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Health issues and medical breakthroughs from around the world.

BBC World Service


    • Jan 12, 2022 LATEST EPISODE
    • weekly NEW EPISODES
    • 29m AVG DURATION
    • 75 EPISODES

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    Latest episodes from Health Check

    Omicron set to infect half of Europe

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 12, 2022 26:42

    Tabitha Mwangi, programme manager at Cambridge Africa at Cambridge University, joins Claudia to discuss the latest on the rapid spread of Omicron across Europe and the factors behind the waves of Covid-19 infections in Kenya. In light of the controversy surrounding Novak Djokovic’s participation in the Australian Open Tennis tournament, Dr Maggie Wearmouth explains the rare instances where people can be medically exempt from having a Covid vaccination. Also, what do the lung scans of Covid-19 patients tell us about how the virus gets around the body, and should we be washing our mouths as well as our hands? Dr Graham Lloyd-Jones, a radiologist from the UK, shares his theory. A new South African study shows how women living with HIV are able to keep healthy – but as they get older, they often develop high blood pressure and diabetes. Tabitha says that there are “missed opportunities” when they come into contact with health services where their weight and overall health could be monitored and advice shared. And Claudia finds out how we can make buildings better for people who process their experiences of the world differently. We hear from Jill Corbyn and architect Jean Hewitt. Presenter: Claudia Hammond Producer: Paula McGrath (Picture: A crowd of people wearing face masks to stop the spread of Covid-19 walk in Preciados Street, Madrid, on 28 December 2021. Photo credit: Marcos del Mazo/LightRocket/Getty Images.)

    Home working versus the office

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 5, 2022 26:42

    As millions of us have had to stay away from our workplaces during the pandemic, Claudia Hammond explores the psychology of working from home versus the office. Some people have loved not having to commute and quietly beavering away at home, but others have missed the buzz of the office, found balancing family and work at home very difficult with lack of space or limited internet access. So in the future when Covid is less of a worry what does the evidence tell us about where it’s best to work? Presenter: Claudia Hammond Producer: Erika Wright (Picture: Father working from home with his son sitting next to him. Photo credit: Marko Geber/Getty Images.)

    Do our pets care about us?

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 29, 2021 27:36

    In the past philosophers and scientists have argued about the nature of animal minds: Darwin thought they differed from us only by degree but Descartes believed they were merely machines made of flesh. Anthro-zoologist from the University of Sussex Dr Karen Hiestand wants to find out if our pets really care about us so she filmed owners pretending to be hurt to monitor the reactions of their dogs and cats. Mental health campaigner Marion Janner says her life was saved numerous times by her support dog Buddy. We hear about the central role animals play in Marion’s life and how she coped when Buddy died last year. On a walk in the park, we hear how a Rhodesian Ridgeback puppy called Polly helped her owner Sam to come to terms with the death of her previous dog Margo. And Diane James from the Blue Cross for Pets charity explains how they offer telephone and online support to anyone who’s experienced pet loss. Cats have had a bit of an image problem but Karen Hiestand says their apparent aloofness and accusations of laziness arise because we forget that they are solitary creatures, descended from wildcats. Presenter: Claudia Hammond Producer: Paula McGrath (Picture: A young girl enjoying the company of a cat at home. Photo credit: d3sign/Getty Images.)

    New research on the Omicron variant

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 22, 2021 28:59

    New research on the Omicron variant unpicked by James Gallagher, BBC health and science correspondent. Plus many people listen to music for hours every day, and often near bedtime in the hope of a good night’s sleep. But if you can’t get the tune out of your head could this be counter-productive? In new research, neuropsychologist Michael Scullin of Baylor University has looked at the rarely studied effect of these so called earworms. And could fish oils one day be used to treat some forms of severe depression? Claudia hears from Alessandra Borsini of King’s College London who has been examining the impact of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids in the lab and has followed up with a promising trial on severely depressed patients. Plus James Gallagher explains that despite there being no evidence 5G mobile networks are harmful many types of necklaces and accessories claiming to "protect" people from 5G have hit the market. Now the Dutch authority for nuclear safety and radiation protection warns that with long term use such anti-5G products themselves could be harmful due to radioactive concerns. Presenter: Claudia Hammond Producer: Erika Wright (Picture: Omicron variant (B.1.1.529): Immunofluorescence staining of uninfected and infected Vero E6 cells. Photo credit: Microbiology HKU/BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images.)

    Omicron update

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 15, 2021 28:15

    Omicron update from James Gallagher, the BBC Health and Science Correspondent. And as New Zealand announce plans to ban cigarette sales to the next generation born after 2008, Claudia reviews the psychological evidence for such a policy working with Professor Robert West. And with wild birds migrating many countries are seeing an increase in Bird Flu. Dr Richard Webby, director of the World Health Organization Collaborating Centre for Studies on the Ecology of Influenza in Animals and Birds, explains the risk to human health is low but the implications are high. Presenter: Claudia Hammond Producer: Erika Wright (Picture: A doctor with a blood sample of Covid-19 Omicron variant. Photo credit: Yalcinsonat1/Gerry Images.)

    Omicron variant news

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 8, 2021 26:27

    News update on the new Omicron variant now in many countries across the world. Plus Hannah Fisher reports on the science of smell and conditions other than Covid where it can be lost. Holly Bradshaw, Olympic pole-vaulter turned psychology researcher discusses the post-Olympic blues with Karen Howells, Senior Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Psychology. And could Viagra be a candidate drug for Alzheimer's disease? This week’s guest is Mathew Fox, Professor of Global Epidemiology from Boston University. Presenter: Claudia Hammond Producer: Erika Wright (Picture: 3D illustration of coronavirus. Credit: Maksim Tkachenko/Getty Images.)

    Omicron Covid variant – what do we know?

