Bedford Hill Family Practice

120 Bedford Hill
Balham
SW12 9HS
Tel: 020 8673 1720

Family Planning

All doctors are able to offer family planning advice during their normal surgery. Oral contraceptives: Please make an appointment with a practice nurse (or a GP).

  • Coils: Fitted at the Family Planning Clinic
  • Contraceptive implants: We do not fit these at the surgery and will ask you to attend the Family Planning Clinic at Balham Health Centre.
  • Contraceptive injections: Are administered by the practice nurses.
  • Emergency Contraception: Please contact a practice nurse (or a GP) as soon as possible.

The Family Planning Clinic at Balham Health Centre is held on the following days:

Tuesday 6.00pm - 8.00pm
Thursday 9.30am - 11.30am
Friday 5.00pm - 7.00pm

 

 

NHS Choices - Behind the headlines

  • Social care reforms announced

    Most of the UK media is covering the announcement made in Parliament by Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Health, about proposed changes to social care.

    The two confirmed points to have garnered the most media attention in the run-up to the announcement are:

    • a ‘cost cap’ of £75,000 worth of care costs – after this...
  • Does moderate boozing reduce heart failure risk?

    "Seven alcoholic drinks a week can help to prevent heart disease," the Daily Mirror reports. A US study suggests alcohol consumption up to this level may have a protective effect against heart failure.

    This large US study followed more than 14,...

  • Gene editing technique could prevent inherited diseases

    "Researchers in the US have raised hopes for a simple genetic therapy that could prevent devastating diseases being passed on from mothers to their children," The Guardian reports.

    The diseases in question are known as mitochondrial diseases, where mutations occur in mitochondria: a small section of DNA that is passed...

  • Air pollution linked to silent strokes

    "Adults who live in towns and cities suffer ageing of the brain and increased risk of dementia and [silent] strokes because of air pollution," The Daily Telegraph reports.

    A "silent stroke" (technically known as a covert brain infarct) are small areas of damage caused by lack of oxygen to the brain tissue, but are...

  • New asthma treatment within five years, researchers hope

    "Asthma cure could be in reach," The Independent reports. Researchers have discovered that protein molecules called calcium-sensing receptors play a pivotal role in asthma. Drugs known to block these proteins already exist.

    In asthma, the immune system...

  • A magnet for mosquitoes? Blame your genes

    "Mosquitoes 'lured by body odour genes','' BBC News reports. Researchers tested a series of non-identical and identical twins, and found identical twins had similar levels of attractiveness to mosquitoes.

    Researchers have long known that some people are more attractive to mosquitoes than others, and some think this is to do with...

  • Athlete’s foot cream could also treat multiple sclerosis

    "Two common drugs – one used for treating athlete's foot and another for alleviating eczema – may be useful therapies for multiple sclerosis," BBC News reports. The drugs have shown promise in lab and animal studies.

    Multiple sclerosis (MS)...

  • Coffee could make breast cancer drug tamoxifen more effective

    "A cancer-killing cocktail of the hormone drug tamoxifen and two coffees every day was found to reduce the risk of [breast cancer] tumours returning," the Mail Online reports. The same study also found evidence that caffeine slowed the cancer's growth.

    The study looked at coffee consumption among 1,090 women with...

  • Mindfulness 'as good as drugs for preventing depression relapse'

    "Mindfulness-based cognitive therapy may be as good as pills at stopping people relapsing after recovering from major bouts of depression," The Guardian reports.

    Researchers wanted to see if a type of therapy known as mindfulness-based cognitive therapy (MBCT) could be an effective alternative treatment to...

  • Mistreatment of extreme morning sickness 'leading to abortions'

    "Extreme morning sickness causes 1k abortions a year, study finds," The Daily Telegraph reports. The report states that poor treatment of some cases of extreme morning sickness (hyperemesis gravidarum) is leading some women to terminate their pregnancy, despite there being safe and effective treatments available.

    While...

  • Why you should drink (water) before you drive

    "Not drinking enough water has same effect as drink driving," The Daily Telegraph reports. A small study found participants made more mistakes on a driving simulator task when they were mildly dehydrated than when they had plenty of fluids.

    This...

  • There are six different types of obesity, study argues

    "Researchers have identified six 'types' of obese person," The Independent reports. It's argued that each type would benefit from a targeted treatment programme for obesity, rather than a "one-size-fits-all" approach.

    This study looked at...

  • Study doesn't prove e-cigs make quitting smoking harder

    "E-cigs don’t help smokers quit fags – in fact they make it harder to stop," the Daily Mirror reports, apparently turning on its head the common view that using e-cigarettes can help you quit smoking conventional cigarettes.

    The Mirror’s report – echoed in the Daily Mail – was based on surveys of American smokers’ habits and...

  • Discovery could 'boost immune system's cancer fighting ability'

    The media is awash with news of a breakthrough that is "turbocharging the immune system to kill all cancers" (The Daily Telegraph) and a "game-changing new way to fight cancer" (The Independent).

    Both of these vivid headlines are debatable – the first because the technique has only been looked at in one type of...

  • Does happiness have a smell and is it contagious?

    "Humans can smell when other people are happy, researchers discover," The Independent reports; somewhat over-enthusiastically.

    In a new study, Dutch researchers investigated where happiness could be "spread" to others, via body odours, through a process known as "chemosignalling".

    Nine men...

  • Middle age 'starts at 60' claims media

    “Middle age begins at 60, say researchers,” The Times reports. A new population modelling study estimates that due to increased lifespan, what was once regarded as elderly should be seen as middle-aged, and this trend will continue into the future.

    Traditionally, medical professionals, particularly epidemiologists, regarded 65 as the...

  • DNA changes in sperm may help explain autism

    "DNA changes could explain why autism runs in families, according to study," The Independent reports. Research suggests a set of changes in a father's DNA – known as methylation – is linked to autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in their...

  • Paracetamol may blunt feelings of pleasure as well as pain

    "Paracetamol may dull emotions as well as physical pain, new study shows'," The Guardian reports.

    The story comes from research testing whether over-the-counter painkiller paracetamol can blunt not just the feeling of...

