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Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

New HPV vaccine may protect against 90% of cervical cancers

Friday Feb 20 2015

New HPV vaccine may protect against 90% of cervical cancers

"New HPV vaccine stops 90% of cervical cancers," the Mail Online reports. The vaccine, which protects against nine common strains of the cancer-causing human papilloma virus (HPV), has proved both safe and effective in a study involving 14,000 women…

Sunlight UV damage to skin persists even after dark

Friday Feb 20 2015

Sunlight UV damage to skin persists even in the dark

"Moving immediately into the shade does not stop sun damage, as UV rays can continue damaging skin cells hours after exposure," The Guardian reports. A study has found evidence that damage to DNA can continue after initial exposure…

Plain packaging 'may help smokers to cut down'

Tuesday Feb 17 2015

Plain packaging 'may help smokers smoke less'

"Plain packaging reduced unconscious triggers to smoke," BBC News reports. This claim is based on two related experiments where smokers were either exposed to a picture of a branded pack of cigarettes, a picture of a plain pack...

HRT increases ovarian cancer risk by small amount

Friday Feb 13 2015

HRT increases ovarian cancer risk by small amount

"Hormone replacement therapy increases ovarian cancer risk," BBC News reports. An analysis of previous data, published in The Lancet, found a statistically significant increase, though the increase in risk for individual women is very small…

E-cigarettes may make lungs vulnerable to infection

Thursday Feb 5 2015

E-cigarettes may make lungs vulnerable to infection

"Vaping may not be as safe as smokers think, research suggests," The Guardian reports. New research found that mice exposed to e-cig vapours comparable to a typical human level experienced mild lung damage and a reduced immune response to infection…

Gift vouchers can help pregnant smokers quit

Wednesday Jan 28 2015

Gift vouchers can help pregnant smokers quit

"Offering shopping vouchers worth a total of £400 to pregnant smokers makes them more likely to quit the habit, say researchers," BBC News reports...

Female lung cancer deaths 'may outstrip breast cancer' in 2015

Tuesday Jan 27 2015

Lung cancer has a notoriously poor prognosis

The Mail Online states: "Lung cancer death rates among European women set to overtake breast cancer for first time this year," adding that "researchers blame high levels of smoking, especially in Britain..."

Brown fat may protect against diabetes and obesity

Monday Jan 26 2015

Brown fat may protect against diabetes and metabolic syndrome

“Fat can protect you against obesity and diabetes," the Mail Online reports. However, the small study it reports on was looking at brown fat, which is only found in small amounts in adults…

Under-80 cancer deaths 'eliminated by 2050' claim

Wednesday Jan 14 2015

Under-80 cancer deaths 'eliminated by 2050' claim

"Cancer deaths will be eliminated for all under 80 by 2050,” The Independent reports. This is the optimistic prediction contained in a paper written by specialists in pharmacy from University College London (UCL)...

Blood test may tell you the best way to quit smoking

Monday Jan 12 2015

Blood test may tell you the best way to quit smoking

"A blood test could help people choose a stop-smoking strategy that would give them the best chance of quitting," BBC News reports. The test measures how quickly an individual breaks down nicotine inside their body…

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