Image for 23/11/2009

Play now 28 mins


28 minutes
First broadcast:
Monday 23 November 2009


It’s almost 20 years since the world peered into Romanian orphanages and saw the hell inside. But what’s happened to those babies?

Health Check talks to Professor Sir Michael Rutter at the Institute of Psychiatry in London, who has followed some of the orphans' progress for the last two decades.

He talks about how their recovery has contributed to our scientific understanding of the way the brain develops, and discusses what - if anything - the findings can offer in the way of clinical advice and treatment for children who suffer severe stress or trauma early in life.


December 1st is World AIDS Day and as the progress of the virus comes under the spotlight, UNAIDS has released a report listing some of the successes of recent years in control and treatment. In 2008, four million people from poor and mid income countries were receiving antiretroviral treatment to prolong and improve their quality of life. This is a 36 per cent increase on the year before and a ten fold increase in the number receiving these treatments in the whole of the previous five years.

However there are deep concerns from the AIDS2031 Group and MSF - Medicins Sans Frontieres - about the availability and international willingness to continue to give HIV/AIDS a priority in funding. They say there is already signs of donor fatigue and a sense that the virus is already well controlled and that it no longer needs so much funding.

This trend threatens the goal of being able to control the virus by 2031 - which would mark 50 years since it first emerged - and risks ever escalating costs, according to Tido von Schoen-Angerer of Medicins Sans Frontieres and Farzana Muhib of the Results for Development Institute in Washington DC.


The difficulties of accessing medical care in poor and isolated regions of the world continues to be a problem, but the Lifeline Express has proved to be an inspiring solution in India. It's a train that carries operating theatres and doctors and dentists' surgeries around the country, offering free care to thousands each year. It began in 1991 and Nivedita Pathak reports on how it works, and the medical care it offers.


Professor Hugh Piggins at the University of Manchester in the North of England has discovered a new group of brain cells that are involved in regulating the body clock.

They behave unlike any other cell seen so far in the body in that they become so highly agitated that they stop functioning and seem quiet or dormant; then they recover and become normally active again later when they calm down.

The unusual and surprising activity of these cells in the body clock might provide the clue to why jet lag and sleep disorders are so hard to treat, and offer potential treatments in the future.


Free downloads

  1. Image for Health Check

    Health Check

    The BBC World Service's weekly round up of global health stories and topical issues in medicine.

  2. Image for Science Hour

    Science Hour

    Science news and highlights of the week from BBC World Service. The Science Hour is a weekly…

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Added. Check out your playlist Dismiss