Alice Jones: Out of the mouths of celebrities can come some pretty daft health advice

IMHO

Share
Related Topics

What is the best way to ward off a sore throat?

Why, a daily dose of colon cleanser powder, mixed with fruit juice, of course. Suzi Quatro swears by it. That there is not a bit of scientific evidence to back up her claim that "all illnesses start in the colon" – sore throats, for one, are caused by viruses coming in through your nose and mouth – does not matter. Quatro is a rock star and, as such, her quackery is far more likely to be reported than a qualified doctor boring on about coughs and sneezes spreading diseases.

Quatro is not alone. This week the Sense about Science charity published a round-up of the most ludicrous scientific claims made by famous faces in 2011. From it, we learn that Simon Cowell swears by the youth-giving and "calming" properties of an intravenous drip of vitamins C, B12 and magnesium; Tamara Ecclestone has acupuncture once a month to "boost her immune system"; and Juliette Lewis has found a substance more hydrating than water (coconut water, apparently – and it isn't).

Some of the claims are plain stupid – Jersey Shore star Snooki posits that the sea is salty because "the water's all whale sperm". Some are pernicious – the supermodel Gisele Bündchen refusing to wear "poisonous" sunscreen; Michele Bachmann's casual linking of the HPV vaccine to "mental retardation".

Sense about Science asked experts to respond to each of these claims and in each case, their assessment boils down to one word – poppycock. The fact that scientists are even bothering to engage with them – and with such lucid, layman-friendly reasoning – is cheering, though. Once a celebrity has given voice to a theory, however ludicrous, it can spread faster than chicken pox, and leave its scars on the wider consciousness.

The solution is to engage that public interest, nurture these odd links between celebrity and science, take a leaf out of the superstar physicist Professor Brian Cox's book and lecture, almost, by stealth. In the meantime, the most useful New Year's resolution is surely to take any health advice from a famous face with a (moderate) pinch of salt.

* Tis the season to repeat, and repeat, and then do it again, for good measure. Some 98 per cent of the films shown on television over the festive period were repeats. As for the new material – woeful as much of it was – half of that was being repeated before it had even been properly digested. Strictly Come Dancing, for example, was screened twice in 18 hours, which, given that the period between Christmas Eve and Boxing Day represents one long primetime, was a bit cheeky.

In my case, the result was – barring the obligatory Poirot and Christmas Top of the Pops (never missed one) – the least tellycentric Christmas I can remember. Not by choice: there was simply nothing on. It was when I found myself starting to watch the same panto-themed episode of Deal or No Deal on consecutive days that I realised what was really missing this year – the endless repeats of Friends on Channel 4 and E4 (now lost to satellite, thanks to a bidding war), which soak up those painfully slow hours between breakfast and turkey time as comfortingly as brown bread with gravy.

It's not the repeats that are the problem at Christmas, it's the wrong kind of repeats.

* There's much to catch the eye in David Fincher's majestic, chilly remake of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – not least Daniel Craig's spectacles. In the film, released last Friday, Craig plays Mikael Blomkvist, an investigative journalist who is drawn into solving a family murder. As he takes a rest from trawling through piles of dusty files and old photographs, an odd thing happens: instead of pushing his reading glasses up on top of his head, or down his nose, or even slotting them casually into his V-neck, he pulls them down across his chin and leaves them there, dangling absent-mindedly, from one ear. The effect is a little comical, distracting even, but certainly memorable. Is it too early to add this to the Poirot shuffle and the Kojak lollipop suck in the pantheon of great detective tics? At the very least, Specsavers should bear him in mind for some kind of honourable mention at their Spectacle Wearer of the Year awards.

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Renewals Sales Executive

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A PHP Developer with knowledge ...

SThree: Associate Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £23000 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree are seeking Associate Recruitm...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Software Engineer - PHP

£33000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Day In a Page

Read Next
Polish minister Rafal Trazaskowski (second from right)  

Poland is open to dialogue but EU benefits restrictions are illegal and unfair

Rafal Trzaskowski
The report will embarrass the Home Secretary, Theresa May  

Surprise, surprise: tens of thousands of illegal immigrants have 'dropped off' the Home Office’s radar

Nigel Farage
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas