Bedford Hill Family Practice

120 Bedford Hill
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...
  • 'Bionic spine' could pave the way for new paralysis treatments

    "'Bionic spine' could enable paralysed patients to walk using subconscious thought," reports The Guardian.

    In a study using sheep, Australian researchers have developed a device that can record movement signals from the brain. It's hoped this will eventually lead to these signals being transmitted to other parts of the body...

  • Hope that blood test 'could diagnose five types of cancer'

    "A new blood test that detects five different forms of cancer is one step closer to becoming a reality and could save millions of lives around the world," the Mail Online reports. The test looks for abnormal changes in DNA – what is described as a DNA signature.

    This laboratory research looked at ways to identify tumour DNA...

  • Could statins treat common cause of vision loss?

    "Statins could be miracle cure for blindness," reports the Express, following a new study into dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD), one of the leading causes of blindness in adults.

    AMD is a condition caused by damage to part of...

  • Smoking bans linked to fewer heart attacks and strokes

    The ban on smoking indoors in public places "has helped save the lives of passive smokers," says the Daily Mail.

    The headline refers to a review of the effects of smoking bans in 21 countries, including England and Scotland. This found fewer admissions to hospitals for...

  • Just one hour of sitting down may increase diabetes risk by a fifth

    "Every extra hour sitting down can raise your risk of type 2 diabetes by a fifth," the Daily Mirror reports. The paper reports on a study that used an accelerometer – a device that tracks movement – to look at the effects of sedentary behaviour on type 2...

  • Weight loss in middle age: A warning sign of dementia?

    "How losing weight in middle age 'could be a sign of dementia'," the Daily Mail reports. A US study suggests there is an association between middle-age weight change and risk of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) – which, in some cases, can be an ...

  • UK regulators give go-ahead for 'embryo editing'

    "UK scientists have been given the go-ahead by the fertility regulator to genetically modify human embryos," BBC News reports.

    The UK body that regulates research into embryos – the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) – has given a licence to Dr...

  • Young women with high-fibre diet may have lower breast cancer risk

    "Teenage girls who get their five-a-day cut breast cancer risk by up to 25 per cent," the Daily Mirror reports. 

    A US study suggests teenagers and young women who eat a high-fibre diet based on eating plenty of fruit and vegetables have a reduced risk of ...

  • Proton beam therapy 'effective' and 'causes fewer side effects'

    "Proton beam cancer therapy 'effective with fewer side effects'," BBC News reports. A US study found the technique caused fewer side effects than conventional radiotherapy.

    Proton beam therapy hit the headlines in 2014 due to the...

  • High-flavonoid foods, like berries and apples, 'prevent weight gain'

    "Get fruity to get fit: Eat more berries to beat a big belly," The Sun reports. The advice is based on the findings of a major new study looking at the effects of foods rich in the compound flavonoid, such as berries and apples, on body weight.

    The researchers tracked around quarter of a million people over 24 years.


  • Antidepressants linked to suicide and aggression in teens

    "Antidepressant use doubles the risk of suicide in under 18s and the risks to adults may have been seriously underestimated," The Daily Telegraph reports.

    A review of clinical study reports compiled by drug companies also suggests that risks may have been under-reported. Clinical study reports usually have more detail than...

  • New clues that Alzheimer’s may have been spread during surgery

    "Researchers have reported a second case that suggest [sic] Alzheimer's can be transmitted during medical treatments," the Mail Online reports.

    Researchers carried out autopsies of seven people who died from Creutzfeld Jakob Disease (CJD...

  • 'Autistic' monkeys created in controversial study

    "Genetically modified (GM) monkeys that develop symptoms of autism have been created to help scientists discover treatments for the condition," The Guardian reports. 

    The reports are based on news that Chinese researchers have created monkeys with autistic traits using gene editing techniques.

    The monkeys were modified...

  • Zika virus: your questions answered

    "Three Britons have contracted Zika virus – which may cause severe birth defects – after travelling to South and Central America," BBC News reports. So what is the Zika virus and what steps can you take to protect yourself? Answers below. 

