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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 study on cannabis vaping using e-cigarettes

Cannabis is a class B drug in the UK but is in use for therapeutic purposes in a number of countries for various diseases, and a paper published in the journal Scientific Reports has reported that e-cigarette devices could be effective in administering therapeutic doses of the drug. read more

expert reaction to antibiotics and methane from cows

Agriculture contributes a large amount to greenhouse gase emissions and climate change from a range of sources and a research group publishing in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B journal has reported that antibiotics (used to improve livestock health and growth) can increase methane emissions. read more

expert reaction to statement on surgical intervention in the treatment of type 2 diabetes

New guidelines published in the journal Diabetes Care recommend that surgery be considered a standard option for appropriate candidates with type 2 diabetes, including in mildly obese people, and they call for health care regulators to introduce appropriate reimbursement policies. To date guidelines have been formally endorsed by 45 worldwide medical and scientific societies. read more

type 2 diabetes becomes an operable disease

A Joint Statement by leading diabetes organizations including the American Diabetes Association (ADA), Diabetes UK, International Diabetes Federation (IDF), Chinese Diabetes Society and Diabetes India and endorsed by 45 worldwide scientific societies, formally recognize surgery as a standard treatment option for type 2 diabetes. This development may be one of the biggest and most significant changes in diabetes care since the introduction of insulin in 1920s. Obesity guidelines have recommended for years bariatric surgery for people with severe obesity including many with associated diabetes. It is the first time, however, that diabetes guidelines recommend surgery as a treatment option for the management of the disease itself. read more

the regulation of medicines and devices and the EU referendum

The debate about the pros and cons of remaining – or leaving – the EU continues unabated. One important area that has not been publicly explored – or explained – are the benefits of membership of the EU when it comes to the regulation of drugs and devices. read more

expert reaction to global study on low salt diets

Publishing in The Lancet, a group of researchers have reported that high sodium intake is associated with an increased risk in cardiovascular events and death in hypertensive populations but not in normotensive populations. read more

expert reaction to study examining efficacy of mitochondrial donation techniques

Legislation which allows the replacement of faulty mitochondria in eggs of mothers with mitochondrial disorders has been passed in the UK, and a paper published in the journal Cell Stem Cell has explored the efficacy of such techniques. The authors report levels of mitochondrial carryover from the original egg which they suggest could have functional significance. read more

Psilocybin – an option for treatment-resistant depression?

Psilocybin, the active component of magic mushrooms, is being seriously considered as a therapy for people with treatment-resistant depression. One in five people suffer from depression at some point in their lives – a significant proportion of whom cannot be helped with any current psychotherapy or drugs. In 2012 researchers published a paper which used fMRI scans to show the effects of psilocybin on the brain. A related paper, published at the same time, suggested that psilocybin could be a useful tool in psychotherapy. The researchers have now gone on to test the safety of psilocybin in a small group of patients with treatment-resistant depression. They are publishing their new findings, funded by the Medical Research Council, in The Lancet Psychiatry. read more

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