19/12/2015 Health Check


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Now on BBC News, it's time for Health Check.


Welcome to Health Check, your monthly dose of local health


stories. This month, we are taking a moment to look at the value of rest


to our health. Coming up... How hibernating lemurs could hold the


key to a longer and healthier life. Pampering for women in Kenya, which


also helps to keep them healthy. Add reassurance for parents in


Japan, or read about radiation after Fukushima.


Rest used to be prescribed for patients with tuberculosis long


before antibiotics came along, and now some strains of the disease are


becoming resistant to the drugs and can thrive in crowded places, like


prisons. South Africa has one of the highest rate of infection in the


world. But we went to a prison in Cape Town to see a new screening


programme that is trying to spot TV early.


-- TB. The scenic site of Cape Town. At hidden within this rugged


landscape is this prison, a maximum security penitentiary and a hotbed


of infections. Particularly tuberculosis, or TB. This airborne


infectious disease is a leading cause of death in South Africa.


Crowded conditions inside prisons like these provide the perfect


environment for the disease to spread. This man has been an inmate


at the prison for one year. He was diagnosed with TB two months into


his sentence. 50 people are inside the cell. The Indo -- windows are


open. It is called in the night. The bed was full of people. When I


checked, I did get TB in prison. Inmate numbers are currently at four


times the prison's capacity. These cramped conditions, combined with


high rates of HIV among inmates, mean TB infections are two to five


times higher in prisons than the general population. The prisons are


overcrowded in our country. It is just really difficult for us to


control TB. Because we have to wait for the person to start coughing and


feeling ill, start getting ill. You don't know how many others are


already infected. Until recently little was in place in prisons like


this to stop the spread of TB. But practical measures like improved


infection control and X-ray screening and rapid testing of the


prison itself has reduced the spread. Those who are incarcerated


must be screened twice during their period of incarceration and when


they exit the prison they must be screened also. This is one of seven


prisons in South Africa with facilities on site to screen inmates


as required. Including the diagnosis of multidrug resistant TB. By August


2015 more than 500,000 prisoners had been screened nationwide and 6% of


them were diagnosed with TB. Prison health services are now seeing a


difference amongst inmates. They are more informed, they are happier,


they are more healthy. We get less complaints of other minor illnesses


because of the screening as well. They are just much better and


healthier. Once diagnosed, treatment is started immediately. Because once


inmates are on treatment they are no longer infectious to those around


them. Families of prisoners are also being offered screening and


treatment services. To prevent the spread of TB outside in the


community. And, back inside Pollsmoor, inmates are getting cured


and the spread of new infections is being curbed to staff, the prisoners


and their families. That -- now, breast is a topic I've


been giving a lot of thought to over the last year and I should declare


an interest. I am part of a group of scientists and artists based in


London and we are exploring the topic of breast. Doctor Felicity


from Durham university is leading the project. Do we know what rest


is? That the starting point of our enquiries because there's no


universally accepted understanding of what rest is for the body and


mind. Does it mean different things to different people? It mean


different things, it means different things in different languages and


across time periods, what it has meant is different. And also what


people do to rest is variable. Some people tell us that seemingly very


active things, like mining, or cycling, are for them very restful


whereas other people have a much more in mobile relationship to being


at rest. Do you get a sense these days that resting at all is


sometimes seen as being a bit lazy and doing nothing is not allowed?


There's something interesting going on at the moment, because in some


ways I think people are being encouraged to let their mind wander,


because there is a sense of creativity of allowing rest for


activities and thoughts to emerge. But on the other hand I think there


is still an incredible sense that to feel at rest risks being seen as not


working hard enough, not being busy enough, not being productive enough.


So I think it's a curious moment that we are living in. We tend to


think resting the body as being something that is good for us, but


how much do we know about the mind being at rest? About a decade ago


new techniques in your imaging began to show that actually the mind at


rest is an enormously active and busy mind, showing lots of


co-ordinated patterns of activity. So we think we are thinking about


nothing, but there's a lot going on? Huge amount going on and lots of


energy used by the brain at rest. We have our minds drift onto other


things at different times, mind wandering is nothing new, is it? It


isn't. Our mediaeval historian has been telling us a lot about monks,


who are of course meant to be focusing on God, are actually very


at risk of having their minds being led astray into areas and topics


very inappropriate for a devotional practices. And so there are many


models and techniques in mediaeval texts that help us understand mind


wandering. We have been developing a huge online survey called the Rest


Test. How is it going? Very well. There are two part of the survey.


