Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Growing up with a pet may boost a baby's bacterial health

Monday Apr 10 2017

"Having a pet dog…can help reduce the child's chances of developing allergies and becoming obese in later years," claims the Daily Mirror, in a somewhat misleading report. Researchers did find a link between pet ownership and an increased…

British babies 'among the world's biggest criers' claim unproven

Tuesday Apr 4 2017

"Babies in Britain, Canada and Italy cry more than elsewhere," The Guardian reports. But the review the newspaper is reporting on only found reliable data from a handful of nations so the accuracy of the claim is unclear…

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…

Breastfeeding 'doesn't boost children's intelligence'

Tuesday Mar 28 2017

"Scientists found tots given the boob had the same IQ at age three and five compared to bottle-fed youngsters," The Sun reports in its own unique way. An Irish study has found no significant differences in cognitive development between the two groups…

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…

Grandparents 'may be first to spot autism in a child'

Friday Mar 17 2017

"Grandmas are usually the first to spot autism in children," the Mail Online reports. The headline was prompted by a US online survey of parents and family members of children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD)...

Children's screen time linked to diabetes risk factors

Tuesday Mar 14 2017

"Children who are allowed more than three hours of screentime a day are at greater risk of developing diabetes," The Guardian reports. In a new study, UK researchers found a link between three hours or more of screen time and risk factors…

Parents told to use pram covers to protect babies from air pollution

Friday Mar 10 2017

"Parents warned to use pram covers to protect babies from air pollution," reports The Daily Telegraph. The advice is prompted by a UK study where researchers simulated a normal walk to school in Guildford…

Does putting the clocks forward make IVF more likely to fail?

Monday Feb 27 2017

"Miscarriages for women on IVF 'double when the clocks go forward because the loss of an hour in bed puts more stress on a mother-to-be's body'," reports the Mail on Sunday about a study of more than 1,500 cycles of IVF treatment in the US…

Link between herpes in pregnancy and autism is unconfirmed

Friday Feb 24 2017

"Pregnant women infected with herpes are 'TWICE as likely to have a baby with autism'," The Sun reports. However, the results the of the study it reports on, was based on just 14 women...

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