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 1, 2021 26:42

    Omicron Covid variant – what do we know? Claudia examines key questions about the new variant with Professor of Molecular Virology, Jonathan Ball. Plus growing evidence that pollution has a negative effect on our mental health. And a new way of testing for TB in children. Presenter: Claudia Hammond Producer: Erika Wright (Image: Microscopic view of influenza virus cells. Photo credit: Panorama Images/Getty Images.)

    Covid cases across Europe

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 24, 2021 27:04

    James Gallagher, BBC health and science correspondent, examines Covid case rates across Europe. A report on a new study documenting the incidence of Typhoid in three capital cities - Blantyre, Malawi and Kathmandu, Nepal, for the first time - plus updated estimates in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Claudia discusses the role of antibiotic resistance and gets an update on a new vaccine for the disease. Remembering Professor Sir Michael Rutter, ‘the father of child psychiatry’ who died recently. And can house work help your memory? Presenter: Claudia Hammond Producer: Erika Wright (Picture: A crowded street in Brussels, Belgium in November 2021. Photo credit: Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency/Getty images.)

    T-cell Covid protection before the pandemic

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 17, 2021 28:14

    New research on how some people had a level of Covid immunity before the pandemic started. Blood samples showed hospital staff being monitored in the first wave already had protective ‘killer’ T-cells probably from exposure to other viruses related to the one that has swept the globe. The difference between antibodies to an infection and antibodies caused by a vaccine. And the extraordinary story of a woman who rid her body of HIV. Presenter: Claudia Hammond Producer: Erika Wright (Picture: Microbiologist studying coronavirus. Photo credit: Janiecbros/Getty Images.)

    New antiviral pills to treat Covid

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 10, 2021 26:42

    New antiviral pills to treat Covid are coming thick and fast. Pfizer have just announced their new antiviral Paxlovid in the same week UK’s MHRA was the first country in the world to approve Molnupiravir – Merck’s pill launched last month. So how do the two antivirals compare? And a report from the longest operating milk bank in North America. Since 1974, the Mothers’ Milk Bank in San Jose, California has been collecting breast milk to help nurture vulnerable babies (especially premature ones) at a critical time in their lives. Today it supplies about 500 gallons of breast milk a month reaching over 80% of California’s newborn intensive care units (or NICU’s) and serves eleven hospitals in other U.S. states, as far afield as New York. Who donates all this milk and how is the milk treated to ensure it’s safe and nourishing for babies? Presenter: Claudia Hammond Producer: Erika Wright (Picture: A hand holding pills. Photo credit: Thana Prasongsin/Getty Images.)

    Hunt for rare resistance to SARS CoV-2

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 3, 2021 27:51

    An International team of scientists has launched a global hunt for rare people who may be genetically resistant to SARS CoV-2 infection. Individuals who’ve been exposed to the virus living in families where everyone else in the household got infected, who repeatedly tested negative and didn’t mount an immune response. Claudia Hammond speaks to immunologist Evangelos Andreakos, part of the team at the Biomedical Research Foundation in Athens about this fascinating quest. And Claudia hears from Norway about more reassuring research into Covid vaccination in pregnancy. Presenter: Claudia Hammond Producer: Erika Wright (Picture: A woman walking on the streets of Manhattan, New York City. Photo credit: Lechatnoir/Getty Images.)

    Mix and match Covid vaccines

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 27, 2021 28:09

    New evidence from Sweden and France on the benefits of mixing and matching doses of different types of Covid vaccine. The impact misinformation around treating Covid with Ivermectin is having on the Neglected Tropical diseases where the drug is known to work. And are oat and soy milks as nutritious as cow’s milk? Presenter: Claudia Hammond Producer: Erika Wright (Picture: A healthcare worker holds vials of the Covaxin and Covisheld vaccines in Allika Village, India. Photo credit: Pallava Bagla/ Corbis/Getty Images.)

    New Covid vaccine

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 20, 2021 28:33

    New Covid vaccine from Valneva produces stronger immune response when compared to AstraZeneca, the French company reports, with no severe cases of Covid-19 seen in either group. And new positive research on lateral flow tests. Plus guest Graham Easton discusses the urgent need for teaching climate and environmental health in medical schools. Presenter: Claudia Hammond Producer: Erika Wright (Picture: Coronavirus vaccine vials on a laboratory shelf. Photo credit: Joao Paulo Burini/Getty Images.)

    Henrietta Lacks Legacy

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 13, 2021 26:41

    Henrietta Lacks died in 1951 from a virulent cervical cancer. A sample of those cancer cells was taken at the time and the way they behave has changed medical science forever – contributing to everything from the polio vaccine to drugs for Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. As the WHO give a posthumous award Claudia discusses how the Henrietta Lacks legacy raises issues of global health equity. Plus with a Malaria Vaccine given a historic green light by the WHO to protect children in Africa, what are the distribution difficulties in countries which carry the greatest burden of disease? And what’s behind the low rate of Covid-19 vaccinations in Taiwan? We hear from one resident about why she’s chosen to have a home-grown Medigen vaccine which hasn’t yet completed all its clinical trials – and another who wants to wait for an alternative. Scientists say that trials about to start in Paraguay should show whether it stimulates enough immunity to protect people in the way the AstraZeneca vaccine does. Presenter: Claudia Hammond Producer: Erika Wright (Picture: Henrietta Lacks, after whom HeLa cells are named, standing outside her home in Baltimore, USA. Photo credit: Getty Images.)

    New Antiviral Covid Pill

    Play Episode Listen Later Oct 6, 2021 28:55

    Trials stopped early of a new Covid antiviral pill as it may cut numbers of people in hospital by about a half. Claudia Hammond discusses the ethical questions of who should be given it. Plus UNICEF report on findings about childhood mental health before and during the pandemic. And a new exhibition on the researchers and trial participants outwitting cancer. Presenter: Claudia Hammond Producer: Erika Wright (Picture: An experimental Covid-19 treatment pill called Molnupiravir. Photo credit: Merck/Reuters.)

