Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Smoke-free laws linked to improved child health

Friday Mar 28 2014

Smoke-free laws linked to improved child health

"Laws banning smoking in public places have had a positive impact on child health," BBC News reports. Researchers found lower rates of premature births and severe asthma cases in countries with a smoking ban…

Could a DNA test predict obesity risk in children?

Thursday Mar 27 2014

DNA test could assess obesity risk in children

"A DNA blood test can predict obesity levels in children as they grow up, scientists claim," the Metro reports. The test, which is based on measuring "switches" in DNA, may help identify children who would benefit from early intervention…

NICE: 'schools should provide morning-after pill'

Wednesday Mar 26 2014

'Schools should provide morning-after pills,' says NICE

New guidelines on contraceptive services for young people issued by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) have prompted widespread coverage. The headlines have focused on a number of elements, with The Daily Telegraph…

Study fails to prove effects of stress on fertility

Monday Mar 24 2014

Stress’s effects on fertility studied

"Stress can double the risk of infertility for women," the Daily Mail reports. But the evidence provided by the study it reports on is not as clear-cut as the reporting implies…

Scarlet fever cases on the rise in England

Friday Mar 21 2014

Scarlet fever cases on the rise in England

"More than 3,500 cases of scarlet fever – the vast majority in children – have been reported since September," The Daily Telegraph reports. The news follows a warning from public health officials, that cases of scarlet fever among children...

Meningitis B vaccine may be available on the NHS

Friday Mar 21 2014

Meningitis B jab set to be free of charge

"A vaccine that protects against a deadly form of meningitis is set to be introduced in the UK," BBC News reports, while the Mail Online adds that a "New life-saving meningitis jab [will be available] for all children on NHS as Health Secretary…

Rapid breathing 'better' for premature babies

Thursday Mar 20 2014

Rapid breathing better for premature babies

"Rapid breaths 'protect early babies'," BBC News reports. One immediate concern when babies are born very premature is their breathing. As their lungs are so tiny many premature babies require breathing support provided by a ventilator…

Call for changes to infant organ donation guidelines

Tuesday Mar 18 2014

Neonatal donation should 'be allowed', doctors urge

“Allow parents to donate the organs of babies who die, urge doctors,” The Guardian reports. Doctors from Great Ormond Street Hospital argue that current UK guidelines regarding organ donations from infants less…

Parental smoking 'ages' children’s arteries

Wednesday Mar 5 2014

Parental smoking 'ages' children’s arteries

'Passive smoking causes lasting damage to children's arteries, prematurely ageing their blood vessels by more than three years' BBC News reports. A Finnish study has found evidence that exposure to secondhand smoke damages children’s arteries…

Childhood nightmares link to psychotic experiences

Monday Mar 3 2014

Frequent child nightmares linked to psychosis

“Regular nightmares in childhood may be an early warning sign of psychotic disorders,” BBC News reports. While many children have the occasional nightmare, a history of regular nightmares could be the sign of something more serious…

What is Behind the Headlines?

What is Behind the Headlines?

We give you the facts without the fiction. Professor Sir Muir Gray, founder of Behind the Headlines, explains more...

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