The number of children with short-sightedness, myopia has doubled in the last 50 years. Mark finds out why atropine eye drops, which are widely used in China and Singapore, are being trialled on children in the UK to help prevent the progression of myopia. Professor Augusto Azuara-Blanco from Queens University Belfast explains.
And is muscle more dense than fat? Jason Gill, professor of cardio metabolic health at the University of Glasgow discusses how even a small amount of fat loss can have hugely significant health benefits. Elaine Dennison, professor of Musculoskeletal Epidemiology at the University of Southampton explains why muscle is an under researched part of the body and how we lose muscle mass and strength in middle age and what we can do to prevent it.
BBC News anchor George Alagiah has gone public with the news that his bowel cancer has come back three years after it was diagnosed at an advanced stage. He has questioned why screening starts at different ages in different parts of the UK. If he lived in Scotland where the bowel cancer screening programme starts at 50, up to 10 years before the rest of the country, he would have been screened earlier and his cancer might have been picked up earlier, making it easier to treat. Inside Health's Dr Margaret McCartney discusses the complexities involved in rolling out national screening programmes and tells Mark why there's a difference in Scotland and the rest of the UK about the starting age for bowel screening.
Until a couple of years ago, children who were born without a limb, or those who lost a limb after illness or injury, could get a traditional prosthesis, or artificial limb fitted, but it was a limb of the most basic kind which would enable them to walk, but not to run or do sports. But thanks to money released into a special fund by the Department of Health in England, for the last 18 months these children have been fitted with the high-tech futuristic-looking prostheses - racing blades - that allow them to run, jump and compete in all sorts of activities and sports. Mark visits a paediatric rehabilitation clinic at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in Stanmore and meets the children who are benefiting from these new activity blades.
A group of psychiatrists, psychologists and patients have complained to the Royal College of Psychiatrists about the withdrawal effects of antidepressants. They say claims that side effects are resolved, for the majority of patients, within a few weeks of stopping treatment are false and in fact, many people suffer unpleasant, frightening symptoms for much longer. Inside Health's Dr Margaret McCartney looks at the evidence.
We're all familiar with hearing aids, amplifiers which boost volume in a failing ear. And you might have heard of cochlear implants which, in people too deaf for aids, can be used to send signals directly to the inner part of the ear, and on to the brain. But in the future we're likely to hear more about middle ear implants, devices implanted because the outer ear hasn't developed properly. ENT surgeons at Guy's and St Thomas' Hospital in London, Professor Dan Jiang and Harry Powell, have performed a middle ear implant on the UK's youngest ever patient, Charlotte Wright was just three years old when she had this pioneering treatment.
Producer: Fiona Hill.
Many patients, as Margaret hears, are paying for the devices out of their own pockets and the charity UK Diabetes is keeping tabs on which areas of the NHS are funding flash glucose monitors after they came on NHS license four months ago. Policy Manager Nikki Joule tells Mark that they'll lobby hard on behalf of patients denied access to this life-changing technology. Meanwhile Dr Partha Kar, Associate National Clinical Director for Diabetes at NHS England urges clinical commissioning groups to review national guidance and where patients are multiple testing or at risk of the life-threatening high sugar level condition, ketoacidosis, allow access.
Enthusiastic headlines following the recent Lancet study of antidepressants claimed the drugs work, that they're better than placebo and that more should be prescribed. Inside Health's Dr Margaret McCartney takes a closer look at the large meta-analysis of over 500 clinical trials.
Every year in the UK almost 200,000 hip and knees get replaced, mainly because of osteoarthritis. But if the damaged cartilage could be repaired in younger people, would this prevent arthritis and a replacement joint later in life? Researchers have been using stem cell therapy to re-line damaged joints but it's an expensive and complex process, which up to now has involved two stages, one to harvest the stem cells and another, weeks later, to put the tissue back into the injured joint. But now a team at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital at Stanmore has developed a one stop operation. Stem cells are harvested from the pelvis and then in the same operation, put back into injured knees to "seed" new cartilage . George Bentley, emeritus Professor of Orthopaedics, orthopaedic surgeon James Donaldson and patient, Nick Brown, talk to Inside Health about this pioneering new treatment.
Producer: Fiona Hill.
