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,...

  • 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...

  • Our health news predictions for 2015

    A few days ago we looked at The Guardian’s health news predictions for 2014 to see how accurate, or not, they turned out to be. Of course, it's easy to criticise the work of others (which is pretty much Behind the Headlines’ raison d'être). But we are brave enough to put our money where our mouth is; so here are our...

  • Behind the Headlines Top Five of Top Fives 2014

    As we move towards the end of the year, like all news sources, we fall back on that classic space filler – the list story. So without further ado, here is the official Behind the Headlines Top Five of Top Fives stories of 2014, in which we celebrate the good, highlight the bad, check out the weird and answer some of the burning questions of...

  • UK Ebola case confirmed but risk remains low

    A case of Ebola has now been confirmed in the UK, but the risk to the general public remains very low. Ebola can only be transmitted by direct contact with the blood or bodily fluids of an infected person.

    The UK case – in a healthcare worker in Scotland who arrived in Glasgow from Sierra Leone on Sunday – has been confirmed by the...

  • Was The Guardian's 2014 crystal ball accurate?

    In January 2014, The Guardian took the brave, and possibly foolhardy, step of predicting the six big health breakthroughs of 2014.

    We're taking a look at just how accurate the paper's crystal ball turned out to be,...

  • UK Ebola case confirmed but risk remains low

    A case of Ebola has now been confirmed in the UK but the risk of Ebola to the general public remains very low. Ebola can only be transmitted by direct contact with the blood or bodily fluids of an infected person.

    The UK case - in a healthcare worker in Scotland who arrived in Glasgow from Sierra Leone on Sunday - has been confirmed...

  • Behind the Headlines 2014 Quiz of the Year

    In 2014, Behind the Headlines covered more than 500 health stories that made it into the mainstream media.

    Test your knowledge of 2014's health news with our month-by-month quiz.

    If you've been paying attention, you should find this quiz both easy and fun.

    Answers are at the foot of the page (no peeking!).

     

    ...
  • The top 10 most popular news stories of 2014

    10 - Scarlet fever cases on the rise in England

    In March there was concern due to a sharp rise in scarlet fever cases, with more than 3,500 occurring in the first quarter of the spring. Thankfully the number of cases appears to have now...

  • How to read health news

    By Dr Alicia White

    If you’ve just read a health-related headline that has caused you to spit out your morning coffee (“Coffee causes cancer” usually does the trick), it’s always best to follow the Blitz slogan: “Keep Calm and Carry On”. On reading further, you’ll often find the headline has left out something important, such as: “...

  • Researchers: your guide to hitting the headlines

    Boffins, are you having trouble communicating the fruits of your labour to a wider audience?

    Have you spent five thankless years going through stool samples in an attempt to find new treatments for giardiasis only to have your work written...

  • GI diet 'debunked' claims are misleading

    Today, the Mail Online says, “The GI diet debunked: Glycaemic index is irrelevant for most healthy people”, explaining how “it doesn't matter if you eat white or wholewheat bread”.

    This is overgeneralised and misleading, so the diet certainly hasn't been "debunked".

    Glycaemic index (GI) measures how quickly foods...

  • Ibuprofen unlikely to extend life

    The Daily Mirror today reports that, “taking ibuprofen every day could extend your life by up to 12 YEARS”. The Daily Express also has a similar front page headline, while the Mail Online suggests that these extra years would be of “good quality life”.

    If you read these headlines and felt sceptical, you’d be right to do so.

    The...

  • 'Electromagnetic smog' unlikely to harm humans

    The Daily Telegraph reports that “mobile phones are unlikely to harm human health”, adding to the ongoing, and often conflicting, coverage of the potential health impact of environmental exposure to what some commentators have called “electromagnetic smog”.

    This is a term used to refer to a mix of low-level magnetic fields that exist...

  • Shift workers more likely to report poor health

    "Higher rates of obesity and ill-health have been found in shift workers than the general population," BBC News reports.

    These are the key findings of a survey into health trends among shift workers; defined as any working pattern outside of the normal fixed eight-hour working day (though start and finish times may vary)....

