Thursday, June 04, 2009

Must not make health claims for green tea if you are a tea company

But it's fine if you are a health faddist or a publication-hungry medical scientist

An advert for Tetley tea has been banned because it misled viewers into thinking that a cuppa has health benefits. The TV commercial shows a young woman who decides not to go jogging and instead drinks a cup of green tea. A voiceover says: 'For an easy way to help look after yourself, pick up Tetley Green Tea. It's full of antioxidants.'

The advertising watchdog ruled that this implied the tea was beneficial to health, when in fact there is no evidence to suggest it is better for you than water.

Four viewers complained that the advert suggested Tetley Green Tea had the same or similar health benefits as exercise. In the commercial the woman is seen warming up for exercise. She opens her front door, as if to go for a jog, but sees it is raining she goes back inside. She is then seen making a cup of tea as the voiceover is heard and the words 'As part of a healthy diet and lifestyle' appear on screen.

The Advertising Standards Authority said the commercial breached codes dealing with evidence and accuracy. A spokesman said: 'While it did not imply the tea had the same or similar health benefits to exercise, it did imply that the tea had some general health benefits beyond hydration, in particular because it contained antioxidants. 'As we had not seen any evidence to demonstrate that green tea, or the antioxidants in it, had general health benefits, we concluded that the ad was misleading. 'The ad must not be broadcast again in its current form. We told Tetley not to imply that a product had greater health benefits than it did if they did not hold substantiation for the implied claims.'

Tetley said the advert had promoted tea as part of a healthy lifestyle, 'hence the inclusion of the on-screen text and the depiction of a young, fit woman who clearly led a healthy lifestyle'.


Information overload from Twitter, Facebook, TV robs us of compassion?

This is all just theory and speculation: No proof at all. You might just as well believe in global warming

THE glut of information streaming through the internet is making us less compassionate, scientists say. Continually flowing data from Twitter, Facebook, email, mobile phones, and TV is moving too fast for the brain's "moral compass" to process, according to two separate scientific studies. Scientists say the rapid-fire nature of these sources is too much for emotional processing, which requires significant time and reflection.

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego, recently found that human traits such as empathy, compassion, altruism, tolerance and emotional stability are hard-wired into our brains, The Times reports. But their associated neurons seem to be mainly in the prefrontal cortex – a slower area of the brain that is bypassed in stressful situations.

“Psychosocially positive behaviours such as admiration and indignation are more work for the brain than basic emotions such as pain response,” says Dr Dilip Jeste in Archives of General Psychiatry. “Constant bombardment by outside high-intensity stimuli is not likely to be healthy. It may prevent people from having an opportunity to digest the information, match it with culturally resonant reactions and then execute well-considered behavioural responses.”

Similar research by the University of Southern California's Brain and Creativity Institute found that humans can register another person's pain and fear instantly, but it takes longer to develop socially evolved responses such as compassion. “The rapidity of attention-requiring information, which hallmarks the digital age, might reduce the frequency of full experience of emotions, with potentially negative consequences,” warns the research paper, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Early Edition.

Antonio Damasio, the study’s co-author, says: “I’m worried about what is happening in the abrupt juxtapositions that you find, for example, in the news. Perhaps all we can say is, ‘not so fast’.”

Felix Economakis, a chartered psychologist who specialises in stress, told The Times that brains are definitely suffering information overload. “Technology is making quantum leaps, bombarding us with new things to focus on, but we have not been able to catch up and adapt. Our brains’ attention levels are finite. When everything is screaming at us, we start withdrawing so that normally nice people become unempathetic."


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