Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Does losing your sense of smell predict death risk?

Thursday Oct 2 2014

Simple smell test 'could predict five-year death risk'

"Sense of smell 'may predict lifespan'," BBC News reports. New research suggests people unable to smell distinctive scents, such as peppermint or fish, may have an increased risk of death within five years…

Minimum alcohol pricing would 'save 100s of lives'

Wednesday Oct 1 2014

Minimal alcohol pricing would 'save 100s of lives'

“‘Hundreds of lives lost' over failure to bring in minimum alcohol pricing,” The Independent reports. The news is based on research that modelled the effect of a minimum alcohol price per unit of around 40 to 50 pence…

Viagra 'may cause visual disturbance' in some men

Wednesday Oct 1 2014

Viagra 'may cause eye damage' in some men

"Viagra may permanently damage vision in some men, study finds," reports The Guardian. But the news is, in fact, based on research in mice. This research suggests the medication may not be suitable for men who carry a gene mutation…

High levels of tooth decay found in three-year-olds

Tuesday Sep 30 2014

One in eight three-year-olds have tooth decay

"Tooth decay affects 12% of three-year-olds, says survey," BBC News reports. The survey, carried out by Public Health England, found big variations in different parts of the country. Experts believe sugary drinks are to blame for this trend…

Deep-fried Mars bars: no link with sudden stroke

Tuesday Sep 30 2014

Deep-fried Mars bars will probably not give you a stroke

“Eating a deep-fried Mars bar could give you a stroke in minutes,” reports Metro. However, the study that prompted this headline found no evidence that the Scottish snack can potentially trigger a fatal stroke within minutes...

Will a 'wonder drug' be available in 10 years?

Monday Sep 29 2014

Claims of a cure-all wonder drug 'available in 10 years'

"Wonder drug to fight cancer and Alzheimer's disease within 10 years," is the headline in The Daily Telegraph. This headline is a textbook example of hope (and hype) triumphing over reality…

Cherry juice touted as treatment for gout

Monday Sep 29 2014

Cherry juice touted as treatment for gout

“Daily drinks of cherry juice concentrate could help thousands of patients beat gout,” the Mail on Sunday reports. This headline is based on a small study that found drinking tart cherry juice twice a day temporarily lowered the blood uric acid levels…

Could curry spice boost brain cell repair?

Friday Sep 26 2014

Curried spice could be booster for brain cell repair

“Spicy diet can beat dementia,” is the unsupported claim in the Daily Express. Researchers did find that the spice turmeric stimulated the growth of neural stem cells in rats…

Antibiotic treatments 'fail' 15% of the time

Friday Sep 26 2014

Around one in seven antibiotic treatments fail

"Antibiotic treatments from GPs 'fail 15% of the time','' BBC News reports. In one of the largest studies of its kind, researchers estimate that just under one in seven antibiotic prescriptions in 2011 failed to treat the underlying infection…

Skirt size increase ups breast cancer risk

Thursday Sep 25 2014

Skirt size increases ups breast cancer risk

“Skirt size increase linked to breast cancer risk,” BBC News reports. The story comes from a UK study that looked at whether changes in women's skirt size since their twenties was associated with increased risk of breast cancer...

What is Behind the Headlines?

What is Behind the Headlines?

We give you the facts without the fiction. Professor Sir Muir Gray, founder of Behind the Headlines, explains more...

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