Health: The show where every needle earns a point

FOLLOWING the phenomenal success of Tibs and Fibs (Channel 5, passim), I've been inundated with requests to devise an even more cerebral medical quiz. Here's my first effort, a direct copy of the one nobody can do on Radio 4.

The Round Medicine Quiz

How would you get from dirt to asthma to the Berlin Wall to homeopathy to vaccination to West Africa to asthma (again) to death to pounds 2,340 to struck off patients to autism to 1976?

I've no idea.

Well then, have a go.

Why should I?

Because this is a half-hour quiz and we've only managed to fill 30 seconds of it.

That's not my problem

Look, we've got you all the way down from Doncaster, fed you, wined you and given you the chance to shine on national television.

Virgin trains to soggy falafel to Blue Nun UK Living...

Look, my career depends on this - I can't afford another failure or I'll be back in the surgery looking at verrucas 24 hours a day. So either you grow up and do the quiz or...

Or what?

Or I stick this bloody great needle straight in your eye.

Fair enough. Dirt to asthma was in the papers.

And what's the link?

I've just said. They were both in the paper in the same story. Are you deaf?

No, but what was the story?

I dunno. The headline said "dirt-asthma link" but I didn't read the article.

Have a guess then.

Dirty children who never wash get lots of asthma

No, quite the reverse in fact. A study by the Institute of Child Health at Bristol University found that children who bath every day and wash their hands more than 5 times a day are 25 per cent more likely to get asthma than their peers.

Presumably that's because the kids need to experience a few germs to get their immune systems primed properly so they don't over-react to allergens when they get older.

For yes. How did you...

And when the Berlin wall came down, it was expected that asthma rates would be much higher in the dirty, polluted East than the squeaky clean West, but in fact cities in West Germany had asthma rates of two and a half times those in the East.

Why was that then?

Because East German kids come from larger families, get more childhood infections and use fewer antibiotics. So once again, their immune systems get properly primed. Pollution can trigger asthma attacks but isn't a primary cause - did you know asthma is just as common on the Isle of Sky as in inner London? No. Have a bonus mark.

Thank you. Now, has extract of Berlin Wall been used as a homeopathic remedy?

Yes for ...

No, let me guess. To reunify a patient's symptoms or psychological state...

Well done

And vaccination is there, I presume, because like homeopathy it works on the principle of treating like with like ...

Yes, only homeopathy doesn't work. Ha ha ha.

I disagree. There's an increasing body of evidence to suggest it may have an effect in conditions such as hay fever.

A point off for being a smart arse.

Now West Africa and vaccination. Wasn't there a study that children who were vaccinated against measles were twice as likely to develop asthma in later childhood than those who had measles infection.

So was the immunisation programme stopped?

No, because children who weren't vaccinated were much more likely to die from measles, especially if they were poorly nourished or chronically ill.

And what about the UK?

Between 1970 and 1988, uptake of the vaccine was patchy and there were on average 13 deaths per year from measles and over 20 children with permanent brain damage. Since 1989, most GPs have immunised 90 per cent of eligible children and deaths have fallen to less than two a year.

And what made GPs increase their immunisation rates?

Money. Currently GPs get pounds 2,340 for hitting the 90 per cent target. This has helped reduce deaths not just from measles but from diphtheria, haemophilus meningitis, polio, whooping cough, congenital rubella and tetanus. On the downside, some parents don't feel they get an informed choice when their doctor has a pecuniary incentive to jab the kids and a few have been struck off the list for refusing (and hence jeopardising the target payment).

So what about autism?

I've no idea if it's linked to the MMR vaccine - but given the media scare it would be even more unreasonable to strike a family off who didn't want it. At present I'm unconvinced by the evidence and will continue to have my kids immunised but I know GPs who've stopped.

Remember 1976?

Exactly. There was a scare about whooping cough vaccine and brain damage, and although a later study found that lasting damage was so rare as to be unquantifiable, vaccination rates dropped to 30 per cent over 300,000 children went down with whooping cough and at least 70 died.

Life and Style
Small winemakers say the restriction makes it hard to sell overseas
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
A comedy show alumni who has gone on to be a big star, Jon Stewart
tvRival television sketch shows vie for influential alumni
Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Hope Fletcher
booksFirst video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
News
Clare Balding
peopleClare Balding on how women's football is shaking up sport
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Sport
Lewis Hamtilon and pole-sitter Nico Rosberg
SportShould F1's most aggressive driver curb his instincts in title decider?
Arts and Entertainment
Damien Hirst
artCoalition's anti-culture policy and cuts in local authority spending to blame, says academic
Sport
premier leagueMatch report: Arsenal 1 Man United 2
Arts and Entertainment
Kirk Cameron is begging his Facebook fans to give him positive reviews
film
News
i100
Sport
Jonny May scores for England
rugby unionEngland 28 Samoa 9: Wing scores twice to help England record their first win in six
Life and Style
fashionThe Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Arts and Entertainment
Jason goes on a special mission for the queen
tvReview: Everyone loves a CGI Cyclops and the BBC's Saturday night charmer is getting epic
Arts and Entertainment
Jerry Hall (Hand out press photograph provided by jackstanley@theambassadors.com)
theatre
Sport
Tony Bellew (left) and Nathan Cleverly clash at the Echo Arena in Liverpool
boxingLate surge sees Liverpudlian move into world title contention
Voices
Neil Findlay
voicesThe vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Life and Style
food + drinkMeat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Reach Volunteering: Financial Trustee and Company Secretary

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Manager

£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Shopfitter

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a successful an...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Sales Account Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Sales Account Manager...

Day In a Page

Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin