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Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Some over-the-counter drugs may be linked to falls in older men

Wednesday Jul 29 2015

Some over-the-counter drugs linked to falls in older men

"Popular over-the-counter drugs for hay fever and insomnia may increase the risk of a serious fall among older men," the Daily Mail reports after a study suggested anticholinergic drugs, which can cause side effects such…

Nose balloon could be used to treat glue ear

Tuesday Jul 28 2015

How a nose balloon could help treat glue ear

"Using the nose to inflate a balloon helps heal glue ear," BBC News reports. The technique, known as autoinflation, was found to be effective in around half of cases of this common childhood ear condition…

The placebo effect can still work, even if people know it's a placebo

Monday Jul 27 2015

The placebo effect can still work, even if people know it's a placebo

"The placebo effect is real – even if you know the treatment you've been given has no medical value, research has concluded," the Mail Online reports. The study in question aimed to further understand how placebos – inactive or dummy treatments – work…

Is there really a middle-class drinking 'epidemic' in over-50s?

Friday Jul 24 2015

'Epidemic' of harmful drinking in the middle-class middle aged

"Middle-class over-50s have become a generation of problem drinkers," the Mail Online reports – a headline that actually has little basis in fact...

Study says 'size really doesn’t matter' when it comes to a penis

Thursday Jul 23 2015

Study says 'size really doesn’t matter' when it comes to a penis

"Scientists claim they've worked out what makes the perfect penis," The Independent reports. According to Swiss researchers, women value overall cosmetic appearance of a penis over length…

Unhealthy thinking about body and weight 'can start in childhood'

Thursday Jul 23 2015

Unhealthy thinking about body and weight 'can start in childhood'

"Basis for eating disorders found in children as young as eight," The Guardian reports. A new UK survey of around 6,000 children found the roots of unhealthy thinking about body and weight can predate adolescence…

Sugary drinks linked to 8,000 new UK diabetes cases a year

Wednesday Jul 22 2015

Sugary drinks linked to 8,000 new diabetes cases a year

"Are sugary drinks causing 8,000 cases of diabetes every year?," the Daily Mirror asks, as a new study estimates they could cause thousands of type 2 diabetes cases in the UK, and millions in the US…

Night shifts 'linked to increased breast cancer risk'

Tuesday Jul 21 2015

Night-shift working linked to increased breast cancer risk

"Irregular sleeping patterns have been 'unequivocally' shown to lead to [breast] cancer in tests on mice, a study suggests," BBC News reports. Scientists are concerned a similar effect may occur in women working night shifts…

Study finds obese people may struggle to reach a healthy weight

Monday Jul 20 2015

Claims that obese people have a 'slim chance' of weight loss

“Obese men have just a '1 in 210' chance of attaining a healthy body weight,” The Independent reports. This was the findings of a study that looked at the body mass index (BMI) measurements of almost 300,000 people...

Sugar intake should be drastically reduced says report

Friday Jul 17 2015

Sugar intake should be cut by half, report recommends

"Sugar intake 'should be halved'," BBC News reports. The headline is prompted by a government report that recommends no more than 5% of our calorie intake should come from "free sugars". The previous recommendation was 10%...

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