Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Gene editing technique could prevent inherited diseases

Friday Apr 24 2015

Gene editing technique could prevent inherited diseases

"Researchers in the US have raised hopes for a simple genetic therapy that could prevent devastating diseases being passed on from mothers to their children," The Guardian reports…

A magnet for mosquitoes? Blame your genes

Thursday Apr 23 2015

A magnet for mosquitoes? Could be your genes’ fault

"Mosquitoes 'lured by body odour genes','' BBC News reports. Researchers tested a series of non-identical and identical twins, and found that identical twins had similar levels of attractiveness to mosquitoes…

Discovery could 'boost immune system's cancer fighting ability'

Friday Apr 17 2015

A lab mouse, typical of those used in research

The media is awash with news of a breakthrough that is "turbocharging the immune system to kill all cancers" (The Daily Telegraph) and a "game-changing new way to fight cancer" (The Independent)...

DNA changes in sperm may help explain autism

Wednesday Apr 15 2015

DNA changes in sperm may trigger autism

"DNA changes could explain why autism runs in families, according to study," The Independent reports. Research suggests a set of changes in a father's DNA – known as methylation – is linked to autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in their offspring…

Can plucking hairs stimulate new hair growth?

Friday Apr 10 2015

Can plucking hairs can stimulate new hair growth?

"Plucking hairs 'can make more grow'," BBC News reports, while the Daily Mail went as far as saying scientists have found "a cure for baldness". But before you all reach for your tweezers, this discovery was made in mice, not humans…

'Marathon men' make better sexual partners, media claims

Thursday Apr 9 2015

'Marathon men' make better sexual partners, media claim

"Marathon runners are the best in bed," is the spurious claim in Metro. The headline is based on a study that only looked at long-distance runners’ finger ratios – said to be a marker for high testosterone levels – not reported partner satisfaction…

Short people may have an increased risk of heart disease

Thursday Apr 9 2015

Short people may have increased risk of heart disease

"Shorter people at greater risk of heart disease, new research finds," reports The Guardian. It reports that a study of nearly 200,000 people has found that for every 2.5 inches (6.35cm) less in height…

New Down’s syndrome test more accurate than current screening

Thursday Apr 2 2015

New Down’s syndrome test more accurate than current screening

"Blood test for Down's syndrome 'gives better results'," BBC News reports. The test, which is based on spotting fragments of "rogue DNA", achieved impressive results in a series of trials…

Autism-related genes linked to cognitive ability

Wednesday Mar 11 2015

Autism shares genes also associated with high intelligence

"Autism is linked to higher intelligence," the Mail Online reports. A new study found evidence that certain genetic variations associated with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) were linked to greater cognitive ability in non-autistic individuals…

Gene testing could find those who would benefit most from statins

Wednesday Mar 4 2015

Gene testing could find those who would benefit most from statins

"Patients with the highest genetic risk of suffering a heart attack benefit the most from cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, a study has found," The Guardian reports. Those with the highest genetic risk score appear to get the most benefit from the drugs…

What is Behind the Headlines?

What is Behind the Headlines?

We give you the facts without the fiction. Professor Sir Muir Gray, founder of Behind the Headlines, explains more...

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