British Studies Web Pages



Health - News Update

The issue of Health is rarely out of the news. In particular, newspapers like to give advice about health issues and to inform about new developments. Below are some of the items which made the news in the last 12 months as quoted in the weekly round-up of the media, 'THE WEEK'.


At home

  • cutting back on sleep even for less than a week can produce effects in the body which resemble the effects of advanced ageing (hastens the onset of diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, and memory loss)
  • watching television makes children fat; when people are not slumped on a sofa they do activities which burn off calories (even if these are not rigorous enough to be classed as exercise)

At work

  • offices with electrical equipment produce harmful levels of toxins which can cause respiratory problems

Victims of Fashion

  • tight clothes can make people ill by increasing pressure on the abdomen and encouraging conditions such as hernias, ulcers, and gastroenteritis


  • footballers who frequently head the ball are risking brain damage
  • drinking just one glass of wine a day during pregnancy can damage unborn babies
  • doing the shopping by pushing a supermarket trolley can damage ligaments and discs
  • tests have shown a link between mobile phones and tumours
  • smoking can cause impotence in men

Health Tips

  • three glasses of soya milk a day may reduce the risk of heart disease
  • eating mackerel can help cure depression
  • a few drops of olive oil can prevent memory loss and keep the brain functioning effectively in old age
  • a cup of tea and a chocolate biscuit could help to reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer because of the antioxidant catechin which they both contain
  • five portions of fruit and vegetables a day (preferably organic) and half a clove of raw garlic a day reduce the risk of cancer
  • regular church-going in one study increased life expectancy, with church-goers having lower blood pressure, stronger immune systems, and less depression
  • light aerobic exercise, such as swimming, gardening, or walking, can protect against memory loss in old age

If you want to know of some traditional health tips and cures, have a look at 'Grandmother Knows Best' in this issue.

Did You Know?

  • stress has overtaken the common cold as the biggest cause of sick-leave at work
  • long term primary health is determined in the womb; the new science of foetal programming highlights the need to give pregnant women the correct nutritional advice
  • one in 200 people can be affected by a severe reaction to peanuts called anaphylactic shock
  • male contraceptive will soon be available; only small side effects reported from tests, such as the man who complained of 'feeling flushed...and I just wanted to burst into tears'
  • telling lies triggers a hormone which causes the nasal tissues to be engorged with blood, and swell; so we all have the same problem as Pinocchio
  • people who want cosmetic surgery may need psychiatric help, as one study has shown that 50% of people wanting a nose job are clinically depressed, 70% suffer from anxiety, 20% have a history of drug abuse, and a third have attempted suicide at some time
  • although smokers may weigh less, weight is distributed to their waists, giving them pot bellies

The Future Simple

  • armies of the future will be fed through skin patches and their physiological condition will be monitored through a micro-chip in their fingernail which will automatically release nutrients which are required
  • 'smart' clothes will provide vitamins which can be absorbed into the skin, provide support for bad backs, and count the number of calories which are burned off during exercise
  • smart fridges can tell you when food goes off, order ingredients for recipes from the supermarket, and e-mail you to let you know what is left; the fridge is the most frequently visited place in the modern household

The Body Revealed

Excerpts from Science exam questions answered by British 11 year olds:

  • When you breathe, you inspire. When you do not breathe, you expire.
  • To keep milk from going sour, keep it in the cow.
  • For fainting, rub the person's chest, or if a lady, rub her arm above the hand instead. Or put the head between the knees of the nearest medical doctor.
  • The body has three parts - the branium, the borax, and the abominable cavity. The branium contains the brain, the borax contains the heart and lungs, and the abominable contains the bowels, of which there are five - a, e, i, o, and u.

Produced in Poland by British Council 2003. The United Kingdom's international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations. We are registered in England as a charity.