Health Check-logo

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.

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.
More Information


London, United Kingdom




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.




The Woman Who Can’t Remember Her Own Past

Today’s programme focuses on the mind. A curious memory problem has emerged – where people don’t have amnesia, but can’t remember their own past. We hear from a woman with Severely Deficient Autobiographical Memory syndrome – she knows that events have happened but has no recollection of being there herself. We hear from the Canadian memory scientist who thinks it’s more common than we realise. When patients have treatment for a physical problem should healthcare professionals also focus...


The Latest on the New Ebola Outbreak in Central Africa

Just weeks after the outbreak of Ebola was declared over in the west of the Democratic Republic of Congo, a new outbreak has emerged in the east of the country. The World Health Organization has responded rapidly to the emergency – having learned lessons from the west Africa outbreak which killed more than 11,000 people. The WHO’s Deputy Director or Emergency Preparedness Peter Salama says the current outbreak will be much trickier to contain because of conflict in North Kivu province....


Does the treatment for cardiac arrest need to change?

If you have a cardiac arrest, CPR or defibrillation will help your chances of survival, but fewer than one in ten will survive to go home from hospital. To boost the chances of survival, an injection of adrenaline, or epinephrine as it is known in the US, is often given. The idea is to attempt to restart the heart, but in recent years, serious doubts have arisen about whether adrenaline actually makes a difference to survival or whether it could even cause harm. So a large study was...


Happy 40th Birthday To The First Test-Tube Baby

The world’s first test-tube baby Louise Brown is celebrating her 40th birthday this week. Since the ground-breaking development of in vitro fertilisation which led to her birth, more than 8 million babies have been born using this method. Eggs are extracted from a woman’s ovaries, fertilised with sperm in a lab and then an embryo is put back inside the woman’s womb. This week’s Health Check is devoted to this remarkable technology, with studio guest Ian Cooke, Emeritus Professor at the...


50 Years Since First Heart Transplant

The first ever heart transplant took place in Cape Town in South Africa fifty years ago this week. That patient died after just 18 days – but today around five thousand people have heart transplants every year. A shortage of donor hearts means there is often a wait – and an artificial pump called an L-VAD can buy time. We hear from doctors and a patient about the advances in technology which have made the pumps easier to live with. The World Health Organization says that more than 200...


Every Step You Take Counts

Millions of people wear electronic step-counting bracelets or use apps on their phones – aiming for ten thousand steps a day. Claudia Hammond asks whether this routine motivates her – or if it’s actually setting her up for failure. Some experts applaud the bar charts and graphs which track progress as proof of healthy activity. But can the constant checking take away the pleasure of exercise? American scientists found that after the novelty wore off people did less because the competitive...


When The Brain Wakes Up – But The Body Doesn’t

“When your brain wakes up but your body doesn’t” is how a sleep expert describes the phenomenon of sleep paralysis. Around 1 in 20 people will experience vivid hallucinations while falling asleep or waking up whilst being completely unable to move. Sleeping on your back can help to reduce the risk of an attack. Even less well understood is 'Exploding Head Syndrome' where people experience abrupt and very loud noises when going to sleep or waking up. To mark the 150th anniversary of Marie...


The “Hidden” Virus That Attacks The Liver

Four out five patients with hepatitis C don't know they're infected – and the virus can cause cancer or cirrhosis of the liver, leading to 1.3 million deaths every year. The World Health Organisation wants to eliminate hepatitis by 2030 – but only a handful of countries like Egypt and Australia are on track. The World Hepatitis Summit has been taking place in Sao Paulo in Brazil this week – to explore the best ways to detect and treat those infected. Could boxing training help people with...


Eye Diseases in Ebola Survivors

Around a quarter of survivors of the Ebola outbreak that started back in 2014 in West Africa have developed eye problems, including uveitis and cataracts. Dr Jessica Shantha and Dr Steven Yeh, both assistant professors of ophthalmology at Emory University in Atlanta US talked to Claudia Hammond about how they’ve been studying and treating the conditions. Loneliness is a huge problem amongst carers. Connecting via social media is a solution for some, but not everyone is comfortable with the...