Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Study explores effect of plain cigarette packs

Tuesday Jul 15 2014

Study explores effect of anti-smoking images

"Long-term smokers find the taste of plain-packaged cigarettes worse than that of branded cigarettes," The Guardian reports. The news comes from Australian research into the impact of plain packaging and health risk warnings on packets of cigarettes…

Vasectomy-associated prostate cancer risk 'small'

Friday Jul 11 2014

Vasectomy prostate cancer risk 'small'

“Men who have the snip increase their risk of suffering fatal prostate cancer, according to research,” the Daily Mail reports. However, while the increase in risk was found to be statistically significant, it was small in absolute terms…

Cycling linked to prostate cancer, but not infertility

Wednesday Jul 9 2014

Cycling linked to prostate cancer, but not infertility

"Men who cycle more than nine hours a week are … more likely to develop prostate cancer," the Mail Online inaccurately reports. The story comes from the publication of an online survey into cycling in the UK and its effects on health outcomes…

Aggressive breast cancer protein discovered

Monday Jul 7 2014

Scientists make breakthrough in breast cancer research

"A breakthrough by scientists could lead to a new treatment for one of the most aggressive forms of breast cancer," the Mail Online reports. Researchers have identified a protein called integrin αvβ6…

Frozen testicle tissue produces mice offspring

Wednesday Jul 2 2014

Frozen testicle tissue used to produce live births

"A sample of frozen testicle has been used to produce live offspring in experiments on mice," BBC News reports. The technique could be of use for boys whose fertility is damaged due to treatment for cancers such as leukaemia…

Blood test for breast cancer 'has potential'

Friday Jun 27 2014

Blood test for breast cancer could be possible

"Blood test could give early warning of breast cancer," The Guardian reports. Researchers have identified a genetic signature that may be useful in predicting whether a woman is likely to develop non-inherited breast cancer…

Menthol cigs 'encourage teens to smoke more'

Tuesday Jun 24 2014

Menthol cigs 'encourage teens to smoke more'

"Menthol cigarettes ARE more addictive," the Mail Online claims, based on a survey of 5,000 teenagers. The 2010-11 Canadian school survey found that 16% of teenagers aged 14 to 18 smoke cigarettes…

Pre-teen girls have 'easy access' to e-cigarettes

Friday Jun 20 2014

Pre-teen girls have 'easy access' to e-cigarettes

“Children 'addicted to sweet tasting e-cigarettes',” is the alarmist headline in the Daily Mirror. A survey has found that a few pre-teen girls in Wales have experimented with the devices, but there is no evidence of widespread addiction…

Sun tanning 'addictive' suggests study

Friday Jun 20 2014

Sun tanning 'addictive' suggests study

"Sunbathing 'may be addictive' warning," BBC News reports. Studies in mice suggest that exposure to ultraviolet radiation may trigger the release of endorphins leading to an opiate-like "high" and mice may even then experience UV withdrawal symptoms …

High-factor sunscreen doesn’t cut melanoma risk

Thursday Jun 12 2014

High-factor sunscreen doesn’t cut melanoma risk

“High-factor sun cream cannot…protect against the deadliest form of skin cancer,” The Guardian reports. Research involving mice with a predisposition to develop melanoma found that sunscreen only delayed, rather than prevented, the onset of melanoma…

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