  • No proof that bad relationships raise blood pressure

    "If you have ever blamed your partner for making your blood boil, a new study could be the evidence you need to prove it's true," Mail Online reports. But the association between stress and ...

  • Breath test shows promise in diagnosing stomach cancer

    "A simple breath test could help predict whether people with gut problems are at high risk of developing stomach cancer," BBC News reports. The test is designed to detect a distinctive pattern of chemicals associated with stomach cancer.

    ...
  • Can a facelift make you more likeable?

    "Having plastic surgery can make you more likeable," the Mail Online reports. They say cosmetic facial surgery not only makes you look younger, but can also make you more likeable. As the Mail Online reports, women who received surgery "were rated as more attractive, feminine, and trustworthy".

    This headline is...

  • How dogs could sniff out prostate cancer

    "Dogs trained to detect prostate cancer with more than 90% accuracy," The Guardian reports. Two trained bomb-sniffing dogs also proved remarkably successful in detecting compounds associated with prostate cancer in urine samples.

    This...

  • Can plucking hairs stimulate new hair growth?

    "Plucking hairs 'can make more grow'," BBC News reports, while the Daily Mail went as far as saying scientists have found "a cure for baldness". But before you all reach for your tweezers, this discovery was made in mice, not humans.

    The study that prompted the headlines involved looking at hair regeneration in...

  • Middle-age spread 'seems to reduce dementia risk'

    "Being overweight 'reduces dementia risk'," BBC News reports. The story comes from a cohort study of nearly 2 million UK adults aged over 40. It showed that being overweight or obese was linked to a lower risk of ...

  • 'Marathon men' make better sexual partners, media claims

    "Marathon runners are the best in bed," is the spurious claim in Metro.

    The headline is based on a study that only looked at long-distance runners’ finger ratios – said to be a marker for high testosterone levels – not reported partner sexual satisfaction (or as other sources report, high sperm counts and "reproductive...

  • Short people may have an increased risk of heart disease

    "Shorter people at greater risk of heart disease, new research finds," reports The Guardian.

    It reports that a study of nearly 200,000 people has found that for every 2.5 inches (6.35cm) less in height, there is a 13.5% increased risk of ...

  • No such thing as baby brain, study argues

    "'Baby brain' is a stereotype and all in the mind,
    the Mail Online reports.

    The headline is prompted by a US study that aimed to see if "baby brain" (aka "mumnesia") – alleged memory lapses and problems with concentration during pregnancy – is a real phenomenon or just a myth.

    The study recruited...

  • Do diet soft drinks actually make you gain weight?

    "Is Diet Coke making you fat? People who drink at least one can a day have larger waist measurements," the Mail Online reports. A US study found an association between the daily consumption of diet fizzy drinks and expanded waist size.

    This study included a group of older adults aged 65 or over from San Antonio, Texas....

  • Superbug 'could kill 80,000 people' experts warn

    "Superflu pandemic is biggest danger to UK apart from a terrorist attack – and could kill 80,000 people," is the warning in The Independent. A briefing produced by experts outlines...

  • Vigorous exercise 'may help prevent early death'

    "Short bursts of vigorous exercise helps prevent early death," The Independent reports after an Australian study found vigorous exercise, such as jogging, reduced the risk of premature death.

    The study involved adults aged 45 to 75 years old followed up over 6.5 years. Those who did more vigorous activity (as part of their...

  • Sedentary lifestyle – not watching TV – may up diabetes risk

    “Experts claim being a couch potato can increase the risk of developing diabetes,”  the Daily Express reports.

    A study of people at high risk of diabetes produced the sobering result that each hour of time spent watching TV increased the risk of type 2...

  • New Down’s syndrome test more accurate than current screening

    “Blood test for Down’s syndrome 'gives better results'," reports BBC News today. The test, which is based on spotting fragments of "rogue DNA", achieved impressive results in a series of trials.

    A study of over 15,000 women found that the new blood test more accurately identifies pregnancies with Down's syndrome than...

  • Concerns raised about increased e-cigarette use in teenagers

    "E-cigarettes: Many teenagers trying them, survey concludes," BBC News reports after a survey of around 16,000 English teenagers found one in five teens had tried an e-cigarette.

    The concern is that rather than using e-cigarettes as a device to...

  • Paracetamol 'not effective' for lower back pain or arthritis

    "Paracetamol doesn't help lower-back pain or arthritis, study shows," The Guardian reports on a new review.

    The review found no evidence that paracetamol had a significant positive effect, compared to placebo (dummy treatment) in...

  • Healthy diet could cut risk of Alzheimer's disease

    "A new diet could more than halve a person's risk of developing Alzheimer's disease," the Mail Online reports.

    In a new study, researchers looked at the effects of three diets on the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. These were:

    ...
  • Sperm quality pesticides claim 'should be treated with caution'

    "Pesticides on fruit and vegetables may be damaging sperm counts and men should consider going organic if they want to have children," The Daily Telegraph reports.

    A study found men who ate the highest amount of fruit and vegetables with high levels of pesticides had a 49% lower sperm count, as well as a 32% lower count of...

  • Meningitis B jab to be added to NHS child vaccine schedule

    "All babies in the UK will soon have a potentially life-saving vaccine against meningitis B," The Guardian reports. The vaccine, Bexsero, will soon be offered to babies once they reach the age of two months, followed by two more booster shots.

     

    What is meningitis B?

    Meningitis B is a highly aggressive strain of...

  • Parents fail to spot that their kids are obese

    "Parents hardly ever spot obesity in their children, resulting in damaging consequences for health," BBC News reports after a new study found a third of UK parents underestimated the weight of their child.

    The study asked parents for their views about whether their child was underweight, a healthy weight, overweight or ...

  • Fit middle-aged men have lower cancer risk

    "Very fit men in their late 40s are less likely to get lung cancer and colorectal cancer than unfit men," says BBC News as it reports on a new US study.

    The study involved a comprehensive fitness test of 13,949 US men. They were split into three fitness groups: lowest 20%, middle 40% and top 40%, and followed for an average...

