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,...

  • Goth teens 'at increased risk of depression and self-harm'

    "Goths are three times more likely to be depressed than other teenagers, with 37% admitting to self-harming," the Daily Mail reports. 

    A new study looked at mental health outcomes in young people who said they identified with the goth sub-culture. Goths favour black clothes, stark make-up, gloomy music and an interest in the...

  • How having 'senior moments' may be a good thing

    "Senior moments? Only worry if you don't notice them," the Daily Mail reports.

    "Senior moments" is a term used to describe a sudden memory lapse, such as forgetting your PIN or a relative’s name. While these types of lapses can affect...

  • Low vitamin D levels linked to increased multiple sclerosis risk

    "Lack of vitamin D may cause multiple sclerosis, study finds," reports the Guardian. A large study found people genetically programmed to have lower vitamin D levels are at an increased risk of multiple sclerosis (MS).

    MS is a condition...

  • Is incense smoke more dangerous than tobacco smoke?

    "Incense may need a health warning over 'toxic' smoke, claims research," The Daily Telegraph reports. Analysis of incense smoke, used in both western and Asian religious ceremonies for possibly thousands of years, found it contains many chemicals, some of which may be harmful.

    The researchers – two of whom worked for a...

  • Researchers 'a step closer' to universal flu vaccine

    "Universal flu vaccine comes closer, scientists say," BBC News reports after two independent teams of researchers each found ways to target multiple strains of the influenza virus – but, as yet, the research has only involved animals.

    Because there are...

  • Many white English and Irish pensioners 'drinking to excess'

    "One in five people over 65 who drink is consuming an "unsafe" level of alcohol, say researchers," BBC News reports. Their research also found that "unsafe drinking was far more common among the white British and Irish population".

    The study involved nearly 28,000 older adults (aged 65 and over) living in...

  • Warnings of a dementia epidemic may be unfounded

    "Dementia may not be the fast-growing epidemic it has been painted to be," The Guardian reports. Latest data from Europe shows the percentage of dementia cases have levelled off, rather than increased.

    However, as the elderly population is...

  • Working long hours 'increases stroke risk'

    "People working long hours are more likely to have a stroke, according to analysis of more than half a million people," BBC News reports.

    Researchers pooled the data from 25 previous studies that included more than 600,000 individuals who were free from ...

  • Just one drink a day 'may raise breast cancer risk'

    "Just one drink a day raises breast cancer risk," is the front page headline in the Daily Mail following the results of a new study. While the health risks of heavy drinking are well established, the effects of light drinking are less clear.

    The study, which involved almost 136,000 people, found women who drank the...

  • Water fluoridation 'a safe way of stopping tooth decay'

    "Adding fluoride to tap water could save the NHS millions and dramatically improve children's dental health," the Mail Online reports. A new UK study concluded that water fluoridation is a "safe and effective" way of preventing tooth decay in...

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

    "E-cigarettes are 95% less harmful than tobacco and could be prescribed on the NHS in future to help smokers quit," BBC News reports. 

    This is the main finding of an ...

  • Guidelines set to tackle over-prescribing of antibiotics

    "GPs face axe for handing out too many pills," the Daily Mail reports. The headline is prompted by remarks made by Professor Mark Baker, clinical practice chief at the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) which has published...

  • Aspirin lowers risk of hereditary bowel cancer in obese people

    "A daily aspirin may slash bowel cancer risk for the obese," the Daily Mail reports. But the headline fails to make it clear that this latest research didn't involve people in the general public who were obese.

    It actually involved people at high risk of bowel cancer as the result of a rare hereditary condition known as...

  • Is your purse a hotbed of bacterial infection?

    "More than 90 per cent of purses have bacteria on them, and women are the worst offenders," the Mail Online reports. A study found purses could be a reservoir for bacteria, especially those made out of synthetic materials.

    This study took swabs from the purses of 145 men and women from Mauritius, and tested them for bacteria...

  • Low-fat diet 'better' than low-carb diet for getting rid of body fat

    "Low-fat diets 'better than cutting carbs' for weight loss," says BBC News. But wait, the Mail Online says: "Low-carb 'is best for weight loss". Confused?

    Traditionally, weight-loss diets were based on the concept of eating a low-fat diet. But in recent years the idea of low or no carbohydrate diets, such as the...

  • Music can help ease pain and anxiety after surgery

    "Listening to music before, during and after an operation can help reduce pain," BBC News reports. An analysis of data found evidence that people who listened to music had reduced anxiety and were less likely to request pain relief.

    Listening to music during a surgical procedure is a very different thing, and it is...

  • Checking emails out of work 'can reduce wellbeing'

    "Checking your emails outside of work really IS bad for your health," the Mail Online reports. A German study recruited a sample of 132 workers and aimed to look at how extended working outside normal hours influenced people's mood the next day.