  • Fathers-to-be experience hormone changes

    “Men suffer pregnancy symptoms too: Fluctuating hormones make fathers-to-be … more caring,” the Mail Online reports. A small US study found evidence of changes in hormonal levels that may make fathers-to-be more able to cope with the demands of fatherhood.

    The story comes from a study that looked at whether expectant fathers and...

  • E-cigarettes could help some smokers quit

    “E-cigarettes can help smokers quit or cut down heavily,” The Guardian reports. An international review of the evidence, carried out by the well-respected Cochrane Collaboration, found evidence that they can help some smokers quit.

    However, the available body of evidence was slim – just two...

  • Feeling 'young at heart' may increase lifespan

    “Feeling young at heart wards off death, scientists find,” The Daily Telegraph reports. A UK study found that people who reported feeling younger than their actual age were less likely to die than those who reported feeling their actual age or older.

    The study in question asked almost 6,500 people in their 50s and over how old they...

  • Yoga may help protect against heart disease

    “Yoga could be as effective as cycling or brisk walks in reducing the risk of a heart attack or stroke,” The Guardian reports.

    Researchers have pooled the results of previous studies and report finding "promising evidence" of yoga’s health benefits, specifically in reducing the risk of ...

  • Political hardliners 'fitter' than 'fence sitters'

    “Being an extremist is better for your health than holding moderate views,” the Mail Online reports.

    A very much tongue-in-cheek study presents evidence that “armchair socialists” and their right-wing counterparts (“armchair generals?”) are more active than those with more moderate political views.

    The study found that people...

  • Spicy food 'curries favour' with alpha males

    “Men who like spicier food are 'alpha males' with higher levels of testosterone,” The Daily Telegraph reports. A small French study found an association between a preference for spicy foods and elevated testosterone levels; but no evidence of a direct link.

    Testosterone is a steroid hormone that in popular culture has long been...

  • Could a '10 to 6' working day help you sleep better?

    A major new study of American workers has recommended “later start times to improve on health,” the Mail Online reports.

    To improve people’s sleep patterns the research team suggested work start times could be moved later, such as 10am. This was just a suggestion, and was not backed up with any new evidence from this study itself....

  • Memory gaps in educated 'stroke warning sign'

    “People with memory problems who have a university education could be at greater risk of a stroke,” BBC News reports. The hypothesis is that the gaps in memory could be the result of reduced blood flow to the brain, which may then trigger a stroke at some point in the...

  • Almost half of all adults take prescription drugs

    “Half of women and 43% of men in England are now regularly taking prescription drugs,” BBC News reports. The figures have come to light as part of a new survey into drug prescribing patterns.

    According to the survey (The Health Survey for England 2013), commonly prescribed medications included:

    • cholesterol-lowering...
  • Food additive that could reduce appetite

    “Appetite suppressing additive could be added to food to create 'slimming bread'," ITV News reports.

    This reports on a study that showed that short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs) are released from gut bacteria as they break down dietary fibre. These SCFAs then stimulate the release of hormones that signal to the brain that we are...

  • Gene therapy could help with inherited blindness

    "Procedure to restore sight in dogs gives hope for future blindness cure," The Independent reports.

    Researchers have restored some modest degree of light sensitivity (though not full vision) in animals who have a similar condition to retinitis pigmentosa.

    Retinitis pigmentosa is an umbrella term for a group of human...

  • Academic hype 'distorting' health news

    "Science and health news hype: where does it come from?," The Guardian asks. A new study suggests a lot of the hype comes from academics themselves, or at least their press offices, as many press releases contain exaggerations.

    Researchers looked back at all health-related press releases issued by 20 major UK universities...

  • Reduction in maternal death rates 'significant'

    “Nearly one in ten pregnant deaths caused by flu,” The Daily Telegraph reports. A review into maternal deaths, which thankfully remain rare, found that conditions such as the flu and sepsis account for many of the deaths. Maternal deaths are deaths in women that occur during their pregnancy or within six weeks after the end of their...

  • Hopes for chemicals that turn 'bad' fat 'good'

    "Scientists discovered how to trigger a molecule which can turn 'bad' white fat cells into 'good' energy-burning brown fat cells," The Daily Telegraph reports, saying that it could "replace the treadmill". But this proof of concept lab research didn't involve any humans.

