Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Details of autism genes uncovered in global study

Thursday Oct 30 2014

Global study learns more about autism genes

"A massive international study has started to unpick the 'fine details' of why some people develop autism," BBC News reports. Analysis of the genes of people with autism suggests certain genetic variants disrupt signalling pathways inside the brain…

Agave syrup no better than placebo cough remedy

Tuesday Oct 28 2014

Placebo as 'effective as syrup' in treating coughs

"Placebo cough treatment benefits children and their parents, study suggests," The Daily Telegraph reports. A US study found that children’s reported cough symptoms improved even though they were just given a dummy treatment…

NICE wants tooth brushing to be taught in schools

Wednesday Oct 22 2014

NICE say schools should teach teeth brushing

"Children should get their teeth brushed at school, says NHS watchdog," The Daily Telegraph reports. The new guidelines have been welcomed by some, but others have accused the watchdog of acting like a "supernanny state"...

BMI tests 'miss' over a quarter of obese children

Monday Oct 20 2014

BMI tests 'missing' over a quarter of obese children

"Quarter of obese children missed by BMI tests," the Mail Online reports. The headline was prompted by a review that combined the results of 37 studies in more than 50,000 children and found body mass index (BMI)…

Warnings issued over energy drinks

Wednesday Oct 15 2014

Warnings issued over energy drink risks

"Energy drinks could cause public health problems, says WHO study," The Guardian reports. A new review discusses the potential harms of these drinks, especially when they are mixed with alcohol…

Broccoli could 'hold the key' for treating autism

Tuesday Oct 14 2014

Broccoli could 'hold the key' for treating autism

"Broccoli chemical may improve autism symptoms," The Daily Telegraph reports. A small study suggests sulforaphane, a chemical that gives broccoli its distinctive taste, may help improve some of the symptoms of autism spectrum disorder…

Moderate regular drinking may 'damage sperm'

Friday Oct 3 2014

Even moderate regular drinking damages sperm

“Just five alcoholic drinks a week could reduce sperm quality,” The Guardian reports. A study involving Danish military recruits found that even moderate drinking, if done regularly, was associated with a drop in quality…

High levels of tooth decay found in three-year-olds

Tuesday Sep 30 2014

One in eight three-year-olds have tooth decay

"Tooth decay affects 12% of three-year-olds, says survey," BBC News reports. The survey, carried out by Public Health England, found big variations in different parts of the country. Experts believe sugary drinks are to blame for this trend…

Mums 'feel shame' about how they feed their babies

Friday Sep 19 2014

Both breast and bottlefeeding mums 'feel shame'

"Mothers are made to feel 'marginalised and ashamed' when they breastfeed in public, according to an international study," the Mail Online reports. But the same study found mothers who bottlefeed also feel subject to criticism…

Cosmetics blamed for raised child asthma risk

Wednesday Sep 17 2014

Household chemicals may up child asthma risk

"Chemicals in make-up and perfumes fuelling rise in children with asthma," reports the Mail Online. One scientist, the website claims, suggests that women should take measures such as checking the contents of their make-up and avoiding using…

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What is Behind the Headlines?

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