    It found working outside normal working hours limits the sense of detachment...

  • Claims that 'butter is safe' and 'margarine deadly' are simplistic

    "Butter unlikely to harm health, but margarine could be deadly," The Daily Telegraph reports. A major analysis of data found no link between saturated fats and heart disease, stroke or diabetes, but there was a link with trans fats.

    Saturated fats are found in dairy products such as butter and cheese, as well as in meat and...

  • Does red meat affect male fertility?

    "Want to be a dad? Cut out sausages and eat chicken," the Daily Mail reports, prompted by the findings of a recent study into diet and fertility outcomes for couples undergoing fertility treatment.

    This study analysed the diets of 141 men attending a fertility clinic with their partners for help getting pregnant. Sperm from...

  • Iodine supplements could help mums, babies and the economy

    "Providing pregnant women with iodine supplements could boost children’s intelligence and save thousands of pounds in future health costs," The Daily Telegraph reports.

    Iodine is a chemical element found in seawater, rocks and some types of soil....

  • Can eating white bread and pasta make you depressed?

    "White bread and pasta 'may increase the risk of depression'," reports the Mail Online today.

    It doesn’t take much to realise that feeling down from time to time is probably not caused by the last cheese sarnie or bowl of spag bol you ate. But in this case, the news outlet is reporting on a well-conducted study of post-...

  • Contraceptive pill 'cuts womb cancer risk'

    "The pill cuts womb cancer cases by 200,000," the Sky News website reports, in an uncommon example of a credible headline figure. However, it should be noted that it refers to the amount of cases prevented over 10 years.

    The news follows a reliable review that found the longer women took the pill, the lower their...

  • New brain diet 'slows mental decline'

    "Eating food rich in vitamins and minerals keeps the brain younger," reports the Daily Express. The headline was prompted by a US study of a new diet called MIND, which appeared to slow down ageing of the brain.

    The MIND diet was developed specifically to help improve brain function and reduce dementia, and is a combination...

  • Could eating spicy food help you live longer?

    "Curry really could be the spice of life," says The Daily Telegraph, reporting on a study looking at the link between regularly eating foods that contain capsaicin – found in chilli peppers – and the risk of dying early.

    The study of nearly 500,000 people in China found those who ate spicy food once a week or more were about...

  • A 15 minute daily walk 'will help you live longer' says study

    Going for a 15-minute walk every day will ‘make you live longer’ reports the Mail Online. It is one of several news outlets to report that small amounts of daily exercise may be enough to increase your chances of living longer.

    Links To The Headlines

    ...

  • Scientists hail '100% effective' Ebola vaccine

    "Ebola vaccine is 'potential game-changer'," says BBC News, while the Daily Mail cites a "100% effective jab" for the disease. These headlines stem from early results of a trial investigating the effects of an Ebola vaccine during the most recent outbreak of the virus in west Africa.

    Researchers gave the Ebola virus...

  • Hiding HIV virus 'flushed out' by skin cancer drug

    "HIV flushed out by cancer drug", BBC News reports. This headline was prompted by laboratory research showing the promising results of a cancer drug being used to treat HIV.

    In the early stages of HIV infection, some of the virus effectively goes into...

  • New 'iClusters' identify five subtypes of prostate cancer

    "Scientists have identified five types of prostate cancer, each with a distinct genetic signature," BBC News reports. The hope is that recognising the genetic signature of a specific cancer could lead to targeted treatments, as is the case with some types of breast cancer.

    By analysing the DNA of ...

  • Can the so-called 'male menopause' be treated with HRT?

    "New research suggests that testosterone deficiency in older men is much more prevalent than current screening methods suggest, and that more men would benefit from hormone treatment," The Daily Telegraph reports.

    The male menopause, which...

  • NICE produce new draft guideline on caring for the dying

    "England's health watchdog has put forward new draft guidance to improve the care of adults in their last few days of life," BBC News reports.

    The guidelines, produced by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), have been proposed as an...

  • Some over-the-counter drugs may be linked to falls in older men

    "Popular over-the-counter drugs for hay fever and insomnia may increase the risk of a serious fall among older men," the Daily Mail reports after a study suggested anticholinergic drugs, which can cause side effects such as blurred vision and drowsiness, could increase...

  • Nose balloon could be used to treat glue ear

    "Using the nose to inflate a balloon helps heal glue ear," BBC News reports. The technique, known as autoinflation, was found to be effective in around half of cases of this common childhood ear condition.

    Glue ear is when the middle ear becomes...

  • The placebo effect can still work, even if people know it's a placebo

    "The placebo effect is real – even if you know the treatment you've been given has no medical value, research has concluded," the Mail Online reports. The study in question aimed to further understand how placebos – inactive or...

  • Is there really a middle-class drinking 'epidemic' in over-50s?

    "Middle-class over-50s have become a generation of problem drinkers," the Mail Online reports – a headline that actually has little basis in fact.