    White fat is what most people think of when...

  • Lack of sleep linked to negative thinking

    “Feeling anxious? Go to bed earlier: Getting more sleep really can calm the mind,” reports the Mail Online. 

    However, if you’re more of a "glass half-empty" sort of person, the headline could have read “feeling anxious affects your sleep” – which is an equally valid interpretation of the same results.

    A study of 100...

  • Text alerts 'help prompt people to take their pills'

    "A text messaging service could help people remember to take the medicines they have been prescribed," BBC News reports, after a small trial scheme in London helped increase drug adherence in people with cardiovascular disease.

    Lack of...

  • Obesity could 'rob you' of 20 years of health

    "Obesity knocks 20 years of good health off your life and can accelerate death by eight years," the Mail Online reports.

    A study has estimated very obese men aged 20 to 39, with a body mass index (BMI) of 35 or above, have a reduced life expectancy...

  • More breastfeeding 'would save NHS millions'

    "Increase in breastfeeding could save NHS £40m a year," The Independent reports after a recent economic modelling study projected a reduction in childhood diseases and breast cancer rates would lead to considerable savings for the health service.

    Proven key benefits – and potential savings – associated with ...

  • Drug found to help repair spinal cord injuries

    “Renewed hope for patients paralysed by spine injuries,” The Independent reports.

    This hope is due to the possibility of developing a new drug based on a molecule called intracellular sigma peptide. The drug helped restore varying degrees of nerve functions in rats that had spinal cord injuries.

    The spinal cord is a cable of...

  • Nitrate-rich leafy greens 'good for the heart'

    “Leafy vegetables contain chemical nitrate that improves heart health,” the Mail Online reports. In a recent study, researchers looked at the effects of a nitrate-rich diet on rats.

    Nitrate is a chemical that can react to a number of different substances in a range of ways. For example, it can be used as a fertiliser or as the active...

  • Do time-restricted eating habits reduce obesity?

    “Want to lose weight? Eat all your food in an eight-hour time frame – and never snack at night,” reports the Mail Online. However, these tips are based on a mouse study – no humans were involved.

    Nearly 400 mice were studied in a series of experiments for up to 26 weeks. Sets of mice were given unrestricted 24-hour access to high-fat...

  • NICE recommends home births for some mums

    Home births have dominated the UK media today, following the publication of guidance by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) on the care of healthy women and their babies during childbirth. The main talking point was the...

  • Weight loss surgery 'not a quick fix' for good health

    "Weight loss surgery isn't just a quick fix to becoming healthy – you have to exercise too," the Mail Online reports.

    Weight loss surgery, such as fitting a gastric band, usually results in significant weight loss.

    But this weight ...

  • HIV evolving into less deadly form

    “HIV is evolving to become less deadly and less infectious,” BBC News reports.

    A new study showed that HIV adapts to a person’s immune system, and that some of these adaptations may reduce the virulence of the virus.

    The research team looked specifically at...

  • Can a pill cure binge drinking and dementia?

    "'Wonder' drug could cure binge drinking, Alzheimer's and dementia," the Mail Online reports. But before you raise a glass or two, these are premature claims based on research in rats that has not yet been proven, or even tested, in people.

    Researchers gave rats alcohol to mimic the habits of human binge drinking. After...

  • HIV drug may slow the spread of prostate cancer

    “A drug used to treat HIV infection can slow the spread of prostate cancer, research has shown,” The Independent reports.

    The news centres on the drug ...

  • Majority of supermarket chickens carry food bug

    “More than 70% of fresh chickens being sold in the UK are contaminated,” BBC News reports.

    A Food Standards Agency (FSA) investigation found worryingly high levels of contamination with the campylobacter bug, which can cause food poisoning, on chickens being sold across the country. The Guardian reported a food scientist, Professor...

  • Could depression be the result of a brain infection?

    "Depression should be re-defined as an infectious disease … argues one scientist," the Mail Online reports.

    The news comes from an intriguing opinion piece by an American academic, which argues the symptoms of depression may be caused by infection.

    But, as the author of the paper says, his hypothesis is purely...

