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,...

  • '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...

  • Eating little and often 'no better for dieters than fewer feasts'

    "Eating little and often – like Jennifer Aniston – could help dieters achieve a healthy weight loss," reports the Mirror. Meanwhile, the Mail Online urges us to "Forget three square meals a day – eating six smaller portions is better for your waistline".

    But don't rush to change how often you eat: the claims are...

  • Media hypes molecular blood pressure regulation discovery

    The Mail Online hails a "breakthrough in treating high blood pressure", saying scientists have discovered how the body regulates it, which could "slash risk of heart attacks and stroke".

    But there's a hint of hype around this news as, perhaps surprisingly, the research that prompted this story did not test any new...

  • Smartphone app used to scan blood for parasites

    "A smartphone has been used to automatically detect wriggling parasites in blood samples," BBC News reports. It is hoped the customised device could help in programmes to get rid of parasites in parts of Africa.

    In certain regions of Africa, two parasitic diseases – river blindness and elephantiasis – are a major health...

  • Probiotic yoghurts 'may help' hay fever

    "Is YOGURT the secret to easing hay fever? Probiotics can 'relieve sneezing and itchy eyes','' the Daily Mail reports. New research found initial, but not definitive, evidence that probiotics may offer some relief from this common allergic condition for some people.

    ...

  • Infection clue points to causes of rheumatoid arthritis

    "Infection could trigger arthritis," claimed a headline in the Daily Express today. But you needn't worry that a cough or cold will cause you crippling joint pain: the headline is an oversimplification of some fascinating – if early stage – research.

    The research in question focused specifically on the causes of...

  • Appetite for apples? How fruit sugars may not suppress hunger

    Are you tempted to avoid eating fruit "because the sugar in it triggers cravings," as the Mail Online suggests today? If you are, it's worth having a look at some of the reassuring facts that can keep you chomping cherries and guzzling grapefruit.

    The news – covered by the Mail and the BBC – stems from a laboratory study of...

  • Heart failure drug digoxin linked to premature death

    "A heart drug taken by 250,000 Britons can actually hasten death," the Mail Online warns today. An analysis of previous research on digoxin, used to treat heart failure and heart rhythm abnormalities, suggests that it can raise the risk of premature death.

    The analysis pooled the results of 19 different studies investigating...

  • New test could improve diagnosis of ovarian cancer

    "New ovarian cancer test twice as effective as existing methods," The Guardian reports, after new research proved relatively successful in diagnosing ovarian cancer.

    This study hasn't identified a new blood test for cancer as such –...

  • Replacing sugary drinks with water may reduce diabetes risk

    A major UK study, involving around 25,000 adults, looked at the association between drink choices and the risk of type 2 diabetes. It found that those who consumed more of their calories through sugary drinks, and those who drank more soft drinks or sweetened...

  • Texting may help relieve pain during minor surgery

    "Need pain relief for surgery? Try a text," the Daily Mail reports. The advice was prompted by a small study that found people who used a mobile phone during minor surgery were less likely to require additional pain medication.

    During surgery, participants in this study were allocated to texting a close friend or family...

  • UK life expectancy expected to rise to late 80s by 2030

    "Life expectancy is rising faster than thought, with 90 expected to become the norm in some affluent areas of the country by 2030," The Guardian reports. The same predictions led the Daily Mail to warn of a "life expectancy timebomb".

    A new modelling study looking at trends in life expectancy estimated that male...

  • New prostate cancer treatment has promising results in mice

    "Prostate cancer resistant to conventional treatment could be all but wiped out by a therapy that boosts the immune system," the Daily Mail reports. The therapy, as yet only used in mice, enabled chemotherapy to destroy cancer cells in mice with previously treatment-resistant...

  • Diet swap study highlights bowel effects of western-style diet

    "Diet swap experiment reveals junk food's harm to guts," BBC News reports.

    20 American volunteers were asked to eat an African-style diet (high fibre and low fat) while 20 Africans were asked to eat a typical American-style diet (low fibre and high fat). The western diet seemed to contain more red and processed meat.

