Health Check

Health issues and medical breakthroughs from around the world.

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Last Episode : November 29, 2023 4:00pm

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Verifying 2
New Zealand backtracks on smoking ban
When former Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern passed legislation to reduce access to tobacco products, the policy was held up as an international example. So there was shock among health experts in New Zealand and across the world this week when the newly sworn in Government announced they would be scrapping the plans. Claudia Hammond asks Janet Hoek, Professor of Public Health at the University of Otago what the international impact will be. She hears from the people who hear music when nothing is playing. Professor of cognitive neurology at Newcastle University, Tim Griffiths, describes what might be happening in the brain to cause these musical hallucinations. Claudia is also joined by public health expert Dr Tabitha Mwangi to discuss new research from Tanzania where health experts are collaborating with religious leaders to provide family planning services. They look ahead to COP28 in the United Arab Emirates where the climate conference will hold its first ever ‘Health Day’. And ask whether we should be concerned about the surge of childhood pneumonia in China?Image Credit: Peter DazeleyPresenter: Claudia Hammond Producer: Clare Salisbury Assistant Producer: Jonathan Blackwell
Expires in 45 hours
Published Wednesday
Confirmed 3
Gene editing treatment approved for sickle cell
The UK has become the first country in the world to approve a gene editing treatment for people with the genetic conditions sickle cell disease and beta thalassemia. The news has been hailed as revolutionary, unthinkable just a decade ago. But will the new treatment provide a realistic option for the millions of people living with these haemoglobin disorders worldwide? BBC health reporter Philippa Roxby joins Claudia to look at the latest. She also brings new evidence from Australia on the health benefits of delayed cord clamping to new born premature babies. And a study drawing attention to the impact of surfing on surfers’ mental health. Could it add billions of dollars to the world economy? Losing a family member is a difficult experience for everyone but for people who no longer have a connection to the person who has died, it can cause a mixture of grief, sadness, guilt, or relief. Claudia talks to broadcaster and author, Professor Alice Roberts, about her experience of losing her mother after being estranged for 5 years. In the week that the World Health Organisation announced a new focus on the health impacts of loneliness, we noticed a familiar comparison in the headlines; that the health risks from being lonely are equivalent to smoking fifteen cigarettes a day. But what does that really mean? Claudia asks Professor Andrea Wigfield, Director of Centre for Loneliness Studies in the UK. Presenter: Claudia Hammond Producer: Clare Salisbury Assistant Producer: Jonathan Blackwell
Expires in 34 hours
Published 11/22
Vaccinating children against chickenpox
The committee that advises on vaccinations in the UK has recommended that chickenpox is added to the standard list of childhood vaccinations; something which the USA and many European countries have been doing for some time. So why do some countries vaccinate children against chickenpox and others choose not to? Claudia Hammond is joined by family doctor Ann Robinson. They also hear from conversation analyst Charlotte Albury, a Senior Research Fellow at the University of Oxford, about how doctors communicate with patients with obesity can have a significant impact on their weight loss success. And with shortages of doctors in many parts of the world, are shared medical appointments - where a group of patients with the same condition see a doctor together - the answer? As Anupama Chandrasekaran reports from India, a trial carried out at Aravind Eye Hospital by EMST Berlin, Harvard Business School and London Business School, found some surprising results. Also discussed, high blood pressure and how reducing your salt intake can be just as effective as medication in some cases. Presenter: Claudia Hammond Producers: Jonathan Blackwell and Helena Selby Editor: Holly Squire
Published 11/15
A musician’s story of coping with schizophrenia
Talented guitarist, Hamish Barclay, was given steroids when he was a teenager to treat a kidney problem. He then experienced the rare side effect of psychosis and was later diagnosed with schizophrenia. He has lived the condition for the past ten years.Now 29, he’s being supported by his mother Josephine to return to making music once again.Claudia Hammond sits down with Josephine, Hamish and his sister Maudie for a conversation about life with schizophrenia – and the stigma around the word.The family talk about how they sometimes avoid using the term because they know it can put people off playing music with Hamish and Maudie describes how her mum ensures Hamish can continue to play by driving him to London and sitting in classes with him.We also hear some of Hamish’s compositions, as he tells us about the voices – or auditory hallucinations – that affect his songwriting. And hear how important returning to music has been for his wellbeing and mental health.Presenter: Claudia Hammond Producer: Dan Welsh
Published 10/25