    Reducing mental health stigma

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 22, 2021 32:27

    Many people have struggled with their mental health during the pandemic, but still don’t always feel free to discuss it, especially at work. Stigma remains a problem and discussing your difficulties at all is off-limits. For many years in England a campaign called Time To Change tried to change attitudes and the evidence from that and other initiatives was used to launch campaigns in India, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda in 2019. Sue Baker, Mind’s International Health Advisor, and Rosemary Gathara, Director of Basic Needs, Basic Rights in Kenya discuss the findings of the campaigns with Claudia Hammond. Matt Fox, Professor of Global Epidemiology at Boston University in the US, joins Claudia to talk about the latest global picture of Covid, mask wearing at basketball games in the US and the Kindness Test. And they look at research that suggests too much free time is bad for us. Presenter: Claudia Hammond Producer: Erika Wright (Picture: A woman sitting in a room. Photo credit: Jasmin Merdan/Getty Images.)

    Covid in Vietnam

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 15, 2021 27:46

    In 2020 Vietnam ran a successful track and trace system, with very few coronavirus infections and for a long time no deaths at all, while other countries had thousands. In 2021 things haven’t gone so well and since July strict stay at home orders have been in place in some cities. Nga Pham, a journalist from BBC World News, and software engineer Kevin Vu talk about what life is like in Hanoi and Ho Chi Min City. Dr Monica Lakhanpaul, Professor of Integrated Community Child Health at University College London, talks to Claudia Hammond about a mystery disease outbreak in the state of Uttar Pradesh in India. The symptoms are fever, joint pains, headaches and nausea. People born premature can have an increased risk of developing heart problems later in life. For the first time researchers have shown that breast milk can improve heart performance in premature babies. The new study was done by Afif El-Khuffash who looks after premature babies and is Clinical Professor of Paediatrics at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. And Monica and Claudia discuss the latest research into long Covid in children. Presenter: Claudia Hammond Producer: Pam Rutherford (Picture: A resident rides her bicycle near a make-shift barricade in Hanoi during the lockdown to stop the spread of Covid-19. Photo credit: Nhac Nguyen/AFP/Getty Images.)

    Art, gardening and wellbeing during Covid

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 8, 2021 27:46

    How art and gardening has saved some people’s mental health during the pandemic. Claudia visits the most wonderful allotment to find out how one community in the UK has benefited. Nightmares and how people with psychosis can be plagued and even traumatised by bad dreams, but that there is a way of dealing with them. Plus, can kindness help you live a long life and evidence on whether dogs feel jealous! Presenter: Claudia Hammond Producer: Erika Wright (Picture: Close up of women planting salad seedlings. Photo credit: Betsie Van der Meer/Getty Images.)

    The Kindness Test

    Play Episode Listen Later Sep 1, 2021 33:15

    When was the last time you did something really kind for someone or someone else did something really kind for you? Claudia Hammond and guests are looking at the place of kindness in today’s world, asking what it really means, what happens in our brains when we act kindly and whether there can ever be a role for it in the cut-throat worlds of business and politics. She hears what kindness means to people in Kenya, Chile and in the UK. And with many aspects of kindness remaining under-researched, with your help Claudia and Robin Banerjee, Professor of Social Psychology at the University of Sussex, are asking you to fill in the gaps by taking part in the Kindness Test. Presenter: Claudia Hammond Producer: Erika Wright

    Antibody cocktails against Covid

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 25, 2021 29:44

    Trials have shown that cocktails of antibodies are effective against Covid, and one called Ronapreve has just been approved for use in the UK, following in the footsteps of Japan and the US. Claudia Hammond talks to Penny Ward, Professor of Pharmaceutical Medicine at Kings College, London, about how these monoclonal antibodies work and where they are best used, given that they are very expensive. The UN Refugee Agency and the International Organisation for Migration have called on governments to ensure that everyone is included in vaccination plans, including refugees and internally displaced people. Samara Linton reports on how undocumented migrants, in South East Asia and in the UK, are getting vaccinated against Covid. The increased heat we are experiencing with climate change is causing deaths in people with underlying health conditions. Professor Kristie Ebi of the University of Washington tells Claudia about what we can do to keep cool, in particular in places without air conditioning. And family doctor Graham Easton comments on these stories and discusses the relationship between Covid and heat. Presenter: Claudia Hammond Producer: Deborah Cohen (Picture: Computer illustration of the release of monoclonal antibodies. Credit: Nanoclustering/Science Photo Library/Getty Images.)

    The psychology of courage and bravery

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 18, 2021 26:28

    The adventurer and ultra-runner Alex Staniforth talks about his survival on Everest following the devastating Nepalese earthquake in 2015. Rachel Manning from Buckingham University considers why we do or don’t intervene in risky situations and in everyday life. And Patrick Tissington from Warwick University draws on the stories behind those awarded the Victoria or George Cross for bravery to suggest some of the best ways to manage our fear in allowing us to be more courageous. The programme is presented by Claudia Hammond and recorded at the Cheltenham Science Festival in June 2021. Image: Rock climber clinging to a cliff Credit: gregepperson/Getty Images Presenter: Claudia Hammond Producer: Adrian Washbourne

    Impact of wildfires

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 11, 2021 31:45

    Claudia Hammond and her studio guest global health journalist Sarah Boseley discuss the health impact of the fires that are raging in many places including Southern Europe and the US. Lizzie Crouch reports on the longer term physical and mental effects of fires on people who experienced them in Colorado last year. Two reports, from the Netherlands and the US, are published this week that highlight the lack of women in drug trials for heart disease. Heart disease is often thought to be more common in men than women but that isn’t the case and new drugs need to be tested on women as well as on men. As the Olympics comes to an end Claudia talks to Adrian Bauman, Emeritus Professor of Global Health at the University of Sydney, about if there is any legacy for the general public in terms of increased exercise and fitness. He has just published a paper in The Lancet exploring this question – and the answer is a no. And Sarah Boseley and Claudia discuss the case of Marburg Disease in Guinea, the first to be reported in West Africa. Presenter: Claudia Hammond Producer: Deborah Cohen (Picture: People run away from a forest fire in the Milas district of Muğla province, Turkey on 3rd August 2021. Photo credit: Ali Balli/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images.)