    ...
  • Bullying may have worse long-term effects than child abuse

    "Bullied children are five times more at risk of anxiety than those maltreated," reports the Daily Mail. A study looking at both UK and US children found an association between childhood bullying and...

  • Brain’s 'hunger hub' could be switched off

    "Have scientists found a way to banish hunger pangs?," the Mail Online asks. The question is prompted by research in mice looking at the "biological pathways" that regulate appetite and hunger.

    While it may feel like the sensation of hunger is triggered by the stomach, it is actually the brain that causes the...

  • No evidence organic milk in pregnancy lowers a baby's IQ

    "Pregnant women who switch to 'healthier' organic milk may be putting the brain development of their unborn babies at risk," The Guardian reports after researchers found organic milk had lower levels of iodine than standard milk.

    Iodine is needed...

  • Parents 'may pass anxiety on to their children'

    The Mail Online has given stressed-out parents one more thing to worry about, saying: "Anxiety is 'catching' and can be passed on to children", adding that, "Attitudes of over-anxious parents can severely affect children's behaviour".

    The study that prompted these headlines used an interesting "children of...

  • Having a spine similar to a chimp could lead to back pain

    "People with lower back problems are more likely to have a spine similar in shape to the chimpanzee," BBC News reports. Research suggests that humans with similar shaped vertebrae to chimps are more vulnerable to developing a slipped disc.

    Back pain...

  • Gene editing technique could prevent inherited diseases

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

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

  • Air pollution linked to silent strokes

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

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

  • New asthma treatment within five years, researchers hope

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

    In asthma, the immune system...

  • A magnet for mosquitoes? Blame your genes

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

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

  • Athlete’s foot cream could also treat multiple sclerosis

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

    Multiple sclerosis (MS)...

  • Coffee could make breast cancer drug tamoxifen more effective

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

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

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

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

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

  • Mistreatment of extreme morning sickness 'leading to abortions'

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

    While...

  • Why you should drink (water) before you drive

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

    This...

  • There are six different types of obesity, study argues

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

    This study looked at...

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Does happiness have a smell and is it contagious?

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

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

    Nine men...

  • Middle age 'starts at 60' claims media

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

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

  • DNA changes in sperm may help explain autism

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

  • Paracetamol may blunt feelings of pleasure as well as pain

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

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

  • No proof that bad relationships raise blood pressure

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

  • Breath test shows promise in diagnosing stomach cancer

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

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

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

    This headline is...

  • How dogs could sniff out prostate cancer

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

    This...

  • Can plucking hairs stimulate new hair growth?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Short people may have an increased risk of heart disease

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

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

  • No such thing as baby brain, study argues

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

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

    The study recruited...

  • Do diet soft drinks actually make you gain weight?

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

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

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

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

  • Vigorous exercise 'may help prevent early death'

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Concerns raised about increased e-cigarette use in teenagers

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

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

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

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

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

  • Healthy diet could cut risk of Alzheimer's disease

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

     

    What is meningitis B?

    Meningitis B is a highly aggressive strain of...

  • Parents fail to spot that their kids are obese

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

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

  • Fit middle-aged men have lower cancer risk

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

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

  • Crossing your fingers may help reduce pain

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

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

  • Do antibiotics in pregnancy cause cerebral palsy and epilepsy?

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

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

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

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

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

  • Frequent antibiotic use linked to higher type 2 diabetes risk

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

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

  • Study finds link between air pollution and stroke risk

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

    Previous research has shown a ...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Some newspapers...

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

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

  • Blood test could provide an early arthritis warning

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

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

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

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

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

  • Research casts doubt on aspartame sensitivity

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • Following UK dietary advice may cut heart disease risk

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

  • New blood test could help prevent antibiotic misuse

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

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

  • Damage to 'heart health' may start in childhood

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

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

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

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

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

  • Obese people 'underestimate how much sugar they eat'

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

    Researchers assessed the...

  • Could epilepsy drug help treat Alzheimer's disease?

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

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

  • All teens should be vaccinated against rare strain of meningitis

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

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

  • Does light at night pose a health risk?

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

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

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