The number of drug related deaths has soared in recent years and this is against a background of growing concern about the misuse of prescription medicines - particularly morphine type painkillers - and the burgeoning popularity of novel psychoactive substances like spice and mamba. But this changing drugs scene has been accompanied by changing attitudes and approaches to what helps addicts recover. A new European survey - in England, Scotland, Belgium and the Netherlands - led by David Best, Professor of Criminology at Sheffield Hallam University aims to map what has helped people out of their drug addiction and he tells Mark this will better shape policy and services.
Advances in pacemaker technology mean that many people who are prone to life-threatening heart rhythm disturbances, will have, inside their chests, their own internal defibrillators, known as implantable cardioverter defibrillators, or ICDs. These tiny devices, not much bigger than a matchbox, sit in the upper chest and monitor the heart. When they detect a problem they automatically deliver a shock, direct to the organ. This is life-saving technology but arrhythmia specialist nurse, Charlene Hogan from St Thomas' Hospital in London six years ago set up a support group for patients with ICDs, because she realised that there was enormous anxiety about when the device might fire. The group meets three to four times a year and Inside Health reports from their most recent get together.
Producer: Fiona Hill.
Almost a decade ago, researchers in Scotland coined the term "The Glasgow Effect" after they exposed the shocking fact that premature deaths were 30% higher in Scotland's biggest city compared with cities with similar histories like Liverpool and Manchester. Since then studies have highlighted a toxic combination of social, political and economic decisions which adversely affected the health of Glaswegians. Sir Harry Burns, the former Chief Medical Officer for Scotland, now Professor of Global Public Health at the University of Strathclyde, talks to Mark about why the phrase "The Glasgow Effect" has fallen out of favour and what he thinks should be done to address continuing health inequality.
Glasgow - in fact the UK as a whole - has one of the highest rates in the world of mesothelioma, a cancer which attacks the lining of the lung and which is directly linked to the breathing in of asbestos fibres. From her home city, Inside Health's Dr Margaret McCartney reports from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Glasgow, which is a specialist centre for patients with this cancer. She talks to Robert Henderson, who contracted mesothelioma fifty years after working as an apprentice electrician and to 68 year old Boyd McNicol, who worked as an art teacher in a school full of asbestos when he was in his 20s. Their doctor, Kevin Blyth, is a respiratory consultant who coordinates a mesothelioma service across Western Scotland. He tells Margaret that the 20, 30, 40 and even 50 year time lag between exposure to asbestos and a diagnosis of mesothelioma means that the cancer will still be claiming lives for many years to come and urgent new treatments are needed.
Producer: Fiona Hill.
Plus clarity on headlines that women who've had the HPV vaccine to prevent cervical cancer will need far fewer smear tests in future. But how will the national screening programme know for sure who has been vaccinated - and who hasn't? And Margaret McCartney's thoughts on other news that women treated for breast cancer who carry the BRCA1 and BRCA2 mutations that dramatically increase the risk of developing the disease, are just as likely to survive their illness as women who don't.
Kevin Fong explores new ways that people with heart failure can be helped. He talks to Dr Doris Taylor, director of the Center for Cell and Organ Biotechnology, at the Texas Heart Institute, in Houston, about her research into growing hearts from stem cells. Kevin discusses the prospect of taking organs from pigs and using them for so-called xenotransplants with cardiothoracic surgeon Prof John Dark, of Newcastle University, who says this approach has not delivered benefits.
An alternative to a heart transplant is the left ventricular assist device (LVAD) - an artificial pump that helps the left side of the heart do its job. This has shrunk from a large external piece of kit to a tiny battery-operated device that can be implanted into the chest. For the first year, they are as effective as a transplant, but they have a risk of infection, and they are not always easy to live with. Kevin meets patient Vincenzo Avanzato who had an LVAD that became infected and then a successful transplant.
Kevin also talks to surgeon Mr Andre Simon of Harefield Hospital about the future of completely mechanical hearts made of metal and plastic.