  • Crossing your fingers may help reduce pain

    "Crossing your fingers might reduce pain," says The Guardian. The study behind the news found crossing your fingers may confuse the way your brain processes feelings of hot and cold – and, in some cases, reduce painful sensations.

    Rather than subjecting the participants to "normal" pain, the authors used a trick...

  • Do antibiotics in pregnancy cause cerebral palsy and epilepsy?

    "Antibiotic used in pregnancy linked to risk of epilepsy and cerebral palsy," The Guardian reports.

    The results of a new study suggest women who take macrolide antibiotics were slightly more likely to give birth to a child with one (or...

  • Milk and dairy 'good for the brain' claim unproven

    "Three glasses of milk every day ‘helps prevent Alzheimer's and Parkinson's’," is the misleading headline in The Daily Telegraph. The study it reports on only found that a high-dairy diet was linked to increased levels of an antioxidant called glutathione.

    It is also unclear what, if any, protective effects higher levels of...

  • Frequent antibiotic use linked to higher type 2 diabetes risk

    "Repeated antibiotic use linked to diabetes," BBC News reports.

    New research has studied over 200,000 people from the UK who were diagnosed with diabetes between 1995 and 2013. Researchers counted the number of antibiotic prescriptions...

  • Study finds link between air pollution and stroke risk

    "Air pollution is linked to an increased risk of stroke," BBC News reports, prompted by a large global study in The BMJ. Researchers found an association even with brief upsurges in air pollution levels.

    Previous research has shown a ...

  • Are power naps a 'five-fold' memory booster?

    "A 45-minute power nap can boost your memory five-fold," reports The Independent.

    This headline is based on a study that looked at the impact of napping on healthy volunteers’ ability to remember single words or word pairs in a memory test.

    After being shown the words for the first time and then being tested on them...

  • '4D' ultrasound shows effects of smoking on unborn babies

    "Unborn baby shown grimacing in womb as mother smokes," is the somewhat misleading headline in The Daily Telegraph.

    The news comes after researchers released dramatic images of babies in the womb taken using 4D ultrasound scanners. 4D scanners provide real-time moving images of babies in the womb.

    Some newspapers...

  • News analysis: Angelina Jolie's surgery to 'cut ovarian cancer risk'

    Writing in the New York Times, actress Angelina Jolie has announced she recently had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed as tests showed she had an estimated 50% chance of developing ovarian cancer. This is because previous testing found she was...

  • Blood test could provide an early arthritis warning

    "Arthritis breakthrough as new test diagnoses condition up to a decade earlier," the Mail Online reports. The test measures proteins linked with arthritis.

    The study aimed to see whether a blood test could be developed that could distinguish between different types of early stage...

  • Climate change 'might bring rise in UK mosquito-borne diseases'

    "Mosquitoes heading for warmer UK," Sky News reports after a new review predicted climate change will make the UK a more hospitable environment for disease-carrying mosquitoes and ticks, leading to an outbreak of conditions normally seen in more tropical climates.

    In the review, two authors searched the literature to...

  • Research casts doubt on aspartame sensitivity

    "Sweetener linked to cancer is safe to use," reports the Mail Online.

    Aspartame – a commonly-used artificial sweetener – has been dogged by controversy, despite being deemed safe by food regulators in the UK, EU and US.

    Some believe they are sensitive to the sweetener. Anecdotal reports suggest it can cause headaches...

  • Are half of all children's teeth really rotten?

    "Rotten teeth are secret reason why teens don't smile," revealed The Times today.

    The Daily Mirror expressed shock over revelations that, "More than a quarter of British children are afraid to smile because they have such bad tooth decay".

    It explained how "poverty and sugar" were to blame after...

  • Following UK dietary advice may cut heart disease risk

    "Sensible diet cuts heart attack risk in months," The Times reports after a randomised controlled trial found evidence that following current UK diet guidelines can reduce cardiovascular disease risk factors such as blood pressure and...

  • New blood test could help prevent antibiotic misuse

    "A new blood test can help doctors tease out whether an infection is caused by a bacteria or a virus within two hours," BBC News reports. The test, which looks at protein pathways in the blood, could help to appropriately target the use of both antibiotics and antivirals.

    In many cases, it is unclear whether a person’s...

  • Damage to 'heart health' may start in childhood

    "Children are suffering damage to their hearts as early as 12 due to poor diets," the Mail Online reports.

    A US study has found high levels of known risk factors for heart disease in children. The study has not shown the direct effect these risks have in this age group, but it has raised concerns that they may affect the...

  • Breastfed babies 'grow up to be brainier and richer'

    "Breastfed babies grow up smarter and richer, study shows," The Daily Telegraph reports. A study from Brazil that tracked participants for 30 years found a significant association between breastfeeding and higher IQ and income in later life.

    This study followed almost 3,500 infants from birth to adulthood in Brazil. It...

  • Obese people 'underestimate how much sugar they eat'

    "Obese people are 'in denial' about the amount of sugar they eat," the Mail Online reports. Researchers looking into the link between sugar consumption and obesity found a "huge gap" between overweight people's self-reported sugar consumption and the reality, according to the news story.

    Researchers assessed the...

  • Could epilepsy drug help treat Alzheimer's disease?

    A drug commonly used to treat epilepsy could help "slow down" the progress of Alzheimer's disease, reports The Daily Express. According to the news story, the drug levetiracetam was shown to "help restore brain function and memory". 

    The story is based on a study analysing the short-term effect of the drug in 54...

  • All teens should be vaccinated against rare strain of meningitis

    "A vaccination for meningitis is to be offered to all 14-18 year-olds in England and Wales, after a spike in a rare strain of the disease," The Guardian reports. The strain – meningitis W (MenW) – is described as rare, but life-threatening.

    There has been a year-on-year increase in the number of meningitis cases caused by...

  • Does light at night pose a health risk?

    "Britons should fit blackout blinds and ban electronic gadgets from the bedroom to avert the risk of diseases such as cancer," the Mail Online warns.

    This alarmist advice is prompted by a review looking at the theory that electrical light at night disrupts our normal body block and could therefore pose a risk to our health...