    This follows the analysis of more than 9,000 adults aged over 50 from the English Longitudinal Study of Ageing...

  • Study says 'size really doesn’t matter' when it comes to a penis

    "Scientists claim they've worked out what makes the perfect penis," The Independent reports.

    According to Swiss researchers, women value overall cosmetic appearance of a penis over length.

    The actual point of the study was to assess women's perception of the penises of men who have had surgery for hypospadias, a...

  • Unhealthy thinking about body and weight 'can start in childhood'

    "Basis for eating disorders found in children as young as eight," The Guardian reports. A new UK survey of around 6,000 children found the roots of unhealthy thinking about body and weight can predate adolescence.

    Researchers collected data from 6,140 boys and girls aged 14 years as part of an ongoing study into childhood...

  • Sugary drinks linked to 8,000 new UK diabetes cases a year

    "Are sugary drinks causing 8,000 cases of diabetes every year?," the Daily Mirror asks, as a new study estimates they could cause thousands of type 2 diabetes cases in the UK, and millions in the US.

    Researchers pooled the results of previous...

  • Night shifts 'linked to increased breast cancer risk'

    "Irregular sleeping patterns have been 'unequivocally' shown to lead to [breast] cancer in tests on mice, a study suggests," BBC News reports. Scientists are concerned a similar effect may occur in women working night shifts.

    This study looked at mice genetically modified to develop...

  • Claims that obese people have a 'slim chance' of weight loss

    "Obese men have just a '1 in 210' chance of attaining a healthy body weight," The Independent reports. This was the findings of a study that used a GP records database to look at body mass index (BMI) measurements of almost 300,000 people recorded over a 10-year period.

    Overall, it found that low proportions of people in the...

  • Sugar intake should be drastically reduced, says report

    "Sugar intake 'should be halved'," BBC News reports. The headline is prompted by a government report that recommends no more than 5% of our calorie intake should come from "free sugars". The previous recommendation was 10%.

    The new advice says children aged 11 or over and adults should consume no more than seven...

  • Homer Simpson and Peppa Pig 'linked to childhood obesity'

    "Peppa Pig and Homer Simpson could be fuelling the child obesity crisis by causing youngsters to eat more," The Daily Telegraph reports after a series of psychological experiments found a link between exposure to overweight characters and overeating unhealthy food.

    This series of three studies involved 301 children aged 6...

  • Weak link between depression and frequent smartphone use

    "Smartphone behaviour 'could diagnose depression' says new scientific study," the Daily Mirror reports. But based on the data presented in the study the paper is reporting on, we would disagree.

    The story was prompted by a small US study of adults who agreed to have a freeware app – Purple Robot – installed on their...

  • Should we worry about the 'flesh-eating killer bug'?

    A "terrifying" and "flesh-eating" bug that "kills one in four it infects invasively" is spreading around the world, warns The Daily Telegraph in news that surprisingly didn't make its front page.

    So why is everyone in the country not wearing biohazard onesies? Probably because the threat from this kind of...

  • Researchers identify protein that spreads cancer

    "Scientists have found a way of preventing the spread of cancer from the site of the original tumour," The Independent reports. Targeting proteins called DNA-PKcs could prevent cancer cells moving to other parts of the body. This is known as metastatic cancer and is often fatal.

    The research involved mice as well as tissue...

  • No proof tea is the 'elixir of life'

    "Is the elixir of life as simple as two cups of tea?," the Mail Online asks, prompted by a study looking at whether tea drinking is associated with a longer life expectancy in women.

    This study included more than a thousand older women with an average age of 80. The women completed food and drink questionnaires, and the data...

  • Are teens confused about their size and weight?

    "Third of overweight teenagers think they are right size, study shows," The Guardian says in one of many headlines on widely covered UK research.

    The research, which looked into English 13-15-year-olds' understanding of their own weight, led the Mail Online to refer unkindly to "generation fat-blind".

    The...

  • Online symptom checkers’ reliability assessed

    "The danger of an online diagnosis: Millions of emergencies are MISSED through symptom checker websites," the Mail Online reports. American researchers have assessed the accuracy and reliability of 23 symptoms checkers, including the NHS Choices checker.

    The researchers were...

  • Heart attack, stroke and diabetes 'can shorten life by 23 years'

    "Suffering from heart disease, stroke and type two diabetes could knock 23 years off life," The Daily Telegraph reports, covering the stark conclusion of a major new UK study. The good news is many chronic diseases, such as stroke, are preventable.

    As...

  • People may age at different rates

    “Ageing rates vary widely, says study,” BBC News reports. For 12 years, researchers tracked a range of biomarkers associated with the ageing process.

    Biomarkers are indicators of how well certain biological processes or systems are functioning.

    In this study, the researchers described age-related biomarkers as signs of “gradual...

