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No need for nightshift workers to avoid steak

"Shift workers should avoid tucking into steak, brown rice or green veg at night," because these foods "disrupt the body clock," the Mail Online reports. But the research in question involved lab mice who were fed different amounts of dietary iron for six weeks to see what effect this had on the daily regulation of glucose production in their livers. The research found mice fed lower-iron

Do dopamine drugs lead to compulsive shopping?

“Drugs for restless leg syndrome cause gambling, hypersexuality and compulsive shopping,” Metro reports. Researchers in the US have looked at serious drug side effects reported to the FDA over a 10-year period. In particular, they were interested to see how often reports of impulsive behaviours such as gambling were linked to a group of drugs called dopamine receptor agonists. These drugs

Changes in 'Parkinson's walk' predict dementia

"Subtle changes in the walking pattern of Parkinson's patients could predict their rate of cognitive decline," The Times reports after new research compared the gait of people with Parkinson's disease with those of healthy volunteers. Parkinson's disease is a condition with three classic features: a tremor, stiff rigid muscles and slow movements, notably a slow, shuffling walk. It also has ot

NICE wants tooth brushing to be taught in schools

“Children should get their teeth brushed at school, says NHS watchdog,” The Daily Telegraph reports. The headline follows the publication of guidance by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) on ways for local authorities to improve the oral health of their communities. The new guidelines have been welcomed in some parts of the media, but others have accused NICE of crea

Paralysed man walks again after pioneering surgery

"World first as man whose spinal cord was severed WALKS," the Mail Online reports. In pioneering research, transplanted cells have been used to stimulate the repair of a man's spinal cord.The headlines are based on a scientific report describing a 38-year-old man whose spinal cord was almost completely severed in a knife attack. The man had completely lost feeling and movement below the injur

Smokers' homes 'as polluted as Beijing'

"Living with smoker 'as bad as living in polluted city'," BBC News reports. Scottish researchers have estimated that the level of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) in smokers' households is similar to those found in a heavily polluted city such as Beijing.PM2.5 are tiny particles less than two and a half microns wide that are components of air pollution. Because of their size, they are able to

BMI tests 'miss' over a quarter of obese children

"Quarter of obese children missed by BMI tests," the Mail Online reports. The headline was prompted by a review that combined the results of 37 studies in more than 50,000 children and found body mass index (BMI) is an imperfect way of detecting excess body fat. The study estimated more than a quarter of children (27%) with excess body fat might not be classified as obese when using BMI me

Viagra could double up as heart failure drug

"Sex pill Viagra could help men suffering from heart disease," reports the Mirror. This headline follows a new review into the potential heart benefits of the active ingredient in erectile dysfunction drugs such as sildenafil (Viagra), called phosphodiesterase type-5 inhibitors (PDE5is).PDE5is work by helping blood vessels dilate, which in the case of erectile dysfunction increases blood flow

Vegetative patients show awareness during scans

"Vegetative patients may be more conscious of the world than we think," The Independent reports. Electrodes have detected what has been described as "well-preserved" networks of brain activity in patients in a vegetative state. A vegetative state is when a person is awake and may have some basic motor reflexes, but no signs of awareness. It is one of a group of conditions known as disorders o

Exercise data signs could cut sugary drink intake

“Signs warning shoppers how much exercise they need to do to burn off calories in sugary drinks can encourage healthier choices,” BBC News reports. Signs in shops in an area of Baltimore seemed to have led to a change in shopping habits amongst Afro-American teenagers. Researchers first studied beverage purchases by black teens at six corner stores in Baltimore. They then tested the effect

Crash diets 'work best' claim misguided

“Crash diets DO work, claim experts,” the Mail Online reports. It reports on an Australian study involving 200 obese adults who were randomly assigned to either a 12-week rapid weight loss programme on a very low-calorie diet or a 36-week gradual weight loss programme. It found that 81% of people in the rapid weight loss group achieved the target weight loss (more than 12.5% of their bodyw

New way to distinguish between ovarian tumours

"A new test can help doctors identify ovarian cancer more accurately and cut down on instances of unnecessary surgery," BBC News reports. The BBC accurately reflects the findings of researchers who developed new tests for ovarian cancer. These tests use clinical and ultrasound findings to assess whether tumours are benign or malignant and, if they were malignant, the likely stage of the cance

Stem cells used to improve low vision

"Embryonic stem cells transplanted into eyes of blind restore sight," The Daily Telegraph reports, covering a study where human stem cells were transplanted into the eyes of people with visual impairment. This led to a significant improvement in their vision. This new research involved nine women with age-related macular degeneration and nine people with a rare condition called Stargardt's ma

Ebola could reach UK, but outbreak risk is low

“Global threat of Ebola: From the US to China, scientists plot spread of deadly disease across the world from its West African hotbed,” reports the Mail Online. This is a terrifyingly apocalyptic-sounding headline, yet the real story about Ebola is that, while still frightening and deadly, it is still a very low risk to people in the UK. Screening arrangements for visitors to the UK arriving fro

Warnings issued over energy drinks

“Energy drinks could cause public health problems, says WHO study,” The Guardian reports. A new review discusses the potential harms of these drinks, especially when they are mixed with alcohol.Energy drinks, such as Red Bull and Monster, contain high levels of caffeine, which is a stimulant. They have become increasingly popular over the last 20 years, especially with young people, with many

Broccoli could 'hold the key' for treating autism

"Broccoli chemical may improve autism symptoms," The Daily Telegraph reports. A small study suggests sulforaphane, a chemical that gives broccoli its distinctive taste, may help improve some of the symptoms of autism spectrum disorder (ASD).The study found the symptoms of ASD improved in two-thirds of adolescent and young men who took a sulforaphane supplement. In the randomised controlled

Concerns raised about late diagnosis of lung cancer

"Doctors in Britain are 'missing opportunities' to spot lung cancer at an early stage," BBC News reports. A study found around a third of people with the condition die within 90 days of their initial diagnosis.The study looked at the medical records of more than 20,000 adults who had been diagnosed with lung cancer in the UK between 2000 and 2013. They found people were more likely to die

Can we count on counting calories?

