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Oxford Journals research in the news

Oxford Journals publishes cutting-edge research across a range of subject areas. Below is a selection of the hot research that has been making the headlines.

13 April 2011

Study reveals increased inequality in stroke deaths across Europe and central Asia

There is growing inequality between different countries in Europe and central Asia in the proportion of people who die from stroke, according to a study published online today in the European Heart Journal.




7 April 2011

Some diabetes drugs are better than others according to new study

New research published online today in the European Heart Journal suggests that several commonly prescribed drugs for type 2 diabetes may not be as effective at preventing death and cardiovascular diseases, such as heart attacks and stroke, as the oral anti-diabetic drug, metformin.




6 April 2011

Mothers’ obesity increases the risk of foetal and infant death

Women who are obese during early pregnancy have a significantly increased risk of their baby dying before, during or up to one year after birth, according to research published in Europe’s leading reproductive medicine journal Human Reproduction today.




30 March 2011

Major report shows obese patients have double the risk of airway problems during an anaesthetic

A major UK study, published in BJA today, on complications of anaesthesia has shown that obese patients are twice as likely to develop serious airway problems during a general anaesthetic than non-obese patients.




22 March 2011

Study Finds Reports of Domestic Violence Rise 10% After NFL Upsets

Calls to the police reporting men’s assaults on their wives or intimate partners rose 10 percent in areas where the local National Football League team lost a game they were favored to win, according to an analysis of 900 regular-season NFL games reports researchers in a paper in The Quarterly Journal of Economics.




18 March 2011

Life expectancy rising in UK & Europe despite obesity epidemic

Life expectancy in Europe keeps increasing despite the obesity epidemic, with people in Britain reaching an older age than those living in the US, according to an editorial published in the International Journal of Epidemiology.




9 March 2011

Researchers find Americans have higher rates of most chronic diseases than their same-age counterparts in England

Researchers announced today in the American Journal of Epidemiology that despite the high level of spending on healthcare in the United States compared to England, Americans experience higher rates of chronic disease and markers of disease than their English counterparts at all ages.. Why health status differs so dramatically in these two countries, which share much in terms of history and culture, is a mystery.




2 March 2011

Research suggests alcohol consumption helps stave off dementia

Experts agree that long-term alcohol abuse is detrimental to memory function and can cause neuro-degenerative disease. However, according to a study published in Age and Ageing by Oxford University Press today, there is evidence that light-to-moderate alcohol consumption may decrease the risk of cognitive decline or dementia.




23 February 2011

Cannabis ingredient can help cancer patients regain their appetites and sense of taste

The active ingredient in cannabis can improve the appetites and sense of taste in cancer patients, according to a new study published online in the cancer journal, Annals of Oncology today.




16 February 2011

Losing hair at 20 is linked to increased risk of prostate cancer in later life

Men who start to lose hair at the age of 20 are more likely to develop prostate cancer in later life and might benefit from screening for the disease, according to a new study published online in the cancer journal, Annals of Oncology today.




9 February 2011

Researchers predict nearly 1.3 million cancer deaths in Europe in 2011

There will be nearly 1.3 million deaths from cancer in Europe in 2011 according to predictions from a study published in the cancer journal, Annals of Oncology today (Wednesday 9 February).




26 January 2011

Traffic noise increases the risk of having a stroke

Exposure to noise from road traffic can increase the risk of stroke, particularly in those aged 65 years and over, according to a study published online today (Wednesday 26 January) in the European Heart Journal.




19 January 2011

Eating more fruit and vegetables linked to a lower risk of dying from ischaemic heart disease

A European study investigating the links between diet and disease has found that people who consume more fruit and vegetables have a lower risk of dying from ischaemic heart disease – the most common form of heart disease and one of the leading causes of death in Europe. The study is published online today (Wednesday 19 January) in the European Heart Journal [1].




12 January 2011

Stand up, move more, more often: study finds more breaks from sitting are good for waistlines and hearts

It is becoming well accepted that, as well as too little exercise, too much sitting is bad for people’s health. Now a new study, which is published online today (Wednesday 12 January) in the European Heart Journal, has found that it is not just the length of time people spend sitting down that can make a difference, but also the number of breaks that they take while sitting at their desk or on their sofa.




9 December 2010

Influenza virus strains show increasing drug resistance and ability to spread

Two new studies raise public health concerns about increasing antiviral resistance among certain influenza viruses, their ability to spread, and a lack of alternative antiviral treatment options. The findings are published in the January 1 issue of The Journal of Infectious Diseases.




9 December 2010

Lower levels of education are associated with increased risks of heart failure

Results from a large European study suggest that poorly educated people are more likely to be admitted to hospital with chronic heart failure than the better educated, even after differences in lifestyle have been taken into account. The study is published online today (Thursday 9 December) in the European Heart Journal.




