Could a recreational drug help to treat alcoholism?
Scientists hope that a recreational drug could help to treat people with alcohol dependence. In the UK, MDMA - the active ingredient of the class-A drug ecstasy – has been given to a handful of alcoholics who have undergone a full detox, as part of psychotherapy sessions. The researchers hope it will help to make people more receptive to therapy, increasing their chances of recovery.
City traders who can detect their own heartbeat may make better use of their instinct when making quick decisions based on the financial markets. Most people do not seem to have this skill –– but one expert believes that the heart can be a powerful source of information guiding our behaviour without us being consciously aware of it.
Working on construction sites can lead to builders becoming locked into a cycle of fatigue, financial concerns and ill health. The industry’s macho culture makes it hard to talk about their worries – leaving them vulnerable to depression and even suicide. The British Mates in Mind initiative hopes to enable its predominantly male workforce to discuss their feelings.
And – feeling anxious about the audience’s every move, the stand-up comedian Robin Ince explains why he lays bare his own personal worries to make people laugh.
(Photo: A man (in silhouette) drinking a pint of lager in a pub. Credit: Press Association)
The obesity paradox
It is well known that being overweight or obese puts a person at a higher risk of stroke, heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure and many other conditions. But new research suggests that if a person does have a stroke, they are more likely to survive it if they are overweight. This adds evidence to what is known as the obesity paradox; namely that obesity puts you at risk, but might protect you in certain circumstances. Claudia speaks to the study author Dr Zuolu Liu, Vascular Neurology Fellow at the University of California Los Angeles Medical Center.
Algae, cacti and the horseradish tree - they may sound like parts of nature you would observe on a hike but, according to a new report, these are among the 50 so-called foods of the future we should all be eating. The report, compiled by the food manufacturers Knorr, WWF-UK and the Center of Public Health Nutrition at the University of Washington, is hoping to help find solutions to how we can reduce the impact our food has on the environment. And give us some health benefits as well. The BBC’s Katie Silver went along to taste some of the ingredients in Paris and New York.
Have you ever been in such terrible pain that you cannot even find the words to describe it? Or cannot convince your doctor quite how bad it is? New research says this can often happen to women with endometriosis, who wait seven years on average to get a diagnosis. Dr Stella Bullo, a Senior Lecturer in Linguistics at Manchester Metropolitan University, and an endometriosis patient herself, studied the experiences of 150 women with endometriosis. She found that many of them found it hard to communicate the extent of their pain, and some resorted to metaphors to try and describe it. Her research has just been published in the journal Health: An Interdisciplinary Journal for the Social Study of Health, Illness and Medicine.
(Photo caption: An overweight woman measures her waist with a measuring tape – credit: Getty Images)
Health Check was presented by Claudia Hammond with comments from Dr Graham Easton
Producer: Helena Selby
Why are women slow to get treatment for heart attacks?
New research from Poland has found that women take longer than men to ask for help when they have had a heart attack, and ambulance staff are slower to suspect that women might have had a heart attack in the first place. Young women in particular were delayed in getting treatment. Dr Marek Gierlotka, head of the Cardiology Department at the University of Opole in Poland, was lead author of the research, which was presented this week at the Acute Cardiovascular Care 2019, a European Society of Cardiology (ESC) conference.
New York City is experiencing the biggest measles outbreak it has had in decades. Fears about vaccine safety, has caused vaccination rates across the United States to drop; the city joins places like Washington State that are seeing measles rates surge. Since last October, 121 people, the vast majority of which are children under 18, have been infected with measles in NYC. Normally that number would be just five or six. The epicentre of the outbreak is in the Orthodox Jewish communities of Brooklyn. While most children are vaccinated by the time they go to school, there are much lower rates of vaccination among very young children, making them vulnerable to the virus and allowing measles to spread. To combat it, the city and the community are mobilising, as the BBC’s Kizzy Cox reports.
New research has found that the number of press-ups a man can do is a better indicator of his risk of cardiovascular disease than a running test on a treadmill. But why should press ups be a good test of someone’s risk of developing heart disease? For his study Stefanos Kales, who is Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School in Boston, Massachusetts, tested more than a thousand male firefighters over a period of ten years, and the results were not quite what he expected. They have just been published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
(Photo caption: Woman suffering from chest pain - credit: Getty Images)
Health Check was presented by Claudia Hammond with comments from Dr Ayan Panja
Producer: Helena Selby
Is expired medication safe to use?
It is generally recommended that once medication is out of date, it should be taken to a pharmacist, as after this time it might not be effective, and possibly has even degraded to a state where it is harmful.
However a new study has discovered that a batch of drugs taken to the Antarctic via the Tropics, stored and then brought all the way back to the UK for testing, was still fine up to four years after the expiry dates. Dr Emma Browne, Consultant in Emergency Medicine, became interested this after spending more than a year as a doctor with the British Antarctic Survey. She was all too aware that because they only had shipments of goods once a year, in an emergency they would have to make do with the drugs – expired or not - they had at the base. The research has just been published in the journal Wilderness and Environmental Medicine.
Imagine waking up and not being able to smell the coffee. For people who suffer from a condition called ‘anosmia’ that is a daily reality. They are people who have lost their sense of smell, whether through illness or after an accident, or in some cases in the early stages of dementia. And as well as making it hard to taste food, it is also hard to, say, tell if there is a gas leak and it can have a radical impact on sufferers’ relationships.
Today is World Anosmia Day, which was set up to promote awareness about the condition. Reporter Marijke Peters went along to meet a group of people with anosmia trying to regain their sense of smell by retraining their noses using a handful of powerful aromas.
New research from the University of East Anglia has found that lesbian and bisexual women in the UK are at increased risk of being overweight or obese compared with heterosexual women, while gay and bisexual men have an increased risk of being underweight. The findings were based on a very large dataset and have just been published in the Journal of Public Health. Lead author Dr Joanna Semlyen, Senior Lecturer in Psychology and Medical Education, tells Claudia what she thinks the possible explanations are.
Health Check was presented by Claudia Hammond with comments from Sarah Boseley.
Producer: Helena Selby.
Main Image: Expired Drugs. Credit: BSIP / UIG Via Getty Images