Behind the Headlines

Behind the Headlines, a service provided by the NHS, offers an unbiased and evidence-based analysis of health stories that make the news. Click here to read more about Behind the Headlines.

Menstrual cups 'safe and effective' alternative to tampons and pads

17 July 2019

"Women can be assured that menstrual cups are as leakproof as tampons and pads," reports BBC News.

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High blood pressure and cholesterol in young adults linked to heart disease in later life

16 July 2019

'Doctors should prescribe statins to patients at a younger age to slash their odds of heart disease in later life, a study suggests' reports The Sun

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Healthy lifestyle reduces dementia risk even in those with genetic risk factors

15 July 2019

"Bad dementia genes can be overcome through healthy living, study finds," reports The Daily Telegraph.

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Sugary drinks linked to cancer

11 July 2019

"Drinking a third of a fizzy drink a day 'increases risk of breast cancer by 22% – and fruit juice is just as dangerous'," reports the Sun. The headline is based on a large ongoing study that assessed sugary and artificially sweetened drink intake in more than 100,000 adults in France. All drinks with high levels of sugar were considered, including 100% fruit juices and sugary fizzy drinks.

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Having fewer 'friendly vaginal bacteria' linked to ovarian cancer

10 July 2019

"Having too few 'friendly' vaginal bacteria may increase a woman's chance of ovarian cancer, and swabs can be used to spot this, say researcher," BBC News reports. The news is based on a study that compared the make-up of vaginal bacteria in women with and without ovarian cancer.

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No good evidence supplements protect against heart disease and early death

09 July 2019

"Multivitamins do not reduce risk of cardiovascular disease or prolong life, study finds," the Sun reports, while The Daily Telegraph warns that, "Some vitamin supplements can increase risk of a stroke". Both headlines were prompted by a major new review looking at evidence from 277 trials on the effect of 24 different nutritional or dietary supplements in nearly 1 million people.

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1 in 5 hospital patients have alcohol-related problems

04 July 2019

Various media sources report on the worrying extent of the alcohol problem in the UK, with the BBC and the Sun reporting that 1 in 5 people in hospital beds are heavy drinkers. This follows a review that pooled the results from 124 studies that looked at the rate of alcohol-related conditions among 1.7 million patients in UK hospitals.

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Asthma attacks triple when children return to school in September

03 July 2019

"Child asthma cases can triple at the start of the school year as returning to the classroom exposes pupils to coughs and colds," reports the Mail Online. Doctors have suspected for years that children are more likely to need medical help for asthma in the weeks after returning to school from the summer holidays.

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Does more leg fat protect women against heart attack and stroke?

02 July 2019

"Leg fat 'better than belly fat' for older women," reports BBC News. Researchers looked at the body composition of 2,683 women in the US who were a healthy weight and had been through the menopause.

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Success of HPV vaccine could lead to end of cervical cancer

27 June 2019

"HPV vaccine programme in schools 'could wipe out cervical cancer for good'," reports the Mail Online.

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Household antibacterial chemical linked to weakened bones

26 June 2019

"Chemical found in soap and toothpaste linked to osteoporosis in women," reports The Daily Telegraph. Chinese researchers used data from US surveys to look for a link between levels of the chemical triclosan in the body and bone strength (bone mass density). Triclosan is an antibacterial chemical used in some hand washes and gels, and also in some types of mouthwash and toothpaste.

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Widely used class of drugs linked to dementia

25 June 2019

"Common drugs taken by millions 'increase risk of dementia by 50%', experts warn," The Sun reports.

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'Brain changes' could provide early warning sign for Parkinson's disease

20 June 2019

"Scientists say they have identified the earliest signs of Parkinson's disease in the brain, 15 to 20 years before symptoms appear," BBC News reports.

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