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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.

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 study on impact of statins and cholesterol on coronary heart disease mortality

Researchers have published in the BMJ Open their work attempting to quantify the effects of medications and changes in health on mortality from coronary heart disease. They report that reductions in blood pressure and cholesterol levels across the population contributed to reducing mortality, and that statins also played a part but that this effect was more pronounced in higher socioeconomic bands. read more

expert reaction to paper on hormonal contraceptives and brain tumours

A study published in the journal of Clinical Pharmacology has looked at the use of hormonal contraceptives and a link with brain tumours. The researchers report an association between ever using these contraceptives and incidence of glioma, which increase with duration of use, though they recognise potential confounding factors. read more

expert reaction to video-based therapy for autism

In a paper published in the Lancet Psychiatry, a group of researchers have studied the effects of using a video-based intervention for infants with familial risk of autism. The research team report that the intervention produced positive outcomes in terms of behaviour, developmental, and and brain function. read more

expert reaction to paper on salt intake, mortality and cardiovascular disease

Researchers publishing in JAMA Internal Medicine have examined the relationship between salt consumption and cardiovascular disease, heart failure, and death. The team focused on adults aged 71-80 and monitored them for ten years, finding that there wasn’t an association between the negative outcomes which they monitored and salt intake. read more

expert reaction to new research on sea level rise

A paper published in the journal Nature has estimated the degree to which sea levels rose in the twentieth century. The researchers report increases in sea levels which are in line with previous estimates for the period of 1993-2010, but which are higher than previous estimates for the period of 1901-1990. read more

expert reaction to study looking at brain cooling and neurodegeneration

A study published in the journal Nature has examined the effects of cooling the brain, such as happens during hibernation, on neurodegenerative disorders. The researchers point to the protection of brain cells despite the loss of connections between them during hibernation as a process which can be used to treat diseases such as Alzheimer’s. read more

CFS/ME: The next step in the controversy

CFS/ME (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis) is a disease primarily characterised by extreme exhaustion that leaves many patients unable to perform even basic activities or look after themselves. Whilst there is currently no cure and the disease is poorly understood, cognitive behaviour therapy (CBT) and graded exercise therapy (GET) have proved to be the most effective treatments for managing symptoms and improving physical function. read more

expert reaction to ritual circumcision and autism

Researchers publishing in the journal Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine have reported an association between ritual circumcision and autism, stating that the risk of autism spectrum disorder was increased for boys who underwent circumcision. read more

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