Dr Mosley had long experimented with his own body on multiple television programmes over his decades-long career, but one personal experience left him with a valuable lesson

Dr Michael Mosley’s confirmed death earlier this week has had Britons remembering the television presenter’s brave exploits in the name of science.

Search and rescue workers recovered the television presenter’s body from the Greek island of Symi over the weekend, with a post-mortem later confirming his death from natural causes. He had ventured out in extreme heat, with temperatures topping 40C on the island at the time. But Dr Mosley was no stranger to braving extremes and had previously encountered fallout from pushing himself.

But the doctor recently recounted a valuable lesson learned from one scary incident. In 2019, the presenter spent a chilly weekend in Cornwall with his wife, Dr Claire Bailey, and his older brother when the couple decided to take a dip in the sea. Dr Mosley told the Daily Telegraph they found the conditions “too chilly even for us” after briefly swimming around, and they “challenged each other to a race back to the shore”.

But the challenge – in keeping with the doctor’s adventurous spirit – did not pan out as planned, with Dr Mosley initially feeling he was “definitely going to be able” to beat his wife back to land. Instead, he said, “it all went blank” as he raced to shore.

He added: “The next thing I remember is being in A&E at hospital in Truro, with Clare sitting beside me looking extremely concerned.” Doctors later concluded that he had suffered from transient global amnesia, a condition caused by cold water swimming that had left Dr Mosley asking whether it was 2017. He learned that, when trying something new like swimming, people should do so with a partner in tow.

He said: “The serious point here is, don’t go cold water swimming by yourself, particularly if you’re not used to it, because there are risks. You know, particularly if you’re unfit, you could have a heart attack, drop dead. You could have your memory wiped. Who knows? So try and do this sort of thing with someone else.”

Dr Mosley’s experience pushing himself to the limit in his personal life also stretched to the professional, with the expert having fronted multiple programmes during his career experimenting with extreme theories. In one BBC Four documentary, “Infested! Living with parasites”, the doctor infected himself with a tapeworm, stuck a leech to his arm, and tried to infest himself with lice.

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