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roundups & rapid reactions
before the headlines
Fiona fox's blog

for journalists

When science hits the news agenda, it’s our job to pass as much information to journalists as quickly as possible. In order to do this we send out quotes from experts, statistical analyses of scientific studies and factsheets, in addition to running regular press briefings on the latest hot topic. Find our most recent roundups and rapid reactions, briefings, factsheets and ‘before the headlines’ analyses below, or use the icons on the right.

As well as working with experienced specialist reporters, we also provide support to new reporters, editors and generalists through a series of publications, including ‘briefing notes’ on controversial topics, and guidelines on science and health reporting, and by working with the National Coordinator for Science Training for Journalists.

see publications for journalists

Need an expert to interview? The SMC’s database is not quite like any other. Those on it are selected not just for their proven expertise, but also for their willingness and ability to engage with the media when their area of work hits the headlines. The quality of our experts is important to us. The SMC recruits scientists, engineers and others who work for respected institutions, publish in peer-reviewed journals and have a track record of quality research in their specialist field.

The SMC was established to provide assistance to the national news media when covering controversial science stories or breaking news. As such the SMC’s priority remains to support new reporters at UK national news media outlets. We prioritise working with science, health and environment specialists on controversial news pieces, but also provide support for journalists pursuing original and long-form pieces by advising on the best experts to approach and helping to set up visits to institutions. 

Get in touch using the details below. Please be aware though, if your enquiry does not fit our remit we may not be able to help or may refer you on to external scientific institutions.


t: +44 (0)20 7611 8300


expert reaction to DECC biomass calculator

The Department of Energy & Climate Change (DECC) have launched a scientific calculator that investigates the impact on carbon emissions of biomass sourced from North America to produce electricity. read more

genome editing

This factsheet is also available as a pdf (with images not included below). —— Genome editing comprises a range of molecular techniques … read more

new crop breeding technologies: genome engineering and beyond

Recent advances in genome engineering make it possible to precisely alter DNA sequences in living cells, providing unprecedented control over a plant’s genetic material. This briefing enabled journalists to find out about molecular genetic techniques for genome editingand tools for epigenetic modification. read more

expert reaction to final NICE guidance on cardiovascular disease and statin use

NICE published its final updated guidance on starting preventive treatment of cardiovascular disease (CVD) advising that the threshold for starting treatment should be halved from a 20% risk of developing CVD over 10 years to a 10% risk, and that once lifestyle factors have been addressed high intensity statin therapy should be offered. read more

expert reaction to two reviews on asthma and children’s growth

Two systematic reviews published in The Cochrane Library looked at the effects of inhaled corticosteroid drugs, given by inhalers to children with asthma, on growth rates, reporting growth slowed in the first year of treatment but effects were minimised by using lower doses. read more

expert reaction to whether labelling people with moderate blood glucose levels as having ‘pre-diabetes’ is helpful

Authors of an analysis article in the BMJ argued that diagnosing patients with moderately high blood sugar as having pre-diabetes is unhelpful and unnecessary, reporting that blood sugar reduction treatments resulting from a diagnosis of pre-diabetes delayed the onset of type 2 diabetes only by few years and there was no evidence of long-term health benefits. read more

expert reaction to cannabis and paranoia

A study in Schizophrenia Bulletin of the effects of THC, the main psychoactive compound in cannabis, reported strong evidence that it can cause short-term paranoia and identified psychological factors that can lead to feelings of paranoia in cannabis users. read more

nutritional content of organic and conventional foods

A meta-analysis published in the British Journal of Nutrition looked at 343 studies into compositional differences between organic and conventional crops, reporting differences including higher levels of certain anti-oxidants and lower levels of cadmium in organic crops. read more

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