It's a concept at the cornerstone of most diets: counting the calories of your food intake so you don't go over the limit. But just how accurate are calorie labels? And are some calories more "equal" than others?There is a seemingly endless stream of media articles focusing on the latest diet wonder, whether it involves intermittent fasting or feasting on fats. Although they protest oth

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

“Capsules containing frozen faecal material may help clear up C. difficile infections,” BBC News reports. While the prospect may sound stomach-churning, swallowing somebody else’s "poo" may help treat symptoms such as chronic diarrhoea, which can be life-threatening. The headline is based on new research on 20 people with recurrent diarrhoea caused by C. difficile that was not cured with s

Fruit juice link to high blood pressure not proven

"Does drinking fruit juice give you high blood pressure?," the Mail Online asks, as an Australian study found people who reported a daily intake of fruit juice tended to have slightly higher blood pressure. This finding, the researchers argue, is likely down to the high sugar content of fruit juices. But this and other headlines exaggerated the results of a small, potentially unreliable and u

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

"Type 1 diabetes cure within reach after breakthrough," The Independent reports after researchers have managed to "coax" human stem cells into becoming insulin-producing cells. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune condition where the body's own immune system destroys the insulin-producing cells of the pancreas. Insulin is a hormone that plays a vital role in regulating blood glucose levels. Th

Antibiotic resistance continues to rise

"Antibiotic resistance continues to rise," BBC News reports as, despite warnings, the number of antibiotic prescriptions in the UK continues to soar, as do new cases of resistant bacteria. Other news reports take different slants on the story, with The Daily Telegraph blaming the rise on hospitals and out of hours GPs. The news follows the publication of a new report by Public Health Engla

Could grapefruit juice protect against diabetes?

“Grapefruit juice 'could be the key to weight loss’,'' is the misleading headline in The Daily Telegraph. It reports on a study in which mice fed a combination of a high-fat diet and grapefruit juice still put on weight – albeit at a lower rate than mice fed a sugary drink. Their blood sugar levels and insulin sensitivity were also better regulated than mice that did not drink grapefruit ju

'Healthy foods expensive' claim is unrealistic

“Healthy food now costs three times as much as junk, study shows,” The Independent reports. It also reports a sharper rise in the cost of fruit and veg over the past decade compared to other types of foods.This news story is based on research which looked at changes in the price of 94 food items in the UK in the decade from 2002 to 2012. It found that in this period foods classified as health

Broccoli could 'hold the key' for treating autism

"Broccoli chemical may improve autism symptoms," The Daily Telegraph reports. A small study suggests sulforaphane, a chemical that gives broccoli its distinctive taste, may help improve some of the symptoms of autism spectrum disorder (ASD).The study found the symptoms of ASD improved in two-thirds of adolescent and young men who took a sulforaphane supplement. In the randomised controlled

Questions about life after death remain unanswered

“Life after death is a real phenomenon,” Metro reports – but the headline is pure hype. Researchers were actually looking at “near-death experiences” – a very different thing. Indeed, the research involved people who did not die (even “technically”).Near-death experiences are reported by people claiming to have had experiences when they were close to death, such as when their heart stops duri

Vaginal orgasm 'doesn't exist', researchers argue

"There is no such thing as a vaginal orgasm," says the Mail Online, in a story that suggests some women have been diagnosed with sexual disorders based on the "myth" that they can orgasm through vaginal intercourse alone. The news comes from a review of existing (not new) evidence, and its authors make some very bold assertions. The researchers' main conclusion – that the vaginal orgasm do

Cannabis labelled 'harmful and as addictive as heroin'

"Cannabis: the terrible truth," is today's Daily Mail front page splash story. The paper cites the risks posed by cannabis – including a doubling of the risk of schizophrenia – based on research the paper says has "demolished the argument that the drug is safe".The "terrible truth" is we still don't know enough about the safety and harms of cannabis because it's legally and ethically a diffic

Eating with a fat friend 'makes you eat more'

“Sitting next to overweight people makes you more likely to gorge on unhealthy food,” the Daily Express reports. The paper reports on a small-scale research experiment showing that the presence of an overweight woman (an actress in a fat suit) near a buffet made student volunteers choose and eat a larger amount of unhealthy food (spaghetti) than when she was a healthy weight (without the fat

Green tea compound may improve cancer drugs

"Green tea could helps [sic] scientists develop new cancer fighting drugs," the Mail Online reports. But before you rush out to the shops, in no way does this study suggest green tea can fight cancer. Instead, research has found a compound in green tea – the catchily named Epigallocatechin-3-O-gallate (EGCG) – may help improve the effectiveness of anti-cancer drugs such as Herceptin, used in


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