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Office workers burn as much energy as hunter gathers

26th July 2012

NHS Choices: Behind the headlines

1 systematic review peer-reviewed meta-analysis Analysis by Bazian. Edited by NHS Choices. Follow Behind the Headlines on twitter. Links To The Headlines ‘Hunter gatherer clue to obesity’. BBC News, July 26, 2012 ‘Office workers burn as many calories as hunter gatherers’. The Daily Telegraph, July 26, 2012 ‘Good news for couch potatoes! Even using mod cons, we burn off as many calories as our hunter-gatherer ancestors’. The Daily Mail, July 26, 2012 Links To Science Pontzer H, Raichlen DA, Wood BM, Mabulla AZP, Racette SB, et al. (2012) Hunter-Gatherer Energetics and Human Obesity. PLoS One. Published online July 25, 2012

All children to be offered annual flu vaccine

25th July 2012

NHS Choices: Behind the headlines

‘Flu vaccines for all children’, BBC News has reported. The BBC’s story is based on a report by independent expert advisers, who have told the government that all children aged from 2 to 17 should have an annual influenza vaccination. The recommendations of theJoint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) came in the minutes of a meeting it held earlier this year. In these, it sets out how there could be 2,000 fewer deaths from flu each year if just 30% of children had a flu jab. There would also be 11,000 fewer hospitalisations as a result. However, flu vaccinations ...

Sunbeds killing hundreds each year

25th July 2012

NHS Choices: Behind the headlines

Young people who use sunbeds almost double their risk of developing the most deadly form of skin cancer, the Daily Mail reported today, while the Daily Telegraph said sunbeds “raised cancer risk by 20 per cent”. The stories are based on a major review of studies which looked at the risk of malignant melanoma, the most serious type of skin cancer, associated with the use of sunbeds in western Europe. It found that sunbed users had a 20% higher risk of melanoma compared to those who had never used one. The cancer risk increased with additional sunbed sessions and almost ...

'Cannibal' bath salt drugs as 'addictive as cocaine'

25th July 2012

NHS Choices: Behind the headlines

According to the Daily Mail, “banned bath salts ‘may be as addictive as cocaine’”. The newspaper went on to say that mephedrone, one of a group of substances also known as “bath salts”, affects the brain’s reward circuits in a manner comparable to that seen with similar doses of cocaine. Mephedrone (or meow meow) was one of the big news stories of 2010 when it was introduced to the UK as a legal high. Many legal highs were marketed as bath salts or plant foods ‘not fit for human consumption’ in order to sidestep the strict regulations concerning the sale ...

Can a diet of cheese 'beat diabetes'?

24th July 2012

NHS Choices: Behind the headlines

Just two slices [of cheese] a day could reduce risk of diabetes, claims the Daily Mail. The news is based on the results of a Europe-wide study that aimed to determine whether eating a diet high in dairy products is associated with a change in your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Overall, there was no association between total dairy product intake and diabetes risk. However, the results suggested that people who did eat a lot of cheese and other fermented dairy products (such as yoghurt and buttermilk) may have a lower risk of developing diabetes. This is despite no ...

Can a diet of cheese 'beat diabetes'?

24th July 2012

NHS Choices: Behind the headlines

Just two slices [of cheese] a day could reduce risk of diabetes, claims the Daily Mail. The news is based on the results of a Europe-wide study that aimed to determine whether eating a diet high in dairy products is associated with a change in your risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Overall, there was no association between total dairy product intake and diabetes risk. However, the results suggested that people who did eat a lot of cheese and other fermented dairy products (such as yoghurt and buttermilk) may have a lower risk of developing diabetes. This is despite no ...

