Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Inappropriate antibiotic prescribing by online pharmacies 'reckless'

Friday Feb 17 2017

"Scientists found antibiotics illegally available on 45% of websites they tested," the Mail Online reports. This headline was prompted by research into 20 online pharmacies selling antibiotics to the UK public…

Could brain scans be used to screen for autism?

Friday Feb 17 2017

"Brain scans could identify babies most at risk of developing autism, study shows," The Guardian reports. Researchers think that looking for distinct changes in infant brains could identify some children with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD)…

'Add vitamin D to food to prevent colds and flu', say researchers

Thursday Feb 16 2017

"Adding vitamin D to food would reduce deaths and significantly cut NHS costs," The Guardian reports. A review of existing data estimates that supplementing food with vitamin D would prevent millions of cold and flu cases…

Heading footballs 'linked to brain damage in professional players'

Wednesday Feb 15 2017

"As evidence of dementia link to football emerges is it time to stop kids heading the ball?" is the question on the front page of the Daily Mirror. The headline was prompted by the results of a small study where post-mortems…

GPs 'failing to prescribe tamoxifen to prevent breast cancer'

Tuesday Feb 14 2017

"Half of GPs unaware of drug's use [tamoxifen] in cancer prevention," The Guardian reports. An online survey of GPs found many were unaware of national guidelines recommending the use of tamoxifen for at risk women…

Online reviews of health products 'are misleading'

Monday Feb 13 2017

"Don't believe online reviews of health products, they're 'skewed'," the Mail Online reports. A psychologist compared online reviews of three medical products with results from clinical trials…

Four-in-one pill 'effective' for high blood pressure

Friday Feb 10 2017

"Combining four blood pressure drugs into a single pill could be twice as effective as existing treatments," the Mail Online reports. A small, proof-of-concept study has looked at the safety and effectiveness of a so-called quadpill…

'Antibiotics, not surgery, best for child appendicitis' says study

Friday Feb 10 2017

"Operating on children with acute appendicitis may be unnecessary in many of cases, a landmark British study suggests," the Mail Online reports. The study suggests that infected or inflamed appendixes in children may be better treated using antibiotics…

Switching to wholegrains may boost metabolism

Thursday Feb 9 2017

"Eating more wholegrain foods can help to speed up weight loss, scientists claim," the Daily Mail reports. A small study found that people who ate wholegrains had a modest increase in their metabolic rate compared to those eating refined grains…

Shift work and heavy lifting may make it harder to get pregnant

Wednesday Feb 8 2017

"Shift work and physically demanding jobs linked to lower fertility in women." Sky News reports. A US study found a link between both activities and a reduction in both the number and quality of a woman’s eggs…

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