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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 on to journalists as much accurate information as we can, 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.

You can get in touch with 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 impact of negative emissions technology on climate change

Strategies involving negative emissions, or the removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, have been suggested as a way of mitigating the effects of climate change. Publishing in the journal Nature Communications, a team of scientists has concluded that based on their reported estimates, the development of such technologies should be accelerated and be central to climate policy. read more

expert reaction to Lancet series of reviews on impacts of nuclear disasters, around the 70th anniversary of the atomic bombs in Hiroshima and Nagasaki

The health effects and lessons learnt from nuclear disasters is the subject of three papers published in The Lancet. The papers report that survivors of such events have an increased risk of developing negative physical, psychological and social effects including cancer and post-traumatic stress disorder. The papers concludethat physicians should receive training in how to deal with nuclear disasters, in order for them to provide decision aids to protect workers, vulnerable people and residents following a disaster. read more

expert reaction to Testosterone Replacement Therapy (TRT)

In a paper published in The Ageing Male journal, a team of researchers have worked to establish the effect of different testosterone treatments on a group of men. The paper reports that different testosterone preparations appeared equally safe over long time periods, with either no change or improvement of cardiovascular risk factors observed in the patients. read more

radiotherapy – present and future

Polls show that the public do not recognise radiotherapy as a modern form of cancer therapy, and many would describe it as ‘frightening’. Yet radiotherapy is one of the most effective cancer treatments available, and a staggering array of new developments should allow radiotherapy to become increasingly personalised to individual cancer patients. Major advances, such as Intensity Modulated Radiotherapy (IMRT), proton therapy, Cyberknife technology and research combining radiotherapy with MRI imaging, viral therapy, and chemotherapy, promise to revolutionise radiotherapy in the future. read more

expert reaction to premature babies and personality disorders

In a paper published in the Archives of Disease in Childhood journal, a group of researchers have investigated a possible link between babies who were born very early or with a much lower than average weight, and different personality traits. The authors report that adults who were in either of those categories were more likely to display features of introversion, autism and neuroticism as well as lower risk taking. read more

expert reaction to genetics and GCSE achievement

Genes are thought to play a significant role in general educational achievement, although it is unclear how this might apply to individual academic subjects. A team of researchers has now investigated this by using the GCSE results of pairs of both identical and non-identical twins, and report that many academic subjects are influenced by the same genes, even after accounting for general intelligence. read more

expert reaction to study investigating sugar-sweetened drinks, artificially-sweetened drinks and type 2 diabetes incidence

Striking the right balance of components in our diets is an important but controversial area of research, and potential links between sugar, sweeteners and type 2 diabetes are explored in a paper published in The BMJ. The authors report an association between sugar-sweetened beverages and type 2 diabetes, and also an association when examining artificially-sweetened drinks or fruit juices, though they suggest that there may be some biases causing the two latter links. read more

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