    What is the Zika virus?

    The Zika virus is a mosquito-borne infection, which isn't...

  • Playground equipment contains 'toxic levels of lead paint'

    "Paint on playground equipment has been found to contain high amounts of the toxin lead – up to 40 times recommended levels," BBC News reports.

    Researchers sampled levels at 26 playgrounds in the south of England and the results are worrying. Lead is well known to be a highly toxic metal and its use has been phased out over...

  • Seasonal affective disorder 'may be a myth', study argues

    "Stop blaming SAD for your bad mood – it doesn't exist! Seasonal changes have 'NO effect on depression,'' the Daily Mail reports.

    Seasonal affective disorder (SAD) is described as a type of seasonal depression that may partly be...

  • Paternal depression linked to premature birth

    "Depression in expectant fathers linked to premature births," The Independent reports. A Swedish study found a link between paternal depression occurring for the first time and an increased risk of very premature birth.

    The study, which looked at 366,499 births, also confirmed that women with depression before or during...

  • New genetic risk factor for ovarian cancer identified

    "A faulty gene has been identified that increases the risk of ovarian cancer more than threefold," The Independent reports. The genetic mutation, found in the BRIP1 gene, adds to the known genetic warning signs for ovarian cancer.

    Exactly what causes ...

  • Calls for research into health effects of ultrasound exposure

    "Ultrasound in public places could be triggering sickness," the Daily Mail reports.

    Ultrasounds are high frequency sound waves used by a wide range of devices, and are thought to be inaudible to most humans. 

    A review has highlighted how many public places are now exposed to ultrasound, and there is a knowledge gap...

  • Researchers investigate why obesity can trigger bowel cancer

    "Excess calories 'turn off a hormone in the intestine that blocks colon cancer'," the Mail Online reports.

    Obesity is a known risk factor for bowel...

  • Are ads for candy-flavoured e-cigs tempting teens to vape?

    "Advertisements for … flavoured e-cigarettes could encourage children to try vaping," ITV News reports after a study found children shown these ads were more likely to express an interest in trying flavoured e-cigs.

    The study included about 500 UK schoolchildren aged 11 to 16. It aimed to see whether different e-cigarette...

  • NHS Health Checks 'prevented thousands of heart attacks'

    "NHS Health Checks scheme hailed as 'remarkable success'," Pulse magazine reports, while The Sun adds "GP quiz [is a] life saver".

    NHS Health Checks, introduced in 2009, are offered to people aged 40 to 74 years old. They look...

  • Men at high risk of getting HIV 'need preventative treatment'

    "Giving healthy gay men HIV drugs 'could help reverse epidemic'," BBC News reports.

    A modelling study looking at the effects of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), where drugs are used to prevent infection, estimated thousands of new cases of HIV could be prevented.


  • A potato-rich diet before pregnancy could up diabetes risk

    "Eating potatoes before pregnancy increases risk of diabetes," The Daily Telegraph reports. Researchers found a small, but significant, increase in gestational diabetes risk in mothers who reported eating a potato-rich diet before their pregnancy. 


  • Exercise is 'most effective' method of preventing lower back pain

    "Exercise is the best medicine to banish back pain and stop people taking sick days," reports the Daily Mirror. While this may be true, the research in question did not look at treatments for existing back pain.

    In fact, the researchers reviewed...

  • Sugary drinks linked to increased fat levels around vital organs

    "People who consume sugary drinks are more likely to develop dangerous fat that becomes wrapped around internal organs," the Daily Mail reports after a US study found a link between the consumption of sugary drinks and increased visceral fat levels.

    Visceral fat is fat that develops inside the abdominal cavity. Having high...

  • Arthritis drug could also help combat ovarian cancer

    "A rheumatoid arthritis drug can kill off ovarian cancer cells in women with the BRCA1 mutation," the Mail Online reports. The drug, auranofin, was found to be effective against ovarian cancer cells associated with the BRCA1 mutation.

