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Health issues and medical breakthroughs from around the world.

Health issues and medical breakthroughs from around the world.


London, United Kingdom




Health issues and medical breakthroughs from around the world.




Transplant hope as kidney blood groups swapped

A new Covid vaccine – which targets both the original virus and one of the latest Omicron variants – has been approved for use in the UK. About half of the 26 million older and vulnerable adults in the UK who are due a booster this autumn should get the new vaccine. There’s news of British scientists changing the blood group of donated kidneys – which could boost the supply of organs for transplant. Professor Magdi Yaqoob says switching to blood type O means the organs can be transplanted...


“Virtual” hospital visits cut relatives’ distress

In the pandemic when intensive care units were full and visitors were not allowed some families kept in touch using phones and tablets. A new study in the UK shows that this “virtual” visiting did help to reduce the distress felt by relatives – and the practice still continues to keep families in touch when they live far apart. Training relatives to give medicines at home to ease their loved ones’ symptoms at the end of life was pioneered in Australia. This week a specially-adapted version...


Can you be a kind boss?

In the cut throat world of work, can bosses be kind? Claudia Hammond unpicks the psychological evidence from around the world to find out if it’s possible for managers to be both kind all the time and successful. The quest starts with Thom Elliot Co-founder of Pizza Pilgrims in the UK, who deliberately set out to foster a kind culture in a sector not exactly known for its benevolence. They're joined for pizza by Prof Robin Banerjee, architect of the Kindness Test to discuss the findings and...


Pure kindness

What can the latest research tell us about whether there is any such thing as pure kindness? Claudia Hammond meets a man who has done an exceptionally altruistic act for someone who was seriously ill. What prompts acts of kindness like this? Specialists from the fields of psychology and neuroscience unpick the evidence. Producer: Geraldine Fitzgerald


Marburg virus cases confirmed

As Marburg virus cases are confirmed in Ghana, Dr Graham Easton discusses the importance of a swift response. BBC Africa correspondent Charles Mgbolu reports from Nigeria on the relationship between monkeypox emergence and smallpox eradication. Plus Claudia hears good news from Dr Jaekeun Park at the University of Maryland about progress on making a universal flu vaccine. Presenter: Claudia Hammond Producer: Erika Wright (Picture: Marburg virus, cut-away illustration. Photo credit: Roger...


New Covid booster recommendations

As Covid cases rise new recommendations from European health agencies back over 60s to get boosted. Professor Monica Lakhanpaul from University College London explains that this is before the rollout of updated vaccines to target specific variants. Monica also discusses her own research with village communities in India working to benefit infant nutrition. Also, with the numbers of teenagers experiencing mental health difficulties rising in many parts of the world some schools have turned to...


Handy third thumb

Claudia Hammond is at the Royal Society Summer Science Exhibition in London looking at the latest medical research. Claudia speaks to Professor Tamar Makin and designer Dani Clode to find out whether a third thumb might be handy. Dr Simon Gubbins explains how to use genetic technology to head off the world’s next pandemic before it happens. And Claudia hears from Dr Georgina Girt why llamas are special. They’re certainly cute with their pointy ears and their long eyelashes, but they can also...


Polio misinformation

Online misinformation about polio has gone global after the detection of so called vaccine-derived poliovirus in London sewage. BBC health and science correspondent James Gallagher explains what’s really happening. And Claudia Hammond talks to Professor Beate Kampmann from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine who explains that while vaccine-derived polio virus has been reported in 24 countries since 2021 the vaccination programme has protected millions of people. Plus why...


Poor Covid immunity after Omicron

New research reveals a poor immunity boost after infection with the Omicron variant. Might this explain why getting Covid again has been more common with this wave? BBC News health reporter, Smitha Mundasad unpicks the data. And the first World Health Organisation mental health report in two decades calls for change. Dévora Kestel, Director of WHO’s Mental Health and Substance Use Department joins Claudia Hammond to discuss the findings. Plus Professor Russell Foster on why looking after our...


Next generation Covid vaccines

News about new next generation Covid vaccines that target specific variants is discussed with studio guest, Dr Ann Robinson. Professor Russell Foster talks to Claudia about the science of circadian rhythms and how taking more notice of our body clocks could help us live healthier lives. Plus anaesthetist Dr Niek Sperna Weiland explains why the inhaled gases used to put us to sleep during operations can be so damaging to the environment. And how our eyes are a window into the health of our...