1 December 2010

Tricyclic anti-depressants linked to increased risk of heart disease

Research that followed nearly 15,000 people in Scotland has shown that a class of older generation anti-depressant is linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). The study showed that tricyclic anti-depressants were associated with a 35% increased risk of CVD, but that there was no increased risk with the newer anti-depressants such as the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). The study is published online today (Wednesday 1 December) in the European Heart Journal and was led by researchers from University College London (UCL).




8 November 2010

Use of mild painkillers in pregnancy is associated with an increased risk of male reproductive problems

New evidence, published in Europe’s leading reproductive medicine journal Human Reproduction today, has emerged that the use of mild painkillers such as paracetamol, aspirin and ibuprofen, may be part of the reason for the increase in male reproductive disorders in recent decades.




3 November 2010

Parental infertility and cerebral palsy in children born spontaneously or after IVF/ICSI

Doctors have known for some time that children born after fertility treatments such as in vitro fertilisation (IVF) or intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) are at increased risk of cerebral palsy. However, it was not known whether this risk was due to the treatment itself, the higher frequency of preterm or multiple births, or a mechanism associated with couples’ underlying infertility.




19 October 2010

Watching violent TV or video games desensitises teenagers and may promote more aggressive behaviour

Watching violent films, TV programmes or video games desensitises teenagers, blunts their emotional responses to aggression and potentially promotes aggressive attitudes and behaviour, according to new research published online today in the Oxford Journal Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience (Tuesday 19 October).




18 October 2010

First step towards a genetic test to predict early menopause

Research published in Human Molecular Genetics could lead to a test to predict a woman’s reproductive lifespan. The findings would have considerable impact on women in the UK and other western countries, where many start having children at a later age. Early menopause affects one in 20 UK women.




29 September 2010

Intrauterine devices (IUDs) can be used to treat endometrial cancer

Intrauterine devices, originally developed as contraceptives, can also be used to treat and cure cancer of the endometrium according to new research published online in the cancer journal, Annals of Oncology today (Wednesday 29 September). The finding opens the way for young women with the disease, which affects the lining of the womb, to be treated without the need for a hysterectomy, thus preserving their fertility until they have had all the children they want.




8 September 2010

Smoking damages men’s sperm and numbers of germ and somatic cells in developing embryos

Two new studies have shed more light on how smoking may damage fertility, and give further weight to advice that mothers and fathers-to-be should stop smoking before attempting to conceive. The research is published online in Europe’s leading reproductive medicine journal Human Reproduction today (Wednesday 8 September).




24 August 2010

Nicotine binding to receptor linked to breast cancer cell growth

When nicotine binds to the nicotinic acetylcholine receptor (nAchR), it is known to promote smoking addiction and may also directly promote the development of breast cancer, according to a study published online 23 August in The Journal of the National Cancer Institute.




24 August 2010

Alcohol intake increases risk of certain types of breast cancer

Alcohol increases the risk of lobular and hormone receptor-positive breast cancer, but not necessarily invasive ductal carcinomas, according to a study published 23 August online in The Journal of the National Cancer Institute.




16 August 2010

Estrogen not associated with lung cancer incidence and mortality among postmenopausal women

Use of estrogen alone did not increase lung cancer mortality in postmenopausal women, according to a study published online 13 August in The Journal of the National Cancer Institute.




4 August 2010

Scientists develop the first model for investigating the origins of testicular cancer in humans

Scientists have developed a model that will enable them to investigate, for the first time, how human testes develop in baby boys while they are in the womb, says a study published in Human Reproduction.




3 August 2010

Alcohol reduces the severity of rheumatoid arthritis

Drinking alcohol may reduce the severity of rheumatoid arthritis according to new research published in Rheumatology today. It is the first time that this effect has been shown in humans. The study also finds that alcohol consumption reduces the risk of developing the disease, confirming the results of previous studies.




2 August 2010

Numbers who die from alcohol, sexual habits and drugs related to occupation

Research published in Occupational Medicine shows that the risk of death from diseases and injuries caused by alcohol, drugs and sexual habits varies significantly between different jobs and professions.




2 August 2010

Two studies show the importance of education in brain development

Two papers published in Brain on Monday 26 July, show the importance of education in the development of the brain, both in childhood and in old age.




2 August 2010

Revealed: the reasons why the MRC did not fund research that led to the birth of the world’s first test tube baby

Thirty-two years ago today (25 July), the world’s first baby was born after in vitro fertilisation. However, the work that led to the birth of Louise Brown on 25 July 1978 had to be privately funded after the UK’s Medical Research Council decided in 1971 against providing the Cambridge physiologist Robert Edwards and the Oldham gynaecologist Patrick Steptoe with long-term financial support. Today, an intriguing paper published in Europe’s leading reproductive medicine journal Human Reproduction reveals for the first time the reasoning behind the MRC’s much-criticised decision.