  • Ebola vaccine shows promise in human trials

    “Ebola vaccine trial results promising, says manufacturer,” The Guardian reports. Initial results from a trial involving 20 healthy adults found that the vaccine seems to be safe.

    The trial was what is known as a phase one trial, which is designed to test if a...

  • Ten-point plan to tackle liver disease published

    "Doctors call for tougher laws on alcohol abuse to tackle liver disease crisis," The Guardian reports. But this is just one of 10 recommendations for tackling the burden of liver disease published in a special report in The Lancet.

    The report paints a grim picture of an emerging crisis in liver disease in the UK, saying it is...

  • UK 'among worst' for cancer linked to obesity

    “Britain almost the worst in the world for obesity-fuelled cancer,” reports The Daily Telegraph.

    This and other headlines report on the outcome of an international study into the rate of obesity-related cancers.

    The researchers estimated the proportion of cases of cancer overall, and the proportion of specific cancers already...

  • Uneven or large breasts can cause teen angst

    "How your breast size affects your mental health: Having uneven or bigger boobs lowers self-esteem and causes eating disorders, study finds," reports the Mail Online.

    But the second part of the headline, which mentions eating disorders, is both misleading and inaccurate.

    The study in question, which took place in the...

  • Are silver surfers more health savvy?

    "Older people who use the internet … may be better equipped to keep on top of their health," BBC News reports. A survey found regular internet use in older people was associated with good health literacy.

    Health literacy is a term used to describe an individual's ability to find, understand and make use of health information...

  • No proof 5:2 diet prevents cancer

    "Could 5:2 diet help to ward off cancer?" is the question posed by the Mail Online after the publication of a study into experimental diets.

    An honest and accurate answer to the question, based on the study, would be "we don't know".

    The Mail reports on a study that gives an overview of the evidence...

  • Can a yoghurt a day reduce diabetes risk?

    "Eating a small portion of yoghurt every day may reduce diabetes risk," The Independent reports.

    This news comes from a US study that assessed the eating habits of more than 100,000 people and then followed them up every four years, looking for new diagnoses of...

  • Therapy reduces risk of suicide or self-harm

    “Talk therapy sessions can help reduce the risk of suicide among high-risk groups,” BBC News reports.

    The headline is prompted by a large Danish study that took place over a 20-year period.

    Researchers matched those who had received different psychosocial (“talking therapy”) interventions after a self-harm attempt with those...

  • Vegetarian diet 'could have slight benefits in diabetes'

    "Vegetable diet will beat diabetes: Meat-free lifestyle cures killer disease," is the typically overblown headline in the Daily Express.

    But researchers actually found a vegetarian diet led to a quite modest fall in only one measure of blood glucose called HbA1C, a measure of blood glucose control.

    The paper reports...

  • Breastfeeding voucher scheme 'shows promise'

    "Initial results of a controversial scheme offering shopping vouchers to persuade mothers to breastfeed have shown promise," BBC News reports.

    The scheme, which has attracted controversy since it was announced, aimed to tackle the problem of low rates of breastfeeding in the UK compared with other developed nations. Mothers...

  • Air dryers 'blown away' by paper towels in germ tests

    "Hand dryers 'splatter' users with bacteria," The Daily Telegraph reports.

    The headline is prompted by an experimental study that compared the potential transfer of germs to the surrounding environment, users and bystanders when using three methods of hand drying:

    • paper towels
    • warm air dryers...
  • Cancer guidelines may improve diagnosis rates

    “Doctors to get more help to spot cancer early,” The Guardian reports. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has produced new revised draft guidelines that may help GPs pick up on possible early warning signs of cancer. 

    The aim of the draft...

  • Is growth in ADHD 'caused by marketing'?

    "The global surge in ADHD [attention deficit hyperactivity disorder] diagnosis has more to do with marketing than medicine, according to experts," the Mail Online reports.

    But these experts are sociologists, not clinicians, and they present no new peer-reviewed clinical evidence.

    That said, they do highlight some...

  • Have antibiotic changes upped heart infections?

    "Rates of a deadly heart infection have increased after guidelines advised against giving antibiotics to prevent it in patients at risk," BBC News reports. But there is no evidence of a direct link between the two.