    The BRCA1 gene – along with a similar gene called BRCA2 – is designed to repair damage to...

  • Targeting inflammation 'could help treat Alzheimer's disease'

    "Blocking brain inflammation 'halts Alzheimer's disease'," BBC News reports. Mice with symptoms similar to Alzheimer's disease were given a drug that blocked the production of immune cells, which cause inflammation. They showed an improvement in...

  • New alcohol advice issued

    New proposed guidelines on alcohol, drawn up by the Chief Medical Officers of the UK, have been published today.

    The expert group that produced the guidelines looked at the body of new evidence about the potential harms of alcohol that has emerged since the previous guidelines were published in 1995.

    There are three main issues...

  • 'Remixed' skin cells could lead to new diabetes treatments

    "End of injections in sight for diabetics after new discovery," says The Daily Telegraph. If you think you've read a similar headline before, you may be right – replacing insulin injections for type 1 diabetes has...

  • Antidepressant paroxetine use linked to birth defect risks

    "Antidepressant 'does increase your baby's risk of birth defects if taken in first 12 weeks of pregnancy','' the Mail Online reports. 

    A study of previous data suggests the commonly used antidepressant paroxetine may increase the risk of...

  • Do high doses of vitamin D increase falls risk in the elderly?

    "Giving pensioners high doses of vitamin D to strengthen their leg bones may put them at higher risk of a fall," The Times reports after a Swiss study suggested high doses of the supplement offer no benefits, but do increase the risk of falling.

    This 12-month trial aimed to assess whether giving high doses of ...

  • Infertility treatments 'not linked' to developmental delays

    "There is no heightened risk of developmental delays … in children conceived through IVF or other infertility treatments," the Mail Online reports. A study found that the numbers of children affected with such delays were the same as those conceived naturally.

    The study included more than 5,000 mothers, around 1,500 of which...

  • Dry January 'can lead to healthier drinking patterns long-term'

    "Study … found that Dry January leads to healthier drinking habits," the Mail Online reports. Dry January involves giving up alcohol for the month. There is limited evidence about whether taking part in the challenge...

  • Our news predictions for 2016

    CRISPR-Cas9 leads to a range of new gene editing research

    You probably haven't heard of CRISPR-Cas 9, but that could well change by the end of 2016.

    CRISPR-Cas9 is a gene editing technique that uses a combination of the Cas9 protein and a strand of RNA to make breaks in strands of DNA. Then new genetic code can be placed inside the...

  • The top 10 news stories of 2015

    10. E-cigarettes may make lungs vulnerable to infection

    In February, there was concern that the vapour produced by e-cigarettes contains free radicals – atoms and molecules that are toxic to cells – and that this could damage...

  • Behind the Headlines' 2015 Quiz of the Year

    In 2015, Behind the Headlines covered more than 500 health stories that made it into the mainstream media.

    Why not test your knowledge of 2015's health news with our month-by-month quiz?

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

    Answers are at the bottom of the page – no peeking! 

  • Behind the Headlines' Top Five of Top Fives 2015

    As we move towards the end of the year, like all news sources, we fall back on that classic space filler – the list story. So, without further ado, here is the official Behind the Headlines' Top Five of Top Fives stories of 2015, in which we celebrate the good news, worry about the bad, pour scorn on some rubbish reporting and answer some of...

  • Behind the Headlines Top Five of Top Fives 2015

    As we move towards the end of the year, like all news sources, we fall back on that classic space filler – the list story. So without further ado, here is the official Behind the Headlines Top Five of Top Fives stories of 2015, in which we celebrate the good news, worry about the bad, pour scorn on some rubbish reporting and answer some of...

  • Vitamin D deficiency linked to irritable bowel syndrome

    "Is vitamin D the key to treating IBS? 82% of sufferers 'are deficient'," the Mail Online reports.

    Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common, yet poorly understood, digestive condition that can cause...