The first is shorter and allows people to define what rest means to


them and tell us about how they do rest. And give us a little bit of


information about themselves, their health histories. The second part is


more extensive and it demands filling out various psychological


scales, so that we get a greater sense of the kind of person that you


are, that we can then link to what you told us in the first past. The


survey has been already answered by over 18,000 people from all over the


world, countries like India, Barbados, even someone in Vanuatu


has sent there a, which is fantastic. What will you do with


this information? We will be able to look at lots of relationships across


those things. Work, illness, breast. Then, ultimately, we might found


eight things that we aren't expecting. -- Agro to. It might be


people working fewer hours, but in a more unpredictable way who are less


rested, then those working long hours. Ultimately we might be able


to figure out new ways to encourage people to find new ways to rest. It


is amazing how many people are taking part already. If you want to


take part in the Rest Test yourself you can go online and fill in the


survey. The results will be out in 2016, but you can get immediate


feedback on what everyone else in the world is saying about rest and


how much they are getting compared with you. Thanks, Felicity.


Well, if you have a moment to yourself then a bit of pampering can


do a world of good. Taking time out of a busy schedule to have a long


soak in the bath or perhaps getting your hair cut can help you destress


or boost self-esteem. Now one clinic in Nairobi is using pedicure is to


tempt people into attending health screening lessons.


I have a dinner date. A treat for women like Anne.. A pedicure, a time


to be pampered and catch your breath and it is pretty high up on the list


of treats for many Kenyan women. I do a pedicure once a month and the


reason for me is to look beautiful and to feel relaxed. But this


pampering session is also about keeping healthy. It is being paid


for by the medical clinic that she visits. We have a voucher programme


where we offer free pedicure is for women coming for screening. The


types of screening we offer are for antenatal mothers, antenatal care


screening, cancer screening and ultrasound for the antenatal


mothers. Most people, especially women, consider hospital when they


are sick. What we have found that we want to encourage them to come even


when they are not sick, just to protect their health and that of


their loved ones. Kenyan health campaigns are often quite dry and


factual. So this clinic tried another approach. We have been


trying since we first started to try to increase people's health in its.


-- healthiness. We racked up rent and wondered what women already care


about and beauty is a fact. -- racked our brains. We wanted to tap


into that desire to be beautiful to drive Penda healthcare. A woman can


come and get her antenatal screening, Pap smear or ultrasound.


After her appointment she gets a voucher which she can redeem at one


of the few handpick salons was spy and get her nails done. I come here


to the antenatal clinic and I will be coming again after the baby is


born, because they give us free services, free pedicure, because


especially when you are pregnant you can't reach your toes. I like the


pedicure because it makes you relax, for the legs of a pregnant woman. So


far the incentives seems to be working, with the number of patients


rising sympathy -- scheme started in July. This project has been running


for five months and we have seen an increase from 12% to 20% in


preventative healthcare. We started off slowly, but the project has


gradually peaked and we measure the rate of success by the returning


patients. Meaning that patients who come back after the first visit and


bringing their family and friends. At the end of the day, they also


look good, because they get a pedicure. The clinic says the


pedicure cost them about $4 a session and only about half of those


given the voucher is actually go on to redeem them. The cost to the


clinic of helping people to look after themselves better is pretty


low. Today we are looking at the state of


rest. A state which means very different things to different


people. If I want to do something restful, like garden or go for a run


if I want to rest my mind, today I've brought my crochet with me


because I find that the most restful thing of all.


What are you making? A blanket. One day it will be a whole blanket.


You find that restful? Definitely. There's something about


using your hands and the repetitive nature of it and the fact that it is


quite hard not too hard, you don't need to concentrate too much. If you


look at the psychological literature, there is a state known


as the low, which is when people become completely absorbed in what


they're doing and they don't notice time passing, what's going on around


them and people might get that from painting or gardening, whatever it


is that really absorbs you. And there is evidence that this is good


for people's mental health. It stops illuminating about things going on


and stops you worrying. What do you find restful?


It is interesting you say that because that sounds meditative. The


thing that's good for me is hot you go. One of the things is called


hatha flow. Use that, you use your physical body at your brain is given


a chance to rest because it is automatic. I feel great. I brain


switches off, my body switches off and it is ultimate rest and


relaxation. But you look like you've got a lot to keep you busy over the


winter night! This will keep me going for some


time. I've been on it for years. Great. Hibernation is the ultimate


extreme resting state. Like bears and bees, a type of Lima put its


hibernation into suspended animation. Scientists have been


studying them to see if a better understanding of their hibernation


can help us with some serious diseases in humans. -- lemurs. As we


report from North Carolina, it could also help with long-distance spaced


rubble. -- travel. Serra around 100 species of Lima, in


all shapes and sizes. But one of them does something rather special.


