Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Antidepressant paroxetine use linked to risk of birth defects

Wednesday Jan 6 2016

"Antidepressant 'does increase your baby's risk of birth defects if taken in first 12 weeks of pregnancy','' the Mail Online reports. A study of previous data suggests the commonly used antidepressant paroxetine…

Infertility treatments 'not linked' to developmental delays

Tuesday Jan 5 2016

"There is no heightened risk of developmental delays … in children conceived through IVF or other infertility treatments," the Mail Online reports. A study found that the numbers of children affected…

Failure to fortify flour with folic acid 'led to 2,000 birth defects'

Friday Dec 18 2015

"UK experts are backing the call for flour to be fortified with folic acid – a move which they say would have prevented about 2,000 cases of serious birth defects since 1998," BBC News reports…

Does timing of first pregnancy affect long-term maternal health?

Thursday Dec 17 2015

'Delaying motherhood is ‘better for your health’,' the Daily Mail says, reporting that 'Women who give birth after the age of 25 ‘are healthier by the time they’re 40’,'. However the picture is a lot more ambiguous than the paper presents...

Active and secondhand smoking both linked to early menopause

Wednesday Dec 16 2015

"Women who are heavy or habitual smokers are more likely to experience the menopause earlier [before the age of 50], a study suggests," BBC News reports. The same study found a weaker link for women exposed to secondhand smoke…

Antidepressant use in pregnancy 'linked to childhood autism'

Tuesday Dec 15 2015

"Taking antidepressants during pregnancy almost doubles the risk of children developing autism," The Daily Telegraph reports. Researchers say it is possible that chemicals present in antidepressants could interfere with child development…

Can overweight men pass obesity risk to their children?

Friday Dec 4 2015

"Are you fat because of your dad?" is the Mail Online's bold question to its readers, explaining that "Men's weight directly affects genes in sperm linked to appetite and brain development"...

Weight gain between pregnancies linked to stillbirth

Thursday Dec 3 2015

"Maternal weight gain raises stillbirth risk", reports The Guardian, and other media outlets. A large study in Sweden found women whose weight increased by more than two BMI units (about 6kg for a woman who is 1.67m tall) between...

Experts call for more research into ADHD drug Ritalin

Friday Nov 27 2015

"The drug Ritalin should be prescribed with caution as the quality of evidence available about its benefits and risks is poor," the Mail Online reports. A review found no high-quality evidence about both the benefits and risks…

Babies born on the weekend have slightly higher death risk

Wednesday Nov 25 2015

"Babies delivered at the weekend are significantly more likely to die or suffer serious injury," reports the Daily Mail. While the increase in risk is both significant and an obvious cause for concern, it is a very small increase…

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What is Behind the Headlines?

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