SIRC Media Watch Archive
Panics and Scares – March 2002

Health warning: BST + DIY = 999. The rare combination of Easter and the move to British Summer Time has resulted in a leisure bonanza for millions of Scots this weekend. But there will be a price to pay for the light nights and spare time as people rush to start DIY projects or take up sport after the winter. Scotland on Sunday.

UK weather is good for you. Fed up with cloudy skies and rainy days? Scientists have come up with evidence that the notorious British climate may not be such a bad thing after all. BBC.

Prozac cancer 'scare' under attack. The scientist whose work sparked fears over a link between antidepressants and cancer has urged patients to keep taking their drugs. Professor John Gordon, from the University of Birmingham, says that no link has been proven…There are fears that patients alarmed by a newspaper report suggesting the link between antidepressants and cancer might suddenly choose to stop taking their drugs. BBC

Sunlight prevents cancer, study says. Insufficient exposure to ultraviolet radiation may be an important risk factor for cancer in western Europe and North America, according to the author of a new study that directly contradicts official advice about sunlight. BMJ

Dextrous thumbs a Darwinian advantage, study says. The capacity to grip implements using an "opposable thumb", shared by no other creature in the world, has acquired a new significance thousands of years after it gave mankind mastery of the planet, scientists have found…Text messaging, e-mailing and zapping electronic enemies has developed the thumb into the hand's most muscled and dextrous digit. Independent

British men are less fertile than hamsters. Pollution may be to blame for collapse in sperm counts in industrialised world. Sperm counts are falling dramatically across Britain and the rest of industrialised world, and scientists are increasingly convinced that pollution is to blame. Independent

British eaters who like rare meat sign disclaimers. Some restaurants in Britain are forcing customers who like their meat rare to sign a disclaimer form before eating due to fears of the risk of E. coli and salmonella poisoning, the Sunday Times newspaper reported. It said that restaurants including food chains Planet Hollywood, All Bar One and Shoeless Joe's were prepared to serve rare hamburgers, sausages or minced beef only if diners complete forms giving up rights to take legal action. Reuters

Four in 10 office staff 'allergic to work'. Four in 10 office workers become sick because of allergies caused by work. The British Allergy Foundation says there's a "mini-epidemic of allergies" with around seven million employees suffering because of office-related problems. Symptoms include headaches, lethargy, breathing problems and itchy skin. Ananova

Death risk from freak sports injuries. Strong blows to the chest often innocently delivered when people play sport can cause sudden cardiac death, according to research. BBC.