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Medical Matters


A series of programmes looking at health issues

A series of programmes looking at health issues
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United Kingdom




A series of programmes looking at health issues




Singing for breathlessness, Aneurysms, Sunscreens and Myasthenia gravis

Dr Mark Porter finds out about 'singing for lung health', an evidence based therapy for helping people with breathlessness arising from conditions like Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. He hears from the choir based at Charing Cross Hospital in London and talks to respiratory physiologist, Adam Lound, to find out how the breathing and singing techniques being taught there, as well as the camaraderie, improve people's quality of life and confidence. Does exercise increase the risk of...


Bats and Rabies; Hip Dysplasia in babies; Online health tips; Clinical Law

What is the risk of catching rabies from bats in the UK? We answer this question prompted by a case at Mark Porter's surgery last week when a bat flew straight into a person in broad daylight. Hip dysplasia in babies is a condition where the ball and socket of the joint don't form properly in early life. Every baby is examined as part of the National Screening Programme but new research suggests hundreds are being missed. Plus tips from Margaret McCartney and Carl Heneghan on finding...


Anti-inflammatories and ovulation; Probiotics and Parkinson's; Blood interval and patient forums online

Dr Mark Porter finds out why non-steroidal anti-inflammatory painkillers can affect female fertility by preventing ovulation. Prof Richard Anderson from Edinburgh explains. And the link between gut bacteria and Parkinson's disease and why a new trial that is finding out if a particular probiotic can improve symptoms of the disease. Prof Ray Chaudhuri from King's College London explains. Also the latest evidence on the optimum intervals between blood donations and in the latest look at health...


Declining male fertility, Diagnosing urinary tract infections in the elderly, Guide to health websites

Decline in Male Fertility and evidence sperm counts have dropped dramatically over the last 40 years but despite this, research into the understanding of male fertility problems have fallen behind. Two leading specialists in the filed explain the issues. Plus diagnosing Urinary Tract Infections in the Elderly and risks of over treatment leading to antibiotic resistance. And tips from Margaret McCartney and Carl Heneghan on identifying health websites to trust.


Obesity and Cancer campaign; Intelligent liver function tests; Getting reliable information from websites

The new Cancer Research UK campaign that compares obesity to smoking as a risk factor for cancer has come under criticism; Margaret McCartney debates the issues with Professor Linda Bauld. And how healthy is your liver? Do you know? Does your doctor know? Liver Function blood tests are notoriously difficult to interpret and early disease is often missed. Hence a new initiative - Intelligent liver function tests devised by a team from the University of Dundee. And a new mini series on which...



In a new series of Inside Health Dr Mark Porter explores the growing initiative to 'deprescribe'. The last two decades have seen a dramatic increase in prescriptions and over the counter medication use with one third of people aged over 75 taking at least six medicines. Evidence suggests a person taking ten or more medicines is 3 times more likely to be admitted to hospital. Yet this is not just an issue in the elderly. Inside Health visits a children's ward with a new drug optimising...


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...