Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Inappropriate antibiotic prescribing by online pharmacies 'reckless'

Friday Feb 17 2017

"Scientists found antibiotics illegally available on 45% of websites they tested," the Mail Online reports. This headline was prompted by research into 20 online pharmacies selling antibiotics to the UK public…

'Add vitamin D to food to prevent colds and flu', say researchers

Thursday Feb 16 2017

"Adding vitamin D to food would reduce deaths and significantly cut NHS costs," The Guardian reports. A review of existing data estimates that supplementing food with vitamin D would prevent millions of cold and flu cases…

GPs 'failing to prescribe tamoxifen to prevent breast cancer'

Tuesday Feb 14 2017

"Half of GPs unaware of drug's use [tamoxifen] in cancer prevention," The Guardian reports. An online survey of GPs found many were unaware of national guidelines recommending the use of tamoxifen for at risk women…

Online reviews of health products 'are misleading'

Monday Feb 13 2017

"Don't believe online reviews of health products, they're 'skewed'," the Mail Online reports. A psychologist compared online reviews of three medical products with results from clinical trials…

Four-in-one pill 'effective' for high blood pressure

Friday Feb 10 2017

"Combining four blood pressure drugs into a single pill could be twice as effective as existing treatments," the Mail Online reports. A small, proof-of-concept study has looked at the safety and effectiveness of a so-called quadpill…

Harnessing 'brute force' could be key to creating new antibiotics

Tuesday Feb 7 2017

"Antibiotics 'seen using brute force to kill bugs'," BBC News reports. The hope is that researchers could replicate the effect to create new antibiotics that could help combat the continuing threat of antibiotic resistance…

Ibuprofen ‘barely better than placebo’ at treating back pain

Friday Feb 3 2017

"Widely used anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen have little more benefit than a placebo when it comes to treating back pain," reports the Guardian. This is based on a study looking at more than 6,000 people with back pain, comparing…

New insights into why breast cancer drugs fail for some women

Tuesday Jan 24 2017

"Breast cancer drugs taken by thousands of women stop working because tumours 'outsmart' them," is the headline in The Sun. Around 70% of breast cancer cases are what are known as oestrogen-receptor positive breast cancers…

Youngest children in class 'more likely to be given ADHD drugs'

Monday Jan 23 2017

"Youngest children in class more likely to get ADHD medication, study says," The Guardian reports. The results of an Australian study have caused concerns that, in some cases, immature behaviour may be misinterpreted as evidence of a behavioural disorder…

A third of adults treated for asthma 'may not have the disease'

Wednesday Jan 18 2017

"The great asthma myth: A third of those diagnosed don't have the condition," reports the Mail Online. A study in Canada found about one-third of adults diagnosed with asthma in the past five years showed no signs of the condition on retesting...

What is Behind the Headlines?

What is Behind the Headlines?

We give you the facts without the fiction. Professor Sir Muir Gray, founder of Behind the Headlines, explains more...

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