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Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Researchers 'a step closer' to universal flu vaccine

Tuesday Aug 25 2015

Researchers 'a step closer' to universal flu vaccine

"Universal flu vaccine comes closer, scientists says," BBC News reports after two independent teams of researchers each found ways to target multiple strains of the influenza virus – but, as yet, the research has only involved animals...

Guidelines set to tackle over-prescribing of antibiotics

Tuesday Aug 18 2015

Guidelines set to tackle problem of over-prescribing antibiotics

"GPs face axe for handing out too many pills," the Daily Mail reports. The headline is prompted by remarks made by Professor Mark Baker, clinical practice chief at the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence…

Contraceptive pill 'cuts womb cancer risk'

Friday Aug 7 2015

Research suggests potentially important health benefits from the Pill

"The pill cuts womb cancer cases by 200,000," the Sky News website reports, in an uncommon example of a credible headline figure. However, it should be noted that it refers to the amount of endometrial cancer cases prevented over 10 years...

Hiding HIV virus 'flushed out' by skin cancer drug

Monday Aug 3 2015

Blood samples of people with HIV were used in this study

"HIV flushed out by cancer drug", BBC News reports. This headline was prompted by laboratory research showing the promising results of a cancer drug being used to treat HIV…

Can the so-called 'male menopause' be treated with HRT?

Thursday Jul 30 2015

Can the so-called 'male menopause' be treated with HRT?

"New research suggests that testosterone deficiency in older men is much more prevalent than current screening methods suggest, and that more men would benefit from hormone treatment," The Daily Telegraph reports…

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…

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…

Antidepressant use in menopause linked to broken bones

Friday Jun 26 2015

Antidepressant use in menopause linked to broken bones

"Taking antidepressants like Prozac to counter mood changes in menopause 'raises risk of broken bones'," the Daily Mail reports. A new study suggests that using SSRIs during the menopause may significantly increase the risk of bone fracture…

Mushroom supplement could be one way to tackle obesity

Wednesday Jun 24 2015

Mushroom extract could be one way to tackle obesity

"A mushroom used for centuries in Chinese medicine reduces weight gain in animals," BBC News reports. A supplement from the Ganoderma lucidum mushroom reduced weight gain by altering bacteria inside the digestive system of mice…

New chlamydia vaccine shows promise after being tested on mice

Friday Jun 19 2015

New chlamydia vaccine shows promise after being tested in mice

“Researchers in the United States say they have developed a vaccine that can protect against chlamydia,” The Independent reports. Initial results in mice have shown promise…

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