    Twisties and sporting mental health

    Play Episode Listen Later Aug 4, 2021 26:42

    Spatial awareness in sport: USA gymnast Simone Biles won Olympic bronze but withdrew from earlier events due to ‘The twisties’ and resulting mental health issues. Family Doctor Graham Easton looks at the evidence for what causes this condition. Childhood myopia: A new study finds an increase in childhood short-sightedness during the pandemic. Lead author Jason C. S. Yam explains the potential impact of lockdowns on eye health by increasing close work on screens and decreasing outside activity. Cannabis and vomiting: Alison van Diggelen reports on an under recognised condition, Cannabinoid Hyperemesis Syndrome [CHS] where users of marijuana get bouts of vomiting, nausea, and severe abdominal pain that can need hospitalisation. It mostly impacts long term users though some younger people who smoke concentrates only a few times a week have had it too. Severe weight loss and the dehydration caused by vomiting can have long term impacts on the heart, liver and kidneys even causing death in extreme cases. Oxygen monitoring: Updated guidance showing that pulse oximeters – a device designed to measure early signs of a dangerous drop in oxygen - works less well in people with darker skin. Presenter: Claudia Hammond Producer: Erika Wright (Picture: Simone Biles of Team United States competes in the Women's Balance Beam Final on day eleven of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Ariake Gymnastics Centre in Tokyo, Japan. Photo credit: Jamie Squire/Getty Images.)

    Covid vaccination in prisons

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 28, 2021 26:43

    New research on Covid vaccination in prisons. Plus can financial incentives like free tuition or free cruises encourage people to get the jab? Samara Linton reports on some surprising examples, while Professor Stephen Higgins reviews the evidence. And does the use of words like "provider" or "customer" subtly change healthcare? Claudia's guest is Matt Fox, Professor of Global Health Epidemiology at Boston University. Presenter: Claudia Hammond Producer: Erika Wright (Picture: Prisoners at the La Modelo Correctional Facility wait to receive a Covid-19 vaccination administered by medical workers in Bogota, Colombia in July 2021. Photo credit: Juancho Torres/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images.)

    Could the flu vaccine protect against severe Covid-19?

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 21, 2021 26:28

    A really intriguing finding on flu vaccines - that they might offer some protection not just against flu, but against the most serious effects of Covid-19 – even though it is of course a completely different virus. Claudia Hammond talks to Dr Devinder Singh who led the research using anonymous medical records from countries including Singapore, Germany, Italy and Israel, which medical researchers can use. Summer viruses And why are some countries in the middle of the summertime, seeing a surge of infections with viruses usually found in winter? In the northern hemisphere there are fears that we’ll see a surge of cases of flu next winter – a twindemic. Why is that? And is this something that will follow the seasons around the world? We hear from Lorna and her daughter Willow on Willow’s persistent cough and from Dr Michelle Jacobs who’s a consultant in paediatric and adult emergency medicine at Watford General Hospital in the UK. Downs Syndrome and Covid-19 There’s new research just published in the British Medical Journal looking at how both adults and children with Downs Syndrome have been affected if they contract Covid. Some countries such as India are prioritising vaccination against Covid-19 for adults with Downs Syndrome. University College London’s Professor Monica Lakhanpaul’s work has been instrumental in helping clinics to start vaccinating people in India. And in the UK it’s just been announced that children with Downs Syndrome will be able to get vaccinated, which isn’t the case for all children. Monica explains the relevance of the research and her work in highlighting the issue. Image: Vaccine bottles in a row Credit: Helder Faria/Getty Images Presenter: Claudia Hammond Producer: Erika Wright

    Mental health recovery stories

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 14, 2021 26:41

    Claudia Hammond presents three stories where people have helped someone who’s going through mental health difficulties. Dale had spent his childhood playing basketball at an elite level, and when his career stalled he became depressed. A chance meeting with Mike, a customer in the mobile phone shop where Dale was working, has turned his life around. Poppy was going through a very tough time when she was 16, but a teacher at her college called Sophie Durant was determined to give her the chance to talk if she wanted to. Poppy is now about to start to study dance at university. Adam’s teenage daughter Megan knew she suffered from food allergies and was always careful with her diet. One evening five years ago, she had a take-away at a friend’s house. They warned the restaurant about her allergies, but she suffered a severe anaphylactic shock and on New Year’s Day she died. Adam has found great support from a group in the UK for men who’ve been bereaved called StrongMen. It’s never easy to know what to say to a friend or relative who has mental health problems without risking making things worse. Clinical psychologist Linda Blair gives tips on how to handle these conversations. Presenter: Claudia Hammond Producer: Pam Rutherford (Picture: A couple hiking in the Austrian mountains. Photo credit: Westend61/Getty Images.)

