March 12, 2007

Health scares – do they worry you?

Writing about web page http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/6418771.stm

So… last week we read on the BBC News website that men who indulge in too many hot baths may be at risk of decreasing their fertility. All a bit scary. But is it just me or is there a new one of these scary stories every week? Do we really listen to these health reports that tell us for years that margarine is good for you but recently turn tail and laud the virtues of butter? Now, I’m all for thorough scientific research, but are these seemingly random snippets of discovery that make it to the headlines actually useful? And does anyone actually listen to them?


- 5 comments by 1 or more people Not publicly viewable

  1. Surely everyone knew this already? My GCSE teacher told us of his ‘friend’ who’d been to a fertility Dr who told him to stop taking hot baths as everyone knows high temperatures denature proteins and … kill off the little swimmers.

    12 Mar 2007, 22:23

  2. Answer: No.
    But in reponse to that study: Well yes, the little fellas don’t like it so hot. As such not boiling them is likely to make a difference.

    12 Mar 2007, 22:25

  3. Isn’t that surely just the same school of logic which says men shouldn’t use laptops resting on their legs for too long or ball cooking will occur? Health scares happen all the time, usually in the tabloids. It’s silly, as Ben Goldacre in the Grauniad once said “The Daily Mail does have an ongoing ontological programme to divide all inanimate objects into ones that will either cause or cure cancer.” Funny, but true. I ignore most health stories, even when I’m having a full on hypochondriac episode they just seem so generic as to have no effect.

    12 Mar 2007, 23:49

  4. All too many of these research projects seem to end with the conclusion that “x may be at risk of y” which seems so vague as to be worthless.

    Where do I apply to get funding for this sort of research?

    13 Mar 2007, 10:41

  5. Never ever pay any attention to any food advice given – it is almost certain that the exact opposite advice will be given a decade later. I think the only sane advice can be eat a balanced diet of meat (inc fish), vegetables and fruit and everything in moderation. So the old cliché of meat and two veg seams a very good idea…

    Sometimes because the advice given is too oversimplified that causes problems too. A while ago the advice was “eat as much fiber as you can”, and while some may be good for you it doesn’t really have any nutritional value. Then studies found that because people were trying really hard to follow this advice they were filling themselves up on fiber and not getting enough vitamins and minerals hence the new advice of “eat at least five fruit and veg a day”. Next of course they will realise that while people now have enough vitamins and minerals they are eating far more than they need and really they don’t have enough protein and iron in their diet hence the next advice “devour at least half a cow a day”???

    13 Mar 2007, 14:09


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