5 July 2010

Study raises concerns over the safety of rugby union in schools

A study, published in the Journal of Public Health on 25 June 2010, has raised concerns regarding the safety of the rugby union in schools due to the physical, high impact nature.




5 July 2010

Overweight girls 'may have lower breast cancer risk'

Women who recall carrying excess body fat during childhood and adolescence appear to be less likely to develop breast cancer in later life, a study published in American Journal of Epidemiology reports.




5 July 2010

Men judge women on looks within milliseconds, study suggests

A study, published in Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience on 2 July 2001, suggests that men and women have evolved to pursue different mating strategies with men being more attentive to cues such as facial beauty.




30 June 2010

Smoking-related cancer in older women associated with molecularly defined changes in DNA

Smoking, an established risk factor for colon cancer, may induce specific epigenetic changes and gene mutations that may be involved in the development of colon cancer, according to an online study published 29 June in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.




29 June 2010

Drinking alcohol during pregnancy may damage semen quality in sons

Mothers who drink alcohol while they are pregnant may be damaging the fertility of their future sons, according to new research published in Human Reproduction today, Tuesday 29 June.




29 June 2010

Baby food is too sweet, study finds

Over half the foods targeted at babies and toddlers have too high levels of sugar in them, according a study published in Journal of Public Health.




24 June 2010

Underinsured African-American women have worse breast cancer outcomes than underinsured white women

Underinsured African-Americans had worse breast cancer survival outcomes than underinsured non-Hispanic whites, according to a study published online on 23 June in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.




24 June 2010

Watching television can increase risk of heart disease

Television viewing is associated with higher cardiovascular risk independently of physical activity, according to a study published on 23 June in the International Journal of Epidemiology. Every hour a day spent sitting in front of a television increases the risk of death from heart disease by seven percent. The study found one in 35 died from heart disease over a 10-year period. The calculation took into account other risk factors such as smoking, obesity, lack of exercise, and poor diet.




18 June 2010

Surveillance may be suitable treatment option for patients with low-risk prostate cancer

Active surveillance or watchful waiting might be sufficient treatment for patients with prostate cancer that has a low risk of progression, according to a new study published online on 18 June in The Journal of the National Cancer Institute.




16 June 2010

Gene mutation increases thromboembolism risk in women taking tamoxifen

Women taking tamoxifen for early-stage breast cancer who developed blood clots were more likely to carry a gene mutation for clotting than women taking tamoxifen who did not develop a clot, according to an online study published on 16 June in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.




9 June 2010

Short people are more likely to develop heart disease than tall people

Short people are at greater risk of developing heart disease than tall people, according to the first systematic review and meta-analysis of all the available evidence, which is published online today (Wednesday 9 June) in the European Heart Journal.




8 June 2010

Study finds menthol cigarettes are more addictive than others

Menthol cigarettes are more addictive than others, a study in Nicotine and Tobacco Research has found. This is because menthol enables nicotine to permeate more quickly into the mouth speeding up the addictive effect of smoking, said the Dows Institute of Dental Research, in Iowa City, United States.




18 May 2010

Brain tumour risk in relation to mobile telephone use: Results of the INTERPHONE international case–control study

The Interphone Study Group today (Monday 17 May) published their results in the International Journal of Epidemiology. The paper presents the results of analyses of brain tumour (glioma and meningioma) risk in relation to mobile phone use in all Interphone study centres combined.




12 May 2010

Effect of air quality on assisted human reproduction

Research published in Human Reproduction suggests that air pollution has been associated with reproductive complications.




11 May 2010

Overtime is bad for the heart

Working overtime is bad for the heart according to results from a long-running study following more than 10,000 civil servants in London (UK): the Whitehall II study. The research, which is published online today (Tuesday 11 May) in the European Heart Journal, found that, compared with people who did not work overtime, people who worked three or more hours longer than a normal, seven-hour day had a 60% higher risk of heart-related problems such as death due to heart disease, non-fatal heart attacks and angina.




11 May 2010

Coffee and soft drinks have little or no association with colon cancer risk

Drinking even large amounts of coffee and sugar-sweetened, carbonated soft drinks is not associated with the risk of colon cancer according to a large study published online May 7 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.




10 May 2010

Screening mammograms in younger women have low accuracy and detect few cancers

Screening mammograms in women under age 40 result in high rates of callbacks and additional imaging tests but low rates of cancer detection, according to a study published online May 3 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.




