191 episodes

Health issues and medical breakthroughs from around the world.

Health Check BBC World Service

    • Health & Fitness
    • 4.6 • 30 Ratings

Health issues and medical breakthroughs from around the world.

    How we hope

    How we hope

    Claudia Hammond presents a special edition of Health Check from the Northern Ireland Science Festival, where she’s joined by a panel of experts to discuss the psychology of hope.
    With a live audience in Belfast’s Metropolitan Arts Centre, Claudia speaks to Dr Karen Kirby, senior lecturer in psychology at the University of Ulster; Dr Kevin Mitchell, associate professor of genetics and neuroscience at Trinity College Dublin; and author Sinéad Moriarty.
    Topics include the role of hope in medical scenarios, if we can learn to be hopeful, and how we can hold onto hope in the modern world. We also hear questions from our audience, including whether or not we should all just lower our expectations.
    Presenter: Claudia Hammond
    Producer: Dan Welsh

    • 26 min
    Puerto Rico declares dengue fever emergency

    Puerto Rico declares dengue fever emergency

    As the recent surge in cases of dengue fever continues across Latin America and the Caribbean, Puerto Rico declares a public health emergency.
    Claudia Hammond is joined by Professor of Global Health and Epidemiology at Boston University, Matt Fox, to hear how warmer temperatures have lead to outbreaks of the mosquito-borne disease around the world, with millions of cases reported so far this year.
    We speak to the artist Jason Wilsher-Mills at his latest exhibition inspired by his childhood experiences of disability, and hear the role it played in his journey into the arts.
    Claudia and Matt discuss the spread of mpox in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, with cases reported in all but 3 of the country’s 26 provinces.
    We hear from Uganda about the project hoping to help provide essential equipment for safe anaesthesia in children’s surgery.
    And the study that says just two nights of broken sleep are enough to make us feel years older.
    Presenter: Claudia Hammond
    Producer: Dan Welsh

    • 26 min
    Pig kidney transplanted into patient

    Pig kidney transplanted into patient

    The latest on the first procedure to transplant a kidney from a pig into a living patient. Claudia Hammond is joined in the studio by Dr Graham Easton to hear how the organ was genetically modified to reduce the risk of it being rejected following a four hour surgery in Massachusetts in the US.
    We also hear about the data that’s linked working outdoors in sunlight to non-melanoma skin cancer. The report from the World Health Organisation and the International Labour Organization says one in three deaths from this type of skin cancer is caused by ultraviolet radiation from outdoor work.
    Claudia and Graham also discuss new research from India that’s found working in extreme heat can double the risk of stillbirth and miscarriage for pregnant women. It’s also calling for more advice for working pregnant women around the world.
    We go to Cameroon to hear about the medicines being sold to passengers on buses, despite there being no evidence they actually work.
    And we hear how some reporting over claims that intermittent fasting is linked to an increased risk of heart-related death may have jumped the gun.
    Presenter: Claudia Hammond
    Producer: Dan Welsh
    (Photo: Operating theatre. Credit: Getty Images)

    • 27 min
    Should we stop talking about long Covid?

    Should we stop talking about long Covid?

    Most people with Covid-19 make a full recovery within 12 weeks, but some patients have experienced ongoing symptoms for much longer. This has become known as ‘long Covid’. However, new research suggests that the rates of ongoing symptoms and functional impairment after Covid are indistinguishable from other post-viral illnesses, and that long Covid may have appeared to be a distinct and severe illness because of high volumes of Covid-19 cases during the pandemic. Presenter Claudia Hammond is joined in the studio by BBC Health reporter Philippa Roxby to discuss the findings. If long Covid is not unique, could this new spotlight encourage research that would help sufferers of other post-viral conditions?
    The use of heart pacemakers have become a standard procedure in many countries. Pacemakers are small electrical devices implanted in the chest that send electrical pulses to the heart to keep it beating regularly and not too slowly. The devices can be lifesaving for some people. But devices can malfunction, there can be problems with leads and the batteries in them don’t last forever. Over half of all pacemaker patients live long enough to require a battery replacement operation, which carries a risk of serious complications including life-threatening infection. This can have big cost implications for health systems and devastating consequences for patients. Reporter Hannah Fisher attends one of these operations to find out more.
    An initiative to make the right to abortion part of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights has been introduced to the European Parliament. This comes on the heels of France making abortion a constitutional right earlier this month, in stark contrast to the removal of abortion as a constitutional right in the USA in 2022. We assess the initiative’s chances of success and discuss the ripple effect of US politics on abortion rights across the rest of the world.
    Amputees who use prosthetic limbs have to get used to the fact that they do not experience the sensations that they were previously used to. But now researchers in Italy and Switzerland have developed a temperature-sensitive robotic hand that allows amputees to discriminate between objects of different temperatures and sense bodily contact with other humans. Solaiman Shokur of École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne tells Claudia how it works.
    And Philippa brings the story of Paul Alexander, a polio survivor who spent most of his life inside an iron lung. An iron lung is a metal cylinder enclosing the body up to the neck, with bellows to force the lungs to inflate and deflate. The device has been obsolete since the 1960s, but he continued to use his until he died recently. 72 years after Paul contracted polio, we look at how the disease has nearly been eradicated worldwide.
    Presenter: Claudia Hammond
    Producer: Ben Motley and Margaret Sessa-Hawkins
    (Photo: Man in bed. Credit: Catherine Falls Commercial/Getty Images)