  • New theory about migraine triggers published

    "Migraine breakthrough as scientists discover the process that triggers EVERY symptom – paving the way for a cure!" the Daily Mail over-optimistically reports. While a new theory about the cause(s) of migraines is plausible, it is also unproven.


  • Last line in antibiotic resistance under threat - News update

    News update – December 22 2015

    BBC News has reported that "bacteria that resist the most common antibiotic of last resort – colistin [see below] – have been discovered in the UK".

    Researchers from Public Health England found resistant strains in 15 of the 24,000 bacterial samples it kept on record from...

  • The idea you can be fat but fit is 'a myth' study argues

    "No, you can't be fat and fit, say the experts," the Daily Mail reports. A major study involving more than a million men seems to contradict the idea that "obese individuals can fully compensate mortality risk by being physically fit".

    The idea that you can be "fat but fit" is based on the idea that a high...

  • Failure to fortify flour with folic acid 'led to 2,000 birth defects'

    "UK experts are backing the call for flour to be fortified with folic acid – a move which they say would have prevented about 2,000 cases of serious birth defects since 1998," BBC News reports.

    Folic acid supplementation around the time of...

  • Does timing of first pregnancy affect long-term maternal health?

    "Delaying motherhood is 'better for your health'," the Daily Mail says, reporting that "Women who give birth after the age of 25 'are healthier by the time they’re 40'". However, the picture is a lot more ambiguous than the paper presents.

    Researchers aimed to look at whether the age a woman had her first baby was...

  • New guidelines on end of life care published by NICE

    "NICE urges doctors to treat dying patients as individuals," BBC News reports. The headline is prompted by the publication of new guidelines from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) on end of life care.

    The guidelines are designed to...

  • Active and secondhand smoking both linked to early menopause

    "Women who are heavy or habitual smokers are more likely to experience the menopause earlier [before the age of 50], a study suggests," BBC News reports. The same study found a weaker link for women exposed to secondhand smoke.

    The researchers looked at information on more than 93,000 women taken from a major US study.

  • Antidepressant use in pregnancy 'linked to childhood autism'

    "Taking antidepressants during pregnancy almost doubles the risk of children developing autism," The Daily Telegraph reports. Researchers say it is possible that chemicals present in antidepressants could interfere with child development.

    However, when looked at in its overall context, the study found only a small increased...

  • Is paracetamol any good for treating flu?

    "Paracetamol will not ease the symptoms of flu, according to a study by doctors in New Zealand," The Times reports. 

    A small study suggests the widely used painkiller does not help combat the overall effects of infection.

    The trial specifically looked at whether ...

  • Being happy 'won't help you live longer' survey finds

    "Happiness doesn't make you live longer, survey finds," reports The Guardian after a survey of more than 700,000 women found no evidence of a direct cause and effect link between happiness and life expectancy.

    There has been speculation that happiness in itself – rather than factors that can stimulate happiness, such as good...

  • Talking therapy 'as effective as antidepressants' study finds

    "Patients with severe depression benefit as much from psychological therapy as they do from pills," says the Mail Online, reporting on a study comparing two commonly-used treatments.

    The research compared modern antidepressants such as...

  • Molecule removes Alzheimer's plaques from mice's brains

    "A molecule can clear Alzheimer's plaques from the brains of mice and improve learning and memory, Korean scientists have found in early tests," BBC News reports. However, the Daily Express’s claims of a "wonder pill" are premature.

    One of the defining characteristics of ...

  • Antibiotic use in farm animals 'threatens human health'

    "Farmers need to dramatically cut the amount of antibiotics used in agriculture, because of the threat to human health, a report says," according to BBC News.

    The concern is agricultural antibiotic use is driving up levels of ...

  • Flavouring found in e-cigarettes linked to 'popcorn lung'

    "Smokers who use e-cigs 'are risking harm to their lungs'," the Daily Mail reports after US researchers discovered some brands contained diacetyl, a buttery flavouring linked to lung disease in people who worked in microwave popcorn factories.