7 May 2010

Magnitude of Overdiagnosis in Cancer Indicates Need for Strategies to Address Problem

Many cancers detected by screening tests are not destined to cause symptoms or death and therefore represent a phenomenon known as overdiagnosis. And because overdiagnosis leads to unnecessary treatment and other harms, it is important to develop clinical and research strategies to quantify, recognize, and manage it, according to a review published online April 22 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.




8 April 2010

Cancer protective effect of fruits and vegetables may be modest at best

An analysis of dietary data from more than 400,000 men and women found only a weak association between high fruit and vegetable intake and reduced overall cancer risk, according to a study published online April 1, 2010 in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute.




30 March 2010

Those Easter eggs may be good for you! Study shows chocolate reduces blood pressure and risk of heart disease

Easter eggs and other chocolate may be good for you – at least in small quantities and preferably if it’s dark chocolate – according to research that shows just one small square of chocolate a day can lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of heart disease. The study is published online today (Tuesday 30 March) in the European Heart Journal.




24 March 2010

Large study finds trans fats linked to increased endometriosis risk

Women whose diets are rich in foods containing Omega-3 oils might be less likely to develop endometriosis, while those whose diets are heavily laden with trans fats might be more likely to develop the debilitating condition, new research published in Human Reproduction today (Wednesday 24 March) suggests.




11 March 2010

Study finds doctors are failing to lower heart patients’ cholesterol adequately

Only half of all patients at high risk of heart disease are given correct targets for lowering their cholesterol levels according to a study of 25,250 patients in Germany published online today (Thursday 11 March) in the European Heart Journal.




10 March 2010

Behavioural problems in childhood double the risk of chronic widespread pain in adult life

Bad behaviour in childhood is associated with long-term, chronic widespread pain in adult life, according to the findings of a study following nearly 20,000 people from birth in 1958 to the present day.




3 March 2010

Many top football venues are not prepared for treating spectators suffering heart attacks

Too many major sports arenas in Europe do not have adequate equipment and procedures in place to save the lives of spectators who suffer heart attacks while watching a sporting event, according to new research published online today (Wednesday 3 March) in the European Heart Journal.




2 March 2010

Ethnic minorities are better educated but have less job prospects

Britain’s ethnic minorities (both those born abroad and those born in the UK) are, on average, better educated than their white peers but have lower probabilities of being in employment according to a new study published in the journal Oxford Economic Papers.




24 February 2010

World first: Woman gives birth to two healthy babies in separate pregnancies after ovarian transplant

For the first time, a woman has given birth to two children after her fertility was restored using transplants of ovarian tissue that had been removed and frozen during her cancer treatment and then restored once she was cured. Following her ovarian transplant, Mrs Stinne Holm Bergholdt gave birth to a girl in February 2007 after receiving fertility treatment to help her become pregnant. But then, in 2008, she discovered she had conceived a second child naturally and gave birth to another girl in September 2008.




22 February 2010

Inadequate access to opioid-based pain relief a human rights issue for cancer patients

Many cancer patients in Europe are being denied access to adequate pain relief because of over-zealous regulations restricting the availability and accessibility of opioid-based drugs such as morphine. Authors of the Europe-wide study say that restricting access to pain-killing drugs in this way is a breach of patients’ human rights, and they conclude that “there is an ethical and public health imperative to address these issues vigorously and urgently”.




22 February 2010

Risk of stillbirth four times higher after IVF/ICSI compared to spontaneous or non-IVF fertility treatment pregnancies

Women who become pregnant with a single foetus after in vitro fertilisation (IVF) or intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) have an increased risk of a stillbirth, according to new research out on Wednesday 24th February. The study of over 20,000 singleton pregnancies, published in Europe’s leading reproductive medicine journal Human Reproduction, found a four-fold increased risk of stillbirths for women who had IVF/ICSI compared with women who conceived spontaneously or after fertility treatment that did not involve IVF or ICSI.




17 February 2010

Don’t worry, be happy! Positive emotions protect against heart disease

People who are usually happy, enthusiastic and content are less likely to develop heart disease than those who tend not to be happy, according to a major new study published today. The authors believe that the study, published in the Europe’s leading cardiology journal, the European Heart Journal, is the first to show such an independent relationship between positive emotions and coronary heart disease.




13 January 2010

Sudden death in cocaine abusers

Forensic pathologists have shown that over three per cent of all sudden deaths in south-west Spain are related to the use of cocaine. They believe their findings can be extrapolated to much of the rest of Europe, indicating that cocaine use is a growing public health problem in Europe and that there is no such thing as “safe” recreational use of small amounts of the drug.




