BBC World Service

News & Politics

Health issues and medical breakthroughs from around the world.


Ketamine: Party Drug and Essential Anaesthetic in Africa

April 6th, 2016

Episode 82 of 158 episodes

China wants greater global restrictions on the drug ketamine, where it is used as a club drug, leading in extreme cases to serious problems such as kidney failure, and even bladder removal. But ketamine also has perfectly legitimate uses as an anaesthetic all around the world, and low income countries in particular are reliant on it. Dr Bisola Onajin-Obembe, the President of the Nigerian Society of Anaesthetists, talks to Claudia Hammond about the consequences to surgery in her country if ketamine becomes a controlled substance. Sweeteners v. Sugar Are low-calorie sweeteners the guilt-free way to allow ourselves foods that taste sweet? Some argue that they help us to cut calories and lose weight. But others insist they do just the opposite. James Gallagher has been looking at the evidence with the help of Susan Swithers, Professor of Psychological Sciences at Purdue University in the US, and Peter Rogers, Professor of Biological Psychology at the University of Bristol in the UK. Showering After Surgery Traditionally patients who’ve had surgery have been told to keep the scar dry under a dressing and avoid showering for up to a week so that it doesn’t get wet. But recently researchers in Taiwan have concluded that most patients who undergo surgery can start washing 48 hours after their operation. Claudia Hammond discussed this finding with Nicholas Markham, a Consultant Surgeon at the North Devon District Hospital in England. With comments on high incidence of diabetes and vitamin D and heart failure from James Gallagher, Editor of BBC Health News website. (Main Image: A man undergoes surgery in a hospital ward in North-East Nigeria, February 4, 2016. Credit: Pius Utomi Ekpei AFP Getty Images)

Featured Podcast