Obese children show early signs of heart disease

24th July 2012

NHS Choices: Behind the headlines

“Two thirds of obese children show early signs of heart disease”, the Daily Telegraph has reported. The news is based on a study that examined how common risk factors for diseases that can affect the heart and the blood vessels (cardiovascular disease or ‘CVD’) are in severely obese children. There is no internationally agreed consensus on what constitutes severe obesity in children.. The researchers found that a majority of children identified had risk factors for CVD that you would normally only expect to see in older adults, such as: over half (56%) had high blood pressure around one in seven ...

Obese children show early signs of heart disease

24th July 2012

NHS Choices: Behind the headlines

“Two thirds of obese children show early signs of heart disease”, the Daily Telegraph has reported. The news is based on a study that examined how common risk factors for diseases that can affect the heart and the blood vessels (cardiovascular disease or ‘CVD’) are in severely obese children. There is no internationally agreed consensus on what constitutes severe obesity in children. The researchers found that a majority of children identified had risk factors for CVD that you would normally only expect to see in older adults, such as: over half (56%) had high blood pressure around one in seven ...

Awe inspiring – jaw dropping moments ‘make people nicer’

23rd July 2012

NHS Choices: Behind the headlines

“Regular awe-inspiring experiences may improve our mental health and make us nicer people”, reports the Independent. The Indie also says that these findings by psychologists suggest that "awe therapy" could be used to “overcome the stressful effects of fast-paced modern life”. So will staring up at the ceiling of Sistine Chapel make you more saintly? Maybe, but it would be hard to be sure based on this piece of research. This story is based on experimental studies looking at how experiencing awe – either through watching an ‘awe-inspiring commercial’, writing about a personal awe-inspiring experience, or reading an awe-inspiring short ...

Jaw-dropping moments ‘make people nicer’

23rd July 2012

NHS Choices: Behind the headlines

"Regular awe-inspiring experiences may improve our mental health and make us nicer people," reports The Independent. The newspaper also says that these findings by psychologists suggest that "awe therapy" could be used to "overcome the stressful effects of fast-paced modern life". So will staring up at the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel make you more saintly? Maybe, but it's impossible to be sure based on this piece of research. This story is based on experimental studies that looked at how experiencing awe – either through watching an "awe-inspiring commercial", writing about a personal awe-inspiring experience or reading an awe-inspiring short ...

Salty food link to stomach cancer

23rd July 2012

NHS Choices: Behind the headlines

BBC News reported that reducing salt “would cut cancer.” They said that cutting back on foods that are often overlooked as having high levels of salt, such as bacon, bread and breakfast cereals, may reduce people’s risk of developing stomach cancer. The news stories were based on a report by the World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF), which has said that one in seven cases of stomach cancer in the UK could be prevented if everyone reduced their salt intake to the recommended daily maximum of 6g, which is equivalent to about one teaspoon. Currently we are said to be consuming ...

‘Fatty blood’ early warning sign of Alzheimer’s

20th July 2012

NHS Choices: Behind the headlines

“High levels of fat in the blood could be an early warning of Alzheimer’s disease,” says the Daily Express. The newspaper reports that people with high levels of a fatty compound called ceramide in their blood are 10 times more likely to develop the disease than people with the lowest levels. This news is based on a small study that followed 99 initially dementia-free women in their seventies for almost a decade. While the study was well designed and does seem to suggest a link between ceramide levels and risk of Alzheimer’s disease, it has some limitations, in particular its ...

‘Fatty blood’ early warning sign of Alzheimer’s

20th July 2012

NHS Choices: Behind the headlines

“High levels of fat in the blood could be an early warning of Alzheimer’s disease,” advises the Daily Express. The newspaper says that people with high levels of a type of fatty compound called ceramide in their blood are 10 times more likely to develop the disease than people with the lowest levels. This news is based on a small study that followed 99 initially dementia-free women in their seventies for almost a decade. While the study was well designed and does seem to suggest a link between ceramide levels and risk of Alzheimer’s disease, it has some limitations, in ...

