Inside HealthAuthor: BBC Radio 4
22 Oct 2018

Inside Health

Download, listen or watch all podcasts

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

  • Listen

    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

    download
  • Listen

    Placebo on Prescription: Hepatitis C Transplants, Genes and Back Pain

    Until recently it was assumed that placebo pills would only produce a therapeutic benefit if patients didn't know that's what they had been given. But there are early suggestions that patients can still get symptom relief even when they're told that there is no active ingredient at all in the pills they've been given. So should placebo pills be openly prescribed to patients? Ted Kaptchuk, Professor of Medicine at Harvard University tells Mark he believes open-label placebo could, if evidence continues to accumulate, form part of the physician's therapeutic toolbox. But Inside Health's Dr Margaret McCartney urges caution. She says there is insufficient evidence about the long-term impact on symptoms. Nearly 500 people died on the transplant waiting list last year and if you're one of the 7,000 waiting for a life-saving organ, how would you feel if the organ on offer came from a donor infected with hepatitis C? Such organs are about to be available on the NHS and this radical change has come about because of the revolution in treatment for this potentially-serious blood borne viral infection. Yes recipients of Hepatitis C positive organs will be infected by the virus after transplant, but a short course of treatment, direct acting antivirals, will then cure them. Consultant kidney and transplant specialist Dr Adnan Sharif from Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham explains why patients on the waiting list should have this option available to them and Professor James Neuberger from the UK government's advisory committee on the Safety of Blood, Tissues and Organs, tells Mark why SaBTO have recommended this policy change and are now keen to see it implemented. Back pain is common but most of us recover in a matter of weeks. For 10-20% of people though, the pain and discomfort doesn't go away and they suffer chronic pain throughout their lives. What many people don't know is the extent to which genes feature in back pain - it runs in families. Frances Williams is Professor of Genomic Epidemiology at Kings' College, London and a consultant rheumatologist at Guy's and St Thomas' NHS Trust. She tells Mark about the genetic clues that emerged from the world's largest ever study of 500,000 individuals with chronic back pain across five countries. Producer: Fiona Hill

  • Posted on 09 Oct 2018

    download
  • Listen

    Umbilical cord clamping, Natural cycles, Pedometers

    When is the best time to clamp a baby's umbilical cord? It is a controversial question that has perplexed maternity units for years but new evidence from Nottingham has changed practice at the hospital's busy labour ward. Mark Porter pays them a visit. Natural Cycles is a much promoted contraception app advertised as an alternative to more conventional methods. But the Advertising Standards Authority has ruled that claims of it being 'highly accurate' were misleading so Margaret McCartney expresses her concerns that the app doesn't live up to the hype. And once the initial enthusiasm of having a pedometer wears off do they keep people walking in the long term?

  • Posted on 02 Oct 2018

    download
  • Listen

    Stroke man recovers speech, Apple watch and ECGs, Newborn heel prick test

    Four years ago, Peter, a retired engineer from Gloucestershire, suffered a small stroke and lost the ability to speak. He communicated by hand signals and writing notes to his wife, Carol. But this summer, as he tells Dr Mark Porter, he woke up one morning and, much to everybody's amazement, began to talk....and he hasn't stopped since. Later that same day, a second stroke was diagnosed but his newly-returned speech was unaffected. It's a remarkable story and Alex Leff, Professor of Cognitive Neurology at the Queen Square Institute of Neurology in London discusses Peter's experience but describes what usually happens when stroke patients experience aphasia. We're all familiar with devices like FitBits and gym monitors that measure your pulse rate but the latest development in wearable tech is a watch that monitors your heart. The latest Apple watch will offer ECG-like capabilities which can spot potentially worrying disturbances in heart rhythm. But Inside Health's Dr Margaret McCartney has serious concerns about the use of such tech for screening in healthy populations. If you're under 50 you've almost certainly had it. The heel prick test or NHS newborn blood spot screening programme is done during the first week of life and it's designed to detect nine different conditions before they can cause symptoms or irreversible damage in young children. Dr Elaine Murphy is a consultant in inherited metabolic diseases at the Charles Dent Metabolic Unit at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London and she tells Mark about the history of the heel prick test and describes the original condition, phenylketonuria or PKU, that the 1969 test was designed to detect. Producer: Fiona Hill

  • Posted on 25 Sep 2018

    download
  • Listen

    Social prescribing, Topical steroid withdrawal, Pulmonary arterial hypertension

    Every GP surgery should provide access to a dedicated social prescriber, according to the Royal College of GPs. Supporting peoples' non-medical needs - including housing, finance and social care - will, it is hoped, free up GP time for urgent medical care and at the same time, provide much-needed access to activities in the community. Arabella describes how social prescribing worked for her. A support worker helped her to join a choir, sort out finances and plan how to return to work after a period of serious illness. Dr Marie Polley, senior lecturer in health sciences at the University of Westminster and co-chair of the Social Prescribing Network (with Dr Michael Dixon) tells Dr Mark Porter that social prescribing will be embedded within medical and social care in the next decade as long as the voluntary sector is supported. Steroid cream and ointments - like hydrocortisone, clobetasone and betamethasone - are used to treat a number of skin problems. But for some patients long-term topical steroid use can lead to painful, disfiguring and debilitating skin flare-ups. Some call this condition topical steroid addiction. But consultant dermatologist Dr Tony Bewley from Bart's Health in London tells Mark that health care professionals prefer the term topical steroid withdrawal syndrome. He sees the condition fairly often in his clinic and reassures sufferers that there is treatment available. We're used to having our blood pressure checked using a cuff on our arms but we can also have high blood pressure in our lungs. Pulmonary hypertension tends to put our hearts under strain and causes breathlessness. It can be caused by a range of diseases but in pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) the raised pressure is due to constriction of the blood vessels. This narrowing of the arteries makes it difficult for the heart to pump blood through the lungs, leading to breathlessness. Inside Health's Dr Margaret McCartney visits the Scottish national specialist centre for the disease at the Golden Jubilee Hospital in Glasgow's Clydebank. She talks to Lorraine who is living with the disease, to pulmonary vascular consultant Dr Colin Church and watches a team led by Dr Martin Johnson performing right heart catheterisation, the gold standard diagnostic test for the disease. Producer: Fiona Hill.

  • Posted on 07 Aug 2018

    download

Follow Playlisto