    Lambda variant of SARS-Cov2

    Play Episode Listen Later Jul 7, 2021 27:28

    The lambda variant of coronavirus, first seen in Peru and Chile, has now spread to 27 other countries and new research just out suggests it’s better than other variants at escaping the antibodies produced by the CoronaVac vaccine that’s widely used in Latin America. The WHO does only currently classify it as a variant of interest and not a variant of concern. Ricardo Soto Rifo from the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Chile, Santiago who conducted this new research explains his findings. A charity in the UK called Ovacome has long run in person support groups for women with ovarian cancer. And now women who live miles apart, but share similar experiences have got to know each other very well, online, during the pandemic. To find out what happens in these meetings, Health Check dropped in, on Zoom, to listen in to Gill, Gillian, Siobhan, Allyson and Jo. Dr Per Block, a research lecturer at the University of Oxford, has been investigating whether moods are contagious and crucially whether we pick on up good moods or bad moods more easily. The results of his study with teenage members of choirs and orchestras who were away on tour together have just been published in the journal Emotion. He tells Claudia what he found. Claudia’s studio guest is family doctor, Ann Robinson, who talks about new research into diet and migraines and whether a David Beckham style plastic boot or a traditional plaster cast is the best treatment for a broken ankle. Presenter: Claudia Hammond Producer: Erika Wright and Paula McGrath (Picture: A woman receives her first dose of the CoronaVac vaccine during a door-to-door vaccination day against Covid-19 on 03 July 2021 in a rural area of the Jerusalén municipality, Cundinamarca Department, Colombia. Photo credit: Guillermo Legaria/Getty Images.)

    Mixing Covid vaccines

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 30, 2021 26:42

    New evidence on whether mixing Covid vaccines and spreading doses out gives better results. Plus, has five years of food labels in Chile warning of high fat, sugar or salt made a difference to obesity levels? Jane Chambers reports. And what gives some people a sense of entitlement? Emily Zitek, Associate Professor of Organisational Behaviour at Cornell University explains her new research. Claudia's studio guest is James Gallagher, BBC Health and Science Correspondent. Presenter: Claudia Hammond Producer: Erika Wright (Picture: Three vials with different vaccines against Covid-19 by (L-R) Moderna, AstraZeneca and Pfizer-BioNTech. Photo credit: Thomas Kienzle/AFP/ Getty Images.)

    Tanzania joins COVAX

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 23, 2021 26:42

    As Tanzania joins COVAX Rhoda Odhiambo discusses the challenges ahead and says 'joining' makes it sound simple but the requirements that need to be put in place are far from simple. And results from the first national TB prevalence survey in South Africa shows that the disease is found more in men and young people than previously recognised. Claudia talks to Professor Martie van der Walt, director of the TB platform of the South African Medical Research Council while Taurai Maduna reports from a TB screening clinic in Diepsloot, Gauteng Province. Plus Professor Catherine Loveday on new research assessing lockdown memories and what they mean. Claudia's studio guest is Matt Fox from Boston University. Presenter: Claudia Hammond Producer: Erika Wright (Picture: Portrait of a young man wearing a face mask in Nungwi, Tanzania. Photo credit: Jasmin Merdan/Getty Images.)

    New treatment for Covid

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 16, 2021 26:42

    Good news that a new treatment for Covid could help one in three people in hospital. Results are from the Recovery trial in the UK using an infusion of two antibodies made in the laboratory which bind to the virus and stop it replicating. But it is expensive and those people who haven't made their own antibodies should be given the treatment. And Project S - the unique experiment that vaccinated a whole town in Brazil. Claudia speaks to Dr Ricardo Palacios, clinical studies director at the Butantan Institute in Sao Paulo, leading the research. Plus a ground breaking trial in Yogyakarta city, Indonesia, that has cut cases of Dengue Fever by 77% by infecting mosquitoes with a "miraculous" bacteria. Presenter: Claudia Hammond Producer: Erika Wright (Picture: A doctor holds a vial of monoclonal antibodies, a new treatment for Covid-19. Photo credit: Cristian Storto Fotografia/Getty Images.)

    FDA approves new Alzheimer's drug

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 9, 2021 26:42

    Aducanumab the controversial new drug for Alzheimer’s disease, just approved by the FDA in the US is the first approved breakthrough in nearly 20 years. But, as Sarah Boseley explains, scientists dispute the drug’s effectiveness. Good news from a study published in Lancet Healthy Longevity looking at protection levels from getting Covid. It studied the risk of COVID reinfection in care home staff and occupants up to 10 months after first being unwell and showed substantial levels of protection is retained. And a new paper on Vitamin D deficiency in Africa – the first large prevalence study in children on the continent. Plus bestselling author and gynaecologist Dr Jen Gunter on her Menopause Manifesto, part two in our mini-series on Health Check. Dr Gunter unpicks the facts and feminism of how society’s focus on what happens to women’s bodies has shaped and hindered treatment for the menopause. Presenter: Claudia Hammond Producer: Erika Wright Image: Abstract medical icon of head showing Alzheimer's memory loss due to dementia and brain disease Credit: wildpixel/Getty Images

    Black Fungus epidemic in India

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 2, 2021 26:43

    Could over the counter Steroids be driving the Black Fungus epidemic in India? Claudia talks to Dr Awadhesh Singh from the GD Hospital and Diabetes Institute in Kolkata who explains the link between Steroid use and the shocking surge in cases of this deadly disease. Guest Matt Fox from Boston University discusses mass Covid testing in Vietnam and a trial of mask wearing in Bangladesh, plus the renaming of Covid variants using the Greek alphabet. And bestselling author Dr Jen Gunter on her new book The Menopause Manifesto – own your health with facts and feminism! Presenter: Claudia Hammond Producer: Erika Wright (Picture: A doctor inspects a patient for mucormycosis inside a dedicated ward at MMG hospital in Ghaziabad, India. Photo credit: Sakib Ali/Hindustan Times/Getty Images.)

    Is Kindness Contagious?