  • Do people with depression perceive time differently?

    "How depression affects our sense of time: Hours drag on and even stand still," is the somewhat over-hyped headline from the Mail Online.

    As the old saying goes – Time flies when you’re having fun. So does the reverse also ring true? Does feeling ...

  • Loneliness 'increases risk of premature death'

    "Loneliness as big a killer as obesity and as dangerous as heavy smoking," the Daily Express reports. Researchers pooled the results of previous studies, estimating that loneliness can increase the risk of premature death by around 30%.

    The headline follows a new analysis of more than 3.4 million participants, which showed...

  • Ultrasound 'breakthrough' in treating Alzheimer's in mice

    "Alzheimer's breakthrough as ultrasound successfully treats disease in mice," The Guardian reports.

    New research found high-energy sound waves helped remove abnormal clumps of proteins from the brains of mice, and also improved their memory.

    The mice used in this study were genetically engineered to produce amyloid...

  • Diet, exercise and brain training may help keep the mind 'sharp'

    "Dancing, doing Sudoku and eating fish and fruit may be the way to stave off … mental decline," The Guardian reports. A Finnish study suggests a combination of a healthy dietexercise...

  • Autism-related genes linked to cognitive ability

    "Autism is linked to higher intelligence," the Mail Online reports. A new study found evidence that certain genetic variations associated with autistic spectrum disorder (ASD) were linked to greater cognitive ability in non-autistic...

  • Genetic high cholesterol 'may help protect against type 2 diabetes'

    "High cholesterol LOWERS the risk of diabetes," is the Daily Mail's rather misleading headline, going on to say that, "New study reveals why taking statins may be harmful".

    But this study looked at familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) and not at the more common form of...

  • HRT review finds increased risk of blood clots and stroke

    "Women on HRT pills should be aware that there is a small chance of an increased risk of blood clots and possibly stroke," BBC News reports.

    This story is based on an update of a review on the effects of hormone replacement therapy (...

  • A diet rich in veg and fish may reduce bowel cancer risk

    "Becoming a pescetarian can protect against bowel cancer, new research suggests," the Mail Online reports. The US study found people who mainly eat fish and vegetables, and small quantities of meat, had a significantly reduced risk of...

  • Is education the best form of teen contraception?

    "Getting a good education could be the best form of contraception for teenagers," The Independent reports after a study of recent data from England found an association between improved GCSE results and lower rates of teenage pregnancy.

    Researchers looked at data from England on teenage pregnancy rates between 2004 and 2012...

  • How alcohol intake can change over a lifetime

    "Binge drinking peaks at 25 … but by middle age he's drinking daily," the Mail Online reports. In what has been described as the first of its kind, a new study has tried to track the average adult drinking pattern over the course of a lifespan.

    Researchers combined information from nine studies, following almost 60,000 people...

  • Being optimistic after heart attack may help with recovery

    "It's true! Optimists do live longer," is the slightly misleading headline from the Mail Online.

    The study it reports on actually looked at the effects of optimism on physical and emotional health in 369 people recovering from a heart attack or...

  • Does a wife's illness lead to divorce?

    "Husbands more likely than wives to seek divorce when partner falls sick, says study," the Daily Mail reports after a US study tracked around 2,700 married older couples for 20 years to see how chronic illness impacted on their relationships.

    Researchers specifically looked at the effects of one of four serious illnesses on...

  • No proof 'alcohol will make you more gorgeous'

    "How having just the one drink can make you look more gorgeous, according to science," The Independent reports. But the "science" turns out to be an experiment carried out under highly artificial conditions.

    The headline comes from a small study looking at whether drinking alcohol makes people more physically...

  • People with gout have lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease

    "Gout could help prevent Alzheimer's, research shows," The Independent reports. Researchers think that uric acid, which causes gout, may have a protective effect against Alzheimer's disease.

    Uric acid is a waste product that is normally...

  • Gene testing could find those who would benefit most from statins

    "Patients with the highest genetic risk of suffering a heart attack benefit the most from cholesterol-lowering statin drugs," The Guardian reports.

    Statins are drugs that lower cholesterol and can help reduce the risk...

  • Adults may only get 'real flu' every five years

    "Average adult catches virus just once every five years," the Daily Mail reports.

    A study has estimated that influenza infections become less frequent with age and occur every five years from the age of 30.

    The study analysed blood samples from...

  • Is long-term paracetamol use not as safe as we thought?

    "Daily paracetamol could raise the risk of heart attacks, stroke and early death," the Mail Online reports.

    A new review of previous observational studies found that long-term use of paracetamol was linked with a small increased risk...

  • Coffee can 'cut risks of heart attack' claims

    "Three coffees a day cuts the risk of heart disease and strokes," the Daily Mirror reports.

    A large study of 25,000 adults from South Korea has found that people who drink between three and five cups of coffee per day were less likely to have the first signs of...

  • Immune changes found in people with CFS/ME

    "Distinct stages to chronic fatigue syndrome identified," reports BBC News online.

    People with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), sometimes called myalgic encephalopathy (ME), can have debilitating exhaustion affecting their everyday life that does not go away with sleep or rest.

    The authors of this study say there are...

  • MS stem cell treatment only a 'miracle' for some

    The Daily Telegraph reports a “miracle” stem cell therapy that reverses multiple sclerosis and which, according to The Sunday Times, gets “wheelchair-bound” people dancing.

    Multiple sclerosis (MS) affects nerves in the brain and spinal cord, causing problems with muscle movement, balance and vision. It’s an autoimmune disease, where...

  • Healthy older adults carry leukaemia mutations

    BBC News reports that, according to researchers, “It is ‘almost inevitable’ that your blood will take the first steps towards leukaemia as you age”.

    Researchers analysed the blood of 4,219 people, looking for DNA errors (mutations) linked to blood cancers (leukaemia).

    The number of mutations in healthy older people without the...

  • Does deadly diet drug DNP defeat diabetes?

    "A chemical [DNP] which caused munitions factory workers to lose weight inexplicably in the First World War could cure diabetes," The Daily Telegraph reports. The banned weight loss drug looked effective and safe when given in a modified form to rats bred to have ...

  • Over two hours screen time a day may raise a child’s blood pressure

    "Watching TV for more than two hours a day increases the risk of raised blood pressure in children," The Daily Telegraph reports.

    A large study, involving more than 5,000 children who were followed up over two years, found a link between time sitting in front of a screen and an increase in blood pressure rates.

    It...

  • Longer sleep linked to stroke

    “Too much sleep could kill you,” is the baseless and needlessly alarmist headline on the front cover of today’s Daily Express.

    The study it is reporting on actually showed that people who sleep for more than eight hours a night had a 46% increased risk of stroke...

  • 'Game changer' HIV drug cuts infection risk by 86%

    "Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%," The Independent reports. The drug, Truvada, has proved very successful in a...

  • Depression linked to violent crime

    "Depressed people are three times more likely to commit a violent crime," the Daily Mirror reports. Research into Swedish crime and medical data found that depression was linked with an increased risk of a person committing a violent crime.

    It is important to stress from the outset that while the number of depressed people...

  • Anger possibly linked with non-fatal heart attacks

    "'Plate-throwing rage' raises heart attack risk nearly 10 fold," The Daily Telegraph reports, slightly inaccurately.

    This headline reports on a study that found that just seven out of 313 people had felt "very angry" in the two hours before a heart attack – compared to their normal levels of anger. Despite the...

  • Peanut butter for non-allergic babies may reduce later allergies

    "The cure for peanut allergy – peanuts, from the age of four months," says The Guardian.

    This is dangerous headline advice, potentially leading parents to think they can simply give peanuts to an allergic child and cure them. This is irresponsible. Parents are also advised not to give peanuts – or any whole nuts – to...

  • Many deaths of mentally ill in custody 'avoidable'

    “Hundreds of deaths in mental health units ‘were avoidable’,” says a report on the front page of today’s Independent. The Guardian highlights 662 mentally ill detainee deaths from 2010 to 2013.

    Both stories follow an inquiry by the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) into the deaths of people with mental health conditions...

  • Dementia: researchers tip Mediterranean diet as preventive

    “New diet to fight dementia,” claims the Sunday Express, while The Independent reports: “Mediterranean diet could help beat dementia”.

    Despite the media focus on the Mediterranean diet, this was only a small part of a review which aimed to discover whether some modifiable risk factors (such as high cholesterol or high blood pressure...

  • New HPV vaccine may protect against 90% of cervical cancers

    "New HPV vaccine stops 90% of cervical cancers," the Mail Online reports. The vaccine, which protects against nine common strains of the cancer-causing human papilloma virus (HPV), has proved both safe and effective in a study involving 14,000 women. HPV is one of the major causes...

  • Sunlight UV damage to skin persists even after dark

    “Moving immediately into the shade does not stop sun damage, as UV rays can continue damaging skin cells hours after exposure,” The Guardian reports. Ultraviolet (UV) light is known to cause damage to DNA in skin cells, which increases the risk of the most serious type of skin cancer:...

  • Nanoparticles used to treat damaged arteries

    “New trials suggest microscopic stealth drones could be used to seek and repair damaged arteries,” The Daily Telegraph, somewhat over-excitedly, reports.

    A study in mice has found promising results for a targeted treatment where nanoparticles are used to deliver a "repair protein" to sections of arteries affected by...

  • Researchers may have unmasked mystery of cannabis 'munchies'

    "Cannabis 'munchies' explained by new study," The Guardian reports. "Munchies" is widely used slang for a common effect of cannabis: sudden hunger pangs, even if a user has just eaten. A new study set out to find why cannabis causes increased appetite.

    Previous studies have shown certain pathways of nerve cells in...

  • Menopausal symptoms 'last longer' than previously thought

    "Menopause lasts 'up to 14 years'," the Daily Mail reports, with The Daily Telegraph reporting a similar figure – but according to The Guardian, it's "12 years".

    All three headlines are prompted by a new US study, which does suggest that, at least in some women, symptoms such as hot flushes can persist for more...

  • Impact of daytime naps on children's sleep quality uncertain

    “Daytime naps ‘should stop at the age of two’: Children have poorer quality sleep if they rest during the afternoon,” is the inaccurate headline on the Mail Online.

    Researchers have pooled all of the available evidence on the effects of napping in childhood.

    As they acknowledge, many of the studies were of a poor quality due...

  • Plain packaging 'may help smokers to cut down'

    "Plain packaging reduced unconscious triggers to smoke," BBC News reports.

    This claim is based on two related experiments where smokers were either exposed to a picture of a branded pack of cigarettes, a picture of a plain pack (containing a graphic health warning), or nothing at all, and were asked to choose a reward of...

  • Molecule could protect against Alzheimer's disease

    "Alzheimer's breakthrough: scientists home in on molecule which halts development of disease," The Daily Telegraph reports. The so-called "chaperone molecule", known as "Brichos", helps prevent the clumping of proteins, which can lead to the death of brain cells.

    Scientists don't know what causes ...

  • Media heralds the discovery of 'infidelity gene'

    “Women are more likely to cheat on their partner if they carry the ‘infidelity gene’,” reports the Mail Online. They say that this gene “only has an impact on women”.

    The headline is based on a study by Finnish researchers who were interested in a long-standing evolutionary puzzle: why do some women cheat on their partners? From an...

  • Super-strength 'skunk' cannabis linked to psychosis

    " 'Skunk-like cannabis' increases risk of psychosis, study suggests," BBC News reports after a new study found high-potency strains of "skunk" cannabis – infamous for both its strength and its pungent smell – could be linked to one in four cases of new-onset psychosis....

  • When Minnie met Mickey: is rodent romance all in the mind?

    With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, the Mail Online thoughtfully cushions its readers against possible rejection ahead of time: “You may have lit the candles, opened the wine and dimmed the lights. But, inexplicably, your partner still doesn't want to have sex ... Don't worry, it's not you – it’s your partner's hormones”.

    Unless...

