SIRC Media Watch Archive
Comment and Opinion – June 1999

MMR The MMR vaccine, still reeling from the reported link with autism cited in the Lancet in February 1998, has once again found itself a target of health fears this month. On June 02 the press was alive with a controversial study that claimed to have identified a link between the contraction of measles and mumps during childhood with an increased susceptibility to bowel disease in later life.

Breakfast chat over GM cereal Breakfast with Frost, BBC Sunday 06 June – Tony Blair refused to be drawn on whether Cherie disagreed with his stance on GM foods. "I think if I start discussing what Cherie and I talk to each other about at breakfast I'm going to get into a lot of trouble".

Fat Removal Eighty stone New Yorker, Michael Hebranko was removed from his house by forklift truck after the failure of his latest diet.

Take the Biscuit A flapjack developed by Dundee University could replace blood tests and biopsies.

Smoking! Quote of the week from Liberal Democrat MP Charles Kennedy.

Eau de Toilette?  Scientists from the Norwegian Institute for Air Research have detected traces of perfume in "fresh air" samples. Although some may think that the infusion of fine scents may enhance our air quality, others have greeted the news with a little less enthusiasm.

Tour de Farce Scientists have found that long distance cycling may be linked to impotence in men.

Scandal?   Scientists from University College Dublin have linked ultrasound scans to abnormal cell development in mice.

Alchemy  According to the Washington Post former lead paint manufacturers are about to become the next big target of the zealous American litigation machine.

Hello, hello Following the spate of recent reports and studies that have questioned the safety of mobile phones the Metropolitan Police this month have advised their staff to restrict the length of their phone calls to five minutes.

Health à la Carte Just when we thought that embracing the Mediterranean diet would be beneficial to our health, a paper published in the BMJ from the Wolfson Institute of Preventative Medicine advises us to the contrary. But then I suppose that had to come …

Developing food and the developing world The Nuffield Council on Bioethics, an independent body comprised of lawyers, scientists, environmentalists and philosophers, has recommended that we consider the future of GM crop development as a "compelling moral imperative".

Bt and the Butterfly A recent piece in the Financial Times suggests that recent twists and turns over the potential health effects of GM foods have been surpassed by renewed environmental concerns.

May 1999: Mobile Mania Month The BBC, May 11, reported calls from the Headway National Injuries Association for mobile phones to carry health warnings. Bill Acker from Headway attempted to justify this rather extreme stance: "Before the real horrors were known about the risk to health of tobacco, people dismissed calls for warnings as scare-mongering. What we say is that the same is true of mobile phones now."

Fad diets and fat reduction Professor Garrow, head of anti-obesity task force set up by the British Nutrition Foundation suggested that high profile fad diets were effecting physicians' ability to attack weight problems.

Anti-GM Manifesto The Guardian reports the Green Party's call for an EU cessation of genetically modified crop planting and a ban on GM food imports into Europe.

Chucking a sicky? Published in the BMJ, a study by Nigel Williams of Leicester Royal Infirmary identified an increase in the number of abdominal complaints suffered by children aged 5-16 during term time.

Three Bloody Marys In an attempt to revive flagging congregations in the local area, the Bradford Christian Pub Consortium have taken over the 170 year old Cock and Bottle Pub in Bradford. The new owners stress they will not just be offering religion on draught.

Forbidden Fruit and restricted snacksA report published by the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition has concluded that restricting children's access to certain foods actually increases their desire to obtain and consume those foods.

Warning: Belgian poultry could give you spotsAlong with the continuing GM issue, the Belgium food scare has dominated much of this month's media.