Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Immunotherapy drug combo could combat melanoma

Monday Jun 1 2015

Immunotherapy drug combo could combat melanoma

"New era in the war on cancer," is the over-hyped headline on the front of the Daily Mail. The new era refers to a trial looking at whether a combination of immunotherapy drugs could help with advanced melanoma skin cancer…

Modified herpes virus 'could combat skin cancer'

Wednesday May 27 2015

Modified herpes virus 'could combat skin cancer'

"Patients with aggressive skin cancer have been treated successfully using a drug based on the herpes virus," The Guardian reports. A new study suggests a novel form of immunotherapy could be effective for treating some cases of advanced skin cancer...

Combined contraceptive pills 'increase risk of blood clots'

Wednesday May 27 2015

Combined contraceptive pills 'increase risk of blood clots'

"Women who take the latest generation of contraceptive pills are at a greater risk of potentially lethal blood clots," The Times reports. Though while the increase in risk is statistically significant, it is very small in terms of individual risk…

Minor ailment scheme doesn't provide free Calpol for all

Thursday May 21 2015

The minor ailment scheme doesn't provide free Calpol for all

"Thousands discover Calpol has been free on NHS 'for years' as mum's Facebook post goes viral," the Daily Mirror reports. This and other similar headlines were prompted by a post made on the social networking site Facebook…

Is paracetamol use in pregnancy harmful for male babies?

Thursday May 21 2015

Paracetamol use in pregnancy 'harmful' for male babies

"Paracetamol use in pregnancy may harm male foetus," The Guardian reports. Researchers found evidence that taking paracetamol for seven days may lower the amount of testosterone testicular tissue can produce…

Bioengineering advances raise fears of 'home-brew heroin'

Tuesday May 19 2015

Bioengineering advances raise fears of 'home-brew heroin'

The Daily Mirror carries the alarming headline that, "Heroin made in home-brew beer kits could create epidemic of hard drug abuse". It says scientists are "calling for urgent action to prevent criminal gangs gaining access…

Drug combination for cystic fibrosis looks promising

Monday May 18 2015

Drug combination for cystic fibrosis looks promising

"A 'groundbreaking' new therapy for cystic fibrosis could hugely improve patients' quality of life," The Daily Telegraph reports after a combination of two drugs – lumacaftor and ivacaftor – was found to improve lung function…

Cannabis-extract pills 'not effective' for dementia symptoms

Thursday May 14 2015

Cannabis-extract pills showed poor results for treating dementia

"Cannabis pills 'do not help dementia sufferers'," reports The Daily Telegraph. Previous research suggested one of the active ingredients in cannabis – tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)…

Doctors issue warning about overtreating patients

Wednesday May 13 2015

Doctors issue warning about overtreating patients

"NHS tests and drugs 'do more harm than good'," is the headline in The Telegraph, while The Guardian warns: "Doctors to withhold treatments in campaign against 'too much medicine'."…

Heart failure drug digoxin linked to premature death

Tuesday May 5 2015

Heart failure drug digoxin linked to premature death

"A heart drug taken by 250,000 Britons can actually hasten death, a major study has found," the Mail Online warns today. An analysis of previous research on digoxin, used to treat heart failure, suggests it can raise the risk of premature death…

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What is Behind the Headlines?

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