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Archive: December 2011


Behind the Headlines quiz of the year 2011

30 December 2011

A just-for-fun quiz testing knowledge of health stories that made the news in 2011.

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2011's best health news

29 December 2011

Although Behind the Headlines often spends time explaining mistaken or misguided news reports, the joy of this service is when there are genuinely exciting medical advances to report.

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Strangest health news stories of 2011

28 December 2011

A round-up of the oddest health news stories of 2011, as analysed by NHS Choices Behind the Headlines.

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Study rates heart scan techniques

23 December 2011

“Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans should be used to assess patients with suspected heart disease, rather than standard checks,” reports BBC News today. This story is based on...

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Does brain size predict Alzheimer's?

23 December 2011

“Having a brain packed full of grey matter means you are less likely to get Alzheimer’s disease” the Daily Mirror has reported. The news was based on research which found that healthy elderly people...

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Heartburn reflux rise 'triggered by fatty diet'

22 December 2011

“Obesity could be driving a 50% rise in people suffering acid reflux over the last decade,” reported the Daily Mail. In acid reflux, stomach acid is regurgitated into the oesophagus, the tube that...

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Brain tumour risk linked to high blood pressure

22 December 2011

People with high blood pressure may be twice as likely to develop a brain tumour, according to the Daily Mail. The newspaper said a new study had found an association between the two factors...

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Breast implants scrutinised following cancer death

21 December 2011

Many newspapers today reported details of a possible link between breast implants and a rare form of cancer. It is thought that up to 50,000 British women have had the French brand of implants...

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Homeless die 30 years younger than average

21 December 2011

On a sobering note during the festive period, the BBC today reported that homeless people “die 30 years younger” than the national average. The Daily Telegraph said that “homeless women die ‘by age 43’”...

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Heart risk 'raised by blood pressure earlier in life'

21 December 2011

“Blood pressure control is key to a healthy heart,” the Daily Express has reported. The newspaper said that keeping your blood pressure levels low before you turn 55 dramatically...

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Swallowed pen found after 25 years

21 December 2011

There has been a flurry of internet news over the bizarre case of a woman who had a pen removed from her stomach, 25 years after she swallowed it. Amazingly, the plastic pen still worked after...

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Hormone may ease menopause symptoms

20 December 2011

A hormone pill “may help women through the menopause and give their sex lives a boost,” according to the Daily Mail. The newspaper reported that the hormone pill, called DHEA, could become an...

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Can the sun stop chickenpox?

20 December 2011

“Exposure to sunlight may help impede the spread of chickenpox,” BBC News has reported. The broadcaster reported that the UV rays in sunlight could in theory influence the patterns of chickenpox...

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Call to boost child penicillin doses

19 December 2011

Penicillin doses may need to be increased as youngsters are getting heavier, The Daily Telegraph has reported. The newspaper said that dosing guidelines for penicillin and related antibiotics have not...

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Do children’s Christmas toys pose a hearing risk?

19 December 2011

“Noisy Christmas toys risk damaging toddlers' hearing,” says The Daily Telegraph. The paper warned that certain popular Christmas toys “can be as loud as a chainsaw...

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Winter vomiting bug shuts hospital wards

19 December 2011

"Dozens of hospital wards closed over fears of norovirus outbreak," The Daily Telegraph has reported today. The paper said that health officials have issued...

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Dementia care 'lacking' report finds

16 December 2011

“Hospital staff 'lack skills to cope with dementia patients',” The Guardian has today reported. The newspaper says that the National Audit of Dementia has found that...

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Hairy limbs 'may curb bedbug bites'

16 December 2011

“Finding hairs in your food can be disgusting, and it seems that blood-sucking insects feel just the same”, the Daily Mail has claimed. The Mail has somewhat misrepresented research that offers clues to why humans have only fine hair...

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Loud music 'changes the way alcohol tastes'

15 December 2011

“Alcohol tastes sweeter when loud music is playing,” Metro reported today. The news is based on a study that found that people listening to loud club music rated alcohol as tasting sweeter than those who...

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New smear test improves cervical cancer screening

15 December 2011

Cervical cancer smear tests “could be improved by adding a further test looking for signs of a virus which causes it”, the BBC has reported. This story is based on a large Dutch trial that looked...

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Alarm over hospital medication errors

14 December 2011

The headline “Four in 10 drugs wrongly administered in hospitals” may have caused undue concern to readers of The Daily Telegraph today. Similar claims in The Independent gave a misleading...

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Claims of 24,000 'excess' deaths from diabetes

14 December 2011

As many as 24,000 people with diabetes are dying unnecessarily each year, many of the papers have reported today. This shock statistic was a conclusion from the National Diabetes Audit...

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Alcohol intake 'linked to risky sex'

13 December 2011

“Alcohol is to blame for unsafe sex,” the Daily Mirror has announced. The newspaper reported that “Sexual desire is boosted by booze and researchers believe thrill-seekers are naturally drawn to drink and unprotected sex...

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Chronic fatigue syndrome 'cause of school absence'

13 December 2011

Chronic fatigue syndrome could affect one in 100 pupils, BBC News has today reported. The estimate is based on research that followed nearly 3,000 children at three secondary schools in...

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Gene therapy used to treat haemophilia

12 December 2011

An experimental gene treatment means that people with haemophilia B may no longer need medication, BBC News has reported. The news is based on a study that looked at using gene therapy to treat haemophilia B, a genetic...

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