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Fergus Walsh, Medical correspondent

Fergus Walsh Medical correspondent

This is my take on the medical and health issues of the day, especially those involving research and ethics

Ebola vaccine 'promising' say scientists after human trial

  • 26 November 2014
  • From the section Health
Vaccine injection
A 39-year-old woman was the first volunteer to receive the experimental Ebola vaccine

The first human trial of an experimental vaccine against Ebola suggests that it is safe and may help the immune system to combat the virus.

Twenty volunteers were immunised in the United States. Scientists at the US National Institutes of Health (NIH) described the results as "promising".

The research is published in the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM).

None of those immunised suffered major side-effects and all produced antibodies.

Dr Anthony Fauci of the NIH told the BBC: "On safety and on the ability to produce an appropriate immune response we can call this trial an unqualified success, even though it was an early Phase One trial."

Read full article Ebola vaccine 'promising' say scientists after human trial

Premature birth 'biggest killer'

  • 17 November 2014
  • From the section Health
Baby's feet
Fifteen million babies are born too soon every year

Premature birth is now the biggest global killer of young children.

A study in the Lancet shows it accounts for more than one million deaths per year - mostly in the developing world.

Read full article Premature birth 'biggest killer'

To walk again - the people behind the story

  • 21 October 2014
  • From the section Health
Darek on bridge
Darek Fidyka enjoying his growing independence of movement

It is a moment I will always remember. On a warm summer's day in Wroclaw, Poland, Darek Fidyka walked across a bridge, using only a frame for support.

This had been his dream for four years, after he was paralysed in a knife attack. Now, after a transplant of cells taken from his nasal cavity, it had become reality.

Read full article To walk again - the people behind the story

Ebola trial volunteer immunised

  • 17 September 2014
  • From the section Health

The first healthy volunteer has received an experimental Ebola vaccine in Oxford.

Ruth Atkins, an NHS communications manager said afterwards she felt "absolutely fine".

Read full article Ebola trial volunteer immunised

Ebola vaccine trial begins

  • 17 September 2014
  • From the section Health
First patient
The vaccine being tested is similar to one being trialled in the United States

A trial of an experimental vaccine against the Ebola virus is to begin in Oxford.

The first of 60 healthy volunteers will be injected with the vaccine.

Read full article Ebola vaccine trial begins

Why do 17,000 under-fives die daily?

  • 16 September 2014
  • From the section Health
Mothers and newborn babies
"Kangaroo care" in action in Malawi - skin-to-skin contact helps keep premature babies warm

A "staggering" number of children around the world are dying before the age of five, according to the United Nation's child agency.

Unicef' s latest figures estimate every day 17,000 under-fives die - 6.3 million a year - from largely preventable causes.

Read full article Why do 17,000 under-fives die daily?

Boy has ears created from ribs

  • 11 August 2014
  • From the section Health

A boy who was born without ears has had a pair created from his ribs.

Nine-year-old Kieran Sorkin had the surgery at London's Great Ormond Street Hospital.

Read full article Boy has ears created from ribs

Analysis: Assisted dying debate

  • 18 July 2014
  • From the section UK
Nurse and patient holding hands

There is a profound gulf between those who see assisted dying as a fundamental human right for the terminally ill and those who fear that right could easily turn into a duty for the disabled and vulnerable.

It was the case of the late Tony Nicklinson, who had locked-in syndrome and wanted doctors to help him die, which proved a powerful talisman for the pro-lobby.

Read full article Analysis: Assisted dying debate

Tanni Grey-Thompson: Assisted dying 'a dangerous path'

  • 17 July 2014
  • From the section Health

Paralympic multi-gold medallist Baroness Tanni Grey-Thompson, has spoken out against the legalisation of assisted dying.

She warned that a bill proposed by former Labour Lord Chancellor Lord Falconer does not have "adequate safeguards".

Read full article Tanni Grey-Thompson: Assisted dying 'a dangerous path'

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About Fergus

Fergus began working for the BBC in 1984 and has reported on health, science and medicine for nearly 20 years.

He has reported for the BBC from around the world on topics such as stem cells, obesity, HIV/AIDS, malaria, TB, polio and swine flu.

Fergus has had his genes sequenced, his heart, brain and other body parts scanned, as well as being vaccinated against bird flu for his reports.

He appeared in a BBC TV drama with Julie Walters. He didn't win any awards for his acting, but has won several for his journalism.

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