SIRC Media Watch Archive
Scares and Miracles – December 2000

Night shifts 'increase breast cancer risk'. Scientists have produced more evidence that night work can damage health. An analysis of data from Denmark suggests women who work at night may be at an increased risk of developing breast cancer. BBC.

Meat 'bad for bone health' Elderly women who get too much protein from animal products like meat and cheese risk fractures and bone loss, researchers are warning. BBC.

British soldiers may brave the thunder of battle but they need protection from the noise of their own brass bands, health officials have warned. The Ministry of Defense said on Thursday an army safety audit had found that the musical assault on soldiers' eardrums from military bands violated "Noise at Work Regulations". Reuters.

Watching sport 'bad for your health'. Most Dutch people have unhappy memories of the England – Holland match in the 1996 European Championships – but they are the lucky ones. Researchers have found that the number of fatal heart attacks and strokes suffered by Dutchmen on the day of England's 4-1 win in Euro 96 was significantly higher than normal. They believe the reason could be the increased stress associated with watching a big sporting event. BMJ, BBC, Independent.

Is the PS2 a Defense Risk? According to one report on, the PlayStation2 shortage may be exacerbated by the exportation of hundreds of the units to Iraq. According to the report, several PS2 units can be bundled together to create a primitive super computer…Some fear that Iraq will attempt to create an unmanned, remotely controlled flying vehicle capable of delivering chemical weapons. Daily Radar.

Seventies Christmas songs can give you Glam Rock Shoulder. Doctors around the country have diagnosed a new complaint called Glam Rock Shoulder which affects Christmas party ravers. It hits people who punch the air soccer-style as they leap around the dance floor to classic seasonal songs such as Merry Christmas Everybody, I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day and Hi Ho Silver Lining. Ananova.

Coffee 'increases miscarriage risk'. Drinking more than four cups of coffee a day during early pregnancy risks miscarriage, warn researchers. They say the chances of having a miscarriage double. BBC.

Just for starters, eat more avocado to protect your liver from disease. Avocados contain potent chemicals that may prevent liver damage and could be developed into new drugs, scientists said yesterday. Japanese researchers made the discovery after feeding 22 different fruits to rats that had liver damage caused by a powerful toxin, to see if the fruits could provide protection. Independent.

Ferret owners fight NYC ban. Shelton Crute, a 22-year-old student who recently adopted two ferrets, Isabella and Coyote, said the animals sit on her lap and shoulders. "Coyote and Isabella are not a threat to public health," Crute said. "They are my family." New Jersey Online.

 UK doctors warned about bad handwriting. The General Medical Council (GMC) is warning doctors that bad handwriting and failure to help members of the public in an emergency are no longer acceptable. Although illegible handwriting within the profession is legendary, the latest edition of the GMC's Good Medical Practice booklet, which lays down the standards expected of doctors, says records must be "clear, accurate, legible and contemporaneous." Reuters.

No sex thanks, we're British. Complacency over safe sex is being blamed for a dramatic rise in cases of sexually transmitted diseases. BBC.

Smokers' cancer risk 'cut by coffee'. Drinking coffee may be able to cut a smoker's chances of developing bladder cancer, according to research. It has been long known that smokers are at risk of developing bladder cancer, and prior to the Spanish study, coffee was also thought to increase the risk slightly. BBC.

Is your nail salon safe?…there are fears that, if not properly regulated, the nail care business could pose health risks. Experts are concerned about the potentially hazardous chemicals used in nail products and the qualifications of technicians handling them. Telegraph.

Kids get marching orders. Parents should be forced to drop kids off hundreds of metres from the school gates to help them shed weight, a child obesity conference was told yesterday. Experts called for special "drop and kiss" zones away from schools to encourage students to walk and stay fit. Herald Sun.

 All beat up over staying healthy. Some elderly folks have taken up an exercise which involves hitting themselves to keep fit. But doctors and experts here have not heard of it. Straits Times.

'Unsafe' hydrogel breast implant is withdrawn from sale. A second type of breast implant was withdrawn from sale yesterday after government investigators concluded it could not be regarded as safe. But "No definite risk has been identified. There are no known cases of harm caused by these breast implants and there is no evidence to suggest they should be removed from women who currently have them" … the department said. Independent.

Cat-lovers 'can make you sneeze' People who are allergic to cats may find their condition made worse by sitting next to someone who owns cats, researchers say. A study suggests that cat allergens – the things that make people sneeze if they are allergic to cats – cling to cat-owners' clothes, particularly wool sweaters. BBC.

Conkers get the boot as schools fear lawsuits. Traditional playground games like British bulldog, conker fights and even football and skipping are being banned from schools because head-teachers fear they will be sued if children get injured, according to research published today. Guardian.

Warning of RSI risk in computer games. A doctor warned parents yesterday of the dangers of "nintendonitis" after treating a schoolboy who suffered an arm injury because he spent too much time playing computer games. Telegraph.

Working teens likely to feel joint, muscle pain. Teens who work during the school year are at higher risk for muscle and joint pain, according to researchers in Canada. Reuters.

Washing up bowls 'a health hazard'. Many commonly used kitchen implements are a threat to health and should be thrown away, scientists have warned … Professor Hugh Pennington, from the University of Aberdeen, one of Britain's leading infection experts, said: "I would like to get rid of washing-up bowls altogether. They are an absolute menace." BBC.

Holy Water. For years this health mantra has been drummed into us by fitness and beauty experts: drink eight glasses of water a day. And the reward for glugging down our daily two-litre dose would be plump, clear skin, sparkling eyes and a body free of toxins…Now health experts are concerned that some of us have taken the water remedy too far and say we are, at best, wasting our time by drinking too much water and at worst, actually causing dehydration. Scotsman.

Bunk bed injury warning. Putting a small child in a bunk bed may save space, or make them feel more grown-up, but it can lead to serious injuries. BBC.

New Fad May Scoot Riders Right Into the Emergency Room. The latest fad that's sure to be under lots of Christmas trees this year could be dangerous and even deadly. That's the latest news from the Consumer Product Safety Commission on those scooters that every kid in America seems to want. OnHealth.

The Danger in Delay. Chronic procrastinators can suffer stress, self-doubt, and poor health. Are you at risk? In our computer-driven society, people can opt for hyperefficiency, but they can also mindlessly procrastinate with endless electronic distractions. The resulting damage -- while often trivialized -- can be severe, stunting careers and leaving lives mired in shame and self-doubt. Fox News.

Criticism on the job may lead to low back pain. On-the-job criticism may hurt your back as well as your feelings, researchers report. Investigators found that workers who are subjected to criticism when carrying out physical tasks on the job may be more likely to injure themselves. Reuters.

Egg cartons to carry warning. Egg cartons will soon bear safety warnings designed to help Americans avoid food poisoning…"You just need to cook your eggs thoroughly – no sunny-side up, no over-easy," advised FDA Commissioner Jane Henney. "This is a case when it's better to be safe than sorry." Nando Times.

Pool chalk can be source of lead poisoning. While most of today's parents are aware of the dangers of lead poisoning and its common sources (leaded paint, contaminated soil, and water from lead pipes), doctors in the UK have identified another potential source of lead poisoning: pool chalk--the tiny cubes of chalk used in playing pool. Reuters.

Urban Men Living in Danger. Be afraid. Be very afraid if you are a man living in a city. A man living 'la vida' urban increases his likelihood of dying prematurely by 125 percent compared to a man residing in either the suburbs or bucolic rural areas. ABC News.