Pain, Pus & Poison

Michael Mosley

What doesn’t kill you, can make you stronger. Michael Mosley tells the extraordinary story of how the world’s most useful and valuable drugs were created. Read More

Pain, Pus and Poison DVD
Product details
  • DVD
    Product Type:
  • 1
  • Genre:
  • 3 x 52 mins
    Running Time:
  • 16:9 Widescreen
    Aspect Ratio:
  • All
  • PAL
  • Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo
  • 3rd July 2013
    Release Date:
  • Rating:
  • Digital Download
    Buy it now
  • (Click for price)



Get it on Google Play

Science has unlocked the human body, enabling us to survive diseases and infections. We’ve gone from finding antidotes to using the poisons themselves as a cure; the most poisonous toxin known to man - Botulinum - is now used as an anti-wrinkle drug called Botox. Scorpion venom is even being tested for the treatment of life threatening diseases.

Yet it’s a myth that most of our drugs come from nature. Modern drugs are man-made, designed in some of the world’s most high tech labs.


Pain is all in the brain. When we break a leg or pull a muscle, millions of nerve cells in our brains fire torelease 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 at the start of the 19th century – and continued into the 20th century when scientists found a way to synthesise a stable form of a safe painkiller called aspirin, a drug that could be manufactured on an industrial scale.


The Black Death wiped out close to a quarter of the world’s population. Even our familiar foe 'the flu' was one of the deadliest infectious diseases of the twentieth century. Fighting these killers is an ongoing battle, as each infection adapts to outwit our defences.

Ancient treatments ranged from using leeches to suck out blood to performing strange magical rituals, but nothing stopped the infection - until we discovered antibiotics. The average person now takes two courses of antibiotics every year. Yet even as we’re discovering new uses for antibiotics, the original infections are
developing new drug-resistant strains...


Poisons in the natural world kill thousands of people every year. They attack our bodies, leading to a 'short-circuit'. Yet some poisons are now being used to improve the way we look! The deadly poison curare was first used on the tips of arrows used by indigenous hunters in the Amazon rainforests, but its active ingredient is now used every day in hospitals across the world. Even the chemical weapon Mustard Gas used in the horrors of trench warfare has now been adapted to be useful in chemotherapy treatments.

Today the hunt is on for other poisons that can actually help to cure us; we extract the deadly venom of the Death Stalker scorpion, which may offer hope to people suffering from brain cancer.

Barcode: 9322225193192

Product Reviews (4)

06 Aug 2013 21:03 AEST
Mosley fan
from: Sydney

Thoroughly fascinating and enjoyable story on the history of medicines. Dr Michael Mosley is very good. Makes you appreciate living in a world where we have vaccines, antibiotics and regulated medicines.

Was this useful? Useful(1 people agree)
Not useful(0 people disagree)
06 Aug 2013 11:59 AEST
from: South Australia

Fantastic in depth knowledge - Absolutely loved this series. It really showed great in depth of how things came to be in medicine. This was a fun and interesting way to further my uni work as a Nurse. I recommend it highly to anyone who loves a bit of history with a good story behind it

Was this useful? Useful(1 people agree)
Not useful(0 people disagree)
05 Aug 2013 21:33 AEST
from: Alice Springs

Super interesting and informative! - I am sad that that this wasn't a longer series! Very interesting history and science combined. I learned so much from this series.

Was this useful? Useful(1 people agree)
Not useful(0 people disagree)
22 Jul 2013 20:40 AEST
Davina NAIDU
from: Wantirna

Awesome science DVD on pain, pus and poison.. It's interesting and helpful for medical students and anyone who love science

Was this useful? Useful(6 people agree)
Not useful(3 people disagree)

Add a Review

  • This is a captcha-picture. It is used to prevent mass-access by robots.

PLEASE NOTE: All submitted comments become the property of SBS. We reserve the right to edit and/or amend submitted comments. HTML tags other than paragraph, line break, bold or italics will be removed from your comment.



Code, The (DVD)