Articles on Health Check

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Antibacterial products cost more and might contribute to bacterial resistance. Image from shutterstock.com

Health Check: should I use antibacterial hand sanitisers?

I should start by saying that an important part of my job is encouraging hospital staff to clean their hands. The World Health Organisation has a global patient safety campaign reminding us that Clean…
Just over 15% of Australians smoke daily and a further 1.5% smoke each week. Flickr/benessere

Health Check: how harmful is social smoking?

If you only light up when you’re drinking or out with friends, you probably don’t identify as a smoker or consider the health impact of the occasional fag. Social smokers don’t usually smoke every day…
Bad news: one study suggests bald men have fewer sexual partners. Tony Deifell

Health Check: are bald men more virile?

The suggestion that bald men are more virile than their well-thatched contemporaries is probably an old wives’ tale, but it must be conceded that old wives are likely to be unusually authoritative in this…
Choose a spread that has the lowest amount of saturated fat and trans fat per 100 grams. www.rowenawaack.com

Health Check: what’s healthier, butter or margarine?

Butter gets points for taste; margarine for being easy to spread. But the healthiest option is not strictly called butter or margarine – it’s a “spread”. To improve the health of your heart, choose a spread…
The ubiquitous use of personal music players has radically increased our recreational noise exposure. Andrew Ferguson

Health Check: is your personal music player doing you damage?

It’s happened to all of us – you walk past someone and you can hear every beat, riff and wail coming from their headphones. If you’ve ever wondered whether this could be damaging their hearing, the answer…
It’s the quantity of sugar we consume that’s bad for us. Carol Green

Health check: five sweeteners and what they mean for you

People have been eating sweet foods for eons. Fruit (fructose), milk (lactose), cane (sucrose), and honey (fructose and glucose) provide us with energy for growth and development. But in these days, we…
Choose your over-the-counter painkiller based on the side effects you want to avoid. Image from shutterstock.com

Health Check: how do you choose over-the-counter painkillers?

If you’re anything like me, your medicine cupboard is chockers with various non-prescription pain remedies: liquids, pills, capsules, children’s painkillers, formulations that are “gentle on the stomach…
When it comes to passing stools, ‘normal’ ranges from three times a week, to three times a day. Image from shutterstock.com

Health Check: should we aim for daily bowel movements?

When I was in my teens, I watched the comedy Crazy People, starring Dudley Moore and Daryl Hannah. Moore plays a burnt-out advertising executive who creates (hilarious) “honest” ads. One of the ads is…
No one disputes that extensive training on a specific task will improve performance on that task. Paul Boxley

Health Check: does brain training make you smarter?

No one who has kept their head out of the sand over the past several years needs to be told “brain training” is a hot topic. And it’s big business too, with advocates using claims such as “personal training…
High-intensity interval training it can be done on a bike, treadmill, or however you can achieve the desired intensity. Image from shutterstock.com

Health Check: high-intensity micro workouts vs traditional regimes

When it comes to health and fitness, there are rarely any quick fixes. But if you’re struggling to get the recommended 30 minutes of exercise a day, micro workouts might be just the thing you need to start…
About 80% of the world’s caffeine is consumed in the form of coffee. jennybach

Health Check: does caffeine enhance performance?

Unlike many drugs, caffeine may be taken legally by people of all ages, which helps make it the world’s most widely used stimulant. Approximately 80% of the world’s caffeine is consumed in the form of…
Antioxidants are often portrayed as the good forces that fight evil free radicals. Markus Lütkemeyer

Health Check: the untrue story of antioxidants vs free radicals

Antioxidants are a commonly promoted feature of health foods and supplements. They’re portrayed as the good forces that fight free radicals – nasty molecules causing damage thought to hasten ageing and…
Processed meats and large quantities of cooked red meats (more than 500g a week) increase your risk of bowel cancer. Flickr/Pabo76

Health Check: does processed meat cause bowel cancer?

Each year around 14,400 Australians are diagnosed with bowel (colon and rectal) cancer. It’s the second most common newly diagnosed cancer after lung cancer and claims around 3,980 lives a year. The good…
Juicing reduces the fibre content of fruit and vegetables but it’s better than not eating them at all. Adam Franco

Health Check: the low-down on eating vs juicing fruit and veg

Today we launch Health Check, an ongoing series which injects scientific evidence into popular health discussions. Stay tuned for a new Health Check each Monday afternoon. Eating more fruits and vegetables…

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