21 December 2009

Study shows embryo biopsy is safe for children of singleton pregnancies

The largest and longest running study of children born after preimplantation genetic diagnosis and screening has shown that embryo biopsy does not adversely affect the health of babies born as the result of a subsequent singleton pregnancy. The Belgian research, which is published online in the January issue of Europe’s leading reproductive medicine journal Human Reproduction, is the best answer to date to the question of whether removing a cell or two from an embryo to screen it for inherited conditions or genetic abnormalities can, in itself, put the subsequent foetus and baby at greater risk of other health problems.




1 December 2009

New figures on cancer mortality in Europe

New figures on deaths from cancer in Europe show a steady decline in mortality between the periods 1990-1994 and 2000-2004. Deaths from all cancers in the European Union (EU) between these two periods fell by nine percent in men and eight percent in women, with a large drop among the middle-aged population. In a study published online in the cancer journal, Annals of Oncology on Monday 30 November, researchers found that there was an average 185.2 deaths per 100,000 of the population per year in men between 1990-1994 in 27 member states of the EU, but this fell to 168 deaths per 100,000 between 2000-2004. For women, the number of deaths fell from 104.8 to 96.9 per 100,000.




1 December 2009

Why females live longer than males

Researchers in Japan have found that female mice produced by using genetic material from two mothers but no father live significantly longer than mice with the normal mix of maternal and paternal genes. Their findings provide the first evidence that sperm genes may have a detrimental effect on lifespan in mammals. The research, which is published in Europe’s leading reproductive medicine journal Human Reproduction, found that mice created from two female genomes (bi-maternal (BM) mice) lived an average of 186 days longer than control mice created from the normal combination of a male and female genome. The average lifespan for the type of mice used in the study is between about 600-700 days, meaning that the BM mice lived approximately a third longer than normal.




6 November 2009

“Genome 10K” proposal aims to sequence 10,000 vertebrates

An international group of scientists is proposing to generate whole genome sequences for 10,000 vertebrate species using technology so new it hasn’t yet been invented. But the scientists say new genome sequencing instruments that will allow them to embark on the project may be available within a year or two. Their proposal, called “Genome 10K,” was published this week in the Journal of Heredity.




4 November 2009

Over a third of breast cancer tumours change form when they spread

Research published this week in Annals of Oncology found that over a third of breast cancer tumours change form when they spread. Scientists from the Breakthrough Breast Cancer Research Unit at the University of Edinburgh analysed 211 tumours which had spread from the breast to the lymph nodes, in the armpit. This is where breast cancer cells usually spread to first. In the largest study of its kind they found that in 82 (39%) cases the disease in the lymph nodes had changed type.




19 August 2009

At last! A quick and accurate way of diagnosing endometriosis

A quick and accurate test for endometriosis that does not require surgery has been developed by researchers from Australia, Jordan and Belgium, according to new research published on Wednesday 19 August in Europe’s leading reproductive medicine journal Human Reproduction. Until now there has been no way of accurately diagnosing endometriosis apart from laparoscopy – an invasive surgical procedure – and this often leads to women waiting for years in pain and discomfort before their condition is identified correctly and treated.




15 July 2009

IQ explains some of the difference in heart disease between people of high and low socio-economic status

A unique study looking at the difference in cardiovascular disease and life expectancy between people of high and low socio-economic status has found that a person’s IQ may have a role to play. Authors of the study published in Europe’s leading cardiology journal, the European Heart Journal, analysed data from a group of 4,289 former soldiers in the USA. They found that IQ explained more than 20% of the difference in mortality between people from socio-economically disadvantaged backgrounds compared to those from more advantaged backgrounds.




18 June 2009

St Gallen consensus 2009: a radically different approach to treating early breast cancer

A radically different approach to choosing the best treatment options for early breast cancer has been proposed by an international panel of experts in a report from the 11th St Gallen conference. The report is published online in the cancer journal, Annals of Oncology and represents the consensus on early breast cancer treatment that emerged from the conference of more than 4,800 participants from 101 countries, which took place in March 2009.




3 June 2009

World first: Chinese scientists create pig stem cells. Discovery has far-reaching implications for animal and human health

Scientists have managed to induce cells from pigs to transform into pluripotent stem cells – cells that, like embryonic stem cells, are capable of developing into any type of cell in the body. It is the first time in the world that this has been achieved using somatic cells (cells that are not sperm or egg cells) from any animal with hooves (known as ungulates). The implications of this achievement are far-reaching; the research could open the way to creating models for human genetic diseases, genetically engineering animals for organ transplants for humans, and for developing pigs that are resistant to diseases such as swine flu. The work is the first research paper to be published online today in the newly launched Journal of Molecular Cell Biology.