  • Reports that 1 pregnant woman in 3 in UK binge drink unconfirmed

    "A third of British women risk doing severe harm to their unborn babies by binge drinking during pregnancy," the Mail Online reports. While a concerning statistic, the evidence behind the headline is perhaps not as clear-cut as the Mail would lead its readers to believe. 

    This story has been prompted by the publication of a...

  • Does a lack of sleep lead to a lack of self-control?

    "Not enough shut-eye makes you more impulsive and can fuel addiction," the Mail Online reports. The claim was prompted by a review of evidence into the link between sleep and self-control carried out by American psychologists.

    The authors looked at previous research, including studies into how poor sleep affects our blood...

  • Gene therapy breakthrough for cystic fibrosis

    “Cystic fibrosis hope as new gene therapy improves condition,” The Daily Telegraph reports. Researchers have, for the first time, managed to successfully "smuggle" healthy copies of genes into the lungs of people with cystic fibrosis.

    Cystic...

  • 'Sleeping on it' may not be best after traumatic event

    "Staying awake may be the best way to stop disturbing flashbacks," the Daily Mail reports. A small psychological experiment carried out at Oxford University suggests that sleep could possibly help embed traumatic events in the memory, in some cases.

    The study involved 42 students, half of whom were randomly assigned to...

  • Orange juice and grapefruit linked to melanoma skin cancer

    "Drinking a glass of orange juice or eating a fresh grapefruit for breakfast may increase the risk of skin cancer," the Mail Online reports.

    A US study did find a small increase in the risk of melanoma, but the benefits of unsweetened...

  • Sugary drinks killing 'hundreds of thousands', claims study

    “Sugary drinks are killing 184,000 adults around the world every year, says study,” The Independent reports. This is the alarming claim of researchers who created a model of sugary drink-related deaths based on global consumption rates. 

    They defined sugary drinks as any sugar-sweetened fizzy drinks, fruit drinks (not pure fruit juice...

  • Report warns of threat to unborn babies from CMV virus

    "Thousands of pregnant women are unwittingly passing on infections to their unborn babies that cause severe disabilities," is the headline in the Daily Mail after a new report highlighted the risks cytomegalovirus (CMV) can pose to pregnancies.

    ...
  • GP receptionists 'could help prevent stroke deaths'

    "Teaching doctors' receptionists to spot the warning signs of strokes could save thousands of lives a year," the Daily Mail reports.

    Educating staff about the warning signs of a stroke, such as a droopy face and speaking difficulties, could lead to...

  • 'Eat carbohydrates last' advice for people with diabetes

    “Eating protein and veg BEFORE carbs…could help diabetics control their blood sugar,” the Mail Online reports. However, the advice is based on a very small study and the influence of food ordering really needs to be checked in much larger studies before it can be made an official guideline.

    The study involved just 11 people, most of...

  • Antidepressant use in menopause linked to broken bones

    "Taking antidepressants like Prozac to counter mood changes in menopause 'raises risk of broken bones'," the Daily Mail reports. A new study suggests that using selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) during...

  • Women with history of stillbirth at 'high risk of another'

    “Women who suffer stillbirths are four times more likely to suffer the tragedy again,” the Daily Mirror reports. Researchers who have analysed previous data warn that women with a history of stillbirth should be regarded as being at high risk of another.

    ...

  • Some health food brands may 'do more harm than good' claim

    "'Healthy' snacks could do more harm than good," claims the Mail Online, as it reports on a series of experiments investigating the effects of fitness branding in food marketing on food consumption and physical activity. 

    Researchers came to the conclusion that fitness branding increases consumption for people concerned...

  • No evidence 'cocktail of everyday chemicals' causes cancer

    “Fifty everyday chemicals…could be combining to increase our risk of cancer,” is the alarmist headline in the Mail Online.

    A major review into chemicals commonly found in the environment, such as those found in suncream and handwash, found no conclusive proof that they were definitely increasing cancer risk.

    Researchers...

  • Mushroom supplement could be one way to tackle obesity

    "A mushroom used for centuries in Chinese medicine reduces weight gain in animals," BBC News reports.

    A supplement from the Ganoderma lucidum mushroom (more commonly known as "reishi") slowed the pace of weight gain by apparently altering bacteria inside the digestive system of mice.

    In this study, the...

  • Elderly living near noisy roads have 'increased stroke risk'

    “Living in a neighbourhood with noisy road traffic may ... increase the risk of stroke,” The Guardian reports. Researchers looked at noise levels across London and found a link between high levels of noise and increased risk of hospital admission for stroke, with the risk slightly higher in older people.

    This ecological study included...

  • Could a smart insulin patch mean no more diabetic injections?

    “A 'smart' insulin patch could replace painful injections to help millions of people with diabetes keep their blood sugar levels in check,” the Daily Mirror reports; though the technology has only been tested on mice.