  • HRT increases ovarian cancer risk by small amount

    “HRT nearly doubles the risk of ovarian cancer,” The Daily Telegraph reports. While this may sound alarming, the actual increase in risk for individual women is small, because ovarian cancer is rare.

    Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) uses...

  • Could a 30-minute 'power nap' make up for a bad night's sleep?

    "Indulging in a power nap can repair the damage caused by a lack of sleep," the Daily Mail reports. But the study that prompted the headline is very small – involving just 11 healthy young men.

    It has long been known that a lack of sleep at night can have a negative impact on the immune system and stress levels.

    ...

  • Long-term smoking 'may cause' brain shrinkage

    “Smokers have thinner brain cortex and could have impaired thinking,” The Independent reports. MRI scans of long-term smokers show signs that the cerebral cortex – the grey matter of the brain – which plays a key role in thinking and memory, was thinner than expected.

    The study looked at brain scans of more than 500 people aged 73 to...

  • Obesity damage to eggs may be reversible

    “Damaging effect of obesity on a woman’s eggs can now be reversed,” is the potentially misleading headline from the Mail Online today.

    The over-egged headline refers to a mouse study showing that signs of lower fertility due to obesity could be reversed...

  • Unemployment and job insecurity linked to increased risk of suicide

    “Unemployment causes 45,000 suicides a year worldwide,” The Guardian reports. The story comes from a study that looked at the association between suicide rates and unemployment in 63 countries across the world.

    It found that between 2000 and 2011, one in five of an estimated 233,000 annual ...

  • 'Smart insulin' could be used to treat type 1 diabetes

    The Guardian today reports that “smart insulin” may ease the burden on type 1 diabetes – a condition that means the body cannot produce insulin.

    This means that those with the condition require frequent insulin shots to stabilise their blood glucose...

  • 1980s fat guidelines 'lacked evidence,' study argues

    "Butter isn't bad for you after all: Major study says 80s advice on dairy fats was flawed," is the headline on the front of the Daily Mail as a new study argues dietary fat guidelines introduced in the 1980s lacked a rigorous evidence base.

    The study in question looked at guideline advice on ...

  • Do men have greater chewing power than women?

    "Why men wolf down their meals while women take their time: The sexes have different chewing patterns," the Mail Online reports, after a Korean study found men had "greater eating power" than women.

    This small study compared the chewing behaviours of 48 young Korean men and women in controlled laboratory...

  • Type 1 diabetes 'more dangerous' in women

    "Type 1 diabetes is more dangerous for women than men, study finds,” The Daily Telegraph reports. A large review found gender inequality in overall deaths among people with type 1 diabetes, and also deaths due to heart disease.

    These results...

  • Finger length 'not a pointer' for future sexual behaviour

    "How to work out if your partner is cheating on you? Check their fingers," the Daily Mirror advises. The news comes from research founded on the theory that humans are believed to display two types of mating pattern – one more promiscuous, and the other more monogamous.

    Previous animal and human studies have already...

  • Flu jab is not a 'waste of time'

    “Flu jab given to millions is 'useless',” and "Flu jab is a waste of time," are the irresponsible headlines in The Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail.

    While recent research shows that the current...

  • 'Facebook envy' associated with symptoms of depression

    "Facebook can cause depression in people who compare themselves with others," The Independent reports. A new study has examined the relationships between Facebook use, feelings of envy, and feelings of depression.

    Researchers surveyed more than 700 US university students, aiming to look at the relationships between the ...

  • E-cigarettes may make lungs vulnerable to infection

    “Vaping may not be as safe as smokers think, research suggests,” The Guardian reports. New research found that mice exposed to e-cigarette vapours comparable to a typical human level experienced mild lung damage and a reduced immune response to infection.

    This may be due to the fact that the vapour produced by e-cigarettes contains...

  • Flu and freezing weather may be driving up winter death rates

    "The current death rate in England and Wales is running about one-third higher than its normal rate for this time of year," BBC News reports. A combination of flu and very cold weather may be responsible.

    The BBC's story comes from the latest official...

  • Modified bacteria may be useful in treating diabetes

    “Breakthrough pill can cure diabetes,” is the completely misleading report in the Daily Express. While researchers have achieved some level of success in using bacteria to improve diabetes control in rats, this in no way amounts to a cure for humans.

    The rats had an equivalent of...

  • MPs vote to give the go-ahead to three-parent IVF

    “In an historic move, MPs have voted in favour of the creation of babies with DNA from two women and one man,” BBC News reports. The UK is set to become the first country to license the technique known as three-parent IVF, which could potentially be used to prevent babies being born with mitochondrial diseases.

    Many researchers...

  • Strenuous jogging 'as bad as doing no exercise' claim

    “Too much jogging 'as bad as no exercise at all',” BBC News reports. However, the results of the new Danish study on which this headline is based, are not as clear cut as the media has made out.

    The study involved about 1,500 people in Denmark. It found that light to moderate jogging was associated with living longer compared with...

  • Teen screen time linked to less sleep

    "Teenagers sleep less when they have more computer screen time, says study,” The Guardian reports.

    The study involved almost 10,000 older teens in Norway and included any device that had a screen, such as tablets, laptops, smartphones, games consoles, PCs and TVs. It found that those who used electronic devices in the hour...

  • Shouting 'OW!' may help increase pain tolerance

    The Daily Mail reports on what many people have long suspected to be the case: shouting "ow" (or something stronger) may help us cope better with pain.

    The claim was prompted by a small study involving 55 people. They were asked to keep their hands in painfully cold water (4C) for as long as possible and were given various...

  • Shouting 'OW!' may help increase pain tolerance

    The Daily Mail reports on what many people have long suspected to be the case: shouting "ow" (or something stronger) may help us cope better with pain.

    The claim was prompted by a small study involving 55 people. They were asked to keep their hands in painfully cold water (4C) for as long as possible and were given various...

  • Is asthma being overdiagnosed?

    A potentially alarming figure that emerged in the UK news last week was that “1 million” UK adults may have been wrongly diagnosed with asthma – a claim reported in various forms by BBC News, The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, the Daily Mirror and the Mail Online. 

