How to Stay Well

GP Phil Kieran on the truth be­hind three health scares

TV Times - - News - Ian Macewan

From make-up that can cause menin­gi­tis to a link be­tween ba­con sand­wiches and bowel cancer, cer­tain news­pa­pers and web­sites love a good health scare story. But how much should we be­lieve?

As part of new C4 se­ries How to Stay Well, doc­tor Phil Kieran sorts the facts from fic­tion. TV Times sought a con­sul­ta­tion with GP Phil, 34, to learn how wor­ried we should be.

1 Do smart­phones cause in­fer­til­ity?

The story: ‘If men keep smart­phones in their front trouser pock­ets, the ra­di­a­tion is cook­ing their tes­ti­cles and mak­ing them in­fer­tile.’

The SCI­ENCE: ‘Fer­til­ity rates are cal­cu­lated by how many chil­dren peo­ple are hav­ing, but it’s not just about the abil­ity to have chil­dren.’

VER­DICT: ‘No con­crete proven risk.’

2 Does ba­con give you cancer?

The story: ‘A year ago, the head­lines said ba­con is as bad as ci­garettes, be­cause the World Health Or­gan­i­sa­tion put it in the same cat­e­gory of things that can cause cancer. It said there was an 18 per cent in­crease in your risk, which sounds huge.’

The SCI­ENCE: ‘Your risk of get­ting cancer if you didn’t eat any ba­con or things like that is about five per cent. If you ate ba­con on a daily ba­sis, it’d go up to six per cent. So one per cent of five per cent is one fifth – which is 20 per cent. It’s one of the most mis­lead­ing sta­tis­tics!’

VER­DICT: ‘You won’t sell news­pa­pers by say­ing eat­ing ba­con in­creases your risk by less than one per cent.’

3 Does make-up cause menin­gi­tis?

The story: ‘The head­line I found the big­gest stretch with was that outof-date make-up can har­bour deadly bac­te­ria that cause menin­gi­tis.’

The SCI­ENCE: ‘We sent some out-of­date make-up to a mi­cro­bi­ol­ogy lab and there were bugs in it, but the risk of th­ese things caus­ing you any sig­nif­i­cant health prob­lems are tiny.’

VER­DICT: ‘Make-up al­ready has an­tibac­te­ri­als in it to stop this sort of thing hap­pen­ing. If you’re the only per­son us­ing it, any bac­te­ria is prob­a­bly com­ing from you.’

un­wanted call: Can mo­biles cause male in­fer­til­ity?

Doc­tor Phil Kieran

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UK

© PressReader. All rights reserved.