29 May 2009

Worldwide report shows an increase in assisted reproduction: an estimated 250,000 babies are born in one year

Assisted reproductive technology (ART) is responsible for an estimated 219,000 to 246,000 babies born each year worldwide according to an international study. The study also finds that the number of ART procedures is growing steadily: in just two years (from 2000 to 2002) ART activity increased by more than 25%. The study, which is published in Europe’s leading reproductive medicine journal Human Reproduction, gives figures and estimates for the year 2002, the most recent year for which world figures are available.




27 May 2009

Cancer drug causes patient to lose fingerprints and be detained by USA immigration

Immigration officials held a cancer patient for four hours before they allowed him to enter the USA because one of his cancer drugs caused his fingerprints to disappear. His oncologist is now advising all cancer patients who are being treated with the commonly used drug, capecitabine, to carry a doctor’s letter with them if they want to travel to the USA. The incident is highlighted in a letter to the cancer journal, Annals of Oncology.




20 May 2009

Protein powers spider monkeys and humans

Behavioural ecologists working in Bolivia have found that wild spider monkeys control their diets in a similar way to humans, contrary to what has been thought up to now. Rather than trying to maximize their daily energy intake, the monkeys tightly regulate their daily protein intake, so that it stays at the same level regardless of seasonal variation in the availability of different foods. The research is published in the journal Behavioral Ecology.




20 May 2009

Study finds higher risk of problems for twins born after assisted reproduction

Twins born as a result of assisted reproductive technology (ART) are more likely to be admitted to neonatal intensive care and to be hospitalised in their first three years of life than spontaneously conceived twins, according to new research published in Europe’s leading reproductive medicine journal Human Reproduction.




29 April 2009

Excessive increase in heart rate during mental stress before exercise doubles the risk of dying suddenly from a heart attack in later life

French researchers have discovered a simple and cheap method of predicting who is at greater risk of dying suddenly and unexpectedly from a heart attack. In a study of 7746 French male civil servants, published in Europe’s leading cardiology journal, the European Heart Journal, the researchers found that men whose heart rate increased the most during mild mental stress just before an exercise test had twice the risk of dying of a sudden heart attack in later life than men whose heart rate did not increase as much. The study is the first to discover this association and since taking a patient’s pulse is an easy and inexpensive procedure, it suggests a way of identifying people who may be at increased risk.




22 April 2009

Eating fatty fish and marine omega-3 fatty acids may reduce risk of heart failure

Eating fatty fish and marine omega-3 fatty acids, which are found in fish oil, seems to protect men from heart failure according to one of the largest studies to investigate the association published in the European Heart Journal. However, the effect was seen only in men who eat approximately one serving of fatty fish a week and who had a moderate intake of marine omega-3 fatty acids (approximately 0.3 grams a day). Eating more did not give a greater benefit and, in fact, returned the chances of heart failure to the same level as that seen in men who never consume fatty fish or fish oils.




25 March 2009

Single embryo transfer is the cheapest and most effective strategy for assisted reproduction

Transferring single embryos to women’s wombs over several assisted reproduction cycles that use both fresh and frozen embryos is more effective and cheaper than transferring two or more embryos at one time, according to data from the world’s longest running series of patients who choose to have only one embryo implanted per cycle – elective single embryo transfer (eSET) published in Europe’s leading reproductive medicine journal Human Reproduction.




18 March 2009

Early detection of second breast cancers halves women’s risk of death

A group of international researchers has found the first reliable evidence that early detection of subsequent breast tumours in women who have already had the disease can halve the women’s chances of death from breast cancer. According to the research published in the cancer journal, Annals of Oncology, if the second breast cancer was picked up at its early, asymptomatic stage, then the women’s chances of survival were improved by between 27-47% compared to women whose second breast cancer was detected at a later stage when symptoms had started to appear.




12 March 2009

Study finds link between atrial fibrillation and an increased risk of death in diabetic patients

Results from a large, international, randomised, controlled trial have shown that there is a strong link between diabetics who have an abnormal heart rhythm (atrial fibrillation) and an increased risk of other heart-related problems and death. The findings are published in Europe’s leading cardiology journal, the European Heart Journal .




11 March 2009

Now researchers can identify sections of DNA that predispose an embryo to develop cancer syndromes in later life

Researchers have used a common laboratory technique for the first time to detect genetic changes in embryos that could predispose the resulting children to develop certain cancer syndromes. Current preimplantation genetic diagnosis techniques can detect mutations in very small bits of genes or DNA, but, until now, it wasn’t easy to detect deletions involving whole genes or long sections of DNA in embryos. The study, published o in Europe’s leading reproductive medicine journal Human Reproduction, uses a technique called fluorescent in situ hybridization (FISH) to detect losses of small parts of whole chromosomes (microdeletions) in a single cell from an embryo.