Cow's milk allergy is the most common food allergy among infants and it affects at least one in 50 babies, toddlers and pre-school children in the UK. It's an allergic reaction to the protein in cow's milk. There are two different types though and one type, called delayed cow's milk allergy, is often missed by health care professionals because it's easily confused with other common conditions. Lucy Wronka tells Inside Health her baby son George was ill for months with reflux, eczema and an upset stomach. It was only a chance meeting with a friend who recognised the symptoms that led to a diagnosis of delayed cow's milk allergy. Twenty four hours after diagnosis and treatment, Lucy says George was a different baby. Dr Adam Fox, paediatric allergist at the Evelina London Children's Hospital explains the difference between the two different types of cow's milk allergy and discusses new guidance for GPs and health visitors which are designed to improve diagnosis.
One of Europe's largest robotic pharmacies is housed in Glasgow and this super high-tech hub has replaced fourteen separate pharmacy stores. It handles almost a hundred thousand packs of medicines a week and Inside Health's Dr Margaret McCartney, herself a GP in the city, reports on how this automation has transformed pharmacy services in Greater Glasgow and Clyde.
It's been over thirty years since there was a breakthrough in the treatment of pneumonia, but that could soon change .and from an surprising source. Researchers in Birmingham at Queen Elizabeth Hospital have been working with the cholesterol-lowering drugs, statins, and discovered that this medication can turbo-charge our immune systems, helping us to fight infection. Dr Liz Sapey, respiratory consultant and researcher tells Dr Mark Porter about the exciting possibility of tablets that cost just a few pence each, being used to treat potentially deadly lung infections like pneumonia.
Epilepsy is normally controlled by anti-seizure medication but for a third of patients, pills don't work, and constant fits can have a devastating impact on the developing brain. Neurosurgery - removal or disconnection of parts of the brain where the seizures originate - is now done at a much younger age in patients with untreatable epilepsy. Operating on children takes advantage of brain plasticity. Mark visits Bristol Children's Hospital, one of four national centres which since 2011 have offered increased access to epilepsy surgery. Paediatric neurosurgeon Mike Carter is part of the national drive to operate on children before they are two years old, all to take advantage of brain plasticity. Mark meets 8 year old Lucy, 20 days after she had major surgery to remove a finger-nail sized portion deep in her brain. Lucy's father, Mark Nettle, describes how, before surgery, his daughter had suffered from multiple daily seizures with increasing weakness down the left side of her body. The possibility of ending these debilitating attacks made surgery an attractive option.
Producer: Fiona Hill.
service over the age of 16. Dr Google - are doctors' noses really being put out of joint by patients searching their
symptoms on the internet to come up with their own diagnoses? Hypermobility is being double jointed and
flexible and is often perceived as an asset, but for around 1 in 30 of the population it can be a problem that is
often missed - and mismanaged. Plus a counterintuitive approach to help people with Chronic Obstructive
Pulmonary Disease. You might think the last thing someone with breathing difficulties needs is smaller lungs,
but lung reduction surgery is exactly what's being offered some people with COPD.
litigation after suffering serious complications. But there have been concerns ever since the first type of vaginal
mesh was launched in the mid-nineties, only to be withdrawn a few years later. Carl Heneghan, Professor of Evidence Based Medicine
at the University of Oxford, explains the 'shambolic' regulation of medical devices, Consultant gynaecologist Swati Jha, who has been collecting data on
mesh for over a decade, believes media coverage has been muddled. Women speak of living with surgery, while Inside Health's
Dr Margaret McCartney calls for a registry to collect effective data.
Plus, new guidance in Scotland challenges the so called 'J-shaped curve' - evidence that moderate drinking is good for the heart.
Naveed Sattar, Professor of Metabolic Medicine at the University of Glasgow and part of the committee that produced the updated guidance,
talks to Mark Porter about the changes.
the child's immune system attacks the lining of the joints causing pain, swelling and stiffness. But the joints aren't the only part of the body affected. Around one in six of the 12,000 children in the UK with juvenile idiopathic arthritis also develop worrying inflammation in their eyes, uveitis. This is a silent, symptomless condition which can result in significant visual impairment and even blindness. But a new drug treatment, tested in the UK, has proved to be so successful for this group of children that it has revolutionised treatment both in this country and around the world. The benefits were so large that the trial was stopped early and the new therapy adopted as frontline treatment. Dr Mark Porter visits the Bristol Eye Hospital and meets paediatric rheumatology consultant, Professor Athimalaipet Ramanan to find out more.