    Play Episode Listen Later May 26, 2021 26:41

    The kind boss who transformed their employee's mental health – Natalie and Gillian share their amazing story with Claudia Hammond. And new research finds kindness really is contagious - Alison van Diggelen hears from scientists in California that kindness really does spread. Plus guest Professor Monica Lakhanpaul discusses vaccine effectiveness against the variant first identified in India and addresses ethical questions of vaccinating children. Plus new science on how mammals breathing through their bottoms could be a future solution to oxygenating human blood without risking the lung damage caused by ventilators. Presenter: Claudia Hammond Producer: Erika Wright (Picture: A boy protects his younger brother from the rain with an umbrella. Photo credit: Estersinhache fotografía/Getty Images.)

    When to have your second vaccine dose?

    Play Episode Listen Later May 19, 2021 26:42

    New evidence for when to have your second Covid vaccine dose; Plus the long awaited results of a 20 year trial into Ovarian Cancer screening and whether picking the disease up early with a simple blood test helps to save lives. And Misophonia – the curious condition where sounds of other people eating can cause anger and panic. Presenter: Claudia Hammond Producer: Erika Wright (Picture: Vials of vaccine for Covid-19 to be administered by injection. Photo credit: A. Martin UW Photography/Getty Images.)

    Is BMI an outdated risk measure?

    Play Episode Listen Later May 12, 2021 26:41

    New research from The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology journal shows current body mass index [BMI] guidance is outdated and dangerous for people from different ethnic groups. The study’s principal investigator, Dr Rishi Caleyachetty unpicks the global implications of his findings. Maria Rebollo Polo – WHO lead for Neglected Tropical Diseases in Africa – explains the important task of mapping NTDs like Trachoma. Plus Khadidiatou Cisse reports from Benin on Trachoma – one of the oldest known infections and a leading cause of preventable blindness worldwide. And, have our memories really got worse during the pandemic? Professor Catherine Loveday of Westminster University discusses her new research on our memories during lockdown. Guest: Dr Ann Robinson Presenter: Claudia Hammond Producer: Erika Wright (Picture: Female doctor weighing senior patient at medical clinic. Photo credit: Jose Luis Pelaez/Getty Images.)

    Tanzania's new Covid prevention measures

    Play Episode Listen Later May 5, 2021 26:46

    As Tanzania announces new Covid prevention measures after the new president instigates a change in response to the pandemic, correspondent Rhoda Odhiambo discusses the implications for the country. And celebrating the Windrush generation in theatre - nurses who came to the UK from the Caribbean to work in the NHS share their memories in a new play. Plus Claudia talks to Mohsen Rajabi about his new research surveying Mental Health in Iran - both parents and children - after 16 months of school closures and hears from 18 year old Parnia Abharian about her first hand experience. And the science of a baby's first poo! Presenter: Claudia Hammond Producer: Erika Wright (Picture: People come to wash their hands with chlorinated water in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in March 2020. Photo credit: Ericky Boniphace/AFP/Getty Images.)

    Trials of New Malaria Vaccine

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 28, 2021 26:42

    As India surpasses 200,000 Covid deaths Claudia asks why the surge has been so steep and hears the latest from health reporter Anoo Bhuyan in Delhi. And there's good news of a new Malaria Vaccine showing 75% efficacy. Studio guest Tabitha Mwangi discusses this important breakthrough in the context of a new study from the Lancet Infectious Diseases Journal with the first clinical evidence of drug-resistant malaria mutations gaining foothold in Africa. Plus Caroline Williams on her new book MOVE! which unpicks the science of how movement opens up a hotline to our minds changing the way we think and feel. Presenter: Claudia Hammond Producer: Erika Wright (Picture: People wait to refill empty oxygen cylinders on 27 April 2021 in New Delhi, India. Photo credit: Sanjeev Verma/Hindustan Times/Getty Images.)

    Medical mysteries with neurologist Suzanne O’Sullivan

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 21, 2021 33:16

    Claudia Hammond hears stories of medical mysteries from author of Sleeping Beauties and consultant neurologist Suanne O’Sullivan. From the refugee children in Sweden who slept for months to the US Embassy staff in Cuba who fell ill with dizziness, what can cases like these and others from around the world reveal about the mind and body. Presenter: Claudia Hammond Producer: Deborah Cohen

    Chile’s vaccine roll out

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 14, 2021 27:11

    Claudia and guest Professor Matthew Fox from Boston University discuss the latest Covid-19 research this week – and there’s plenty of it! There’s new data on the variant first found in the UK, plus efficacy data just out comparing the immune responses to the AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines. And news from India of a so called ‘double mutant’ where two variants come together. Meanwhile the big vaccine news in the US is that they have temporarily suspended the Johnson and Johnson vaccine, so much to discuss! Plus, despite an acclaimed vaccine roll out Chile is experiencing a second wave of Covid infections. This has led some to claim that vaccine roll outs aren’t making the difference we all hoped or that it’s the type of vaccine being used. Jane Chambers reports and finds that it’s more complicated – as ever! And David and Barbara got in touch with the BBC about a treatable condition that can be easily confused with dementia - Normal pressure Hydrocephalus. Finally, a study from Japan on the risk of dementia and – surprisingly - whether it has anything to do with whether there are pavements nearby. Presenter: Claudia Hammond Producer: Erika Wright (Picture: Health workers give the Sinovac vaccine against Covid-19 at a vaccination centre in Santiago, Chile. Photo credit: Martin Bernetti/AFP/Getty Images.)

