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Should we have faith?

18 minutes
First broadcast:
Wednesday 27 February 2013

Religion and depression
Religious or spiritual beliefs have long been associated with increased well-being and the bulk of past research has found that having faith seems to make people happier. But now a new study, which followed thousands of people over time, in several countries including Slovenia, Spain, Estonia and Chile, has found that religion did not, on average, make people feel better. In the UK those who described themselves as spiritual were three times more likely to have an episode of depression than those who were secular. Lead author Professor Michael King is director of the Mental Health Sciences Unit at University College London Medical School.

Tackling malaria in Cameroon
The figures are staggering. Every year a quarter of a million people become infected with malaria, usually from mosquito bites and every minute a child dies from the disease. The west central African country of Cameroon has one of the highest mortality rates from malaria in the world, and has been selected by the World Health Organisation and other donors for special funding to reduce the number of deaths. The BBC’s Francis Ngwa Niba travelled to two badly affected areas, Douala in the Littoral region and Limbe in south western Cameroon, to investigate.

Diet and acne
Back in the early 1900s it was believed that the food you eat could give you spots. But by the 1960s and 1970s a few small studies, mainly carried out with chocolate, concluded that this was a myth. Now, as can happen in medicine, things are turning round yet again. A review of the latest research published this week in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics concludes that there is some evidence to suggest that certain foods can make acne worse. Jennifer Burns is a post graduate researcher and registered dietician at New York University and William Rietkerk is an associate professor of dermatology at New York Medical College.

Picture credit: Getty Images


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