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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

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alzheimer’s treatments – what now?

Following the failure of the recent solanezumab trial the question now is where does Alzheimer’s research go from here? We have brought together four top experts to discuss:

Is the solanezumab trial a complete failure? Can we learn anything from it?

Is this the end for the amyloid hypothesis? Could we be going about this all wrong? Is Tau the answer?

What other drugs are in the pipeline? Do the solanezumab results lower our hopes for their success?

Are there other non-drug therapies on the horizon that might offer success?

Will we not progress until we get better at detecting and diagnosing this disease?

Do we think we will ever find a treatment? Is our only hope to reduce lifestyle risks as much as possible? read more

nice draft guideline on outdoor air pollution and health

Air pollution has been in and out of the headlines recently due to the diesel emissions scandal and proposed Heathrow airport expansion. We’ve heard that the UK has been exceeding EU limits for nitrogen oxide emissions, and we’ve heard estimates of the numbers of people in the UK whose deaths are partly attributable to particulate air pollution.

NICE are publishing a draft guideline on road-traffic-related air pollution. The guideline aims to improve air quality and therefore prevent illnesses and deaths related to air pollution. The draft guideline will outline recommendations to government and local authorities.

read more

expert reaction to study on mitochondrial replacement in human ooctyes that carry pathogenic mitochondrial dna mutations

Researchers, publishing in the journal Nature, have reported on a study which used mitochondrial donation therapy to replace pathogenic mitochondrial DNA mutations in human ooctyes with mitochondrial DNA from healthy donor eggs. The researchers report the potential of mitochondrial replacement therapy (MRT) to reduce the transfer of mitochondrial disease from mother to child. read more

expert reaction to fourth scientific review of the safety and efficacy of methods to avoid mitochondrial disease through assisted conception

An independent expert panel, convened by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), have published their fourth scientific review into the latest evidence on the safety and efficacy of mitochondrial donation techniques, recommending that those techniques be approved for “cautious use” in “specific circumstances”. These comments accompanied a press briefing. read more

report of fourth hfea independent science review panel on mitochondrial donation

After Parliament voted overwhelmingly in favour of allowing mitochondrial donation last year the UK regulatory process for this new treatment has moved on. The Newcastle based scientists ready to offer the treatment have answered more of the scientific questions raised and the HFEA commissioned a fourth independent science panel to review this and other research. Meanwhile stories emerge of babies being born around the world with the same technique but under very different regulatory oversight.

Now this incredible treatment takes a very significant step closer to the clinic as the science review panel delivers its fourth and possibly final report on the state of the science and makes recommendations as to whether it is safe and effective in order to proceed to treating patients.

read more

expert reaction to media coverage of ivf add-ons

In a paper published in BMJ Open, researchers looked at claims of benefit for interventions offered by fertility centres in the UK via the information on the centres’ websites. They then looked at what evidence was cited for these claims. They report that while many fertility centres in the UK offer a range of IVF add-on procedures, and provide claims of benefit for many of these interventions, in most cases the claims are not quantified and evidence is not cited to support them.
The Panorama documentary on BBC One (Panorama: Inside Britain’s Fertility Business) also looks at this issue. read more

expert reaction to safeguarding pollinators

Published in Nature, this review looks into the values of different pollinators on issues including food secutiry and biodiversity, their status and trends, risks from environmental pressures and the consequent management and policy response options to safeguard pollinators.

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