    Two other chemicals linked to lung damage were also found in the cigarette...

  • Researchers investigate the 'pathways of pain'

    "Breakthrough could lead to 'super painkillers'," the Mail Online reports. 

    Researchers have investigated a sodium channel that plays a key role in transmitting pain signals to the brain. They wanted to see whether blocking the channel could help relieve chronic pain.

    This study builds on the knowledge that animals and...

  • Can overweight men pass obesity risk to their children?

    "Are you fat because of your dad?" is the Mail Online's bold question to its readers, explaining that "Men's weight directly affects genes in sperm linked to appetite and brain development".

    This was based on a new study that found a man's weight influences the genes in his sperm.

    This small study showed that...

  • Weight gain between pregnancies 'linked to stillbirth'

    "Maternal weight gain raises stillbirth risk", reports The Guardian, and other media outlets.

    A large study in Sweden found women whose weight increased by more than two BMI units (about 6kg for a woman who is 1.67m tall) between their first and second pregnancy had a...

  • Scientists find 'gene that delays Alzheimer's'

    Scientists have identified a genetic variation thought to delay the start of Alzheimer's disease, according to several media reports.

    The news is based on a study of 71 descendants of the same ancestral family in northern Colombia, who have passed down a rare and severe form of Alzheimer's disease caused by a mutation in a single gene...

  • Do potatoes reduce stomach cancer risk?

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

    The mouth-watering headline followed the publication of a large Chinese review into the link between diet and stomach cancer, which involved 76 studies and 6.3...

  • Sugar and water 'as good as a sports drink', says study

    Adding a spoonful of table sugar to a glass of water could be just as good as – or better than – a sports drink, several media outlets have reported. The news comes from a study that compared whether a group of long-distance cyclists performed better when they had a glucose or sucrose mix drink.

    Fourteen experienced male cyclists were...

  • High-strength 'skunk' cannabis linked to brain changes

    "Scientists warn smoking 'skunk' cannabis wrecks brains," The Sun reports, somewhat simplistically. A small study found some users of the high-strength skunk strain of cannabis had changes in nerve fibres in a specific part of the brain.

    Researchers used MRI scanners to scan the brains of 99 adults – some with psychosis, some...

  • Experts call for more research into ADHD drug Ritalin

    "The drug Ritalin should be prescribed with caution as the quality of evidence available about its benefits and risks is poor," the Mail Online reports. A review of available evidence found no high-quality evidence about both the benefits and risks.

    Researchers aimed to assess the beneficial and harmful effects of the ...

  • Reports of an 'end to daily diabetes jabs' are premature

    "The daily trial of insulin injections could soon be over for hundreds of thousands of people with type-1 diabetes," is the overoptimistic headline in The Times.

    A small study involving immune "T-reg cells" proved safe for participants, but it is far too early to talk about an end to daily injections.

    In ...

  • Babies born on the weekend have slightly higher death risk

    "Babies delivered at the weekend are significantly more likely to die or suffer serious injury," the Daily Mail reports. 

    However, while the increase in risk is both significant and an obvious cause for concern, it should be noted that it is a very small increase.

    Researchers looked at the outcomes of 1,349,599 births...

  • Loneliness 'may affect the immune system'

    "Being lonely won't just make you miserable; it could also suppress your immune system and knock years of your life," the Daily Mail reports. 

    This headline was prompted by a laboratory study in humans and rhesus macaque monkeys, which aimed to investigate if there were biological mechanisms associated with isolation that...

  • Has the 'happiness region' of the brain been discovered?

    "Neurologists 'work out the key to finding happiness'," claims The Independent. Japanese researchers claim to have found a link between reported happiness and an area of the brain called the precuneus.

    The researchers recruited 51 young adult volunteers, scanned their brain structure and probed their happiness and emotions...

  • One diet 'doesn’t fit all' – people 'metabolise food differently'

    "No one diet fits all," the Daily Mail reports. 

