was eating nuts and she touched me on my face.
I might have to hold my hands up to that cos we do eat nuts at home.
But we do keep them out of his way.
Well, it could be his mum but it could also be something new.
Enter allergy specialist nurse Sarah Allatt.
And gosh, she's a terrible speller.
No, Xand, she's putting a variety of allergy samples onto Max's arm
to see which ones get a reaction.
And it's not just food types.
This is dog.
She's also testing for things in the environment, including dogs,
-cats, grass and tree pollen.
Now Max just has to wait.
The best thing to do if it itches is to blow.
It takes 15 minutes for the reaction to show up.
A white bump shows there's an allergy.
Wow, we've certainly got a few there.
So our tests today have said, yes,
you're still allergic to white fish and peanuts,
but what we've also learnt today is that you are allergic to cats.
So was Max playing with cats on the day his lip swelled up? No.
And you are allergic to grass.
Oh, was he roaming around like I do when I'm allowed?
No, Xand, he wasn't.
So we're still none the wiser about why his lip grew so big.
-Well, Max still has his theory.
-I think it was Mum.
-Your mum? That's nuts.
-Well, we'll never know.
-You can put your arm away now, Max.
Still to come, we show you how your body heals a sprain.
I go on a snot mission.
Can we get a sample of your snot?
And his nose may look fine but Oscar needs it to be fixed.
It felt like it just went on the side.
Did you know that you lose
about 90 hairs every single day?
But luckily you've got between 90 and 140,000 hairs
on your head, so you can afford to lose a few.
Wow, that's amazing. And so is this.
An ordinary country lane.
And an ordinary car.
Looks like this guy's having a bit of engine trouble.
Poor chap. He's going to need a push.
Well, luckily, this lady is around to help.
-You look like you need a hand.
-She's going to push that car?
That is amazing Chris! It's a massive four by four.
It's way more amazing than that, Xand. Check this out.
This is Anastasia and her hair is so strong...
..she can, yes, even pull a car with it.
Crazy, I know.
Anastasia holds the world record for hanging weight from her hair,
a hair raising 53.4 kilograms -
that's the equivalent of two average seven-year-olds
hanging directly from her hair.
So how does she do it?
Well, human hair contains keratin.
It's an incredibly strong protein.
So tough, in fact, it's the same thing a rhinoceros horn is made of.
Anastasia has learned to use the strength of her hair
to pull massive cars like this.
And it takes a lot of preparation.
It takes 45 minutes. It takes two guys to plait the hair like a rope.
Turning her hair into a rope ensures the weight of the car is
evenly distributed across her head, so that no hair is pulled out.
But hair pulling is still an uncomfortable experience,
so Anastasia has trained herself to cope with the pain.
I can think of better ways of dealing with pain.
Yeah, like when you eat a cold ice cream and you get a brain freeze.
Not exactly, Xand. She's got a real skill.
Now that's amazing.
Your body can need mending in all sorts of ways
and we're going to meet some special teams that are trained to fix you.
Let me show you my ear.
Never put anything in your ear, by the way,
unless you're a doctor like me.
There is my ear drum.
It vibrates so we can hear sounds.
On my ear drum, you can see some old scars,
because it burst because of infection when I was younger.
Now, my ear drum works perfectly fine now,
but when I was eight, I had a problem called glue ear.
Now, that doesn't mean that my ears were actually producing glue.
Inside my right ear, it was producing gloopy, thick fluid,
like very thick snot, which meant I couldn't hear very well.
Well, believe it or not, this is very common - 80% of people
have had it by the time they're ten.
Glue ear can cause earache and sometimes it can go on its own,
but if you're struggling to hear,
surgery is required in your ear drum.
This is Kieran. He's at Royal Manchester Children's Hospital
and today he's having a tiny plastic tube fitted called a grommet.
-Now, do you know what these tubes are going to do?
The tubes sit in your ear drum and there's fluid behind your ear drum,
so they let the fluid drain out and that stops you getting earaches,
stops you getting infections and it stops you going deaf.
So to understand it properly, grommets sit in the ear drum.
There's a grommet in an ear drum just like mine earlier.
But that hole is very important -
it lets the air in to relieve any pressure build up.
-So will that be good to have it all fixed?
Time to scrub up and get ready for surgery.
