The transcripts of the official inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the press. More…

One was just from last week from the Sun. I don't know if you can see -- it was a full page in the Sun, which is quite hard to achieve:

"Breast cancer risk all over shops' shelves."

And basically what the story is saying is commonly used chemicals that are all around us in products are linked to breast cancer. It's a classic example of an article which should not have been given this prominence or headline. It was a very small study, it has several flaws in it, it was in a relatively obscure journal and it showed that traces of these chemicals are found in the breast tissue of women with breast cancer but it didn't test the breast tissue of women without breast cancer, healthy women. So it didn't do a control.

Now, it's interesting that the traces of these chemical was were found -- many toxicologists would have expected them to be found -- but it certainly is not terrifying and there's no evidence that the chemicals cause the cancer. Neither has there been any study ever before showing that these chemicals cause breast cancer, so I'm aware that three major cancer research charities wrote to the Sun about this.

Again, the Sun does fantastic health and science coverage on many occasions, but you don't have to go many weeks before you will get the -- what we call the scare quotes.

My final one was, again, from last week. It was a story the Science Media Centre launched -- again, another very exciting story about the prospect that we will be able to stop the transfer of mitochondrial diseases, terrible incurable diseases like muscular dystrophy. There was a patient -- case study where a woman had seven children, all of whom had died -- very, very tragic -- and last week the government announced that it's going to have a year-long public consultation on a new approach where you would take some healthy mitochondria from the donor and replace the mother's damaged mitochondria, and so the child could -- but it's quite a radical technique. It's quite new.

But all of the papers -- every single one of the papers went with this "Child with three parents". Nobody in the whole of science -- none of the patients I've spoken to, the clinicians, the researchers, the stem cell -- nobody I've ever spoken to about this technique believes that this is going to be a baby with three parents. They think it's going to have some material from a donor in the way that you do when you have a kidney transplant, but we have: "Children with three parents to be born in two years", "Babies with three parents planned" ...

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