Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Receptionists 'putting people off' seeing their GPs

Wednesday Oct 12 2016

"Receptionists may 'put people off' seeing their GP by asking questions about symptoms," ITV News reports on a widely covered study carried out by Cancer Research UK. The study is part of an ongoing project…

Doctors 'vastly outperform' symptom checker apps

Tuesday Oct 11 2016

"Doctors correctly diagnose illness 'twice as often as online symptom checkers'," The Sun reports. A US study ran a head-to-head comparison between doctors and a symptom checker platform called Human Dx using what are known as clinical vignettes…

Cervical screening every 10 years for healthy women is 'safe'

Thursday Oct 6 2016

"Cervical cancer: gap between screenings 'can be increased to 10 years'," The Guardian reports. A Dutch study suggests women who test negative for the human papilloma virus (HPV), the leading cause of cervical cancer…

Men conceived by IVF 'may inherit sperm problems'

Thursday Oct 6 2016

"Baby boys born through a common type of IVF treatment … may not be [able to] have children naturally," The Daily Telegraph reports. A new study has looked at a small sample of men born using the…

Cuddling a kitten almost certainly won't kill you

Tuesday Sep 20 2016

"Cuddling kittens can kill you," warns The Telegraph in one of the more alarming headlines to appear in the national press for some time. But cat lovers can relax – deaths and serious illness from "killer kittens"…

Invasive early prostate cancer treatments not always needed

Thursday Sep 15 2016

"Closely monitoring prostate cancer offers just as good a chance of survival as harsh and invasive treatments," The Daily Telegraph reports. Researchers found invasive treatments for early stage prostate cancer, such as surgery…

Vitamin D 'protects against severe asthma attacks'

Tuesday Sep 6 2016

"Vitamin D supplements could halve risk of serious asthma attacks," The Guardian reports. A review of previous data found that vitamin D supplements could have a protective effect against serious asthma attacks when taken alongside...

Radiotherapy 'provides no benefit for secondary brain tumours'

Monday Sep 5 2016

"'Whole brain radiotherapy' is of no benefit to people with lung cancer which has spread to the brain," BBC News reports. A UK study found radiotherapy did not significantly increase survival times and quality of life when compared with standard care…

One in three heart attack cases 'misdiagnosed'

Tuesday Aug 30 2016

BBC News reports a "third [of people] given wrong initial heart attack diagnosis", while The Sun makes the totally unsupported claim that "Doctors miss heart attacks in women 'because they expect victims to be fat, middle-aged men'."…

Baby doll simulators may actually increase teen pregnancy rates

Friday Aug 26 2016

"Young girls exposed to electronic babies – designed to simulate the real experience of having a baby and discourage teenage pregnancy – were more likely to get pregnant," The Guardian reports…

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What is Behind the Headlines?

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