    Israeli researchers monitored 800 adults to measure what is known as postprandial glycemic response – the amount by which blood sugar levels increase after a person eats a meal. This measure provides a good estimate of the amount of energy that a person "receives"...

  • Last line in antibiotic resistance under threat

    "The last line of antibiotic defence against some serious infections is under threat," The Guardian reports, after researchers found that E.coli bacteria from food products in China has developed resistance to colistin – a polymixin antibiotic...

  • Coffee 'can make you live longer' claims

    "Drinking three to five cups of coffee a day could help people live longer, new research has found," The Independent reports. 

    Research suggests a link between regular coffee consumption and reduced risk of chronic diseases, such as heart...

  • Region of brain 'shorter' in people with hallucinations

    "A study of 153 brain scans has linked a particular furrow, near the front of each hemisphere, to hallucinations in schizophrenia," BBC News reports.

    While schizophrenia is commonly associated with ...

  • Study suggests disability test link to suicide risk

    "Fitness to work tests linked to 590 extra suicides in England," warns the Daily Mirror. The paper reports a "horrific death toll" from the policy of reassessing disability benefit claimants. But there is reason to be cautious about whether the ...

  • Study calls for smartphones and tablets to have 'bedtime mode'

    "Smartphones, tablets and e-readers should have an automatic 'bedtime mode' that stops them disrupting people's sleep," BBC News reports.

    The concern is the devices emit short-wavelength blue light, which may disrupt the production of melatonin, a hormone that helps us sleep.

    The news comes from a study that examined...

  • 'New' sexually transmitted infection 'MG' may be widespread

    "A sexually transmitted infection could have infected hundreds of thousands of people in the UK," The Guardian reports. 

    The infection – mycoplasma genitalium (MG) – causes few, and often no, symptoms. It is unclear whether it could trigger complications such as...

  • Will a cholesterol-busting vaccine work for humans?

    "Could a vaccine replace the need for daily statins?" asks the Mail Online. An experimental vaccine has been found to lower low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in a small number of mice and macaque monkeys, but has not yet been tested in humans.

    LDL cholesterol – aka "bad" cholesterol – can clog up the...

  • Stronger legs linked to stronger brains in older women

    "Strong legs 'help the brain resist the effects of ageing','' the Mail Online reports. A study that tracked 324 female twins (162 sets) over 10 years found an association between leg strength and cognitive ability, measured through memory testing and brain scans.

    The study recruited twins aged 43 to 73 in 1999 and measured their...

  • Normal BMI with a big belly 'deadlier than obesity'

    "Slim adults with a 'spare tyre' of fat around their stomach have a twice as high mortality risk than those who are overweight," The Daily Telegraph reports.

    A major new study tracked more than 15,000 adults to look at the effect of body size on mortality.

    Researchers looked at two types of measurement:

  • No hard evidence champagne can prevent dementia

    "Drinking three glasses of champagne per week could help stave off dementia and Alzheimer's disease," the Daily Mirror reports. But before you break out the Bolly, you should know the study that prompted this headline was on rats.

    The study that forms the basis of these reports was actually published in 2013, but apparently...

  • Gene editing breakthrough in treating baby's leukaemia

    "Baby girl is first in the world to be treated with 'designer immune cells'," The Guardian reports.

    Pioneering work carried out at Great Ormond Street Hospital made use of a new technique known as genome editing.

    The girl, one-year-old Layla Richards, developed ...

  • Battling bugs may help keep people's guts healthy

    "Competition between different bacteria species in the gut is what keeps humans healthy," BBC News reports. 

    Research suggests this competition – as opposed to co-operation, which many have assumed was the case – helps with digestion and boosts immune function.

    This study explored the factors that influence the...

  • Blood test could help improve prostate cancer outcomes

    "A blood test can determine whether prostate cancer patients are likely to respond to drugs," BBC News reports.

    The test assesses whether men with prostate cancer have a good chance, or not, of responding well to a drug called...

  • Is a brisk walk better for losing weight than going to the gym?

