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BBC World Service - Health Check

Health Check

Health issues and medical breakthroughs from around the world.

Health Check

  • Could global Aids program be cut?
    The PEPFAR scheme was launched by George W Bush in 2003 to provide HIV and Aids relief around the world. Officials say it has since saved more than 25 million lives in 55 different countries. Now, though, its future could be under threat. With its funding due to expire at the end of September, some US Republicans are pushing for it not to be renewed because of alleged links to services providing abortions. Claudia Hammond is joined by professor of epidemiology at Boston University, Matt Fox, to look at what the outcome could mean for global Aids provision. We also hear from scientists in Nigeria and the US about the groundbreaking discovery of a gene variant in people of African ancestry that increases the risk of Parkinson’s Disease. Claudia and Matt also look at a new study suggesting a minority of people who are sceptical of vaccines are less likely to get their dogs inoculated. We hear from researchers in Germany looking at whether getting people to exercise while undergoing chemotherapy could improve their outcomes. And just how good is turmeric at treating indigestion? Claudia looks at a new study into the spice from Thailand. Presenter: Claudia Hammond Producer: Dan Welsh

  • Do men have a friendship problem?
    The author Max Dickins was preparing to propose to his girlfriend when he came to a realisation: he didn’t have anyone he felt he could ask to be his best man. It prompted him to write the book ‘Billy No-Mates’, looking at why he didn’t have any close male friends any more, and asking if men, in general, have a friendship problem. In a special discussion in front of a live audience at the Cheltenham Science Festival in England, Claudia Hammond speaks to Max about his journey. They’re also joined by Robin Dunbar, a Professor of Evolutionary Psychology at Oxford University who’s spent decades researching friendships in humans and other primates, and Radha Modgil, a practicing GP and wellbeing expert whose book ‘Know Your Own Power’ looks at what advice there is for people facing difficulties as they go through life. The panel look at what psychology can teach us about friendships between men, the difference these relationships can make to our mental health, and the best way of both maintaining the friendships we have and finding ways to make new friends. Produced in partnership with the Open University. Presenter: Claudia Hammond Producer: Dan Welsh

  • Opioid overdose antidote made available in US
    With deaths from opioid overdoses rocketing to more than 100,000 people each year, the US has moved to make the drug Naloxone available to buy in pharmacies for the first time there this week. The nasal spray treatment can revive people who have overdosed within minutes. Claudia Hammond is joined by Dr Ann Robinson to hear how the drug works, and what lessons the US can learn from how other countries around the world are using it. We also hear from the first polar research team to try to tackle taboos over menstruation by training the next generation of Arctic and Antarctic scientists how to deal with having your period during an expedition. Claudia and Ann look at new research suggesting the morning after pill becomes more effective when taken with anti-inflammatory drugs. And we find out whether opposites do truly attract, as a new study on romantic relationships uncovers what happy couples do and don’t have in common. Image Credit: Brittany Murray/MediaNews Group/Long Beach Press-Telegram via Getty Images Presenter: Claudia Hammond Producer: Dan Welsh

  • What happened to babies with Zika virus
    In March 2015, Brazil reported a large outbreak of the Zika virus infection. Over the next year, the disease became a global medical emergency. Thousands of babies were born brain-damaged, after their mothers became infected while pregnant. As the World Health Organisation discusses the current global Zika situation and the lessons learned from the outbreak, Claudia Hammond is joined by Dr Graham Easton to hear from the families affected in Brazil and ask what life is now like for the babies who were born with complications. We also hear about new recommendations for how communities around the world can better prevent Sudden Cardiac Death, as well as research on whether how far away you are from a defibrillator is related to how deprived your area is. Claudia speaks to a psychiatric nurse and the woman who says she saved her life by going above and beyond the call of duty. And we hear about the world first from Australia, where scientists discovered a living worm in the brain of a woman who’d been experiencing stomach pain and night sweats. Image Credit: Joao Paulo Burini Presenter: Claudia Hammond Producer: Dan Welsh

  • Disgraced surgeon appeals prison sentence
    When former transplant surgeon Paolo Macchiarini first implanted a synthetic trachea into a patient more than a decade ago, it was hailed as a breakthrough. But the person he operated on died, as did subsequent patients. And in 2013, Macchiarini was reported to Sweden’s Karolinska Institute, where he had carried out the operations, for scientific misconduct. Over the years, Health Check has followed the story and in this programme we hear the latest as Macchiarini appeals against a prison sentence in Sweden for gross assault. Claudia Hammond is joined by BBC health and science correspondent James Gallagher who has been finding out whether eating his meals quickly or slowly is better for his health. And he brings us news from the USA of one of the first functional kidney transplants from a pig into a human. Presenter: Claudia Hammond Producer: Dan Welsh