    The headlines followed the publication of ...

  • Is asthma being overdiagnosed?

    A potentially alarming figure that emerged in the UK news last week was that “1 million” UK adults may have been wrongly diagnosed with asthma – a claim reported in various forms by BBC News, The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, the Daily Mirror and the Mail Online. 

    The headlines followed the publication of ...

  • Body clock may have effect on sporting peak performance

    "Our internal body clock has such a dramatic impact on sporting ability that it could alter the chances of Olympic gold," BBC News reports.

    This headline comes from a study of 20 female athletes, which showed their peak performance on a fitness test was strongly linked to what are described as "circadian phenotypes...

  • Child obesity rates are 'stabilising'

    "The rise in childhood obesity … may be beginning to level off," BBC News reports. Researchers examined trends in child and adolescent rates of overweight and obesity using electronic GP records from 1994 to 2013.

    The data shows there was a...

  • Thousands of UK women could benefit from 'three-person' IVF

    "Thousands of women could benefit from 'three-parent' baby technique," The Independent reports. A modelling study estimated the technique, which is currently illegal, could be used for thousands of women with genes linked to serious mitochondrial DNA diseases.

    The news is especially topical as it was announced today that...

  • A third of over-70s report 'frequent sexual activity'

    “A third of pensioners have sex at least twice a month,” the Daily Mail reports. A new UK study reinforces the point that sex doesn’t automatically stop once a person gets their free bus pass.

    The study looked at sexual activity and sexual health among more than 6,000 men and women aged 50 to 90. It showed that a sizeable minority of...

  • Sugary soft drinks linked to earlier periods in girls

    “Sugary drinks may cause menstruation to start earlier, study suggests,” reports The Guardian, reporting on a US study looking at the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) in teenage girls.

    This study included over 5,000 girls. It first assessed them when they were aged 9-14 years, asking them whether they had started their...

  • Gift vouchers can help pregnant smokers quit

    "Offering shopping vouchers worth a total of £400 to pregnant smokers makes them more likely to quit the habit, say researchers," BBC News reports.

    The study, conducted in Glasgow, involved 612 pregnant women referred to pregnancy stop smoking services. The women were randomised to receive standard stop smoking care alone (...

  • Female lung cancer deaths 'may outstrip breast cancer' in 2015

    The Mail Online states: “Lung cancer death rates among European women set to overtake breast cancer for first time this year,” adding that “researchers blame high levels of smoking, especially in Britain and Poland”.

    The study used historical information on deaths from cancer (1970 to 2009) for the EU, to predict the number of deaths...

  • Media dementia scare over hay fever and sleep drugs

    "Hay fever tablets raise risk of Alzheimer's," is the main front page news in the Daily Mirror. The Guardian mentions popular brand names such as Nytol, Benadryl, Ditropan and Piriton among the pills studied.

    But before you clear out your bathroom medicine cabinet, you might want to consider the facts behind the (somewhat...

  • People with autism have 'unique' brain patterns

    "The brains of people diagnosed with autism are 'uniquely synchronised'," the Mail Online reports.

    Researchers used brain scans to study the brain activity of people with high-functioning autism spectrum disorders (ASD), and found...

  • Brown fat may protect against diabetes and obesity

    "Fat can protect you against obesity and diabetes," the Mail Online reports. However, the small study it reports on was looking at brown fat, which is only found in small amounts in adults.

    In humans, brown fat is mostly found in newborns, who are more prone to heat loss and are unable to shiver to help keep themselves warm...

  • Statin use may be widening health inequalities in England

    “Mass prescription of statins ‘will widen social inequalities’," The Independent reports. 

    The headline is based on a new study looking at deaths from coronary heart disease in England from the years 2000 to 2007.

    The good news is...

  • Angry Twitter communities linked to heart deaths

    "Angry tweeting 'could increase your risk of heart disease','' is the poorly reported headline in The Daily Telegraph. The study it reports on found there is a link between angry tweets and levels of heart disease deaths.

    Researchers were interested in investigating how various forms of negative psychological stress are linked to...

  • New heart attack test shows promise for women

    "Doctors could spot twice as many heart attacks in women by using a newer, more sensitive blood test," BBC News reports.

    In women, for reasons that are unclear, a heart attack often doesn't trigger the symptom most people associate with the...

  • Claims that 'men worsen labour pains' are unproven

    "It’s official: men really shouldn’t be at the birth,” is the bizarre headline in The Times, as it reports on a pain study on women who were not even pregnant, let alone giving birth.

    Researchers wanted to explore whether a woman’s “attachment style” (whether they sought or avoided emotional intimacy) had any influence on...

  • Nordic IVF outcomes improving - is the same true for the UK?

    "The health of artificially conceived children has steadily improved in the last 20 years," The Guardian reports. Researchers who analysed data from Nordic countries described the decline in premature and stillbirths as "remarkable".

    This was the main finding of a large cohort study comparing the health of babies...

  • 'Social jet lag' linked to obesity and 'unhealthy' metabolism

    "Social jet lag is driving obesity" is the misleading headline in The Daily Telegraph. A new study only found a link between "social jet leg", obesity, and metabolic markers that may indicate a person has an increased risk of obesity-related...

  • Becoming healthier may motivate your partner to join in

    “Fitness 'rubs off on your partner’,'' BBC News reports.

    This headline is based on a study of more than 3,000 married couples aged 50 and over in the UK, where at least one of the partners smoked, was inactive, or was overweight or obese at the start of the...

  • Shell shock remains 'unsolved'

    The Mail Online tells us shell shock has been "solved" after scientists claimed they have pinpointed the brain injury that causes pain, anxiety and breakdowns in soldiers.

    The Mail's claim is prompted by a study that carried out autopsies on five military veterans who had a history of blast exposure to see what type of brain...

  • Could 'DNA editing' lead to designer babies?

    "Rapid progress in genetics is making 'designer babies' more likely and society needs to be prepared," BBC News reports.

    The headline is prompted by advances in “DNA editing”, which may eventually lead to genetically modified babies (though that is a very big “may”).

    The research in question involved the technique...

