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Can a C-Section affect babies’ brain development?


A number of media outlets have been reporting evidence that  being born by C-Section can affect brain development. Many of the articles have specifically reported that this mode of delivery ‘slows a newborn’s ability to concentrate’ or even stronger can ‘impede a baby’s ability to concentrate’. But does the research study behind these stories provide concrete evidence for such claims? Read more…

Research the Fringe 2015

Research the Headlines

So it’s August and time for Edinburgh to host the World’s biggest festival of performance arts, otherwise known as the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. As usual this runs alongside the prestigious Edinburgh International Festival, the International Book Festival, and the Edinburgh International TV Festival. As we did last year we would like to provide suggestions for research-related shows and events for any Research the Headlines readers who may be visiting Edinburgh this month. Read more…

A breakthrough for treating Alzheimer’s?


At the end of July, a number of media headlines were hailing a potential breakthrough in the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease. The BBC led with a cautious but optimistic “Early signs that drug ‘may delay Alzheimer’s decline’”, through the Telegraph’s “First drug to slow Alzheimer’s Disease unveiled in landmark breakthrough”, to the more personal focus of the Mirror’s “‘Alzheimer’s miracle drug has saved my life’: Trial Brit’s joy as dementia slowed by new cure”. About one in six people over the age of 80 are diagnosed with dementia, with Alzheimer’s disease being the most common cause (accounting for about two thirds of dementia cases). Any new treatment is therefore potentially very important, and something which those with the disease and their families obviously attach a great deal of significance to. Read more…

Baby sloth being raised by soft toy


The media have been reporting widely on the case of a baby sloth in a London Zoo who is being raised with the help of a soft toy. Interestingly, the media coverage has focused on the use of the toy to aid physical development. What does psychological research suggest is happening here? Read more…

“Google is ‘ruining our memories’, study claims”


For many of us, accessing information on the web is not only a daily occurrence, but perhaps even an hourly one. The easy availability of information possibly means there’s less need to retain some of those things in our own memory. After all, if we forget, it’s a simple case of checking again. But recent media reports suggest the ubiquity of the internet might be causing us to develop ‘digital amnesia’. Read more…

Is there life on Comet 67P?

Comet 67P on 19 September 2014 NavCam mosaic.jpg

Ever since the European Space Agency’s Rosetta mission successfully deposited the Philae lander on Comet 67P on November 12th last year most of the stories in the press have concerned the fact that it had lost power a few days later and had gone into hibernation.  Now that Philae has woken up again as the comet approaches the sun, allowing more power to the lander’s solar panels, there are high hopes that it will be able to complete its mission. One part of this mission involves looking for complex organic molecules thought by some to have been involved in the evolution of life on Earth.  However, looking at some of the stories in the press this week, (Guardian, Mirror, Daily Mail, International Business Times) it may appear that this has been confirmed, and even more that life had been discovered on Comet 67P!

Read more…

Are your jeans too tight? The health risks of skinny jeans!

skinny jeans

According to recent headlines, wearing skinny jeans is the latest addition to the list of ‘things that are damaging our health’. Is it true that the current trend for very figure hugging legwear is causing us harm, and is that based on anecdotal evidence or does it have some credible research to support it? While you decide what pair of your favourite jeans to get into today, let’s explore the story. Read more…

Under the Radar: Is it the Weed or the Nicotine that’s Helping You Lose Weight?


It’s a touchy subject in most of the Western world – should marijuana be legal? Both sides marshal various arguments for and against legalisation. Read more…

Are teenage brains wired differently?


How patient is your teen? Well, a research study is being interpreted in the media as showing that teenager’s brains “are wired differently”  when it comes to the ability to be patient. The study, which looked at brain structure and function, while teens performed a decision making task, had the participants decide between an immediate small reward and a delayed larger reward. The teens had difficulties waiting for the larger payment, and the brain imaging findings suggested this was because structural connections between two key areas activated during decision making were not yet as strong in adolescents as they are in adults. So does this provide evidence that teenager’s brains are wired differently?

Read more…

The fertility merry-go-round: why obfuscating science and playing age-old gender stereotypes helps nobody


Once again there are a number of newspapers covering a story about women’s fertility, many of which have the message of falling fertility after age 35 years. ‘Fertility warning to women over 37’ ran a Daily Mail headline. The Mirror said ‘Fertility warning: Women leaving it too late to have children because of ‘miracle’ celebrity babies’. What many of the stories fail to mention or convey adequately to the public is that the underpinning research focused on women over the age of 37 years, who were undergoing fertility treatment. Read more…


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