Bigger babies can get stuck in the final stages of labour - a condition called shoulder dystocia. Most are delivered safely but there are both enormous risks to the baby through lack of oxygen and a traumatic experience for the mother. Professor of Obstetrics at Warwick Medical School, Siobhan Quenby, tells Mark that a nationwide trial of big baby births aims to find out whether delivering the child two weeks early, at 38 weeks, reduces shoulder dystocia and makes the birth safer for mother and child.
A report by NHS England highlights cost savings of around £100,000 for GP practices that use telephone triage for patients. But the first independent evaluation of this system, where everyone speaks to a doctor on the phone before they get a face to face appointment suggests that policy makers should reconsider their unequivocal support. Inside Health contributor Dr Margaret McCartney, herself a GP, reviews the findings.
Several thousand people a year, many of them children, are admitted to hospital every year with serious burns. One of the country's leading centres for burns victims is at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham. As well as serving 13 million people in the local area, the Healing Foundation UK Burns Research Centre treats injured service personnel, airlifted from conflict zones in Iraq and Afghanistan. Mark gets a tour of the unit from director Naiem Moieman and finds out about the newest research on burns treatment which uses some of the oldest remedies.
The Care Quality Commission, who is responsible for inspections, has found that 2/3 residential drug and alcohol treatment services failed to meet the required standard. Dr Paul Lelliott, Deputy Chief Investigator of hospitals at the CQC, explains what was discovered.
The correct use of medical language is a topic close to Inside Health so Margaret McCartney was naturally drawn to discuss news this week about the misuse of the term Schizophrenia.
And as London hosts the first ever Cardio-Oncology Summit in Europe, specialists from both fields discuss how to treat and prevent heart problems in people undergoing therapy for cancer.
Margaret McCartney and Mark Porter visit men in north London looking for the physical and mental benefits of community sheds.
The obesity paradox - can being overweight sometimes be beneficial? Gavin Murphy, British Heart Foundation Professor of Cardiac Surgery at the University of Leicester and Naveed Sattar, Professor of Metabolic Medicine at the University of Glasgow, debate the latest research suggesting that obese people are more likely to survive heart surgery than their slimmer peers.
Are clinical trials good for you? We examine the evidence behind conventional wisdom that people taking part in research tend to fare better - whatever their illness.
An area of medicine not often discussed on Inside Health is pathology. Mark visits the morgue at St Mary's Hospital in London to speak to pathologist Mike Osborn. What happens to your body after death? What is rigor mortis? And how much do crime dramas on TV get right?
Finally, what time of day should you be taking your blood pressure medication? Millions of people take drugs to control their blood pressure and reduce their risk of heart attacks and strokes. Most people will take their medications in the morning but with many heart attacks and strokes happening during nighttime hours, just when the medication might be wearing off, should we be considering evening dosing instead? A new online trial has enrolled 21,000 people and aims to find out what time of day is best to take blood pressure medications. Mark speaks to Dr Amy Rogers from the University of Dundee who is in charge of the trial.
Producer: Lorna Stewart.
Whether or not a severely injured person will receive blood products at the scene of an accident depends on which air ambulance service they are attended by: some air ambulances replace lost blood with red blood cells, but others replace only with saline solution. Evidence from military casualties in Afghanistan suggests giving blood before patients reach hospital leads to better survival rates, but evidence from civilian populations in the UK is less clear. A new randomised controlled trial, being conducted by six air ambulance services, will investigate which course of action has the best outcomes for patients. Mark visits the Midlands Air Ambulance to hear more from lead investigator and trauma anaesthetist Dr Nick Crombie and critical care paramedic Jim Hancox.
Phantom limb pain - pain in an amputated limb - is a common complaint among amputees. Pain medication rarely solves the problem and there is is no known cure. But now a trial in Sweden is using augmented reality to help patients relearn how to move their missing limb, and showing that chronic pain can be reduced. Mark talks to lead researcher Dr Max Ortiz.
And Margaret McCartney takes a look at the evidence for that dinner party favourite - the sitting-rising test - which proponents have claimed can predict how long you might live.
The last few months have seen the service creaking under unprecedented demand, and there is likely to be worse to come. Something needs to give. Is it simply a matter of more resources, or do we also need to change our expectations of what the NHS provides? Is rationalisation and rationing the way forward?
