Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Can concussion be tested for with a 'simple' blood test?

Tuesday Mar 29 2016

"A new blood test can detect a concussion up to a week after a head injury," the Daily Mail reports. The test involved checking for biomarkers, which are substances created by a specific biological condition or state…

Sugar levels in children's fruit juices 'unacceptably high'

Tuesday Mar 29 2016

"Fruit juices and smoothies contain 'unacceptably high' levels of sugar," reports The Guardian. That was the stark conclusion of a new study looking at the sugar content of fruit juices and smoothies marketed at kids in the UK…

Mindfulness may be effective for treating lower back pain

Wednesday Mar 23 2016

"Meditation could ease the agony of back pain, a study suggests," the Daily Mirror reports. A US study compared a technique called mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) with usual care and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for…

Claims that man flu 'really exists' are unsupported

Wednesday Mar 23 2016

"Man flu really does exist," reports the Mail Online in a massive leap from the results of a small study that didn't look at flu at all. The study actually looked at why women are more likely to have autoimmune conditions such as lupus…

Could a very low calorie diet 'cure' type 2 diabetes?

Tuesday Mar 22 2016

"Dieting for just eight weeks can reverse your diabetes," the Daily Mail reports. A small study of 30 people with type 2 diabetes found eight weeks on a very low calorie diet of around 600 to 700 calories a day, followed…

People with autism are 'dying younger,' warns study

Monday Mar 21 2016

"People with autism are dying earlier than the general population," BBC News reports. A recent study in Sweden showed the average age of death for a person with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is 54 years, compared with 70 for matched controls…

Paracetamol 'useless' in treating osteoarthritis pain

Friday Mar 18 2016

"Paracetamol is next to useless at alleviating arthritic pain," The Times reports. A comprehensive review of existing data suggests paracetamol should not be used in cases of osteoarthritis…

Memories 'taken' by Alzheimer's could possibly be retrieved

Thursday Mar 17 2016

"Memories wiped by Alzheimer's could be revived, research suggests," The Daily Telegraph reports. Research involving mice suggests memories are not destroyed by Alzheimer's disease – rather, there are difficulties recalling them…

Pushy or rude patients 'more likely' to be misdiagnosed

Thursday Mar 17 2016

"'Difficult' patients are more likely to get the wrong diagnosis," The Daily Telegraph reports. A Dutch study suggests that patients who are aggressive or argumentative may cause doctors to lose focus when trying to make a diagnosis…

Common antibiotic for children 'ineffective in half of cases'

Wednesday Mar 16 2016

"Antibiotics used to treat common infections in children could soon be rendered useless," the Daily Mail reports. A major review of existing data found worryingly high levels of resistance to widely used antibiotics such as ampicillin…

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