    Insulin is a hormone that plays a vital role in regulating blood glucose levels. People with ...

  • A case report about skinny jeans sparks media frenzy

    The UK media have had a field day with the suggestion that "Skinny Jeans Could Be Bad for Health".

    They have taken the opportunity to indulge in some shameless clickbaiting by showing photos of various skinny-jean-wearing celebs such as Russell Brand, Kate Moss, Harry Styles and the Duchess of Cambridge.

    By the tone...

  • Being a 'couch potato' linked to increased anxiety risk

    “Being a couch potato is bad for your mental health,” the Mail Online reports. However, the evidence gathered by a new review is not as clear-cut as the headline would lead you to believe.

    The review summarised the results of nine studies on the link between anxiety...

  • Drinking 'plenty of red wine' won’t help you lose weight

    Sorry to be party poopers, but The Daily Telegraph’s headline "How to lose weight – drink plenty of red wine," is simply nonsense. First, the study it reports on did not involve red wine. Second, it was carried out on mice, not humans.

    The mistaken headline was triggered by a study in mice looking into whether resveratrol, a...

  • Meningitis B vaccine 'available from September'

    "All newborn babies in England and Scotland are to be offered a vaccine to combat meningitis B from September," BBC News reports. This will be the world’s first publicly funded vaccination programme for the potentially fatal disease.

     

    What is meningitis B?

    Meningitis B is a highly aggressive strain of bacterial...

  • Weighing yourself every day may help with weight loss

    "Stepping on the scales every day could be the key to weight loss, a study has found," the Mail Online reports. This report was based on a US study which suggested daily weighing can lead to a small, though sustainable, loss in weight.

    The study involved 162 overweight and obese adults trying to lose weight, who were...

  • New chlamydia vaccine shows promise after being tested on mice

    “Researchers in the United States say they have developed a vaccine that can protect against chlamydia,” The Independent reports. Initial results in mice have shown promise in protecting against this common sexually transmitted infection (STI).

    Chlamydia is one of the most common STIs in the UK, and can lead to female infertility. It...

  • Too soon to say if breastfeeding problems could be genetic

    "Is your inability to breastfeed written in your genes?" the Mail Online asks. The question is prompted by animal research that discovered that problems with a protein called ZnT2 may restrict milk production after pregnancy.

    The protein in question helps move zinc into breast tissue cells (so it is known as a zinc...

  • Smoking causes half of all deaths in 12 different cancers

    “Roughly half of deaths from 12 smoking-related cancers may be linked directly to cigarette use, a U.S. study estimates,” the Mail Online reports. Due to similar smoking rates in the UK (19% of adults) and USA (17% of adults) there may be a similar pattern.

    Researchers used data from previous studies to estimate the proportion of...

  • Knee surgery 'waste of time', researchers argue

    "Knee surgery is 'pointless and potentially harmful' for thousands of patients," the Daily Mirror reports.

    Researchers have looked at previous studies that had compared arthroscopic (keyhole) knee surgery with exercise or sham surgery (placebo)...

  • Could avocados hold the key to treating leukaemia?

    "Avocados could hold the key to helping beat rare form of leukaemia," The Independent reports; specifically acute myeloid leukaemia, which is an uncommon and aggressive cancer of the white blood cells.

    The headline may give readers the...

  • Four out of ten Brits may have 'natural flu immunity'

    Thinking of throwing a sicky? Your usual alibi might be a little less convincing following today’s report by The Independent that "Four in 10 Britons immune to flu symptoms, leading to hopes of a new vaccine".

    A survey of 1,414 people found that 43% of them had a type of immune cell – T cells – that partially protects...

  • Eating chocolate may slightly lower your risk of stroke

    “Two chocolate bars a day can SLASH the risk of heart disease and stroke,” the Daily Mirror reports.

    The headline is prompted by the results from a large study involving Norfolk residents, investigating how chocolate is linked to cardiovascular...

  • Potential breakthrough for osteoporosis announced

    "Bone could be regrown to treat osteoporosis after breakthrough," The Daily Telegraph reports. This headline follows the development of a new drug that may increase bone formation, which could potentially combat osteoporosis. But this has only been...

  • Does owning a cat put your family at risk of schizophrenia?

    “Scientists have discovered a link between people who own cats and the development of mental illnesses, including schizophrenia, and believe a parasite may be to blame,” The Independent reports.

    The researchers suggest that toxoplasma gondii (T. gondii), a type of parasite found on infected cats, may be a cause of developing mental...

  • Marriage health claims are inconclusive

    “Marriage is more beneficial for men than women,” says The Daily Telegraph, while The Guardian reports: “Divorce not bad for your long-term health”. Both headlines are prompted by a new study looking at the long-term effects of relationships on health.

    The study used a UK cohort of people born in 1958, who had their relationship status...