Oily fish protects against prostate cancer deaths

20th July 2012

NHS Choices: Behind the headlines

“Eating oily fish regularly ‘can significantly cut risk of prostate death’” reports the Daily Mail. These findings come from a study of 525 men with prostate cancer in Sweden. Their diets in the year before their diagnosis were assessed, and they were followed for 20 years to identify which men died from their prostate cancer. The researchers found that men with the highest consumption of omega-3 fatty acids from fish had a lower risk of having died from their prostate cancer. While men whose prostate cancer had not spread at the time of diagnosis and who had a higher rate ...

Oily fish protects against prostate cancer deaths

20th July 2012

NHS Choices: Behind the headlines

“Eating oily fish regularly ‘can significantly cut risk of prostate death’” reports the Daily Mail. These findings come from a study of 525 men with prostate cancer in Sweden. Their diets in the year before their diagnosis were assessed, and they were followed for 20 years to identify which men died from their prostate cancer. The researchers found that men with the highest consumption of omega-3 fatty acids from fish had a lower risk of having died from their prostate cancer. While men whose prostate cancer had not spread at the time of diagnosis and who had a higher rate ...

Could new polypill save thousands of lives?

19th July 2012

NHS Choices: Behind the headlines

“Four-in-one pill to save 200,000 lives a year,” reports the Metro, with many other media sources making similar claims. This news is based on research into a ‘polypill’, a single tablet that contains a combination of four different medicines that are designed to lower cholesterol and blood pressure. The researchers concluded that giving the polypill to individuals over the age of 50 who have no history of cardiovascular disease could significantly reduce their risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Cardiovascular disease can lead to a heart attack or stroke. But the many headlines on this story predicting that “thousands of lives ...

Could new polypill save thousands of lives?

19th July 2012

NHS Choices: Behind the headlines

“Four-in-one pill to save 200,000 lives a year,” reports the Metro, with many other news organisations making similar claims. This news is based on research into a ‘polypill’, a single tablet that contains a combination of four different medicines that are designed to lower cholesterol and blood pressure. The researchers concluded that giving the polypill to individuals over the age of 50 who have no history of cardiovascular disease could significantly reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, which can lead to a heart attack or stroke. But the many headlines on this story predicting that “thousands of lives would ...

'Gym and tonic' – doubts about sports drinks

19th July 2012

NHS Choices: Behind the headlines

The Guardian says “Research pours cold water on alleged benefits of sports products”, as specialist sports drinks are a “waste of money”, while the BBC says that “fancy trainers” will not make you run faster. Both stories are based on research that looked at whether there is any evidence to support the claims made by advertisers for sports-related products, such as sports drinks and trainers. The researchers say they found a significant lack of evidence to support most claims that such products lead to enhanced performance or recovery. Half of all the websites they looked at provided no evidence at ...

'Gym and tonic' – doubts about sport drinks

19th July 2012

NHS Choices: Behind the headlines

The Guardian says “Research pours cold water on alleged benefits of sports products”, as specialist sports drinks are a “waste of money”, while the BBC says that “fancy trainers” will not make you run faster. Both stories are based on research that looked at whether there is any evidence to support the claims made by advertisers for sports-related products, such as sports drinks and trainers. The researchers say they found a significant lack of evidence to support most claims that such products lead to enhanced performance or recovery. Half of all the websites they looked at provided no evidence at ...

Alzheimer’s drug 'stops symptoms for 3 years'

18th July 2012

NHS Choices: Behind the headlines

Widespread media coverage tells us today of a new drug that ‘halts’ Alzheimer’s symptoms ‘for three years’. The news is based on a press release issued yesterday that highlighted positive early results of research into the use of intravenous immunoglobulin to treat Alzheimer’s disease. Intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) is a medication made by harvesting antibodies from donated blood. It is currently used to treat severe forms of infection and a number of autoimmune conditions (where the immune system attacks healthy tissue). The idea behind using IVIG to treat Alzheimer’s disease is that it could encourage the immune system to ‘attack’ abnormal ...