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Believe it or not?

Below you’ll find a series of seven reports of health research published in UK newspapers over a ten day period in June 2015. What do you think? Are they all believable or do some seem more likely than others? Tell us your thoughts.

Do look at other learners’ responses and try to respond to at least one of them. You can also ‘like’ comments that you find particularly interesting or relevant.

We’ll look ‘behind the headlines’ in the next step of the course, but before that: what are your responses to these reports?

The Express: Careful Kate! Doctors say skinny jeans are a serious health hazard - 23 June 2015

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“Kate loves them - Russell Brand’s often seen in a pair - but could this be the end for the humble skinny jean? Health experts are warning squatting in skinny jeans for a long period of time has been linked to damage of the muscles and nerve fibres in the legs. The Duchess of Cambridge is often seen at low-key events showing off her slim-pins in a pair of dark skinny jeans. But new research has shown the mother-of-two could be seriously damaging her health in the modern clothing - what will the Queen say?”

The Telegraph: Revealed: how to lose weight - drink plenty of red wine - 21 June 2015

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“Wine lovers rejoice! New research has shown that an ingredient in grapes, berries and red wine can turn excess flab into calorie-burning “brown” fat. The discovery suggests that diets containing the substance, resveratrol, may help combat obesity. Scientists gave mice amounts of resveratrol equivalent to humans consuming 12 ounces of fruit per day. They found that despite a high fat diet, the mice gained 40% less weight than animals not fed the compound.”

The Mail: Being a couch potato is bad for your mental health - 22 June 2015

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“Are you sitting comfortably? Then your anxiety levels may be mounting.

Scientists have now found that long periods sitting on the settee are bad for your mental health as well as being terrible for your body. The tests on adults and adolescents found couch potatoes who spend their waking hours playing computer games, surfing the Internet and watching TV are more likely to suffer debilitating anxiety attacks.”

The Mirror: Two chocolate bars a day can slash the risk of heart disease and stroke - 15 June 2015

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“New research suggests either milk OR dark chocolate can lead to a 25% lower risk of heart disease and 22% lower risk of stroke but it’s not all good news for chocoholics. Two chocolate bars a day could cut heart disease and strokes, a study says. Up to 100g may nearly halve the chance of dying from heart disease and cut strokes by more than a fifth.”

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“Scientists have discovered a link between people who own cats and the development of mental illnesses, including schizophrenia, and believe a parasite may be to blame. In a study published in the journal Schizophrenia Research, experts wrote that cat ownership is ‘significantly more common’ in families where a child is later diagnosed with ‘schizophrenia or another serious mental illness’…”

The Telegraph: Marriage is more beneficial for men than women, study shows -12 June 2015

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“Marriage has long been cited as a health booster, with couples living in wedded bliss more likely to live longer and have fewer emotional problems. Yet a new study suggests that women hardly benefit from tying the knot.

Landmark research by University College London, the London School of Economics and The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine found that single women do not suffer the same negative health effects as unmarried men.”

The Times: Eat a few peanuts a day to slash risk of early death - 11 June 2015

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“Eating half a handful of peanuts a day can cut the risk of dying early by a quarter, according to a major study. Peanuts could protect against death from cancer, heart disease, respiratory disease and other conditions, researchers said. Experts warned, however, that salted peanuts and products such as peanut butter would not have the same benefits.”

So, what do you think? Don’t forget to add your comments on how believable the reports are.

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This article is from the free online course:

Making Sense of Evidence: The Informed Health Consumer

Cardiff University