Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Ibuprofen ‘barely better than placebo’ at treating back pain

Friday Feb 3 2017

"Widely used anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen have little more benefit than a placebo when it comes to treating back pain," reports the Guardian. This is based on a study looking at more than 6,000 people with back pain, comparing…

New insights into why breast cancer drugs fail for some women

Tuesday Jan 24 2017

"Breast cancer drugs taken by thousands of women stop working because tumours 'outsmart' them," is the headline in The Sun. Around 70% of breast cancer cases are what are known as oestrogen-receptor positive breast cancers…

Youngest children in class 'more likely to be given ADHD drugs'

Monday Jan 23 2017

"Youngest children in class more likely to get ADHD medication, study says," The Guardian reports. The results of an Australian study have caused concerns that, in some cases, immature behaviour may be misinterpreted as evidence of a behavioural disorder…

A third of adults treated for asthma 'may not have the disease'

Wednesday Jan 18 2017

"The great asthma myth: A third of those diagnosed don't have the condition," reports the Mail Online. A study in Canada found about one-third of adults diagnosed with asthma in the past five years showed no signs of the condition on retesting...

Reports of a 'wrinkle cure' look a little saggy

Monday Jan 9 2017

"Wrinkles could be a thing of the past as scientists find a way to regenerate fatty cells," The Daily Telegraph reports. Research involving mice suggests a protein called bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) could repair skin…

New drug proves effective for both types of MS

Thursday Dec 22 2016

"A drug that alters the immune system has been described as 'big news' and a 'landmark' in treating multiple sclerosis," BBC News reports. The drug, ocrelizumab, proved effective in two related studies, for treating both…

Long-term painkiller use 'linked to hearing loss in women'

Thursday Dec 15 2016

"Women who take paracetamol or ibuprofen just twice a week could be damaging their hearing permanently," the Daily Mail reports. A US study found an association between the long-term use of these widely used painkillers and reported hearing loss…

'Not enough over-50s' taking aspirin to prevent heart disease

Thursday Dec 1 2016

"Aspirin a day could dramatically cut cancer and heart disease risk … study claims," the Mail Online reports. U.S. researchers ran a simulation of what might happen if all Americans over 50 years old took aspirin on a daily basis…

Review questions recent official vitamin D guidance

Thursday Nov 24 2016

"Vitamin D pills branded 'waste of time' and could even be 'harmful' according to new research," The Sun reports. But, despite the headline, no new research has been done. The news comes from a review of existing evidence…

Male contraceptive jab 'effective', but side effects are common

Friday Oct 28 2016

"Male contraceptive injection '96% effective'," ITV News reports. The news comes from a study looking at a new type of male contraceptive injection, which was found to be effective – but side effects like acne and mood changes were common…

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