    In 2008, the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) produced ...

  • Report links obesity to advanced prostate cancer

    "Being overweight raises risk of men developing aggressive prostate cancer," The Guardian reports.

    A major new report from the World Cancer Research Fund has found strong evidence obesity increases the risk of aggressive...

  • Does being poor make your teeth fall out?

    "People with lower income end up with eight fewer teeth than the rich," The Independent reports.

    The headline is prompted by a new study based on a 2009 national dental health survey of adults over the age of 21 in England. It found strong links between socioeconomic status (how well off a person is) and oral health.

    ...
  • Triclosan soap linked to mouse liver cancers

    “A chemical ingredient of cosmetics, soaps, detergents, shampoos and toothpaste has been found to trigger liver cancer,” reports The Independent. The chemical in question, triclosan, is used in many products as an antibacterial.

    Should you be worried if you have just washed your hands? Probably not. The link was found in mice, not...

  • 'Food environment' needs changing, doctors argue

    "A Mediterranean diet may be a better way of tackling obesity than calorie counting, leading doctors have said," BBC News reports.

    In a recently published editorial, they also argue the NHS should do more to encourage its staff to eat more healthily.

    As this was an editorial, and not new evidence, it cannot prove...

  • Just one kiss 'spreads 80 million bugs'

    "A single 10-second kiss can transfer as many as 80 million bacteria," BBC News reports. Dutch scientists took "before and after" samples from 21 couples to see the effect an intimate kiss had on the bacteria found in the mouth.

    By studying the couples, the scientists discovered the bacteria found on the tongue are...

  • 'Good ways to pop a pill'

    “Just a spoonful of water helps the medicine go down: Scientists discover the best way to swallow tablets,” explains the Mail Online today.

    In fact, scientists haven’t necessarily discovered the “best” ways to take your medicine, they have simply tested two options and found that they work well – and neither involves just a spoonful of...

  • Do people who take weight loss pills eat unhealthily?

    "Are slimming pills fuelling the obesity epidemic?" asks the Mail Online, reporting on research that suggests dieters "mistakenly believe they can eat whatever they want" after taking weight loss drugs.

    There is nothing in the research to prove the Mail's headline. In fact, its headline was prompted by US...

  • Sex with funny, rich men linked with more orgasms

    “Women have stronger orgasms if their partner is funny – and rich”, says the Mail Online.

    This headline is wrong. And the research it’s based on, while fascinating, is rather inconclusive.

    The study in question asked a small group of female students, who were in sexual relationships with men, to anonymously rate their sex lives...

  • 'Smart drug' modafinil may not make you brainier

    “Smart drug ‘may help improve creative problem solving’,” is the headline in The Daily Telegraph.

    The media reports have been prompted by a new study on the effects of modafinil...

  • Long-term mobile phone use and brain cancer

    "Do mobile and cordless phones raise the risk of brain cancer?" asks the Mail Online.

    There are now more mobile phones than people in the UK, so you would expect the commonsense answer to be a resounding "no". But, as we never get tired of saying, it's a bit more complicated than that.

    The Mail Online...

  • Health workers 'neglect hygiene late in their shifts'

    “Visit hospital in the morning to be sure of a doctor with clean hands,” reports The Daily Telegraph.

    The Telegraph cites a US study which found healthcare workers often fail to wash their hands and are more likely to wash their hands as advised at the beginning of their shift (not necessarily the morning) than at the end.

    ...

  • Watching 'Dad's Army' won't stop you going blind

    "Fancy an episode of Dad's Army? How watching TV and films can save your eyesight," is the curious headline in the Daily Express.

    Its headline is a rather abstract interpretation of research testing the potential for new computer eye-tracking software to help diagnose chronic...

  • Genes tweaked to 'starve' prostate cancer cells

    "Prostate cancer could be 'halted' by injections," reports The Independent.

    While this headline rather simplifies the research findings, the research it's based on demonstrates an interesting way to stop prostate cancer – for mice, at...

  • Claims cannabis 'rewires the brain' misleading

    "Cannabis use 'shrinks and rewires' the brain," reports The Daily Telegraph, with much of the media reporting similar "brain rewiring" headlines.

