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Podcast Health Check
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Health Check


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  • Reducing mental health stigma
    Many people have struggled with their mental health during the pandemic, but still don’t always feel free to discuss it, especially at work. Stigma remains a problem and discussing your difficulties at all is off-limits. For many years in England a campaign called Time To Change tried to change attitudes and the evidence from that and other initiatives was used to launch campaigns in India, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya and Uganda in 2019. Sue Baker, Mind’s International Health Advisor, and Rosemary Gathara, Director of Basic Needs, Basic Rights in Kenya discuss the findings of the campaigns with Claudia Hammond. Matt Fox, Professor of Global Epidemiology at Boston University in the US, joins Claudia to talk about the latest global picture of Covid, mask wearing at basketball games in the US and the Kindness Test. And they look at research that suggests too much free time is bad for us. Presenter: Claudia Hammond Producer: Erika Wright (Picture: A woman sitting in a room. Photo credit: Jasmin Merdan/Getty Images.)
  • Covid in Vietnam
    In 2020 Vietnam ran a successful track and trace system, with very few coronavirus infections and for a long time no deaths at all, while other countries had thousands. In 2021 things haven’t gone so well and since July strict stay at home orders have been in place in some cities. Nga Pham, a journalist from BBC World News, and software engineer Kevin Vu talk about what life is like in Hanoi and Ho Chi Min City. Dr Monica Lakhanpaul, Professor of Integrated Community Child Health at University College London, talks to Claudia Hammond about a mystery disease outbreak in the state of Uttar Pradesh in India. The symptoms are fever, joint pains, headaches and nausea. People born premature can have an increased risk of developing heart problems later in life. For the first time researchers have shown that breast milk can improve heart performance in premature babies. The new study was done by Afif El-Khuffash who looks after premature babies and is Clinical Professor of Paediatrics at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland. And Monica and Claudia discuss the latest research into long Covid in children. Presenter: Claudia Hammond Producer: Pam Rutherford (Picture: A resident rides her bicycle near a make-shift barricade in Hanoi during the lockdown to stop the spread of Covid-19. Photo credit: Nhac Nguyen/AFP/Getty Images.)
  • Art, gardening and wellbeing during Covid
    How art and gardening has saved some people’s mental health during the pandemic. Claudia visits the most wonderful allotment to find out how one community in the UK has benefited. Nightmares and how people with psychosis can be plagued and even traumatised by bad dreams, but that there is a way of dealing with them. Plus, can kindness help you live a long life and evidence on whether dogs feel jealous! Presenter: Claudia Hammond Producer: Erika Wright (Picture: Close up of women planting salad seedlings. Photo credit: Betsie Van der Meer/Getty Images.)
  • The Kindness Test
    When was the last time you did something really kind for someone or someone else did something really kind for you? Claudia Hammond and guests are looking at the place of kindness in today’s world, asking what it really means, what happens in our brains when we act kindly and whether there can ever be a role for it in the cut-throat worlds of business and politics. She hears what kindness means to people in Kenya, Chile and in the UK. And with many aspects of kindness remaining under-researched, with your help Claudia and Robin Banerjee, Professor of Social Psychology at the University of Sussex, are asking you to fill in the gaps by taking part in the Kindness Test. Presenter: Claudia Hammond Producer: Erika Wright
  • Antibody cocktails against Covid
    Trials have shown that cocktails of antibodies are effective against Covid, and one called Ronapreve has just been approved for use in the UK, following in the footsteps of Japan and the US. Claudia Hammond talks to Penny Ward, Professor of Pharmaceutical Medicine at Kings College, London, about how these monoclonal antibodies work and where they are best used, given that they are very expensive. The UN Refugee Agency and the International Organisation for Migration have called on governments to ensure that everyone is included in vaccination plans, including refugees and internally displaced people. Samara Linton reports on how undocumented migrants, in South East Asia and in the UK, are getting vaccinated against Covid. The increased heat we are experiencing with climate change is causing deaths in people with underlying health conditions. Professor Kristie Ebi of the University of Washington tells Claudia about what we can do to keep cool, in particular in places without air conditioning. And family doctor Graham Easton comments on these stories and discusses the relationship between Covid and heat. Presenter: Claudia Hammond Producer: Deborah Cohen (Picture: Computer illustration of the release of monoclonal antibodies. Credit: Nanoclustering/Science Photo Library/Getty Images.)

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