    Mental Health and the long term implications of Covid

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 7, 2021 26:42

    Mental Health and Covid; Claudia examines a large new Lancet Psychiatry study showing that one in three people develop anxiety, depression or a neurological problem in the six months after they were ill with the virus. Ten years on from the Fukushima nuclear power plant disaster in Japan. Professor Jun Shigemura discusses whether the unseen threat of exposure to radiation can teach us anything about dealing with the hidden threat of the current Covid-19 virus. A report from Nigeria on how some people with fractures may turn to the traditional bonesetter to get their bones mended. Charles Mgbolu reports from Lagos. And diagnosing concussion: how a team at the University of Birmingham in the UK has developed a saliva test which can detect whether someone with a bang on the head during sport can safely return to the game. Professor Tony Belli explains the science behind the test. Plus Claudia’s studio guest is Graham Easton, Professor of Clinical Communication Skills at Barts and the London Medical School. Presenter: Claudia Hammond Producer: Erika Wright (Picture: A traditional Japanese kite, bearing messages of hope by children living in Fukushima prefecture, is flown over the Great East Japan Earthquake and Nuclear Disaster Memorial Museum in Futaba town on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the disaster. Photo credit: Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images.)

    Can we eradicate leprosy?

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 1, 2021 26:42

    Despite the myths and fear which surround leprosy it can be treated and prevented with a short course of antibiotics. The disease is spread by a bacteria which is easily killed with these drugs. Although this stops the virus spreading it doesn’t help those who have been disfigured by the parasite, they are still viewed negatively even though they are no longer infectious. As Seydina Alioune Djigo reports, Senegal has embarked on a campaign to both treat Leprosy with drugs and educate more widely on the condition. They have also removed restrictions on those banished to former leper colonies. Also if you died would you donate your eyes to help some else see? Oyeyemi Gbenga-Mustapha reports from Nigeria on an eye banking project there, which uses donated eyes to restore the sight of people affected by corneal blindness. However as with many forms of organ donation the practice is not widely accepted yet. Presented by Priscilla Ngethe.

    Covid vaccines for children

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 31, 2021 26:41

    Vaccine hesitancy and Covid vaccines for Children. Claudia talks to paediatrician Dr Robert Jacobson of the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota, USA about issues of Covid vaccine hesitancy and why this issue may grow as Covid vaccines become available for children. As trials on children as young as 6 months get underway, and vaccination for children likely to be available, in some countries, from the summer/early autumn, why is vaccinating children against Covid important and what can be done to help parents overcome any hesitancy they might have? New Test to predict pre-term labour. Every year, around 15 million babies in the world are born too early. In countries such as Malawi, Pakistan and Indonesia, more than 15% of babies are premature. Not all survive and some of those that do have disabilities, which might have been preventable with simple care. The question is how to predict which pregnant women might go into labour too early. Reporter Madeleine Finlay investigates a new test using the vaginal microbiome to predict which mums might be most at risk. The first 1000 days. Claudia talks to Professor Monica Lakhanpaul about the critical first 1000 days of a baby's life and a new exhibition that hopes to highlight this key period in a child’s development. Claudia also talks to her about the idea of Reverse Innovation: lessons that richer countries can learn from poorer countries when it comes to health. We’re much more used to it being the other way round, but there are now many projects that are using techniques and ideas learnt from middle and lower income countries in providing health support to communities in the UK and other higher income countries. Presenter: Claudia Hammond Producer: Alexandra Feachem (Picture: A young boy who has just been vaccinated. Photo credit: D.Jiang/Getty Images.)

    Working with disability

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 26, 2021 26:42

    In Senegal there are a range of measures to help people living with disabilities enter the workforce, however overcoming attitudes is still a major issue. And we look at the impact of shoes on our physical health, it’s not just feet but bones and joints in the legs and spine that can be affected by our footwear. With Khadidiatou Cisse, Saida Swaleh and Priscilla Ngethe.

    Can the common cold prevent Covid?

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 24, 2021 26:42

    Claudia talks to her guest Dr Ann Robinson about a new study from the University of Glasgow in the UK that suggests the virus that causes the common cold can effectively boot the Covid virus out of the body's cells. Some viruses are known to compete in order to be the one that causes an infection and researchers have discovered that it appears cold-causing rhinovirus trumps coronavirus. The benefits might be short-lived but rhinovirus is so widespread it could still help to suppress Covid. Mental Health in Covid frontline health and social care workers. Claudia hears from Dr Talya Greene about a new study showing that nearly 60% of health and social care workers working in the UK during the first wave of Covid have suffered from either anxiety, depression or post traumatic stress disorder. What can we learn from the impact of Covid on the mental health of hospital and social care staff in order to help build resilience for future traumas. Azeezat Olaoluwa reports from Nigeria looking at something that affects many women in Africa: uterine fibroids. These are non cancerous growths that develop in or around the womb. It’s a medical condition that affects black women more than any other race, making it an unavoidable health condition for a large percentage of black women. Heart Surgeon Dr Reinhard Freidl talks to Claudia about his new book “The Beat of Life” about why, to him, the heart is so much more than just a pump, and why being broken hearted is a recognised medical condition. Image: Woman blowing her nose Credit: LaylaBird/Getty Images Presenter: Claudia Hammond Producer: Alexandra Feachem

    Combatting mental illness

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 19, 2021 26:42

    In Nigeria we meet someone who finds that swimming can help alleviate her depression and we discuss how self-esteem as well as diet can impact a new mothers’ ability to breastfeed. With Pricilla Ngethe, Milly Akeyo and Charles Mgbolu.