  • Half a handful of nuts a day 'reduces early death risk'

    "A handful of nuts can save your life, says new study," The Daily Telegraph reports after a Dutch study found a link between daily nut consumption and a reduced chance of dying from a number of chronic diseases, including cancer and heart disease.

    The study assessed the dietary and lifestyle habits of middle-aged to elderly...

  • Could brain-eating cannibals provide the key to treating CJD?

    “Eating brains helped Papua New Guinea tribe become disease resistant,” The Daily Telegraph reports.

    Some of the Fore people, who used to eat the brains of dead relatives as a mark of respect, may have developed resistance to prion diseases such as ...

  • Facebook and Twitter could be used to help people quit smoking

    "Using social media to kick the [smoking] habit means you're 'TWICE as likely to succeed'," the Mail Online reports. A study of a Canadian social media campaign aimed at helping young people quit smoking found it was twice as successful as telephone helplines.

    The Break It Off (BIO)...

  • Does your birthday affect your disease risk?

    "Scientists Find Surprising Link Between Birth Month And Disease Risk," the Huffington Post reports. Using data mining techniques on 1.7 million electronic medical records, US researchers found an association between birth month and certain chronic diseases, as well as less serious conditions such as insect bites.

    Fifty-five...

  • Woman gives birth using ovaries she had frozen as a child

    The UK papers today welcome news of a world first in fertility treatment. As The Guardian concisely summarises: "A young woman in Belgium has become the first to give birth to a healthy baby after having her fertility restored by a transplant of ovarian tissue that was removed and frozen when she was a child".

    The woman was...

  • Breast cancer 'tumour trigger' that spreads disease discovered

    "Experts have identified a 'trigger' which enables breast cancer cells to spread,” the Daily Mirror reports. The trigger – a protein called CCL3 – appears to help cancerous cells spread into the lungs. The hope is that targeting the protein could help prevent any spread and reduce the number of deaths from...

  • Wet wipes may help spread hospital bugs

    "A new study finds that detergent wipes are spreading bugs in hospitals," The Daily Telegraph reports. This isn't strictly true, as the study didn't do any tests in hospitals. But through laboratory experiments, researchers found seven commonly used brands of wet wipe could transfer bacteria from one surface to another.

    ...

  • New blood test for viral infections shows promise

    "New test uses a single drop of blood to reveal entire history of viral infections," The Guardian reports.

    Every time you are infected by a virus, your immune system produces specific types of antibodies in response. These antibodies remain in your body long after the infection has gone. The new test, called VirScan, is able...

  • 'Missing link' between brain and immune system discovered

    “Newly discovered vessels beneath skull could link brain and immune system,” The Guardian reports. It is has been suggested that the discovery, which has been described as textbook-changing, could lead to new treatments for a range of neurological conditions.

    Until now, it was thought that the brain was not connected to the lymphatic...

  • Depression 'starts in the womb' claim is unproven

    “The seeds of depression can be sown in the womb,” is the claim in the Mail Online.

    While a new study did find that depression during pregnancy was linked to an increased risk of depression in adult offspring, a range of factors...

  • Children with autism may be supersensitive to change

    "People with autism … are over-sensitive to the world," the Mail Online reports. It reports on an animal study involving a rat model of autism, where a chemical is used to mimic the development of autism in rats. The study found the "autistic" rats showed signs of anxiety and withdrawal when placed in unpredictable...

  • Five-year 'death test' for older adults launched online

    "Are you dying to know? Scientists develop death test to predict if you'll make it to 2020," The Daily Telegraph reports. The test is based on analysis of data collected from the UK Biobank.

    This is essentially a huge ongoing cohort study that collected data from almost 500,000 middle- to older-age adults in the UK over an...

  • Breast cancer screening 'cuts deaths by 40%' expert panel says

    “Women who undergo breast cancer screening cut their risk of dying from the disease by 40%, according to a global panel of experts,” The Guardian reports.

    Breast cancer screening reduces deaths from the condition by spotting cases of ...

  • Can a single-shot therapy session cure insomnia?

    "Insomnia could be cured with one simple therapy session, new study claims," The Independent reports. UK researchers have been looking at whether cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) delivered in a single one-hour session can combat...

  • Poor sleep quality linked to Alzheimer's disease

    "Sleepless nights… could raise your odds of developing Alzheimer's," is the claim in the Daily Mail. A new US study did find a link between poor sleep quality and higher levels of clumps of abnormal proteins in the brain (known as beta-amyloid plaques), but no cause and effect relationship between sleep quality and ...

  • Office workers of England - stand up for your health!

    Workers have been warned to "stand up for at least two hours a day in [the] office," according to The Daily Telegraph. It says these are the first official health guidelines on the issue.

    The guidance comes from a panel of experts, commissioned by Public Health England, which provides recommendations aimed at helping...

