Building a better future for Chad

  • 1 July 2015
  • From the section Health

On every global measure of poverty, health or economic development, Chad is near the bottom.

This landlocked country in central Africa has a harsh climate, suffering both drought and flooding - food shortages are common.

Its people have endured decades of corruption, civil unrest and mass influxes of refugees from neighbouring states like Sudan and Nigeria.

Chad is a potent symbol of what work is still needed to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger - the first of the eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

Poverty

The target - to halve the proportion of people whose income is less than $1.25 (£0.80) a day was met five years ahead of schedule in 2010.

Read full article Building a better future for Chad

Artificial leg allows patient to feel

  • 8 June 2015
  • From the section Health

Scientists in Austria have created an artificial leg which allows the amputee to feel lifelike sensations from their foot.

The recipient, Wolfang Rangger, who lost his right leg in 2007, said: "It feels like I have a foot again. It's like a second lease of life."

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A new era in cancer treatment?

  • 1 June 2015
  • From the section Health

When it comes to reporting medical science, "breakthrough" is a very overused word, and one I usually try to avoid.

When dealing with cancer, I also prefer not to talk about cure - it's a hostage to fortune, given that the disease can lie dormant for long periods only to emerge many years later.

Read full article A new era in cancer treatment?

The assisted dying debate

  • 26 May 2015
  • From the section Health
Jeffrey Spector with his wife Elaine and daughters
Jeffrey Spector was married with three daughters

Nearly 300 Britons have travelled to Zurich to die with the help of the Swiss suicide group Dignitas.

Most have done so without any publicity. But cases like that of Jeffrey Spector, a 54-year-old father of three who had an inoperable tumour on his spine, reignite the debate about whether assisted dying should be legalised in Britain.

Read full article The assisted dying debate

Prostate cancer gene map points way to targeted drugs

  • 21 May 2015
  • From the section Health
Prostate cancer
The study suggests nearly nine in 10 patients with advanced prostate cancer could benefit from targeted treatments

Scientists have unveiled a comprehensive genetic map of advanced prostate cancer, hailing it as the disease's "Rosetta Stone".

The study, published in the journal Cell, shows that nearly nine in 10 men had gene mutations that could be targeted with drugs.

Read full article Prostate cancer gene map points way to targeted drugs

Call for $2bn global antibiotic research fund

  • 14 May 2015
  • From the section Health
Bacteria
Some bacteria are becoming resistant to our best drugs

The global pharmaceutical industry is being called on to pay for a $2bn (£1.3bn) innovation fund to revitalise research into antibiotics.

In return, there would be guaranteed payments to companies which produced vitally needed new antibiotics.

Read full article Call for $2bn global antibiotic research fund

Europe's first non-beating heart transplant

  • 26 March 2015
  • From the section Health

Surgeons in Cambridgeshire have performed the first heart transplant in Europe using a non-beating heart.

Donor hearts are usually from people who are brain-stem dead, but whose hearts are still beating.

Read full article Europe's first non-beating heart transplant

'I'm 39 and have Alzheimer's disease'

  • 11 March 2015
  • From the section Health
Chris Graham
Chris Graham has inherited a gene which causes early onset Alzheimer's

To outward appearances Chris Graham is a fit and apparently healthy 39-year-old.

But the former soldier also has early onset Alzheimer's disease.

Read full article 'I'm 39 and have Alzheimer's disease'

Defeating cancer, the 'evil genius'

  • 11 February 2015
  • From the section Health
Sophie Armitage
Sophie Armitage has been described by her consultant as a miracle child

"If you had to describe cancer I would say it's an evil genius."

It's a vivid metaphor from Dr Udai Banerji, of the Institute of Cancer Research and the Royal Marsden, for the challenge facing patients, scientists and clinicians.

Read full article Defeating cancer, the 'evil genius'

Paralysed man who walked again visits the UK

  • 1 February 2015
  • From the section Health
Darek
Darek Fidyka at the Emirates stadium

"I feel proud and honoured to be here." Darek Fidyka's words to me as he waited to form part of the guard of honour for the players at the Emirates stadium where Arsenal were about to face Aston Villa.

Paralysed from the chest down in a knife attack, Darek, from Poland, was the first person in the world to undergo a pioneering treatment which has enabled him to walk again with the aid of a frame.

Read full article Paralysed man who walked again visits the UK