    Vaccine and Blood Clots

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 17, 2021 26:28

    As further European countries announce precautionary suspension of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine over fears it may have caused blood clots in a very small number of people, Claudia talks to BBC Health Editor James Gallagher about what the data really tells us about the safety of this vaccine. Tanzania and Covid. Claudia talks to BBC Africa Correspondent Leila Nathoo about the mystery of Tanzania’s vanishing President and rumours that despite his public Covid sceptisicm he may be seriously ill with the disease himself. President Magufuli is one of Africa’s most prominent Covid-19 sceptics. Last year he said the disease had been eradicated from Tanzania by three days of national prayer. He mocked Covid-19 tests, discouraged Tanzanians from wearing masks, and expressed doubts on the efficacy of vaccines, but does Tanzania have a hidden epidemic? Vaccine Side Effects. Claudia discovers why there seems to be such a difference in how people have reacted to the vaccine, from no side effects at all, to mild flu like symptoms. She looks at how the vaccine triggers an immune response, and why it can’t give you Covid. Haitians in Chile. Chile has long been a destination for immigrants from other countries in the region because there are more work opportunities. People from places like Venezuela, Bolivia and Peru make up around 8 percent of the 19 million population and the number is growing every year. What’s surprising is that the third biggest group of immigrants in Chile come from the Caribbean country Haiti. Health services are quickly having to learn ways to integrate their new patients who have different approaches to healthcare as Jane Chambers reports. Presenter: Claudia Hammond Producer: Alexandra Feachem (Picture: A vial of AstraZeneca vaccine at Krakow University Hospital, Poland in February 2021. Photo credit: Beata Zawrzel/NurPhoto/Getty Images.)

    Covid-19 vaccination in Africa

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 12, 2021 26:42

    As the roll out of vaccines across Africa gathers pace we look to the future, how vaccination may help ease travel restrictions and ways to convince those still reluctant to get vaccinated. We also look at diabetes, the disease is more common than we might think affecting a wide range of people. With Rhoda Odhiambo, Anne Mawathe and Priscilla Ngethe.

    Do vaccines cure Long Covid?

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 10, 2021 26:42

    A significant proportion of sufferers of Long Covid are reporting that their symptoms lessen or disappear completely after receiving a coronavirus vaccination. At the moment, the evidence is just anecdotal but doctors and researchers are intrigued. Claudia talks to New York infectious disease doctor Daniel Griffin who estimates that more than a third of his patients are getting some relief following vaccination and Prof Janet Lord, professor of immunology at Birmingham University, runs through the possible explanations. Dangerous myths about blood transfusions. Dayo Yusuf reports from eastern Kenya on the myths about them in some pastoralist communities and meets the parents who rejected the option of a life-saving blood transfusion for their son who has chronic anaemia. They feared bad character traits of the donor would be passed onto him. Monica Lakhanpaul, professor of paediatrics, discusses other damaging health myths that she has studied in South Asia and how these false beliefs about the body and modern medical interventions can be most effectively tackled. Claudia talks to neurologist Prof Peter Goadsby, one of the winners of this year’s Brain Prize – the Nobel equivalent for neuroscience. Four neurologists have won for their research on migraine – basic medical research that has culminated in a new generation of highly effective medications in the last couple of years. As Claudia’s studio guest, Monica Lakhanpaul also offers thoughts about migraine as someone who suffers from them herself and who treats young people for migraine. She also talks about research she’s been doing in Rajasthan about the causes of stunted growth in young children – she’s discovered that the causes are much more complicated than inadequate nutrition. Presenter: Claudia Hammond Producer: Alexandra Feachem (Picture: A woman receiving a vaccination at home. Photo credit: FG Trade/Getty Images.)

    Modern medicine versus the spirits

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 5, 2021 26:42

    When it comes to mending broken bones or rectifying the eye problems caused by the disease Trachoma, what place does traditional medicine have? Many people would choose traditional medicine practitioners over conventional doctors and hospitals. However herbalism and spiritual belief are poor substitutes when surgery is needed. Can these two very different approaches be reconciled for the benefit of patients? Priscila Ngethe, Khadidiatou Cisse, and Charles Mgbolu discuss the conflict and potential for collaboration between the opposing forces of traditional and orthodox medicine.

    Pregnancy and Covid-19 vaccination

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 3, 2021 30:28

    Health Check looks into issues around Covid-19 vaccination and pregnant women. Harvard researcher Julia Wu has just done a global survey of attitudes of pregnant women about being vaccinated against Covid-19. Acceptance is highest in low and middle income countries such as India and Latin America. The greatest levels of reluctance were in the US and Russia. Pfizer has started the first trial of a Covid-19 vaccine in pregnant women, which will ultimately involve 4000 women in ten countries in the Americas, Africa and Asia. Should we have waited this long for the first trial in this group of people, seeing that pregnant women are at greater risk of hospitalisation, death and premature birth if they become infected? Claudia discusses the unknowns and risk/benefit considerations around vaccinating pregnant women against the virus, with Johns Hopkins medical ethicist Ruth Faden and maternal immunisation researcher Acuzena Bardiji, who works in Mozambique. Matt Fox in Boston is our guest of the week, talking about the latest evidence for Covid vaccines being transmission blockers and whether vaccine hesitant people should be paid to be immunised. From a freezing Canadian river bank, Sian Griffiths reports on the health pros and cons of surfing metre-high waves on the ice filled Ottawa River. Presenter: Claudia Hammond Producer: Andrew Luck-Baker Image: Pregnant woman receiving a coronavirus vaccine in Tel Aviv, Israel Credit: Photo by JACK GUEZ/AFP via Getty Images

    Africa’s blood shortage

    Play Episode Listen Later Feb 26, 2021 26:42

    We’re looking at why levels of blood donation in Africa are so low compared with other parts of the world. From Nigeria we hear about hospitals having to ask patients and family members to give blood to ensure there is enough for their relatives if they require treatment. From Somalia we look at how the continuing violence and unrest has brought into sharp focus the need for an organised system of blood donation – currently there is only one donor centre – for the whole country, run by volunteers. And in Kenya we meet people who refuse blood transfusions, believing they might take on the characteristics of the person donating the blood. Health workers and religious leaders are coming together to try to change these beliefs. Presented by Priscilla Ngethe with contributions from Bella Sheegow, Charles Mgbolu and Dayo Yusuf. (Picture: People donating blood in Kenya. Credit: Getty Images)

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