What brain scans tell us

Brain scans can reveal new ways to diagnose and potentially treat psychiatric, psychological and neurological conditions. But why has the promise been so slow to turn into reality? Claudia Hammond is joined by Sophie Scott, Director of the Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience and also by neuroscientist Scott Marek of Washington University in St Louis. Plus one year on since fluoride toothpaste was added to the World Health Organisation's essential medicines list, Charles Mgbolu reports from...


Monkeypox misinformation and stigma

Claudia discusses concerns about monkeypox misinformation and stigma with Andy Seale, Senior Strategic Advisor, department of HIV, hepatitis and sexually transmitted infections at the World Health Organisation. How psychologists are trialling a radio drama for tackling external and domestic insurgent attacks in Burkina Faso. Associate Professor Rezarta Bilali explains why the drama was needed. Plus Claudia hears of a new study on whether growing up in a city, town or countryside might impact...


Monkeypox in central Africa

Monkeypox is spreading in more than 20 countries where previously it has not been seen, but BBC Health reporter Smitha Mundasad explains that this is not a new disease. Presenter Claudia Hammond hears of an outbreak of a more serious strain in an area of the Democratic Republic of Congo that has no experience of Monkeypox. Professor Wim van Damme got in touch about his research trip to Maniema, a rural DRC province with more than 500 cases and 50 deaths. Plus, professor of virology Penny...


Healthcare provision in North Korea

Reports from North Korea have suggested a scarcity of data on healthcare provision but Claudia hears from Professor Hazel Smith who has researched North Korea for over thirty years that there is good information about health services. And do doctors have a professional duty to be kind? The General Medical Council in the UK are consulting on whether to require doctors to ‘treat patients with kindness’ and some have not taken kindly to the idea. Louella Vaughan, a hospital consultant in acute...


New trial results of a fourth Covid booster

Brand new results of a fourth Covid booster trial, with a mix and match approach including half doses, reveals good news for global vaccine rollout. BBC Health and Science correspondent James Gallagher explains. Plus evidence from Ohio where Professor Ihuoma Eneli's new paper shows how weight gain increased markedly in low-income US children and teenagers during early Covid-19. And the science of dreams, Claudia Hammond speaks to Brazilian neuroscientist Sidarta Ribeiro about his new wide...


Combined protection of Covid vaccination and prior infection

Claudia is joined by Matt Fox, Professor of Global Health at Boston University to discuss evidence investigating a hybrid combination of Covid vaccines and prior infection. Dr Vineet Arora explains how best to support health care workers who have received online attacks for trying to correct inaccurate information during the Pandemic. And advice for parents on how to cope when their children are having mental health problems from authors Roz Shafran, Alice Welham and Ursula Saunders....


New Covid Research

Update on the latest global research into Covid-19 with BBC Health Reporter Smitha Mundasad and Claudia talks to the authors of a new study charting brain development over the human life span. Could this be a useful tool to understanding how the brain varies over populations and over time and what are the ethical questions involved? Plus if you carry excess weight, what difference does it make to your health if those extra kgs are round your waist or hips? Presenter: Claudia Hammond...


Are we kinder to people like us?

Using the results of the Kindness Test, which 60,000 people took part in, Claudia Hammond asks whether we are kinder to people who we think are like us? And what happens once we move beyond family and friends to acquaintances and strangers. What can the evidence tell us about who it is that we choose to be kind to and why? Presenter: Claudia Hammond Producer: Erika Wright


More cases of Covid in Africa than official figures suggest

Claudia Hammond talks to Chris Gill, Associate Professor at Boston University School of Public Health and co-author of a new paper revealing the devastating impact of Covid in Zambia. By conducting post mortem Covid swabs on more than 1000 bodies taken to a morgue in Lusaka, his work suggests a staggering 90% undercount of cases and goes a long way to countering the so called African Paradox – a narrative suggesting that Africa skipped Covid. Jane Chambers reports from Chile on progress to...


Treating stress and anxiety in Ukraine

Claudia Hammond talks to an Ukrainian psychotherapist about the increased demand for her services since Russia invaded her country. Is multiple sclerosis caused by a virus? Health Check looks at the latest evidence pointing to Epstein Barr virus, which more commonly causes glandular fever or mononucleosis. The discovery offers hope for a vaccine and new more effective treatments. Family doctor Ann Robinson joins Claudia to discuss the Epstein Barr findings as well as the extra risk of being...