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18 minutes
First broadcast:
Wednesday 25 May 2011

Almost a thousand women living in low income countries die each day during pregnancy or childbirth, and despite many people working to improve the situation, the changes on the ground can seem small. But now the UN Population Fund says the world is on the verge of a tipping point. Sixteen countries including Mongolia, Senegal and Vietnam have just announced concrete commitments to drastically reduce these deaths. Claudia Hammond asks Wendy Graham, Professor of Obstetric Epidemiology at the University of Aberdeen, whether the tide is finally turning on maternal mortality.

A Danish law requiring foods with added vitamins to be specially approved for sale caused a stir this week, when it emerged that Marmite, a spread fortified with B vitamins, might have to be taken off the country’s supermarket shelves. But what’s the science behind this? Catherine Collins, Principal Dietician at St George’s Hospital in London, discusses safe vitamin levels and the practice of fortifying food.

Professor Raymond Playford from Barts and the Royal London Hospital tackles this week’s health myth: if you get cramp in your legs, does it mean you need more salt in your diet?

And Claudia talks to Harvard psychiatrist John Sharp about the profound impact the passing months and changing seasons can have on our emotional lives. He began to notice seasonal changes in his patients that inspired him to survey research on how the time of year influences state of mind. The result was his book 'The Emotional Calendar'


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