Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

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…

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…

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