Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Reports that antibacterials in pregnancy are 'harmful' unfounded

Monday Aug 14 2017

"Warning to pregnant women, don't use antibacterial soap! Chemicals in the products can make children fat and disrupt their development," is the alarming, yet entirely unsupported, headline from the Mail Online...

Vitamin B3 found in Marmite not proven to prevent miscarriage

Thursday Aug 10 2017

"Like it or loathe it, but Marmite could help prevent millions of miscarriages and birth defects around the world," is the overly optimistic headline in The Daily Telegraph. The news is based on research into just four families…

Saliva 'may speed healing' but 'kissing it better' probably won't

Thursday Aug 10 2017

"Kissing it better really works: Saliva found to have properties that help speed up the healing process," reports the Mail Online. Researchers in Chile investigated how human saliva may help wounds to heal more efficiently…

Western sperm counts 'halved' in last 40 years

Wednesday Jul 26 2017

"Sperm counts among Western men have halved in last 40 years," The Guardian reports. A major review of research carried out since 1973 found an estimated 50-60% drop in sperm count in developed nations...

High-dose vitamin D 'doesn't prevent colds and flu in kids'

Wednesday Jul 19 2017

"Vitamin D will not protect your child from a cold: myth-busting study says 'more isn't always better' to help toddlers stay healthy," says the Mail Online. The story is based on a study that looked at…

Face-to-face bullying much more common than cyberbullying

Thursday Jul 13 2017

"Children suffer significantly more face-to-face bullying than online abuse," reports the Mail Online. UK researchers questioned nearly 300,000 15-year-olds about their experiences of bullying in the biggest study of the subject to date…

Overweight teen boys have increased risk of stroke in later life

Thursday Jun 29 2017

"Boys who get fat in their teenage years are much more likely to suffer a life-threatening stroke as an adult, experts today warned," The Sun reports. Swedish researchers suspect the association could be down to the effects of...

Does paracetamol taken in pregnancy affect masculinity?

Friday Jun 23 2017

"Taking paracetamol when pregnant 'makes boys less manly, less aggressive and lowers their sex drive'," reports The Sun. But the alarming headline doesn't explain that the research was in mice, not humans. Researchers gave daily doses...

Obese mums more likely to give birth to babies with birth defects

Thursday Jun 15 2017

"Women who are obese when they conceive are more likely to have a baby with serious birth defects," The Guardian reports. Swedish researchers looked at more than a million health records and found a link between excess body mass index (BMI)…

An egg a day may prevent stunted growth in infants

Thursday Jun 8 2017

"An egg a day appears to help young children grow taller," BBC News reports. Research involving young children in Ecuador found babies given one egg a day for six months had improved growth compared with…

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