Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Blood test could help improve prostate cancer outcomes

Thursday Nov 5 2015

"A blood test can determine whether prostate cancer patients are likely to respond to drugs," BBC News reports. The test assesses whether men with prostate cancer have a good chance, or not, of responding well to a drug called abiraterone…

'Greedy gene' that stops some people from feeling full discovered

Monday Nov 2 2015

"A single gene mutation may be all it takes to determine if a person is prone to becoming obese," the Mail Online reports. A particular genetic variant may disrupt the normal workings of a protein…

Genetic variation 'reduces risk of heart disease in women'

Thursday Oct 22 2015

"Scientists have identified a gene that puts women at higher risk of heart disease, an early study suggests," BBC News incorrectly reports. But the study in question has not found a new gene...

There may be four distinct types of bowel cancer

Wednesday Oct 14 2015

"Bowel cancer is four distinct diseases, each with a different prognosis," BBC News reports after new research suggests there are four genetic sub-types of bowel cancer. It's hoped adapting treatment to each type will lead to better outcomes…

Why elephants hardly ever get cancer and how that can help us

Friday Oct 9 2015

"Elephants have enhanced defences against cancer that can prevent tumours forming," BBC News reports. Just 1 in 20 elephants die of cancer, compared with around 1 in 5 humans. Researchers wanted to see why this is…

Gene therapy breakthrough for cystic fibrosis

Friday Jul 3 2015

"Cystic fibrosis hope as new gene therapy improves condition," The Daily Telegraph reports. Researchers have, for the first time, managed to successfully "smuggle" healthy copies of genes into the lungs of people with cystic fibrosis…

Everyday chemicals may contribute to cancer risk

Thursday Jun 25 2015

'Fifty everyday chemicals…could be combining to increase our risk of cancer' the Mail Online reports. Researchers have identified 85 chemicals which have the potential to cause cells to switch into 'cancer mode'...

Too soon to say if breastfeeding problems could be genetic

Thursday Jun 18 2015

"Is your inability to breastfeed written in your genes?" the Mail Online asks. The question is prompted by animal research that discovered that a genetic mutation in a protein called ZnT2 that may restrict milk production after pregnancy…

Stem cells could provide a treatment for a 'broken heart'

Tuesday May 19 2015

"'Heartbreak' stem cells could repair damage of heart attack," The Daily Telegraph reports. Research in mice suggests that stem cells could repair the damage to muscles that occur during a heart attack and relieve symptoms of heart failure…

Bioengineering advances raise fears of 'home-brew heroin'

Tuesday May 19 2015

The Daily Mirror carries the alarming headline that, "Heroin made in home-brew beer kits could create epidemic of hard drug abuse". It says scientists are "calling for urgent action to prevent criminal gangs gaining access…

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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