  • Cats blamed for children’s poor reading skills

    "Cats could be making children stupid," reports the Daily Telegraph. It says that a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii, which is carried by cats, could be affecting performance at school.

    Toxoplasma gondii is a common parasite that can be found in many mammals, including cats. It can be contracted by humans if they come into...

  • 'Sleep training' may make people less racist and sexist

    "Levels of unconscious racist and sexist bias have been reduced by manipulating the way the brain learns during sleep," BBC News reports.

    This was a study looking into inherent unconscious biases related to gender and race/ethnicity, and whether they could be reversed. When 40 white university students were shown facial...

  • Immunotherapy drug combo could combat melanoma

    "New era in the war on cancer," is the somewhat over-hyped headline on the front of the Daily Mail. The new era refers to the use of immunotherapy – using drugs to coax the immune system into attacking cancerous cells while leaving healthy cells unharmed.

    The results of a number of studies on immunotherapy have recently been...

  • Did the English smoking ban stop 90,000 children getting ill?

    "90,000 children spared illness by smoking ban," reports the Daily Mail. This impressive-seeming statistic is based on research looking at how many under-14s ended up in hospital with respiratory infections in the years before and after the July 2007 smoking ban in England and Wales.

    Researchers analysed data on more than 1....

  • Media reckons science now proves 'carbs' are fine again

    "Eat more 'good' carbohydrates and less protein for a longer life," reports the Mirror.

    It seems like only last week that the media was advising us to eat less carbohydrates. The reality is that neither today's "pro-carbs" or recent "anti-carbs" news stories have changed...

  • Is gut bacteria responsible for the 'terrible twos' in toddlers?

    "Terrible twos?" asks the Mail Online, going on to say that, "the bacteria in your child's gut may be to blame for their bad behaviour". The story is based on research that showed links between the types of bacteria in stool samples from two-year-old children, and their behaviour and temperament.

    Researchers have...

  • New discovery about how breast cancer spreads into bones

    "Certain breast cancers spread to the bones using an enzyme that drills 'seed holes' for planting new tumours, research has shown," The Guardian reports. The hope is drugs currently available – or possibly modified versions of them – could block the effects of this enzyme.

    This largely animal and lab-based study has...

  • Modified herpes virus 'could combat skin cancer'

    "Patients with aggressive skin cancer have been treated successfully using a drug based on the herpes virus," The Guardian reports. A new study suggests a novel form of immunotherapy could be effective for treating some cases of advanced skin cancer.

    This was a large trial examining the use of a new immune treatment called...

  • Combined contraceptive pills 'increase risk of blood clots'

    "Women who take the latest generations of contraceptive pills are at a greater risk of potentially lethal blood clots," The Times reports. While the increase in risk is statistically significant, it is very small in terms of individual risk

    The combined oral contraceptive pill, commonly referred to as "the pill",...

  • Traffic and aircraft noise linked to bigger bellies

    "Living near a main road causes people to gain weight with the risk of obesity," is the slightly dubious claim in The Daily Telegraph. While a Swedish study did find an association between noise pollution and obesity, cause and effect has not been proved....

  • Obesity in teen boys may increase bowel cancer risk in later life

    "Teenage boys who become very obese may double their risk of getting bowel cancer by the time they are in their 50s," The Guardian reports. A Swedish study found a strong association between teenage obesity and ...

  • Holidays and parties mean we may drink more than we think

    "The amount of alcohol people in England drink has been underestimated by the equivalent of 12 million bottles of wine a week," BBC News reports.

    It has long been known there is a big gap between the amount people say they drink in national surveys, like the Health Survey for England, and the amount of alcohol known to be...

  • Quarter of sun-exposed skin samples had DNA mutations

    A sobering BBC News headline greets sun worshippers on the eve of the spring bank holiday: "More than a quarter of a middle-aged person's skin may have already made the first steps towards cancer."

    Sunlight is made up of ultraviolet (UV) radiation. Low levels of exposure to UV light are actually beneficial to health –...

  • Minor ailment scheme doesn't provide free Calpol for all

    "Thousands discover Calpol has been free on NHS 'for years' as mum's Facebook post goes viral," the Daily Mirror reports.

    This and other similar headlines were prompted by a post made by a woman on the social networking site Facebook. In the post, the woman claimed that all medicines for children were available for free on...

  • Is paracetamol use in pregnancy harmful for male babies?

    "Paracetamol use in pregnancy may harm male foetus," The Guardian reports. Researchers found evidence that taking paracetamol for seven days may lower the amount of testosterone testicular tissue can produce – using human foetal testicular...

  • Mildly cold weather 'more deadly' than heatwaves or very cold snaps

    "Mildly cold, drizzly days far deadlier than extreme temperatures," The Independent reports. An international study looking at weather-related deaths estimated that moderate cold killed far more people than extremely hot or cold temperatures.