4 March 2009

Alcohol on TV makes people drink more

New research has shown for the first time that portrayals of alcohol in films and TV advertisements have an immediate effect on the amount of alcohol that people drink. The research, published in the journal Alcohol and Alcoholism, found that people who watched films and commercials in which alcohol drinking featured prominently immediately reached for a bottle of beer or wine and drank an average of 1.5 bottles more than people who watched films and commercials in which alcohol played a less prominent role.




29 January 2009

Exposure to perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) may reduce women’s fertility

Researchers have found the first evidence that perfluorinated chemicals (PFCs) – chemicals that are widely used in everyday items such as food packaging, pesticides, clothing, upholstery, carpets and personal care products – may be associated with infertility in women. The study published online in Europe’s leading reproductive medicine journal Human Reproduction found that women who had higher levels of perfluorooctanoate (PFOA) and perfluorooctane sulfonate (PFOS) in their blood took longer to become pregnant than women with lower levels.




28 January 2009

Concussion in former athletes can affect mental and physical processes later in life

Researchers have found the first evidence that athletes who were concussed during their earlier sporting life show a decline in their mental and physical processes more than 30 years later. The research, published online today in one of the world’s leading neurology journals, Brain, compared 19 healthy, former athletes who had sustained concussion more than 30 years ago with 21 healthy, former athletes with no history of concussion.




12 January 2009

Largest ever prospective medical study shows epidurals and spinal anaesthetics are safer than previously reported

The largest ever prospective study into the major complications of epidurals and spinal anaesthetics published in the British Journal of Anaesthesia concludes that previous studies have over-estimated the risks of severe complications of these procedures. The study concludes that the estimated risk of permanent harm following a spinal anaesthetic or epidural is lower than 1 in 20,000 and in many circumstances the estimated risk is considerably lower.




6 January 2009

Tackling climate change with new permits to pollute

A new way to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and tackle climate change had been unveiled by leading economists. The economists, whose work is published in Review of Environmental Economics and Policy along with two other research papers, say it could appeal to supporters of a carbon tax and also to those who favour the alternative, so-called cap-and-trade.




11 December 2008

Panic attacks linked to higher risk of heart attacks and heart disease, especially in younger people

People who have been diagnosed with panic attacks or panic disorder have a greater risk of subsequently developing heart disease or suffering a heart attack than the normal population, with higher rates occurring in younger people, according to research published in Europe’s leading cardiology journal, the European Heart Journal.




13 November 2008

Placebo acupuncture is associated with a higher pregnancy rate after IVF than real acupuncture

A study comparing the effects of real and placebo acupuncture on pregnancy rates during assisted reproduction has found that, surprisingly, placebo acupuncture was associated with a significantly higher overall pregnancy rate than real acupuncture. The study, published online in Europe’s leading reproductive medicine journal Human Reproduction, looked at real and placebo acupuncture given on the day of embryo transfer in 370 patients in a randomised, double blind trial (where neither the patients nor the doctors knew which treatment was being given).




1 November 2008

Link Possible Between Pet Food Contamination and Baby Formula Contamination

A study published in the November issue of a scientific journal, Toxicological Sciences describes the kidney toxicity of melamine and cyanuric acid based on research that was done to characterize the toxicity of the compounds that contaminated pet food in North America in 2007. This research points to a possible link between the pet food contamination that occurred in North America in 2007 and the recent adulteration of milk protein and resultant intoxication of thousands of babies from Asia.




30 October 2008

Light drinking in pregnancy not bad for children

Children born to mothers who drink lightly during pregnancy - as defined as 1-2 units per week or per occasion - are not at increased risk of behavioural difficulties or cognitive deficits compared with children of abstinent mothers, according to a new study led by researchers at UCL. The research, based on data from the UK Millennium Cohort Study (MCS), is published in the International Journal of Epidemiology.




1 October 2008

Danish study provides new information on hormone replacement therapy and the risk of heart attacks

It’s not what you take but the way that you take it that can produce different results in women who take hormone replacement therapy (HRT), according to new research on the association between HRT and heart attacks, published online in Europe’s leading cardiology journal, the European Heart Journal.




24 September 2008

Isoflavone dietary supplement improves the functioning of the arteries in stroke patients

A dietary supplement containing isoflavone – a chemical found in soybeans, chickpeas, legumes and clovers – can improve artery function in stroke patients according to new research published online in Europe’s leading cardiology journal, the European Heart Journal.




24 July 2008

Soy foods are associated with lower sperm concentrations

Men who eat an average of half a serving of soy food a day have lower concentrations of sperm than men who do not eat soy foods, according to research published online in Europe’s leading reproductive medicine journal, Human Reproduction. The association was particularly marked in men who were overweight or obese, the study found.




