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


Pollution, Falls in the elderly, False positives and negatives, Meningitis B and teenagers

September 29th, 2015

Episode 295 of 329 episodes

As cars were banned from central Paris this weekend and the health risks of pollution hit the headlines, Mark Porter examines the statistic that pollution kills 29,000 people a year in the UK. And he visits a pioneering clinic at Southampton General Hospital where falls in the elderly are seen as a risk factor for underlying health problems; 'Having a hip fracture is like having a heart attack or stroke' explains Dr Mark Baxter. 50% of people who have a hip fracture will have previously presented with a fall, but once they go on to break a hip, 1 in 10 elderly people may not be alive at the end of the month and up to 25% by the end of the year. Many elderly people are found to be on multiple treatments - blood pressure pills or bladder pills for example - that make people fall over. In recent years there has been much more attention paid to the cumulative burden of the side effects of medicines in the elderly - particularly the group of commonly used drugs known as Anticholinergics. And according to new research by a team at the University of East Anglia, taking Anticholinergics increases the risk of falls too - particularly in men. Following news of the Meningitis B vaccine in children, an Inside Health listener got in touch to ask why it wasn't being given to teenagers in light of data showing that there is a second peak in incidence in the disease among 15 - 19 year olds? Mark talks to Professor Andrew Pollard, Chair of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation. And Inside Language: Dr Margaret McCartney and Professor Carl Heneghan demystify the terminology of medicine and research. This week, false positives and false negatives; when is something not what it seems, and when does it seem what it's not?

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