    The headlines are based on a study that compared the brain structure and connections of cannabis users with those of non-users.

    The researchers identified several...

  • Anxiety affects children in different ways

    "Teenage anxiety: Tailored treatment needed," BBC News reports, saying a "one-size-fits-all approach to treating teenagers with anxiety problems may be putting their futures at risk."

    The news is based on research that looked at the diagnoses of a group of children and a group of adolescents – it did not look at...

  • Are pollution and attention problems related?

    “Could ADHD be triggered by mothers being exposed to air pollution while pregnant?,” asks the Mail Online.

    Pregnant women have enough to worry about, without going round in a gas mask or moving to the country. Fortunately, the study that this news relates to doesn’t find a connection between exposure to pollution while pregnant and...

  • Stem cells could repair Parkinson's damage

    "Stem cells can be used to heal the damage in the brain caused by Parkinson's disease," BBC News reports following the results of new Swedish research in rats.

    This study saw researchers transplant stem cells into rats' brains. These cells then developed into dopamine-producing brain cells.

    ...

  • Norovirus returns: advice is to stay away from GP

    After Halloween and Bonfire Night, we have the return of another, much less welcome, winter tradition: the norovirus. Or, as The Times reports, “Tis the season for winter vomiting bug”.

    The body responsible for public health in this country, Public Health...

  • Fruit chemical may prevent organ damage

    "Could fruit help heart attack patients? Injection of chemical helps reduce damage to vital organs and boosts survival," reports the Daily Mail – "at least in rodents," it should have added.

    When tissues are suddenly deprived of oxygen-rich blood (ischaemia), which can occur during a ...

  • Does having a hobby help you live longer?

    "Having a hobby can add YEARS to your life," The Daily Express reports. The headline is prompted by an international study that looked at ageing and happiness.

    The study found older people who reported the greatest sense of purpose in life survived longer than those who reported having little sense of purpose, suggesting that...

  • Smoking 'increases risk of chronic back pain'

    "Smokers are three times more likely to suffer from back pain," the Mail Online reports. The headline was prompted by the results of a recent study, which involved observing 68 people with sub-acute back pain (back pain lasting for 4 to 12 weeks with no...

  • 'Elite controllers' may provide clues for HIV cure

    “Scientists have uncovered the genetic mechanism which appeared to have led two HIV-infected men to experience a 'spontaneous cure’,” the Mail Online reports.

    The men are what is known as “elite controllers”: people thought to have high levels of immunity against the virus, as they do not develop any...

  • Short height 'linked to dementia death risk'

    "Short men more likely to die from dementia," The Daily Telegraph reports, though the results of the study it reports on are not as clear cut as the headline suggests.

    Researchers combined the results of 18 surveys, which included more than 180,000 people. They aimed to see whether reported height was associated with deaths...

  • Shift work 'ages the brain', study suggests

    “Shift work dulls your brain,” BBC News reports. In a French study, researchers assessed 3,232 adults using a variety of cognitive tests and compared the results between people who reported they had never performed shift work for more than 50 days per year with those that had. They analysed the results, comparing the number of years of...

  • Weight loss surgery cuts diabetes risk in very obese

    “Weight loss surgery can dramatically reduce the odds of developing type 2 diabetes,” BBC News reports.

    The underlying research identified a group of 2,167 obese adults without diabetes, the majority of whom were severely obese, with a ...

  • Sadness 'lasts longer' than other emotions

    "Sadness lasts 240 times longer than other emotions, study claims," is the somewhat sobering news on the Mail Online.

    Researchers surveyed 233 young adults from a Belgian high school with an average age of 17, and found emotions vary widely in duration.

    Of the 27 emotions studied, sadness lasted the longest, whereas...

  • Genes may play a role in Ebola survival chances

    "Genetic factors could play an important role in whether people survive the Ebola virus," BBC News reports. Researchers found around one in five mice remained unaffected by the infection.

    Researchers investigated how mice with a different genetic make-up responded to...

  • Brain differences linked to chronic fatigue syndrome

    "Scientists find three differences in the brain [of people with chronic fatigue syndrome]," the Mail Online reports.

    Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) affects around a quarter of a million people in the UK and causes persistent symptoms...