Carrying out the procedure today is Miss Jaya Nichani,
ear, nose and throat surgeon.
It usually settles down by itself.
It's when it won't settle down and they have problem with it
because they can't hear, that's when we've got to do something about it.
And that's exactly the case with Kieran.
The grommet itself is tiny, but then it is going into a tiny space.
So the first thing Jaya's going to do is stick a vacuum cleaner down there
and try and suck out some of the fluid
and then we've got to remove the glue, which is the sticky stuff.
Can you hear that glue coming out now? The noise?
There we go, glue. Out you come.
This is really satisfying, watching this.
I'm really, really enjoying this.
With the goo removed, Jaya can now put the grommet in place.
It's very precise work as Jaya places the grommet
exactly in the tiny cut she's made in Kieran's ear drum.
Whoa! There it is! That's great.
So Kieran has got quite small ear holes,
so imagine how hard it is to put something that small
in exactly the right place. It's amazing.
Kieran's got glue ear in both ears, so he gets two.
It means he'll be able to hear well and no more earaches. Brilliant!
The grommets will be staying in for up to six months.
Then they just fall out without him even noticing.
By then, Kieran should have outgrown the problem and be all better.
Let's see how he is after the op.
-Can you hear any differently now?
-Can you hear your mum talking a bit more easily?
Well, that's great. Give me a high five.
When you're young, the little tubes inside your head
that connect your ears and your nose get easily blocked,
and that's what's happened to Kieran. That's why he needs grommets.
But as you get older, the tubes get bigger and you outgrow the problem.
Now, that's absolutely amazing to get that much benefit
from something half the size of a grain of rice.
This next boy may be accident prone,
but his body is brilliant at mending itself.
Just like yours.
# If there's a bone to break, he'll break it
# If there's a knee to graze, he'll graze it
# If there's an ankle to sprain, he'll sprain it
# He's the unluckiest kid. #
Ligaments are attached to your bones and they're strong and stretchy.
But if they're stretched too far they can tear,
this is called a sprain.
Ligaments tell your blood vessels they need help urgently,
because blood contains healing white blood cells.
So it sends blood gushing to the sprain.
The area swells up, protecting your vulnerable joint from moving.
It gets hot too, so bacteria don't want to live there.
But if it swells for too long, then scar tissue can build up.
The only way to stop that is to keep it cool.
Back inside, white blood cells get rid of the damage,
new ligament cells arrive.
After a few weeks, the ligaments get stronger,
so you're back on your feet.
Watch out! Ooh, unlucky.
# He's the unluckiest kid. #
It's time for Investigation Ouch.
And welcome to Manchester city centre.
Have you ever wondered what all this activity
does to the air you breathe in? Well, I'm about to find out.
When you breathe in air, your lungs transfer the oxygen
to your blood to keep your body going.
But your lungs also have to work hard to keep pollution out.
To do that, they need mucus and snot.
That's why for my investigation...
I'm going to need some snot!
I'll be collecting snot from the city and the seaside
to see what these two different environments throw at our
-lungs every time we breathe in.
First up, the city.
-We want a sample of your snot.
You want my bogies? That's weird!
Oh, there's a couple of nice ones on there.
Well, that's the city sorted, but what about if you live by the sea?
I'm now at Weston Super Mare.
-Can we get a sample of your snot?
-Do we have to?
It's a good haul, actually.
But this was going to be your breakfast, wasn't it?
Now we're going to take it back to the lab.
So now I've got a load of snot, let's see what's in it.
-There you are.
-Meet Dr Kelly Berube,
she's an expert on air pollution
at Cardiff University
and I've got a challenge for her.
So Kelly, I have taken nasal swabs from the city and from the seaside.
-Now I want you to tell me which is which.
That's not going to be a problem Chris, easy peasy.
Kelly's putting each sample under her microscope to see what's
in it and work out where it's from.
This sample is going into the seaside pile.
I'm saying that that's going to be city.
Let's have a count up and see how she did.
Correct, correct, correct.
How were you able to do that so easily?
Well, I started off with the fact that cities have more pollution.
The ones that had the most soot on them, I put them in the city pile
and the ones that didn't I put them on the seaside.
You've got snot up your nose and liquidy mucus all the way
down your airways into your lungs, where they trap pollution particles
and, this is where mucus is brilliant, it actually helps
your body get rid of those particles.