  • Study finds care home residents 'more likely' to be dehydrated

    "Care home residents five times more likely to be left thirsty," The Independent reports after an analysis of some London hospital admission records found people admitted from care homes were five times more likely to be dehydrated than people coming...

  • Wearing killer high heels could lead to osteoarthritis, study warns

    "Killer heels could lead to osteoarthritis in knees," The Daily Telegraph reports. An analysis of the walking patterns (gait) of 14 women found evidence that walking in high heels puts the knees under additional strain. Over time, this may potentially lead to...

  • Inactivity 'twice as deadly' as obesity

    “Lack of exercise is twice as deadly as obesity,” The Daily Telegraph reports. The headline is prompted by a Europe-wide study on obesity, exercise and health outcomes.

    Researchers wanted to see how many deaths could theoretically be avoided if inactive people...

  • 'Hibernation protein' could help repair dementia damage

    "Neurodegenerative diseases have been halted by harnessing the regenerative power of hibernation," BBC News reports. Researchers have identified a protein used by animals coming out of hibernation that can help rebuild damaged brain connections – in mice.

    Research found the cooling that occurs in hibernation reduces the...

  • How therapy and exercise 'may help some with CFS'

    "Chronic fatigue syndrome patients' fear of exercise can hinder treatment," The Guardian reports.

    Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a long-term condition that causes persistent and debilitating fatigue. We do not know what causes the...

  • Under-80 cancer deaths 'eliminated by 2050' claim

    “Cancer deaths will be eliminated for all under 80 by 2050,” The Independent reports. This is the optimistic prediction contained in a paper written by specialists in pharmacy from University College London (UCL).

    The paper is an ...

  • Napping 'key' to babies' memory and learning

    "The key to learning and memory in early life is a lengthy nap, say scientists," BBC News reports.

    The scientists were interested in babies' abilities to remember activities and events.

    They carried out a study involving 216 babies, who took part in trials to see whether napping affected their memory for a new...

  • Could brain protein help people 'sleep off' the flu?

    "Scientists…believe that a nasal spray could be produced which boosts a protein so sufferers could sleep off the flu," The Daily Telegraph reports.

    As yet, the research has been confined to assessing the role of one protein – in mice.

    The paper reports on complex research in mice on a protein called AcPb, which ...

  • Blood test may tell you the 'best' way to quit smoking

    “A blood test could help people choose a stop-smoking strategy that would give them the best chance of quitting,” BBC News reports. The test measures how quickly an individual breaks down nicotine inside their body, which is known as the nicotine-metabolite ratio (NMR).

    Researchers wanted to see whether people with “normal” and “slow...

  • Contraceptive jab 'linked to increased HIV risk'

    "Contraceptive injections moderately increase a woman's risk of becoming infected with HIV," The Guardian reports.

    The headline was prompted by an analysis of 12 studies that looked at whether the use of hormonal contraception, such as the oral contraceptive pill, increases the risk of contracting...

  • 'Bionic' spinal implant helped paralysed rats walk

    "Elastic implant 'restores movement' in paralysed rats," BBC News reports after researchers developed an implant that can be used to treat damaged spinal cords in rats.

    The spinal cord, which is present in all mammals, is a bundle of nerves that runs from the brain through the spine, before branching off to different parts...

  • How 'baby talk' may give infants a cognitive boost

    "Say 'mama'! Talking to babies boosts their ability to make friends and learn,” the Mail Online reports. In a review, two American psychologists argue that even very young infants respond to speech and that "baby talk" is essential for their development.

    It is important to stress that a review of this sort is not the...

  • Eating like a Viking 'reduces obesity risks'

    "A Nordic diet could reduce the dangers of being overweight, a study suggests," The Daily Telegraph reports. The headline comes from the results of a small randomised controlled trial.

    Half the people in the trial were put on the Nordic diet, which consists of wholegrain products, vegetables, root vegetables, berries, fruit...

  • New 'game-changing' antibiotic discovered

    “New class of antibiotic could turn the tables,” on antibiotic resistance, The Guardian reports and is just one of many headlines proclaiming the discovery of a “super-antibiotic”. For once, such enthusiastic headlines might be largely justified.

    The study in the spotlight shows the discovery of a new antibiotic, teixobactin, and is...

  • Could meal-in-a-pill 'trick' body into losing weight?

    “Weight loss drug fools body into reacting as if it has just eaten,” The Guardian reports. The drug, fexaramine (or Fex), stimulates a protein involved in metabolism that is usually activated when the body begins eating, though it has only been tested in mice.

    Researchers found that obese mice given Fex stayed the same weight despite...

  • Out-of-character criminal actions linked to dementia

    “Could criminal behaviour be the first sign of dementia?” the Mail Online asks. A US study found an association between sudden, unusual criminal behaviour, such as shoplifting or urinating in public, and various types of dementia.

    The study looked at crimes committed by patients suffering from a number of diseases that damage the...

  • Wholegrains, not just porridge, may increase life

    "The key to a long and healthy life? A bowl of porridge every day," is the somewhat inaccurate headline in the Daily Mail.

    The study it reports on was looking at the health benefits of wholegrains in general, not just porridge.

    These headlines are based on a study of more than 110,000 men and women in the US, who...

  • Why common cold may thrive at low temperatures

    The “common cold 'prefers cold noses',” reports BBC News today, while The Independent recommends that you “heed your mother’s warning: cover up or you’ll catch a cold”.

    While these headlines might make you think this study is proof of a link between colder temperatures outside and catching a cold, this isn’t quite what the researchers...

  • New skin cancer drugs show promise in lab tests

    "New skin cancer drug set for clinical trials," The Guardian reports. In fact, two new compounds designed to treat malignant melanoma are due for trials after promising results in laboratory research.

    Both are signalling inhibitors, which...

  • Are most cancers down to 'bad luck'?

    "Most types of cancer can be put down to bad luck rather than risk factors such as smoking," BBC News reports. A US study estimates around two-thirds of cancer cases are caused by random genetic mutations.

    The researchers who carried out the study wanted to see why cancer risk varies so much between different body tissues...

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