  • Does paracetamol ease pain of decision making?

    "Paracetamol could make difficult decisions less of a headache," the Mail Online reports. The story follows a US study that looked at whether taking paracetamol could reduce the pain of making difficult decisions.

    Researchers tested...

  • Details of autism genes uncovered in global study

    “A massive international study has started to unpick the ‘fine details’ of why some people develop autism,” BBC News reports.

    A team of international researchers looked for variations in the DNA sequences of the genes in 3,871 people with ...

  • Milk may be linked to bone fractures and early death

    "Drinking more than three glasses of milk a day may not protect bones against breaking – and may even lead to higher rates of death," the Mail Online reports.

    Do not be alarmed – your milkman is no Hallowe'en death-bringer. In fact, there are many reasons to treat this news – and the research behind it – with some caution....

  • Could sex with 21 women 'cut prostate risk'?

    "Sleeping with more than 20 women protects men against prostate cancer, academics find," The Daily Telegraph reports.

    The study in question included more than 1,500 men diagnosed with prostate cancer...

  • 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 (placebo).

    The study compared the effectiveness of agave nectar (a sweet syrup similar to honey, from...

  • Drugs may work better at certain times of the day

    “Take your medication at the right time of day or it might not work,” The Independent reports.

    The news is based on a study which looked at the pattern of genes made in 12 different mouse organs, to see if any of the genes showed a circadian rhythm (the “body clock”: where the body reacts to a day and night cycle).

    Nearly half...

  • Lab-grown killer cells could treat brain tumours

    "Scientists … have discovered a way of turning stem cells into killing machines to fight brain cancer," BBC News reports. While the results of this study were encouraging, the research involved mice, not humans.

    The headline is prompted by the creation of stem cells genetically engineered to produce a type of poison known as...

  • A mug of cocoa is not a cure for memory problems

    "Cup of cocoa could give the elderly the memory of a 'typical 30 or 40-year-old'," The Independent reports.

    Before you race down to the supermarket to pick up a tub of chocolatey powder, you might want to pause to consider some facts that rather undermine this headline.

    The news is based on a small study that found a...

  • 'Putting clocks forward boosts kids' exercise'

    “Moving the clocks forward by one extra hour all year in the UK could lead to children getting more exercise every day, say researchers,” reports BBC News.

    In the UK, the clocks move forward one hour during the summer months so that there are more daylight hours in the evening (daylight saving time).

    A new study has found that...

  • Sunshine isn't slimming and can't halt diabetes

    "Sunshine can make you thin," claims the Daily Mirror, while the Daily Express splashed on its front page that, "Sunlight is key to fighting diabetes". Both are strong contenders for the title of the day's most inaccurate health headline.

    The news – reported more circumspectly by The Times and BBC News – is based on...

  • Nightshift workers told to avoid iron-rich foods

    "Shift workers should avoid tucking into steak, brown rice or green veg at night," because these foods "disrupt the body clock," the Mail Online reports.

    But the research in question involved lab mice who were fed different amounts of dietary iron for six weeks to see what effect this had on the daily regulation...

  • Dopamine drug linked to sex, shopping & gambling

    “Drugs for restless leg syndrome cause gambling, hypersexuality and compulsive shopping,” Metro reports.

    Researchers in the US have looked at serious drug side effects reported to the FDA over a 10-year period. In particular, they were interested to see how often reports of impulsive behaviours such as gambling were linked to a group...

  • Changes in 'Parkinson's walk' predicts dementia

    "Subtle changes in the walking pattern of Parkinson's patients could predict their rate of cognitive decline," The Times reports after new research compared the gait of people with Parkinson's disease with those of healthy volunteers.

    ...

  • NICE wants tooth brushing to be taught in schools

    “Children should get their teeth brushed at school, says NHS watchdog,” The Daily Telegraph reports.

    The headline follows the publication of guidance by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) on ways for local authorities to improve the oral health of their...

  • Paralysed man walks again after pioneering surgery

    "World first as man whose spinal cord was severed WALKS," the Mail Online reports. In pioneering research, transplanted cells have been used to stimulate the repair of a man's spinal cord.

