Health Check this week spans all stages of human life from infancy, through the middle years, to old age.

Claudia Hammond meets babies, mums and the iconoclastic psychologist Prof Vasu Reddy of the University of Portsmouth who is studying them. Professor Reddy argues that, contrary to orthodox thinking, we begin to understand that other people have their own thoughts at a very young age. A baby teasing its parents and siblings is just one example of an infant developing a concept of other people’s mentality and an ability to play mind games.

Could lifting weights in the gym regularly dramatically reduce your own risk of developing Type 2 diabetes? A prospective study of 32,000 men suggests that pumping iron could improve your chances by as much as 30%. The work was done by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health and the University of Southern Denmark. Claudia talks to study author Anders Grontved.

To get the perspective of an elderly person, Abby Darcy dons the Age Suit at the Charite University Hospital in Berlin. The weighted overalls and helmet simulate the muscle weakness, stiff joints, hearing loss and impaired vision common in old age. All medical students at this Berlin University training hospital have to do the same, at the instigation of Dr Rahel Eckardt. Dr Eckardt of the Evangelical Geriatric Centre wants her trainees to appreciate first-hand the physical limitations the ageing process can impose on their patients, and treat them accordingly. As the number of people over 65 years in Germany and most other countries increases, new doctors need a greater appreciation of what it is like to grow old.

Available now

18 minutes

Last on

Sun 19 Aug 2012 13:32 GMT

Zika: a new pandemic?

Zika virus emerggency talks

The explosive spread and impact of the mosquito-borne virus.