. These are the only primates that go into a period of suspended


animation for 34 hours or more -- lemur. Small animals usually live


for a short amount of time, but hibernation possibly helps these


live longer. Now, the research is here are carefully studying them to


find out the mechanisms behind their hibernation, and looking to see


whether this knowledge could be applied to humans in the future. In


hibernation, the metabolism of an animal slows right down, and that


can be the key to a longer life. What we think happens with that sort


of metabolism is that the cells don't burn up energy and they don't


create waste and they don't die as rapidly. At a cellular level it is


extending life, it is sort of a suspended animation. That would


explain why these small animals that are similar, a rat or a squirrel


might live five years, dwarf tailed lemurs could live upto 30 years.


Suspended animation could slow down the human body, allowing doctors to


improve treatments for people with serious medical conditions, and one


day it could even help us with long distance space travel. With


understanding how a primate can hibernate, what causes them to go


into hibernation, we still don't know. Is it temperature, food


restriction, like restriction, is a genetic cause that we can turn on


and off? These are all questions that we are looking at and trying to


understand. Hibernation is widespread in nature, from fish to


bears. Studying this in a primate could give us clues into how to


apply it to humans. So, although this may sound like science fiction,


it could actually be the science of our future.


If, like me, you fancy a little nap after lunch, you might just be


hearing the loud ticking off your own body clock. -- of. A daily dose


of sleep is pretty much unique to humans. Their daily or circadian


rhythm, created by the rising and setting of the sun, keeps our bodies


in sync with day and night. Although, some like to get up later


than others, behaving more like an owl than a lark. But we are not the


only ones with body clocks, animals, Tiriac and fungi have their own


versions to regulate their lives. -- bacteria. It is at its strongest in


the middle of the night, and our performance dips in this time. In


people, the better the rain that influences the hormone system is


regulated by light, which comes into the eye. Before an electronic light,


this would have only been the sun, so artificial light and the demands


of a 24/7 modern life have put this modern system out of kilter, with


jetlag or nightshifts. Scientists now believe some conditions can be


brought on or made worse by a lack of sleep, so embracing a natural


body clock could help to reduce the risk of developing heart disease,


diabetes and even cancer. It is nearly five years since the


Japanese earthquake and tsunami led to the Fukushima nuclear disaster,


but concerns about possible health problems are still high in the minds


of parents. So to reassure the public, scientists have designed a


special scanner that can measure the amount of radioactive material in


children's bodies. The results of two and a half thousand tests have


now been released. In 2011, Fukushima became the site


of Japan's worst ever nuclear disaster. Almost five years on,


towns in the area are starting to recover, but people are worried that


the radiation from the disaster is still in the environment.


TRANSLATION: We live in Fukushima, so why worry about their future. I


come here regularly to get them checked. Radiation damages that DNA


in our cells, and that can lead to cancer. But radioactive material is


not just found in the environment around us. It can also get lost in


the body after eating contaminated food, and cause damage from the


inside. It is this internal form of radiation damage that is being


measured here in a machine known as a baby scan. It was developed by


this professor and his colleagues, as traditional scanners won't work


the young children. The machine that is for adults, you have to stand for


two minutes, and a baby cannot stand. So we made this baby scan so


the baby can be on the bed, and can be measured to very high precision.


Between December 2013 and March 2015, almost 3000 children and


babies were put into three scanners across the Fukushima region. The


result of the scans have just been released. We couldn't find any baby


who had detectable level of radiation in their bodies. We knew


already that the risk is so low in Fukushima, so making the baby scan


was scientifically unnecessary, we thought, but because of the worry of


the mothers we decided anyway to make it so we can show the result


and talk to mothers. Results are given immediately after children


have been scanned. These children have thankfully been given the all


clear. It says there is no banality so I am relieved. -- abnormality. I


still want to continue the cheque. My. Many people still don't believe


that they are contamination free. Perhaps by having access to the baby


scan, parents can have the reassurance they need to know that


their families safe. That is all we have time for this month, but if you


want more on health, you will find it on BBC World News every Wednesday


and Saturday, and you can catch Claudia's radio programme on the


World Service. You can follow up on all of these by going to the


website. Lexmark, tales of health on the move, but if you have any


comments or ideas in the meantime, e-mail us. Now, it is goodbye for


us. It is ridiculously mild again out


there at the moment, The cold air is behind me,


coming down from the Arctic We have an area of low pressure


bringing rain on Saturday,


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