Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Two older drugs could be 'repurposed' to fight dementia

Thursday Apr 20 2017

"Depression and cancer drugs offer hope for dementia sufferers," Sky News reports. The headline is prompted by a study looking at the effect of two drugs – one used to treat depression and another being trialled for cancer treatment...

Frog slime could protect us against future flu epidemic

Wednesday Apr 19 2017

"'Potent' new molecule in frog slime may give us new way to beat flu epidemics, say boffins," The Sun reports. Researchers looked at secretions from the skin of a south Indian frog called Hydrophylax bahuvistara…

Antibiotic use linked to 'pre-cancerous' bowel changes

Thursday Apr 6 2017

"Taking antibiotics for more than two weeks increases your risk of bowel cancer by 73 per cent," reports the Daily Mail. However, the study it reports on did not look at rates of bowel cancer. What it did find is an increased risk of bowel polyps…

Morning after pill 'less reliable' for women over 11 stone

Monday Apr 3 2017

"Women who take morning-after pill could still fall pregnant if they weigh more than 11 stone," the Daily Mirror warns. New guidelines on emergency contraception discuss recent evidence that body mass index (BMI) and overall…

Modified protein promotes hair growth and fights ageing in mice

Friday Mar 24 2017

"Scientists create a chemical that can restore hair and give youthful energy," the Daily Mail reports; but these effects have only been achieved in mice. A modified protein called FOXO4-DRI has been successfully used to remove "broken ageing" cells…

The pill provides 'lifelong protection against some cancers'

Wednesday Mar 22 2017

"The pill can protect women from cancer for 30 years," is the front page headline in the Daily Mirror. The paper reports on a landmark study that followed more than 46,000 women in the UK for up to 44 years…

New drug shows promise in preventing heart attacks

Monday Mar 20 2017

"The cholesterol drug that outperforms statins: Patients on the medication are '27% less likely to suffer a heart attack'," the Daily Mail reports. The drug, evolocumab, makes the liver more effective at removing "bad" cholesterol from the blood…

Ibuprofen claimed to raise cardiac arrest risk by a third

Thursday Mar 16 2017

"Taking common painkillers like ibuprofen 'increases your risk of cardiac arrest by a THIRD'," The Sun reports. Researchers found a link between the potentially fatal heart problem and ibuprofen use…

New breast cancer drugs could help more than previously thought

Wednesday Mar 15 2017

"Up to one in five women with breast cancer could benefit from a type of treatment currently only given to patients with a rare form of the disease," The Independent reports. Research suggests around 20% of women with breast cancer…

Hair loss drugs linked with erectile dysfunction

Monday Mar 13 2017

"Men who take this drug [finasteride] to combat baldness are 'five times more likely to suffer erectile dysfunction'," The Sun reports. While this may sound hair-raising, the actual evidence the paper is reporting on is not a major cause for concern…

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