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Moving the goalposts in research, Involving parents in the care of premature babies, Feedback

Fiddling figures in research and why it matters that outcomes aren't switched or goal posts moved; involving parents in the care of premature babies to improve recovery; feedback on the current series


E-cigs, Prehabilitation before surgery, Hospital safety

Why vaping is dividing public health experts causing a polarised split; prehabilitation before cancer surgery and the benefits of preparing for an operation; plus can hospital safety be compared to lessons learnt from the aviation industry?


CBD oil, Dental phobia, Gout

Cannabidiol or CBD oil has had a recent surge in popularity but is there any evidence for it having any health benefits? Dr Margaret McCartney reviews the research. Mark visits the Dental psychology service at Guy's Hospital in London and talks to Tim Newton about dental phobia, the treatment available and how successful it is at treating a phobia which affects 1 in 10 people in the UK. Also what causes gout and why has advice changed on the best way to treat it? Mark talks to...


Deprescribing long-term opioids, Diagnosing concussion

Research suggests opioids don't work in long-term chronic pain but dispensing in the UK has risen four-fold since the nineties, and we consume more than any other country in Europe. There is a dearth of good evidence for how best to help people come off these drugs. Mark Porter meets the team trying to change that. And an objective pitch-side test that takes the guesswork out of diagnosing concussion.


Home fetal heart monitoring, Deconditioning in hospital, Alcohol harm paradox, Pre-eclampsia feedback

Regulation of Home Fetal Heart Monitors prompted by concerns that the burgeoning use of these devices could be harmful. Deconditioning - there is a popular adage that spending 10 days in hospital can age people 10 years, but is this backed by evidence and could it actually be worse? Mark Porter visits Warwick Hospital to meet the team working to combat deconditioning in the elderly. Plus the Alcohol Harm Paradox - why do less affluent drinkers tend to develop more problems than their better...


Online GP consultations, Pre-eclampsia and could aspirin treat cancer?

Dr Mark Porter investigates the digitisation of the NHS: are online, asynchronous GP consultations the future? He visits a GP surgery in Tower Hamlets to find out how patients are getting in touch online, in their own time. Does it help improve access for patients and manage workload for busy GPs? Manu Vatish, an obstetrician from the University of Oxford, explains that currently every pregnant woman will be tested for pre eclampsia and how a new test could help accurately identify the 4% of...


Migraine, Iron overload, Redefining low-risk cancers

A new handheld device for migraine is being pioneered at Guys and St Thomas's Hospital in London. Using single pulses of transcranial magnetic stimulation the device is helping prevent and treat migraines in people who haven't responded well to other treatments. Dr Anna Andreou, director of headache research, and nurse specialist, Bethany Hill talk Mark through how it works. Some people, particular of North European and Irish ancestry have the faulty genes that mean they are unable to get...


Genes and confidentiality; sore throats and cancer; diet for epilepsy; shaving for hospital drips

Genetics and confidentiality; a fascinating legal case where a woman is suing the hospital trust that looked after her father with Huntington's disease for not warning that she too could be affected. And a well established use of very low carb diets that isn't so well known - to treat complex childhood epilepsy. Plus cancer of the voice box and persistent sore throat. And should hairy arms be shaved for a hospital drip? This question has prompted a transatlantic spat when Sir Andy Murray...


Unproven IVF add-ons; Running injuries; DNA analysis on the NHS

Warnings that expensive, unproven 'add-ons' are being offered by IVF clinics ; Keen jogger Margaret McCartney asks whether rest helps running problems such as stitch, shin splints and plantar fasciitis. Plus DNA testing on the NHS to anyone prepared to pay for it with the results contributing to research. But what exactly is the aim of such testing and are there hidden implications?


Conflict of interest, Living with a stoma, Diet books

Concerns about conflict of Interest and reputational damage. Should policy making organisations in the public health arena form partnerships with charities funded by industry? And living with a Stoma. Mark goes to Addenbrookes hospital in Cambridge to meet Michael, who explains what life is like after having his large colon removed. 1 in 500 people in the UK - children and adults - live with some form of bowel stoma, where part of their gut has been brought out through their abdominal wall...


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...


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.


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.


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...


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...


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...


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...


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...


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...


Aspirin, Stroke, Best Interests, Lasting Power of Attorney, Bawa Garba

If you are taking low dose aspirin - typically 75 mg day - to protect against heart attack or stroke and you haven't been weighed then there is a good chance you are on the wrong dose. And from prevention to treatment; a new way of managing the most common form of stroke by grabbing the blockage in the brain and pulling it out. Charlotte Smith tells her story of a remarkable recovery from the procedure whilst she was pregnant with her second child. Plus a continuation of our guide to the...