Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Antibiotic use in farm animals 'threatens human health'

Wednesday Dec 9 2015

"Farmers need to dramatically cut the amount of antibiotics used in agriculture, because of the threat to human health, a report says," according to BBC News. The concern is agricultural antibiotic use is driving up levels…

Do potatoes reduce stomach cancer risk?

Tuesday Dec 1 2015

"Eating lots of potatoes will reduce your risk of getting stomach cancer," according to enthusiastic media reports that seized on the UK's love affair with the spud...

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…

Processed meat 'causes cancer' warns official report

Tuesday Oct 27 2015

"Processed meat ranks alongside smoking as major cause of cancer, World Health Organisation [WHO] says," The Daily Telegraph reports. They have been ranked as a group one carcinogen – the same ranking as cigarettes, alcohol and asbestos…

Controversial 'sugar tax' report is finally published

Friday Oct 23 2015

"A sugar tax of up to 20 per cent is need[ed] on fizzy drinks and fattening snacks," the Daily Mail reports. It is one of eight recommendations from Public Health England designed to tackle the UK's love affair with the sweet stuff…

Warning about middle-aged drinking and dementia

Wednesday Oct 21 2015

"Middle-aged people should curb their drinking to reduce their risk of developing dementia, new guidance suggests," reports the Daily Mirror. The new guidance highlights that people aged 40 to 64 who regularly drink…

Concern about rise in UK Lyme disease cases

Monday Oct 12 2015

"Surging numbers of people are being diagnosed with Lyme disease as cases spread from rural areas to the suburbs," the Daily Mail reports. Find out about this tick-borne bacterial infection…

UK women's life expectancy 'second worst' in Western Europe

Wednesday Sep 23 2015

"British women have second worst life expectancy in Europe," The Guardian reports. This is one of the findings of a Europe-wide health report carried out by the World Health Organization…

No evidence that Alzheimer's can be transmitted through surgery

Wednesday Sep 9 2015

A study in the Nature medical journal has found evidence that the abnormal proteins associated with Alzheimer's disease could be spread directly as a result of certain types of surgery. So should you be worried? Almost certainly not…

E-cigarettes '95% less harmful than smoking' says report

Wednesday Aug 19 2015

"E-cigarettes are 95% less harmful than tobacco and could be prescribed on the NHS in future to help smokers quit," BBC News reports. This is the main finding of an evidence review carried out by Public Health England…

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