Health Check



Health Check grapples with health issues on a global scale, investigates discoveries and solutions in healthcare, and looks at how to deliver a healthier world. Presented by Claudia Hammond.


  • Could the flu vaccine protect against severe Covid-19?

    21/07/2021 Duração: 26min

    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 Brit

  • Mental health recovery stories

    14/07/2021 Duração: 26min

    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 sa

  • Lambda variant of SARS-Cov2

    07/07/2021 Duração: 27min

    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 u

  • Mixing Covid vaccines

    30/06/2021 Duração: 26min

    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

    23/06/2021 Duração: 26min

    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

    16/06/2021 Duração: 26min

    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

    09/06/2021 Duração: 26min

    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 me

  • Black Fungus epidemic in India

    02/06/2021 Duração: 26min

    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?

    26/05/2021 Duração: 26min

    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?

    19/05/2021 Duração: 26min

    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?

    12/05/2021 Duração: 26min

    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

    05/05/2021 Duração: 26min

    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.)

  • India’s Covid-19 surge

    28/04/2021 Duração: 26min

    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 (Photo: People wait to refill empty oxygen cylinders on 27 April 2021 in New Delhi, India. Credit: Sanjeev Verma/Hindustan Times/Getty Images)

  • Medical mysteries with neurologist Suzanne O’Sullivan

    21/04/2021 Duração: 33min

    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

    14/04/2021 Duração: 26min

    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

  • Mental Health and the long term implications of Covid

    07/04/2021 Duração: 26min

    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.

  • Can we eradicate leprosy?

    01/04/2021 Duração: 26min

    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

    31/03/2021 Duração: 26min

    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 microbi

  • Working with disability

    26/03/2021 Duração: 26min

    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?

    24/03/2021 Duração: 26min

    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

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