Inside Health

BBC Radio 4


Dr Mark Porter demystifies health issues, separating fact from fiction and bringing clarity to conflicting health advice, with the help of regular contributor GP Margaret McCartney


Chicken pox in pregnancy, Club foot, Test for Conn's syndrome, Teeth brushing

February 9th, 2016

Episode 302 of 329 episodes

Dr Margaret McCartney reviews advice to pregnant women concerned about the Zika virus while Andrew Shennan, Professor of Obstetrics at King's College and St Thomas' Hospital in London tells Dr Mark Porter about the risks of infection closer to home - chicken pox. One in every one thousand babies born in the UK has congenital talipes, or club foot. This is where the foot points inwards and downwards, the sole facing backwards. But thanks to the late Ignatio Ponseti, an orthopaedic surgeon from Iowa in the USA, 95% of children born with club foot will make a complete recovery. Dr Ponseti was concerned about the low success rate of surgical treatment, which often resulted in life-long pain and stiffness and a 50% chance of recurrence. He developed a new technique in the 1960's that involves stretching the foot, holding it in plaster casts and eventually braces. The problem was that nobody believed him and it wasn't until the early 2000's that his technique became the new gold standard for club foot treatment - the news spread by his patients and their parents using the internet. Mark visits the club foot clinic at The Royal London Hospital, which sent a team, led by consultant paediatric orthopaedic surgeon, Manoj Ramachandran to study with Dr Ponseti at his Iowan clinic. Mark meets Hannah, whose 8 week old baby, Penelope, is just beginning treatment and hears from Claire, whose son, Lucas, now four years old, has, post-treatment, two perfect feet. Professor of Endocrine Hypertension at Queen Mary University London, Morris Brown, gives more details about the test for Conn's Syndrome - which could account for as many as one in ten cases of high blood pressure. And Inside Health listener Howard, calls on Mark to settle a teeth cleaning dispute between him and his wife. Should you brush before or after breakfast? The British Dental Association's Chief Scientific Officer, Professor Damian Walmsley adjudicates.

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