    Researchers gathered data on 74,225,200 deaths from 384 locations, including 10 in...

  • Links between hay fever, asthma and prostate cancer inconclusive

    "Men with hay fever are more likely to have prostate cancer – but those with asthma are more likely to survive it," the Daily Mirror reports. Those were the puzzling and largely inconclusive findings of a new study looking at these three conditions.

    Researchers looked at data involving around 50,000 middle-aged men and...

  • Children of the 90s more likely to be overweight or obese

    "Children of the 90s are three times as likely to be obese as their parents and grandparents," the Mail Online reports. A UK survey looking at data from 1946 to 2001 found a clear trend of being overweight or obese becoming more widespread in younger...

  • Stem cells could provide a treatment for a 'broken heart'

    "Scientists believe they may have discovered how to mend broken hearts," reports the Daily Mirror.

    While it may sound like the subject of a decidedly odd country and western song, the headline actually refers to damage to the heart muscle.

    A ...

  • Bioengineering advances raise fears of 'home-brew heroin'

    The Daily Mirror carries the alarming headline that, "Heroin made in home-brew beer kits could create epidemic of hard drug abuse". It says scientists are "calling for urgent action to prevent criminal gangs gaining access to [this] new technology" following the results of a study involving genetically modified yeast....

  • No proof orange juice boosts brain power

    "Drinking orange juice every day could improve brain power in the elderly, research shows," the Mail Online reports. Despite the encouraging words from the media, the small study this headline is based on does not provide strong evidence that an older person would see any noticeable difference in their brain power if they drink...

  • Drug combination for cystic fibrosis looks promising

    "A 'groundbreaking' new therapy for cystic fibrosis could hugely improve patients' quality of life," The Daily Telegraph reports after a combination of two drugs – lumacaftor and ivacaftor – was found to improve lung function.

    The headline is prompted by a trial looking at a new treatment protocol for...

  • Does holding your breath during an injection make it less painful?

    "Hate injections? Holding your breath can make the pain of jabs more bearable," the Mail Online reports. A team of Spanish researchers mechanically squeezed the fingernails of 38 willing volunteers to cause them pain.

    For one round of experiments, the group were told to hold their breath before and during the pain squeeze....

  • Single mothers have 'worse health in later life'

    The Daily Telegraph today tells us that: "Single mothers in England [are] more likely to suffer ill health because their families 'do not support them'."

    This is a half-truth. The large international study – involving 25,000 people from England, the US and 13 other European countries – behind the headline found a link...

  • Cannabis-extract pills 'not effective' for dementia symptoms

    "Cannabis pills 'do not help dementia sufferers'," reports The Daily Telegraph. Previous research suggested one of the active ingredients in cannabis – tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) – can have effects on the nervous system and brain, such as promoting feelings of relaxation.

    In this study, researchers wanted to see if THC...

  • Could testing grip strength predict heart disease risk?

    "Poor grip can signal chances of major illness or premature death," the Mail Online reports. An international study has provided evidence that assessing grip strength could help identify people who were at higher risk of cardiovascular incidents such as a ...

  • Study finds seasons may affect immune system activity

    "Winter immune boost may actually cause deaths," The Guardian reports. A new gene study suggests there may be an increase in inflammation levels during winter, which can protect against infection but could also make the body more vulnerable to other chronic diseases.

    The study looked at gene expression (the process of using a...

  • Doctors issue warning about overtreating patients

    "NHS tests and drugs 'do more harm than good'," is the headline in The Telegraph, while The Guardian warns: "Doctors to withhold treatments in campaign against 'too much medicine'."

    Both of these alarmist headlines are reactions to a widely reported opinion piece from representatives of the UK's Academy of Medical...

  • Hormone oestrogen linked to male breast cancer

    "Men with high oestrogen more likely to develop breast cancer," reports the Daily Telegraph.

    This headline is based on an international study looking at potential risk factors for male breast cancer. This is a much rarer cancer...

  • Scientists 'amazed' at spread of typhoid 'superbug'

    “Antibiotic-resistant typhoid is spreading across Africa and Asia and poses a major global health threat,” BBC News reports.

    Typhoid fever is a bacterial infection. If left untreated, it can lead to potentially fatal complications, such as internal bleeding.

    Uncommon in the UK (there were 33 confirmed UK cases in the first...

  • Having a 'sweet tooth' could increase your Alzheimer’s risk

    In a series of animal experiments, researchers attempted to see whether high blood glucose could be involved in the development of amyloid protein plaques in the brain; a characteristic hallmark of Alzheimer’s disease. These plaques are abnormal "...

  • Overweight diabetics 'live longer' than slimmer diabetics

    “Overweight diabetics are 13 per cent less likely to die prematurely than those of a normal weight or those who are obese,” the Mail Online reports.

    A new study followed over 10,000 English older adults with type 2 diabetes for 10 years. It examined how...

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