Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Contraceptive pills not proven to protect against the flu

Monday Sep 19 2016

"How taking the pill could protect you from the flu," was the curious headline on a recent Mail Online article. The equally curious animal study involved female mice who had their ovaries surgically removed…

E-cigarettes 'help thousands successfully quit smoking'

Wednesday Sep 14 2016

"The rise in popularity of e-cigarettes in the UK may have resulted in more successful attempts to quit smoking," BBC News reports. A UK study looking at survey data from England over the past 10 years showed…

Statins are 'safe, effective and should be used more widely'

Friday Sep 9 2016

"The benefits of statins are hugely underestimated and far outweigh any harm," the Daily Mail reports. A major review also argues that the risks of statins have been exaggerated by both the media and some sections of the medical profession…

Plaque busting drug shows early promise in preventing Alzheimer's

Thursday Sep 1 2016

"A revolutionary drug that could stop people from ever developing Alzheimer's disease has been unveiled," the Daily Mail reports. The drug, aducanumab, encourages the immune system to attack the abnormal plaques of protein linked to Alzheimer's disease…

Combined HRT breast cancer risk 'may have been underestimated'

Tuesday Aug 23 2016

"Women who take a common form of HRT are nearly three times as likely to get breast cancer, a major study has found," the Daily Mail reports. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is a treatment used to relieve symptoms of the…

Perfect painkiller? Safe alternative to opiates may have been found

Friday Aug 19 2016

The Independent has claimed: "Scientists discover what could be a 'perfect' painkiller without side effects". Opiate-based painkillers such as morphine are extremely effective in relieving pain. The problem is that they are also addictive…

Calcium supplements linked to post-stroke dementia in women

Thursday Aug 18 2016

"Calcium supplements could dramatically raise the risk of dementia in women who suffer a stroke, a new study found," the Mail Online reports. However, the sample size (98) of women taking supplements was small, which casts doubts…

Does time of day influence our susceptibility to infection?

Tuesday Aug 16 2016

"Viruses more dangerous in the morning," BBC News reports, but The Telegraph tells us that "the evening commute is worse for health". So who's right? It depends if you're talking about mice or humans…

New drug for severe asthma 'shows massive promise'

Monday Aug 8 2016

"Asthma drug 'gamechanger' could revolutionise treatment," The Guardian reports after a new drug called fevipiprant showed promising results in a small study of 61 people with moderate to severe asthma…

Researchers may have found an 'antidepressant roadblock'

Monday Aug 1 2016

"Hope for faster treatment for depression after scientists discover why antidepressants can take months to work," the Mail Online reports. New research suggests manipulating the brain's Gα protein may accelerate the effect of the drugs...

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What is Behind the Headlines?

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