Health Check-logo

Health Check


The BBC World Service's weekly round up of global health stories and topical issues in medicine.

The BBC World Service's weekly round up of global health stories and topical issues in medicine.
More Information


United Kingdom




The BBC World Service's weekly round up of global health stories and topical issues in medicine.




How Much Does Gender Affect Teens’ Health?

No matter where you live growing up as a boy or a girl has an impact on your health. The Global Early Adolescent Study, carried out in countries like Egypt, and China has found that as boys grow their horizons expand, whereas they shrink for girls. And this could impact on their health – including raising the risk of HIV, depression, teenage pregnancy and violence in relationships. The next stage of the study will be to track the impact of interventions. A law has been passed in Italy...

Duration: 00:26:31

“Misleading” Information from Drinks’ Industry Over Cancer and Alcohol

Drinking alcohol - particularly in large amounts - increases our risk of developing various conditions including cancer. Alcohol industry websites display information about those risks – but how much can we rely on them? An international team of public health experts has reviewed the information available – and found that it doesn’t always tell the whole story and sometimes key facts are distorted or left out. Their analysis is published in the journal Drug And Alcohol Review, revealing...

Duration: 00:26:38

Could Reducing Stress Help Improve Cancer Treatments?

Although stress doesn’t cause cancer, experiments in the laboratory do suggest that stress hormones might be implicated in the progression of tumours. A British team has been trying to understand this mechanism better – so they might boost the chances of chemotherapy working. They are also analysing how exercise and pampering sessions can reduce stress hormones in women with breast cancer. Can graphic design save your life? That’s the question posed by a new exhibition at the Wellcome...

Duration: 00:26:48

What To Do If There’s an Acid Attack

The rise in acid attacks in London has challenged emergency services – with bystanders also playing a key role in the vital first aid which helps to reduce the severity of any resulting burns. Countries such as India and Bangladesh have long had to deal with similar attacks – where acid is thrown into the face. Copious amounts of water can help to reduce the risk of permanent facial disfigurement and blinding. Harsh penalties for such assaults and for carrying acid as a weapon appear to...

Duration: 00:26:29

Profound Psychological Impact of Heart Failure

Heart Failure This serious condition – where the heart can no longer pump sufficient blood around the body - affects 26 million people around the world. Symptoms can include breathlessness, fluid retention and tiredness - enough to have a severe impact on the quality of life. A heart failure diagnosis can be frightening and stressful but there is good evidence that psychological support can help. Claudia Hammond hears from patients and medical staff about the challenges of dealing with the...

Duration: 00:26:55

The Game Encouraging Medics to not use Jargon

When you visit the doctor how much do you understand what’s being said? Communicating complex medical information – especially to sick children – can be a challenge for medical staff. Now a game called Dr Jargon has been created to encourage doctors to use simple language to explain common complaints to patients. The scientist who’s designed a way to “sniff out” polio viruses in the Israeli sewage system. For a number of years the world has been on the verge of eradicating the disease...

Duration: 00:26:46

Who is Best Suited to a Move to the Red Planet?

As we dream of sending humans to Mars, the psychological problems of such a mission loom large. Claudia Hammond ponders the most important qualities required from those who’d like to colonise Mars. Surviving a cramped nine-month journey and the pod-like homes on the red planet requires a mix of resilience, curiosity and the ability to get on with others. She meets the volunteers who have been sampling similar long term simulations here on earth - and the psychologists who've overseen the...

Duration: 00:26:38

Can Gas Stoves Cut Indoor Air Pollution?

Around the world more than 3 billion people cook and heat their homes using fuel like wood and charcoal on open fires or traditional stoves. This inefficient method produces lots of smoke – creating indoor air pollution. The World Health Organisation says indoor pollution kills more than 4 million people every year. Our reporter Sammy Darko has been to the village of Kintampo in central Ghana where researchers provided cleaner gas stoves to see if they improved the health of pregnant women...

Duration: 00:26:35