Inside HealthAuthor: BBC Radio 4
16 Jan 2019

Inside Health

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Dr Mark Porter demystifies health issues, separating fact from fiction and bringing clarity to conflicting health advice, with the help of regular contributor GP Margaret McCartney

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    Drug shortages, Eye drops for myopia, Is muscle more dense than fat? Sarcopenia

    An unprecedented number of medicines are in short supply, according to NHS England. Doctors, pharmacists and patients all over the UK are finding common drugs like naproxen are more difficult to get hold of. Why is there such a problem with supply of medicines that are normally cheap and easy to get hold of? And why a 'severe shortage protocol' due in the next few weeks should give pharmacists more power help ease the situation. Mark talks to Ash Soni, president of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society and pharmacist, Ben Merriman to find out more. The number of children with short-sightedness, myopia has doubled in the last 50 years. Mark finds out why atropine eye drops, which are widely used in China and Singapore, are being trialled on children in the UK to help prevent the progression of myopia. Professor Augusto Azuara-Blanco from Queens University Belfast explains. And is muscle more dense than fat? Jason Gill, professor of cardio metabolic health at the University of Glasgow discusses how even a small amount of fat loss can have hugely significant health benefits. Elaine Dennison, professor of Musculoskeletal Epidemiology at the University of Southampton explains why muscle is an under researched part of the body and how we lose muscle mass and strength in middle age and what we can do to prevent it.

  • Posted on 15 Jan 2019

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    High Blood Pressure

    Dr Mark Porter discusses High Blood Pressure , a silent threat that isn’t well managed, with only a third of those affected being diagnosed and treated as advised in the latest guidelines. Dr Margaret McCartney and Professor of Medicine, Bryan Williams help unpick areas of confusion including lifestyle and treatment with the latest thinking in the UK, on who should be offered what and when.

  • Posted on 08 Jan 2019

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    Blood pressure pills and cancer, Aortic aneurysm repair, Sinks and hospital infection

    Clarity behind recent headlines linking cancer to pills for high blood pressure; Margaret McCartney unpicks the numbers. And the aorta is the largest artery in the body so should it burst due to an abdominal aortic aneurysm, results can be catastrophic. Now Surgeons are concerned that restricting the use of the latest keyhole techniques to repair aneurysms would be a backward step and harm patients. Plus how sinks could be causing hospital infections.

  • Posted on 30 Oct 2018

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    Epipens & Autoinjectors; Meningitis B Bedside Test; Age Related Macular Degeneration

    Adrenaline auto injectors are used to treat life-threatening allergies, anaphylaxis, but there are severe supply issues with the brand leader, epipen, particularly with junior epipen and many parents are reporting problems when their children's devices need replacing. It's an anxious time for those caring for severely allergic children and Dr Margaret McCartney reviews the reasons for the shortage and the latest advice for worried parents. At the same time, epipen has come under fire from a UK coroner, who concluded during an inquest into the death of 15 year old Natasha Ednan-Laperouse, that epipens aren't fit for purpose because they don't contain enough adrenaline or have a long enough needle to deliver it properly. Consultant paediatric allergist at St Mary's Hospital, London and a researcher in children's allergies at Imperial College, Dr Robert Boyle, tells Mark there is widespread belief that the companies behind adrenaline auto injectors need to innovate and better designs are needed. Meningitis is every parent's nightmare. It can strike anyone at any age but around half of those with the most serious form, Meningitis B, are toddlers and young children. Two years ago, Ezra, who is now three and a half, contracted the disease. His parents, Cosmin and Serena from Carrick Fergus in Northern Ireland, tell Inside Health how this devastating illness spread so rapidly. Ezra's life was saved but septicaemia meant both of his legs, below the knee, were amputated, followed by the fingers on one of his hands. One of the paediatricians who looked after Ezra at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children was paediatrician Dr Thomas Waterfield. Inspired by Ezra, Tom worked with colleagues at Queen's University in Belfast to develop a rapid bedside test for Meningitis B. The LAMP test - Loop Mediated Isothermal Amplification test - takes just an hour to identify the Meningococcal DNA and it doesn't need specialists to use it. The current lab test for the disease takes a minimum of 48 hours. Age related macular degeneration, AMD, is the leading cause of blindness around the world, with at least half a million people living with this condition in the UK alone. Treatment has hugely improved in recent decades, with regular injections helping to prevent progressive loss of vision. But intensive monitoring is necessary with monthly trips to hospital for patients for vision tests. Researchers at the Centre for Public Health at Queen's University, Belfast, are trialling ways to avoid these regular hospital visits - saving patients the journey and saving the NHS money. The Monarch Study will assess different ways that patients can monitor their own vision at home, using paper tests or more sophisticated ipad-style eye tests. Mark meets Patricia, who has wet AMD in one eye and dry AMD in the other, who's agreed to be part of the trial and talks to research optometrist Lesley Doyle and Chief Investigator, Dr Ruth Hogg, about the study. Producer: Fiona Hill

  • Posted on 23 Oct 2018

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    France Delists Alzheimer's Drugs, Quality of Life After Hip Fracture, Prostate Cancer

    France delists Alzheimer's drugs, a move that is a world first, after concluding that the dangers of side effects outweigh any benefits. Mark assesses the evidence and hears the arguments from France and the UK including from the head of drug evaluation at the French Health Authority which is behind the decision. Plus a more holistic approach to hip fracture and a visit to a busy clinic in Oxford where research measuring quality of life after surgery aims to improve outcomes that really matter to patients. And Margaret McCartney on prostate cancer and the Stephen Fry effect

  • Posted on 16 Oct 2018

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