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Science
CASE NOTES
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Tuesday 21:00-21:30
Repeat Wednesday 16:30
Dr Mark Porter gives listeners the low-down on what the medical profession does and doesn't know. Each week an expert in the studio tackles a particular topic and there are reports from around the UK on the health of the nation - and the NHS.
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LISTEN AGAINListen 30 min
Listen to 5 August
PRESENTER
DR MARK PORTER
Dr Mark Porter
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Tuesday 5 August 2008
A gardener watering flowers

Full programme transcript >>

Gardening

In this edition of Case Notes, Dr Mark Porter finds out what harm you can do to yourself in the garden, from back pain to insect bites and skin rashes caused by toxic plants.

His guest in the studio is Dr Steve Longworth, a GP who often sees the results of an afternoon's gardening in his surgery.

Toxic plants

Dr Chris Lovell is a consultant dermatologist at the Royal United Hospital in Bath, and author of Plants and the Skin – a reference work on the diagnosis and management of skin rashes caused by plants. He describes some of the reactions people can have to plants found in the garden.

We also hear from botanist Liz Dauncey from the Poisons Information Service at Guy’s and St Thomas’s.

With the help of colleagues from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, she has produced a CD-ROM, Poisonous Plants and Fungi in Britain and Ireland, available from kewbooks.com, to help medical staff identify plants and treat the resulting problems from coming in contact with them.

Aspergillus

'Gardening can seriously damage your health' is not the sort of headline you expect to see on the front page of a medical journal like the Lancet.

But that's what happened in June this year when the Lancet highlighted the case of a man who was killed by a microbe in his compost. 

The Aspergillus mould is very common in gardens and is known to cause allergies, but in rare cases it can lead to a lung infection which can prove fatal.

Mark speaks to Dr David Waghorn, one of the authors of the report in the Lancet, about how the gardener's condition developed.

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