Dr Mark Porter discusses the issues with a panel including Clare Marx, president of the Royal College of Surgeons, Chris Hopson, chief executive of NHS Providers, David Haslam, chair of NICE, Prof Sir Nick Black, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and regular contributor Margaret McCartney GP. Issues discussed include whether the NHS should continue to be free at the point of use. Is there too much bureaucracy with too many bosses? Was the internal market evidence based, has it worked and was it fair? Rationing of treatments. And can the NHS be taken out of politics? Inside Health listeners set the agenda by emailing the programme - some of whom joined the audience - so thank you for all your input.
Margaret McCartney writes:
The NHS is never far from the headlines, but the last few months have depicted a service in crisis. It's been made clear that there will be no more money from central government - so what needs to give?
Clare Marx, explained the angst of her members who wanted to operate on people but had been forbidden to. Nick Black, discussed the types of surgery that were now being placed off limits - like hip replacement surgery - even though they were very cost effective. Because of the way hospitals are funded, it is these useful operations that are being stopped rather than the much less cost effective prescription of some very expensive cancer drugs. Chris Hopson described tensions between the expectations being placed on the NHS to provide excellent care despite the funding gap to actually provide it. And David Haslam, chief executive of NICE, expressed his disquiet that patients could no longer expect a consistent service across the NHS. Instead, different Clinical Commissioning Groups decided themselves how many rounds of IVF to fund, for example. The result was a patchwork of provision, and was inherently unfair.
Is rationing therefore the way forward? Some listeners had emailed in suggesting that the NHS shouldn't fund treatments for 'smokers, drinkers and the obese'. Others that people should pay for hospital meals, or there should be a charge made for GP consultations. We already have charges for some things - for example, prescriptions in England, or dental check ups for many people - but as Clare Marx pointed out, removal of teeth is the commonest childhood operation, so can we really say this policy has been successful? I don't believe that we have the evidence to show this is safe: the bureaucracy would be sizeable - I had to sign 12 bits of paper for a routine check when my kids and I last went to the dentist - and then there are unintended consequences. Paying for appointments turns us in to consumers - would doctors feel obliged to give us treatments that people want, even when they don't work well, aren't cost effective or do net harm?
Listeners wanted to know if the NHS was over managed - and had strong opinions on how much could be saved if we got rid of middle managers in particular. But Chris Hopson pointed out that we spend less than the very efficient Germany on hospital managers, and Clare Marx said that hospitals are highly complex places needing a huge amount of organisation to run smoothly. For me it is a question of what managers are doing - is it of value to patients, or is it a waste of time?
Nick Black argued that there was a great deal of waste still in the NHS - and suggested that the internal NHS market may have had some advantages to start off with, but now, the 4.5 billion a year estimated to be spent on it could be better used elsewhere. There is no doubt that the process of bidding and judging for commissioning costs time and money, but how to stop the problem of bad and wasteful policy in the first place? Could politics be taken out of the NHS? I was on my own, arguing that party politics had done avoidable harm to the NHS and that cross party working - as we see in the Health Select Committee and the National Audit Office - was possible. My fellow panellists argued that since the budget of the NHS was such a large amount of money it would be impossible to disentangle it from politics: but Chris Hopson pointed out that defence spending, for example, was ring fenced. The audience overwhelmingly voted to be taxed more to pay for the NHS. If we were sure that extra money would go on human level care, and not wasteful, non evidence based policy making, I would support it completely. But we are not, as a population, being given that option.
Virtual Reality is being harnessed to help people recover from serious brain injury following accidents or strokes, and in conditions like Parkinson's disease and dementia. Mark visits a clinic in Salford where they're using virtual reality in neuro-rehabilitation.
And treating sore throats with antibiotics. Sore throats are common accounting for 1.2 million GP consultations every year in England alone - and they affect many millions more who don't see their doctor. Most are viral and self-limiting, but around 1 in 10 are caused by a bacteria and may benefit from antibiotics. The tricky bit is telling the difference between the two but a new pharmacy-based test and treat initiative may help. Mark speaks to Peter Wilson, one of the authors of the pilot study, and Margaret McCartney is on hand to examine the evidence.
Mark Porter visits a 'poo bank' in Portsmouth where donated faecal matter is being frozen and stored for later use in patients with Clostridium difficile or C. diff.
