Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Does timing of first pregnancy affect long-term maternal health?

Thursday Dec 17 2015

'Delaying motherhood is ‘better for your health’,' the Daily Mail says, reporting that 'Women who give birth after the age of 25 ‘are healthier by the time they’re 40’,'. However the picture is a lot more ambiguous than the paper presents...

Active and secondhand smoking both linked to early menopause

Wednesday Dec 16 2015

"Women who are heavy or habitual smokers are more likely to experience the menopause earlier [before the age of 50], a study suggests," BBC News reports. The same study found a weaker link for women exposed to secondhand smoke…

Antidepressant use in pregnancy 'linked to childhood autism'

Tuesday Dec 15 2015

"Taking antidepressants during pregnancy almost doubles the risk of children developing autism," The Daily Telegraph reports. Researchers say it is possible that chemicals present in antidepressants could interfere with child development…

Can overweight men pass obesity risk to their children?

Friday Dec 4 2015

"Are you fat because of your dad?" is the Mail Online's bold question to its readers, explaining that "Men's weight directly affects genes in sperm linked to appetite and brain development"...

Weight gain between pregnancies linked to stillbirth

Thursday Dec 3 2015

"Maternal weight gain raises stillbirth risk", reports The Guardian, and other media outlets. A large study in Sweden found women whose weight increased by more than two BMI units (about 6kg for a woman who is 1.67m tall) between...

Experts call for more research into ADHD drug Ritalin

Friday Nov 27 2015

"The drug Ritalin should be prescribed with caution as the quality of evidence available about its benefits and risks is poor," the Mail Online reports. A review found no high-quality evidence about both the benefits and risks…

Babies born on the weekend have slightly higher death risk

Wednesday Nov 25 2015

"Babies delivered at the weekend are significantly more likely to die or suffer serious injury," reports the Daily Mail. While the increase in risk is both significant and an obvious cause for concern, it is a very small increase…

Study calls for smartphones and tablets to have 'bedtime mode'

Monday Nov 16 2015

"Smartphones, tablets and e-readers should have an automatic 'bedtime mode' that stops them disrupting people's sleep," BBC News reports. The concern is the devices emit short-wavelength blue light, which may disrupt the production of melatonin…

Gene editing breakthrough in treating baby’s leukaemia

Friday Nov 6 2015

"Baby girl is first in the world to be treated with 'designer immune cells'," The Guardian reports. Pioneering work carried out at Great Ormond Street Hospital made use of a novel technique known as genome editing…

Growing up with a dog 'reduces childhood asthma risk'

Tuesday Nov 3 2015

"Children who grow up with a pet dog in the family home have a lower risk of developing asthma," The Times reports. A large Swedish study found an association between pet ownership and reduced risk of asthma…

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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