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The Science Media Centre is not restricted to reacting to the headlines, and has helped scientists to more proactively set the agenda by bringing new science or evidence to journalists. This comes from our regular briefings, which take a variety of forms and cover a wide range of topics. Many are background briefings introducing journalists to the best experts and science on controversial issues like nuclear waste, nanotechnology, emerging diseases, or animal research, for example. They may also be news briefings where the SMC works with scientists to give the national media a new story on developments within science, whether it’s a report on climate change, a paper on stem cells being published in a leading journal, or science funding cuts in the latest budget. In addition, the SMC encourages leading experts to ‘speak out’ to the media about developments they believe may pose a threat to scientific research – not something science has been renowned for.

Pre- ESHRE (European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology) conference briefing

The annual meeting for the European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology (ESHRE) will take place in Barcelona from 1 – 4 July 2018.  This briefing will offer an opportunity for journalists who plan to cover the key stories from the meeting the chance to hear from four leading fertility experts who will be familiar with the abstracts and can answer your questions on the studies, as well as offer comments on the significance or otherwise of the research, the strengths and limitations, and wider context and implications. read more

Genome editing and animal research

Many scientists have predicted that genome editing will revolutionise the way we do biological science in coming years as more and more scientists use the technique as a research tool and potential treatment.  read more

Screen time: what does the science say?

Although they’re an intrinsic part of modern life, a lot of concerns have been raised about the widespread use of screens, particularly among children and teenagers, with claims about their impact on mental health, behaviour, and neurodevelopment being made. read more

Cannabis products: the future for epilepsy and other conditions

The case of Billy Caldwell has grabbed the attention of the country as debates have raged around whether cannabis should be legalised, if cannabis products should be available on the NHS, who should have the final say on medical matters and whether the UK has the right approach to illegal drugs. A lot of this debate assumes that cannabis and its products have an important role in modern medicine, and epilepsy in particular, but the science is not that straightforward.

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AI in healthcare: reality vs science fiction

Artificial intelligence (AI) represents a fascinating new frontier in medicine, promising faster and more accurate diagnoses, an increased ability to identify and treat vulnerable patients, and a more efficient and streamlined service that can free up the time of health care professionals. read more

The future of food and health research

Lifespan is increasing but healthspan is not.  Diet-related illness is a cause of 350 million deaths each year globally, and is now the number one cause of death and ill health in the UK. read more

Britain’s mammals 2018

The first comprehensive review of British mammal populations for more than 20 years will be launched by The Mammal Society … read more

Prof Mel Greaves – why do children get leukaemia?

We’ve heard from scientists that childhood leukaemia may be a rare response to a common infection.  Others have aired their theories that things like electromagnetic radiation, power lines, and pollution may be responsible.  But what does the evidence show?  Do we know why some children get leukaemia and others don’t? read more

Cochrane review on the HPV vaccine

Recent media stories have aired the argument that teenage boys should be given the HPV vaccine as well as girls.  And some campaign groups believe the HPV vaccine has damaged some teenage girls.  But what does the evidence say about how well the vaccine works at preventing cervical cancer in women? read more

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