And midwife Mervi Jokinen and our own Margaret McCartney take a look at the evidence for waterbirths. Is giving birth in water less painful? And is it safe?
Producer: Lorna Stewart.
Familial Hypercholesterolaemia, also known as FH means that you have inherited high cholesterol levels and the consequences of this, if you don't know about it, can be deadly. Over half of men with FH will have a heart attack before they are 55, a third of women with FH before they're 60. But a simple genetic test can identify the condition and with a good diet, exercise and lipid lowering drugs like statins, people can live long and healthy lives. Steve Humphries, Professor of Cardiovascular Genetics at University College London tells Mark that only 15,000 people in the UK have a diagnosis of FH but it's thought that almost a quarter of a million people could in fact have the condition. So the race is on to identify and diagnose the thousands who don't know that they're carrying the suspect genes. Lorraine Priestley-Barnham, an FH clinical nurse specialist at Harefield Hospital in Middlesex describes the cascade testing being rolled out across the country in a programme supported by the British Heart Foundation. And three generations of the same family, father Chris, daughter Joanne and grandson, six year old Alfie, tell Inside Health how they found out they have FH.
Delirium - an acute confused state with hallucinations and psychosis - is incredibly common in hospitals. One in five patients can experience it, many more in intensive care. Fiona tells Mark about her own experience in ICU after major surgery last year, when she believed she was being held prisoner and experimented on. She tried to escape from the ward and her daughter, Catherine, describes how distressing it was to witness her mother in such a terrified state. Julie Darbyshire, Critical Care Research Manager at the University of Oxford has done some of the first research into patients' experience of delirium and ICU consultant pharmacist, Mark Borthwick, who has a special interest in the condition, tells Mark about the different types of delirium.
Headlines this week from a New Zealand study suggested midwife-led births mean worse outcomes for babies compared with doctor-led care - contradicting other research in the area. Inside Health's Dr Margaret McCartney assesses the new study and concludes the evidence still points to midwife-led care providing reassuringly good outcomes for low risk pregnancies.
Imagine being sick for hours, days at a time, recovering for a few weeks, only for the whole cycle to start again as regular as clockwork. Roger McCleery has Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome and every couple of months he's so sick he ends up in hospital, from where he told Mark about the life-changing nature of this unpleasant condition. Consultant paediatric gastroenterologist, Sonny Chong from St Helier Hospital in Surrey who has a special interest in CVS, outlines the possible causes and treatments.
Hospitals are getting noisier but in intensive and critical care, 24 hour operations, the noise can be intense, as loud as a busy restaurant with peaks of sound as loud as a pneumatic drill. Researcher Julie Darbyshire, critical care research programme manager at the Kadoorie Centre for Critical Care at the Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences, has been involved in efforts at intensive care units across the Thames Valley to identify excess noise and take steps to muffle it. Peter Edmonds tells Mark how much sleep he missed being in ICU when he was a patient and Matron and Clinical Director at Oxford University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, Matt Holdaway, outlines how staff have embraced efforts to cut noise levels.
A new way of tracking cancer, through the blood, not from a biopsy of the tumour, is exciting oncologists worldwide. A liquid biopsy, a simple blood test, is proving to be a hugely promising development in cancer treatment. Circulating tumour DNA is measured in the blood, giving doctors the chance to target new treatments for the particular type of cancer. Dr Mark Porter talks to one of the pioneers in this field, Dr Nick Turner at The Royal Marsden Hospital and team leader at the Institute of Cancer Research about what liquid biopsies could, in the future, mean for cancer care.
Traditional advice to parents has been to delay the introduction of foods like peanuts and eggs when they wean their babies onto solid food, in order to reduce the risk of food allergies later in life. But conventional wisdom has been turned on its head with a new body of evidence suggesting the opposite is true. In a new survey of the latest data, the Director of Imperial College's Paediatric Research Unit, Dr Robert Boyle, tells Mark that the two most common childhood food allergies, to peanuts and eggs, may be prevented by introducing them early.
How accurate are parents when they're measuring out liquid medicine for their children? Not at all, according to a new study. Dr Margaret McCartney discusses the findings that 84% of the 2,000 or so volunteer parents made at least one error, and 20% made a big error. Scary stuff. But there's advice on how to avoid giving your sick child the wrong dose.