23 July 2008

Heart disease is linked to worse mental processes

Coronary heart disease is associated with a worse performance in mental processes such as reasoning, vocabulary and verbal fluency, according to a study of 5837 middle-aged Whitehall civil servants. The study also found that the longer ago the heart disease had been diagnosed, the worse was the person’s cognitive performance and this effect was particularly marked in men. The study is published online in Europe’s leading cardiology journal, the European Heart Journal; the authors say it is important because impaired cognition predicts the onset of dementia and death, while coronary heart disease (CHD) remains the leading cause of death in many western countries such as the UK. “It is important to elucidate the link between these two diseases,” said Dr Archana Singh-Manoux, who led the research. “The prevalence of dementia rises with age, doubling every four to five years after the age of 60, so that over a third of people older than 80 are likely to have dementia.”




23 July 2008

Study finds link between small birth size and changes to the cardiovascular system

Researchers have found the first evidence that smaller size at birth is associated with specific alterations in the functioning of the heart and circulation in children and that these changes differ between boys and girls. The research by Dr Alexander Jones and colleagues, published online in Europe’s leading cardiology journal, the European Heart Journal, adds to the evidence that adverse environments experienced by the baby before birth and indicated by low birth weight, can cause long-term changes in the heart and blood vessels, leading to heart and blood vessel disease in later life. So far, the mechanisms involved have been poorly understood, and there has been little research into the alterations that might occur during childhood.




28 May 2008

Meta-analysis shows statins significantly reduce the risk of death and other complications if given before surgery

A study, published online in the European Heart Journal, has found that if doctors gave the cholesterol-lowering drugs, statins, to patients before surgery for heart disease, the patients were significantly less likely to die or suffer other serious complications post-surgery. The first author of this study, Dr Oliver Liakopoulos, said that the meta-analysis of over 30,000 patients provided the best evidence so far of the need for intensive statin therapy before cardiac surgery, but, as less than half of cardiac surgery patients currently received the optimum pre-surgery treatment even under existing guidelines, there was an urgent need to change clinical practice.




28 May 2008

Study reveals “worrying” variations in the treatment of heart failure patients

A Europe-wide survey has revealed significant differences between doctors in the way they treat patients with heart failure, with many physicians failing to give the best care to their patients despite the existence of recommended guidelines. The elderly are particularly at risk, with only about half of primary care physicians correctly referring those aged 65-80 with suspected heart failure to a specialist for diagnosis. Professor Willem Remme, the first author of the study, which is published online in Europe’s leading cardiology journal, the European Heart Journal, said the findings were “very worrying”.




14 May 2008

First use of DNA fingerprinting to identify viable embryos: research could lead to improved pregnancy rates and fewer multiple pregnancies

Researchers writing in the journal Human Reproduction have used DNA fingerprinting for the first time to identify which embryos have implanted after in vitro fertilisation (IVF) and developed successfully to result in the births of healthy babies. The technique, combined with sampling cells from blastocysts (the very early embryo) before implantation in the womb, opens the way to pin-pointing a handful of genes that could be used to identify those blastocysts most likely to result in a successful pregnancy.




10 April 2008

Association between low birth weight, excessive weight gain and heart problems in later life: study suggests inflammation may be the cause

Researchers who have followed 5,840 people from before birth to the age of 31 have found evidence suggesting that small size at birth and excessive weight gain during adolescence and young adulthood may lead to low grade inflammation, which, in turn, is associated with an increased risk of developing heart disease. Previous epidemiological studies have linked environmental factors in early life with the risk of disease in adulthood, and this study identifies a possible causal mechanism. The study, which is published in Europe’s leading cardiology journal, the European Heart Journal, underlines the important role of healthy lifestyles, from the foetal period, through childhood, adolescence and young adulthood, in preventing heart problems.




9 April 2008

Stopping a cancer trial early: is it for the benefit of patients or industry?

New research has identified a growing trend for trials of new cancer treatments to be stopped prematurely before the therapies’ risks and benefits have been properly evaluated. In a study, published in the cancer journal, Annals of Oncology, Italian researchers analysed 25 randomised controlled clinical trials that had been stopped early because they had started to show a benefit to patients and found that the numbers had increased dramatically in recent years. They warn that this could lead to a systematic over-statement of the effects of treatment, and that patients could be harmed by new therapies being rushed prematurely into the clinic.




20 March 2008

First study to investigate the effect of father’s diet on chromosomal abnormalities in sperm reveals link with folate – a vitamin B

Researchers writing in Human Reproductionhave found an association between a vitamin found in leafy green vegetables, fruit and pulses and levels of chromosomal abnormalities in men’s sperm. Men who consumed high levels of folate (a water-soluble B vitamin that occurs naturally in food) and folic acid (the synthetic form of the vitamin) tended to have lower levels of abnormal sperm where a chromosome had been lost or gained (known as aneuploidy).