    • 27 min
    A promising new cancer treatment

    A promising new cancer treatment

    The toxic mineral asbestos is still mined across the world, despite it’s much documented links to cancer. Now there are promising results from a new global study into one of the most aggressive types of cancer caused by exposure to asbestos.
    Also on the programme, we receive an exciting update from Mike, who has gotten a long-awaited kidney transplant, and we discuss new treatment protocols for Hepatitis B and how they could better serve people in southern and eastern Africa.

    • 26 min
    One billion obese people

    One billion obese people

    More than one billion people in the world are now living with obesity. The number of people who are underweight has also fallen according to a new global study, but this does not necessarily mean that people are better fed. In some countries insufficient food has been replaced by food that does not contain the nutrition that people need, with obesity now the most common form of malnutrition in many places. Claudia Hammond talks to study author Professor Majid Ezzati about the results and what can be done to halt the trend of increasing global obesity.
    Research has shown that sleep deprivation can increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, while regularly eating fruit and vegetables can reduce the risk. Yet it wasn’t known whether a healthy diet could compensate for a lack of sleep. Now, researchers at Uppsala University in Sweden have discovered that people who eat healthily but sleep for less than six hours a day are still at higher risk of type 2 diabetes. GP Dr Ayan Panja joins Claudia in the studio to pick over the findings and talk about the importance of sleep to your health.
    Ayan also brings news of a new study into screen time and language development in children. While this study found that screen time has a negative impact on children, previous studies have found that the right kind of television programme can be beneficial. Claudia and Ayan discuss the difficulties of finding answers to questions about the impact of screen time.
    With the Oscars about to take place in Hollywood, we’ll be wondering what the best films are for learning about global health. Professor Madhukar Pai from McGill University in Canada uses movies in his teaching, and has even put together a list of over one hundred films that accurately portray health stories. He tells us what makes the perfect health movie.
    And there’s more from British journalist Mike Powell as he prepares for his kidney transplant operation.
    (Photo: Police physical trainer Javier Ramirez (C) works with police officers at a police unit in Mexico City, 11 December, 2019, where 1,000 Mexico City police officers have joined a program to lose weight. Credit: Rodrigo Arangua/AFP)
    Featuring clips from:
    "Chernobyl"
    Directed by Johan Renck, HBO/Sky UK
    "Contagion"
    Directed by Steven Soderbergh, Participant Media/Imagenation Abu Dhabi/Double Feature Films
    "How to Survive a Plague"
    Directed by David France, Public Square Films/Ninety Thousand Words
    "Bending the Arc"
    Directed by Kief Davidson and Pedro Kos, Impact Partners

    • 26 min

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5
30 Ratings

30 Ratings

wertham ,

the vital principle of bliss

E.B. White wrote: "If a person is in health, they don't need to take anybody else's temperature to know where they are going." To know where you're going, you have to know where you're at. This program provides the latest news ABOUT health with the brilliant presentation we've come to expect from the BBC.

LDA Saskatoon ,

Wonderful, complex, thoughtful

Thank you for this program!!

Top Podcasts In Health & Fitness

Huberman Lab
Scicomm Media
Feel Better, Live More with Dr Rangan Chatterjee
Dr Rangan Chatterjee: GP & Author
On Purpose with Jay Shetty
iHeartPodcasts
Nothing much happens: bedtime stories to help you sleep
iHeartPodcasts
Ten Percent Happier with Dan Harris
Ten Percent Happier
Weigh In with Gina
Gina Livy

You Might Also Like

Inside Health
BBC Radio 4
Science In Action
BBC World Service
CrowdScience
BBC World Service
BBC Inside Science
BBC Radio 4
5 Live Science Podcast
BBC Radio 5 Live
Unexpected Elements
BBC World Service

More by BBC

Global News Podcast
BBC World Service
You're Dead to Me
BBC Radio 4
6 Minute English
BBC Radio
In Our Time
BBC Radio 4
The Infinite Monkey Cage
BBC Radio 4
6 Minute Grammar
BBC Radio