But if it's bombarded with too much pollution, it can't cope,
as we're going to show you.
This is a scanning electron microscope.
It's one of the most powerful microscopes in the world
and to replace it would cost almost £1 million.
It's expensive because it can magnify up to two million times more
than a normal microscope.
Each of these metal tubes contains little samples of lung tissue
and you're about to see them close up on this awesome bit of kit.
Kelly, what are we looking at here? What's this?
This is the surface of the lung and we have these cilia.
These are little hairs and they move mucus and to breathe out.
So basically, all the way through the air tubes
from our nose down into our lungs we have these
what look like hairs
and they move in time and shift mucus that's trapped stuff
we don't want in our lungs back up, so we can cough it out or spit it.
-Yeah, clean our lungs so we can breathe better.
-Or pick it.
So that was a healthy lung. This is an extremely diseased lung.
This person has been breathing in dirty, industrial air 24/7
over a very long period of time.
The cilia are destroyed and that's a particle of diesel.
Remember we saw the cilia? Well, here they've all collapsed.
So it looks like almost a field of grass,
where all the blades of grass have been flattened.
-Oh yeah, definitely.
-So if those cilia are flattened,
they can no longer move the mucus back up and get rid of stuff?
Yeah, so now that stuff is stuck in there.
But that was a lung under extreme, dirty conditions.
Although the air from our cities
is more polluted than the air by the seaside,
you shouldn't worry too much, because the mucus in your lungs
traps the pollution. It then gets wafted up by the cilia
in our airways and you can cough it up or blow it out your nose.
Proving your body is brilliant at cleaning its airways,
and that's whether you live by the sea or in the city.
Time to head back down to accident and emergency.
Here's another curious case.
In Manchester, 11-year-old Oscar has been brought to hospital
by his mum when he came home from football with a sore nose.
Playing football yesterday, at football training.
-We were winning 1-0...
..and someone elbowed me by accident
and it felt like it just went on the side.
Well, I'd definitely stop prodding it, then.
So, how exactly did this nose bending accident happen?
It was football training at school and Oscar was in goal.
His team were one up.
-They look a bit out of breath.
-And the crowd was going wild.
But the opposition were putting the pressure on
and the ball was heading Oscar's way.
Oh, where's the defence? He's clean through!
Oscar ran out to kick the ball clear...
..when all of a sudden there was a smash.
His nose collided with his opponent's elbow.
Yellow? I'd have gone for red, but I guess ref NOSE best.
That was terrible, Xand.
Oscar's nose might not look that bent
but with an accident like this
-there's a good chance it could be broken.
-It feels weird.
I bet it does, so let's get that weird-feeling nose seen to.
Over to ear, nose and throat specialist,
Mr Baskaran Ranganathan.
He'll find out if anything's damaged.
-Is it sore down here?
The nasal bone probably is just broken in one point
so that it's shifted the bone to one side.
With a break like this, that means only one thing - an operation.
Inside your nose, the tip is made of flexible cartilage,
but higher up there are two thin bones,
which make up your nasal bone.
When these get a bang they can break easily
and need surgery to push them back into place.
Oscar's had a general anaesthetic, so he can't feel a thing
and now it's down to Mr Baskaran to straighten his sniffer.
The doctor uses forceps to pull the bones back into line.
This might look nasty, but if the bones aren't straightened up,
Oscar could have breathing problems for life.
There's a few final adjustments and before he NOSE it,
his nose is normal again.
Strapped up with support strips across the bridge of his nose,
it's all over.
And an hour later he's woken up.
Well, Mum's happy, but what do you think?
It's straight now and I can play football.
Well, hold your horses, your nose needs six to eight weeks to heal
before you can get back in goal, but for now, at least you're off home.
Next time, Courtney's ear needs flushing...
..Xand does some painting with his wee...
..and we meet some creepy crawlies
that are a bit too close for comfort.
Oh, it's moving!
-So that's it until next time.
Subtitles by Red Bee Media
The doctors look at the awesome work that goes on inside the liver, and Dr Chris extracts snot from members of the public for a very useful experiment. Meanwhile, over in A&E, one patient has a massive lip from an allergic reaction and another has surgery to repair his broken nose.