SIRC Media Watch Archive
Panics and Scares – December 2002

Penalty shoot-outs can trigger heart attacks. Heart attacks increased by 25% when England lost to Argentina in a penalty shoot-out in the 1998 World Cup, concludes a study in this week's Christmas issue of the BMJ. "Aside from issues of sporting fairness, perhaps the lottery of the penalty shoot-out should be abandoned on public health grounds." BMJ.

Echinacea 'does not cure colds'. The herbal remedy echinacea, taken by millions to cure colds, does not work, US research has shown. It found that cold sufferers taking echinacea were actually ill for longer than those who took dummy pills. BBC.

A cure for the munchies? Stimulation of appetite is one of the most commonly related effects of marijuana in humans … SR141716, a potent and selective central cannabinoid (CB1) receptor antagonist … selectively attenuates the consumption of palatable food or drink. It decreases sucrose intake in rats, alcohol consumption in mice and sweet diet intake in marmosets … As the majority of human obesity is partly due to difficulty in regulating intake in the face of an increased availability of palatable foods, SR141716 may provide a new interesting way for the treatment of this disorder. EurekAlert.

Dirty pools are bad for you. Dirt and make-up from swimmers can react with chlorine in pool water to form harmful compounds which, at high levels, could cause cancer. The Scotsman.

Chocolate 'could cure coughs'. Chocolate could provide the key for a new kind of cough medicine. But experts say patients should not take the news as a licence to eat lots of chocolate bars if they are sick. BBC.

Unsupervised Teens Have More Sex. The less after-school supervision teens have, the more likely they are to have sex, new research says. ABC News.