    "A brisk 30-minute walk five days a week is more effective than any other form of exercise for keeping weight down," The Times reports. That is the reported conclusion of two researchers who looked at data from the annual English Health Surveys from 1999 to 2012.

    As expected, they found people who regularly walk briskly for...

  • Sugary drinks linked to increased heart failure risk in men

    "Just two sweetened drinks a day can dramatically raise heart risk," The Sun reports. A Swedish study found that men who consumed two or more sugary drinks a day had, on average, a 23% increase in the risk of heart failure.

    The study included...

  • Growing up with a dog 'reduces childhood asthma risk'

    "Children who grow up with a pet dog in the family home have a lower risk of developing asthma," The Times reports. 

    A large Swedish study found an association between pet ownership and reduced risk of asthma. Living on a farm was also found to reduce...

  • 'Greedy gene' that stops some people from feeling full discovered

    "A single gene mutation may be all it takes to determine if a person is prone to becoming obese," the Mail Online reports.

    A particular genetic variant may disrupt the normal workings of a protein – brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) – that helps regulate appetite after eating.

    Researchers have examined brain...

  • Low-fat diets 'not the best way to lose weight'

    "Low-fat diets are not the best way to lose weight," the Daily Mail reports. The findings come from a new review that analysed data from more than 50 previous studies on low-fat dietary interventions involving almost 70,000 adults.

    The study aimed to see how low-fat diets measured up to comparison diets for achieving long-...

  • Ovarian cancer drug 'can help with some types of prostate cancer'

    "Ovarian cancer pill 'effective' at treating men with prostate cancer," The Independent reports after a small trial found the drug olaparib slowed tumour growth in men with a certain type of prostate cancer.

    The trial involved 50 men...

  • Exercise and therapy 'useful for chronic fatigue syndrome'

    "ME can be beaten by positive thinking and taking more exercise," is the rather simplistic message from the Daily Mail following the results of a long-term study involving 481 people.

    The study compared four types of treatment for ...

  • Cheap Alzheimer's drug 'may help keep people out of care homes'

    "Alzheimer's drug may keep late-stage sufferers out of nursing homes," The Guardian reports. A study found people with Alzheimer's who continued to take a drug called donepezil were less likely to be admitted into care than people who stopped taking it.

    Donepezil is usually withdrawn as a treatment for people with moderate...

  • Processed meat 'causes cancer' warns WHO report

    What is the issue?

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

    The WHO's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)...

  • Fillings can 'do more harm than good', researchers warn

    "Having a filling can increase the risk of tooth decay in neighbouring teeth," reports The Times. Researchers found evidence that, in some cases, fillings were more of a stop-gap than a cure for tooth decay – and could even actually contribute to the...

  • Controversial 'sugar tax' report is finally published

    "A sugar tax of up to 20 per cent is need[ed] on fizzy drinks and fattening snacks," the Daily Mail reports. 

    It is one of eight recommendations from Public Health England designed to tackle the UK's love affair with the sweet stuff that is linked to obesity and diabetes.

    Public Health England (PHE), the agency in...

  • Genetic variation 'reduces risk of heart disease in women'

    "Scientists have identified a gene that puts women at higher risk of heart disease, an early study suggests," BBC News incorrectly reports. But the study in question has not found a new gene: researchers found that a switch in one of the building blocks of DNA present in some women is associated with a reduced risk of ...

  • Warning about middle-aged drinking and dementia

    "Middle-aged people should curb their drinking to reduce their risk of developing dementia, new guidance suggests," reports the Daily Mirror.

    The new guidance highlights that people aged 40 to 64 who regularly drink alcohol have an increased risk of dementia. 

    Who produced the guidance?

    The ...

  • Living near an airport 'may be bad for your health'

    "People who live within six miles [of an airport] have higher levels of asthma and heart problems," the Daily Mail reports after a US study has suggested exposure to carbon monoxide from planes may impact on health. This potential pollutant is thought to occur when planes are taxiing on busy runways.

    Researchers used data to...

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