Carramore International Limited
Carramore International Limited


BBC Radio 4 - Medical Matters

Inside Health

Series that demystifies health issues, separating fact from fiction and bringing clarity to conflicting health advice.

Inside Health

  • Why is syphilis making a comeback?
    When the Government released the latest statistics on STIs in the summer, one in particular stood out. Syphilis. A sexually transmitted infection which might make you think more 1823 than 2023. But figures in England are currently at their highest since 1948, a rise which is reflected across the UK. James Gallagher speaks to people who have first-hand experience with syphilis to work out why we aren't talking about the disease and it's increase more. And James gets on his bike with resident GP Margaret McCartney to find out whether tracking her stats via her many exercise monitors is improving her physical and mental health or making it worse. Dr Brendon Stubbs, Clinical-academic physiotherapist at Kings College London and Dr Eoin Whelan, Professor in Business Analytics & Society at the University of Galway help unpick the evidence. Presenter: James Gallagher Producer: Clare Salisbury Editor: Erika Wright Production Co-ordinator: Jonathan Harris Studio Producer: Sarah Hockley

  • On the trail of a new street drug
    What happens when a new drug hits the UK’s streets? And how are illicit drugs here changing – and why? James follows the trail of the first case of “zombie drug” xylazine in the UK and hears some powerful personal stories along the way. The story begins in Solihull, in the West Midlands, where 43-year-old Karl Warburton was found dead in May 2022. He had a mix of xylazine, heroin, fentanyl and cocaine in his body. James visits a local addiction clinic where Mark describes the fear and compulsion many addicts face. He tells James about his journey to recovery and we meet Simon who’s on a mission to help people like Mark into a new life. Next, James meets toxicologists at a busy hospital lab in Birmingham where he finds out how xylazine was first detected. Then he travels to London to meet a university academic who first raised the alarm about the drug, and visits a cramped room containing the paper records she keeps detailing every drug death in Britain from the past 25 years. James goes on a surprising and, at times, emotional journey as he gets a rare insight into the world of illegal drugs and the parts of the NHS that treat addiction. Presenter: James Gallagher Producer: Gerry Holt Editor: Erika Wright Production Co-ordinator: Jonathan Harris Technical producer: Andrew Garratt Locations: Solihull Integrated Addiction Services, Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health NHS Foundation Trust Department of Toxicology, Birmingham Heartlands Hospital The National Programme on Substance Abuse Deaths (NPSAD), King’s College London

  • What difference could new Alzheimer’s disease drugs make?
    Until recently, breakthroughs in treating Alzheimer’s disease were non-existent. But two new drugs have shown promise in moderately slowing memory and thinking problems for people with early-stage disease. While welcoming the idea of a ‘new era’ for treating Alzheimer’s disease, how much of a difference could these drugs make for people living with the condition? James Gallagher visits a Memory Café in Doynton to hear about the daily challenges people living with dementia face, and their feelings about the new treatments on the horizon. Lauren Walker, Alzheimer’s disease researcher at Newcastle University, gives an overview of the protein these drugs target in the brain, and Liz Coulthard, Professor of Cognitive Neurology at the University of Bristol, explains how these treatments might impact patient's lives. After listening to our “How hot is too hot for human health?” programme, one of our listeners contacted to ask how the heat experienced during a hot flush impacts the body. James asks Clare Eglin, lecturer in applied physiology at the University of Portsmouth, what happens in the body during a hot flush and hears about how many others symptoms are actually caused by the menopause from GP, Margaret McCartney. Presenter: James Gallagher Producer: Julia Ravey Editor: Erika Wright Production Co-ordinator: Johnathan Harris Technical Producer: Tim Heffer

  • Could weight-loss drugs treat addiction?
    Barely a day goes by without more headlines around new weight-loss drugs, from the issue of global shortages, to investigations into suicide risk, and debate over just how long people will need to be on them. But in this episode of Inside Health we’re going to look at something slightly different - and perhaps unexpected. James Gallagher meets lifelong dieter Cheri who has lost just over three stone on semaglutide but she’s also noticed other effects from her weekly injection; a calmer mind and a complete lack of desire for her much-loved vapes. She wants to know what’s going on – so we seek out some scientists to help us get to the bottom of it. From the evidence gathered so far, are there hints that these drugs could offer potential to treat serious addiction? And have you ever heard of “bed rotting”? It doesn’t sound particularly enticing - but James gives it a go in the name of science and we explain all in the programme with the help of two experts. What health questions do you want us to answer? Email the team at Declared interests: Professor Giles Yeo: "I have a PhD student part-funded by Novo Nordisk. I consult for Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly." Dr Tony Goldstone: "I have previously been a member of Data Safety Monitoring Board for clinical trials of Liraglutide for obesity by Novo Nordisk, and have received an honorarium as a conference speaker from Novo Nordisk." Presenter: James Gallagher Producer: Gerry Holt Editor: Erika Wright Production Coordinator: Jonathan Harris Studio Producer: Duncan Hannant (Photo: Cheri Ferguson with her Ozempic pen. Credit Cheri Ferguson)

  • What happened to mpox?
    One year after the peak of UK infections, can we determine what actions brought mpox cases down? A year ago, mpox – the virus formally known as monkeypox – was spreading in the UK. These infections largely impacted the gay, bisexual and men who have sex with men community, with news cases peaking at 350 per week. One of these individuals was Martin Joseph, who tells James Gallagher how a lack of accessible information and the stigma he observed during his illness inspired him to create a mpox-based podcast so others wouldn’t feel so alone. Thankfully, 2023 so far has told a different story for mpox. Infections in the UK have remained relatively low, and in May, the World Health Organisation declared the mpox global health emergency over. But what helped bring the UK outbreak under control? James is joined by Jake Dunning, infectious diseases doctor and researcher at the University of Oxford, and Claire Dewsnap, sexual health doctor and president of the British Association of Sexual Health and HIV (BASHH), to discuss potential factors, takeaways and whether we are really ‘done’ with mpox. How often should we go to the dentist? Listener Mary emailed to query the time needed between check-ups. James hears the evidence from Janet Clarkson, professor of dentistry at the University of Dundee, who explains the unlikely origins of our bi-annual appointments! Presenter: James Gallagher Producer: Julia Ravey Editor: Erika Wright Production Co-ordinator: Jonathan Harris Studio Producer: Donald McDonald (Photo: Monkeypox Credit: Uma Shankar sharma | Getty Images)