    The headlines are based on a scientific report describing a 38-year-old man whose spinal cord was almost completely severed in a knife...

  • Living with a smoker 'as bad as living in Beijing'

    "Living with smoker 'as bad as living in polluted city'," BBC News reports. Scottish researchers have estimated that the level of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) in smokers' households is similar to those found in a heavily polluted city such as Beijing.

    PM2.5 are tiny particles less than two and a half microns wide that are...

  • BMI tests 'miss' 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) is an imperfect way of detecting excess...

  • Viagra could double up as heart failure drug

    "Sex pill Viagra could help men suffering from heart disease," reports the Mirror. This headline follows a new review into the potential heart benefits of the active ingredient in erectile dysfunction drugs such as...

  • Exercise data signs could cut sugary drink intake

    “Signs warning shoppers how much exercise they need to do to burn off calories in sugary drinks can encourage healthier choices,” BBC News reports. Signs in shops in an area of Baltimore seemed to have led to a change in shopping habits amongst Afro-American teenagers.

    Researchers first studied beverage purchases by black teens at...

  • Vegetative patients show awareness during scans

    "Vegetative patients may be more conscious of the world than we think," The Independent reports. Electrodes have detected what has been described as "well-preserved" networks of brain activity in patients in a vegetative state.

    A vegetative state is when a person is awake and may have some basic motor reflexes,...

  • Crash diets 'work best' claim misguided

    “Crash diets DO work, claim experts,” the Mail Online reports.

    It reports on an Australian study involving 200 obese adults who were randomly assigned to either a 12-week rapid weight loss programme on a very low-calorie diet or a 36-week gradual weight loss programme.

    It found that 81% of people in the rapid weight loss...

  • New way to distinguish between ovarian tumours

    "A new test can help doctors identify ovarian cancer more accurately and cut down on instances of unnecessary surgery," BBC News reports.

    The BBC accurately reflects the findings of researchers who developed new tests for ovarian cancer. These tests use clinical and ultrasound findings to assess whether tumours are benign...

  • Stem cells used to improve low vision

    "Embryonic stem cells transplanted into eyes of blind restore sight," The Daily Telegraph reports, covering a study where human stem cells were transplanted into the eyes of people with visual impairment. This led to a significant improvement in their vision.

    This new research involved nine women with age-related macular...

  • Warnings issued over energy drinks

    “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.

    Energy drinks, such as Red Bull and Monster, contain high levels of caffeine, which is a stimulant. They have become increasingly popular...

  • Concerns raised about late diagnosis of lung cancer

    "Doctors in Britain are 'missing opportunities' to spot lung cancer at an early stage," BBC News reports. A study found around a third of people with the condition die within 90 days of their initial diagnosis.

    The study looked at the medical records of more than 20,000 adults who had been diagnosed with ...

  • 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 (ASD)...

  • 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 (ASD)...

  • Can we count on counting calories?

    It's a concept at the cornerstone of most diets: counting the calories of your food intake so you don't go over the limit.

    But just how accurate are calorie labels? And are some calories more "equal" than others?

    There is a seemingly endless stream of media articles focusing on the latest diet wonder, whether it...

  • 'Poo in a pill' may help treat C. difficile infection

    “Capsules containing frozen faecal material may help clear up C. difficile infections,” BBC News reports.

    While the prospect may sound stomach-churning, swallowing somebody else’s "poo" may help treat symptoms such as chronic diarrhoea, which can be life-threatening. 

    The headline is based on new research on 20 people...

  • Fruit juice link to high blood pressure not proven

    "Does drinking fruit juice give you high blood pressure?," the Mail Online asks, as an Australian study found people who reported a daily intake of fruit juice tended to have slightly higher blood pressure. This finding, the researchers argue,...

  • Is a cure for type 1 diabetes 'within reach'?

    "Type 1 diabetes cure within reach after breakthrough," The Independent reports after researchers have managed to "coax" human stem cells into becoming insulin-producing cells.

    Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition where the...

  • Antibiotic resistance continues to rise

    "Antibiotic resistance continues to rise," BBC News reports as, despite warnings, the number of antibiotic prescriptions in the UK continues to soar, as do new cases of resistant bacteria.

    Other news reports take different...

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