Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Study probes effect of NHS Health Checks

Friday Aug 1 2014

NHS Health Checks 'waste of time' study argues

"Health MOTs routinely offered to over-40s on the NHS may be a waste of time," the Mail Online reports. The report says researchers have found no difference in the prevalence of diseases such as diabetes in GP practices that offer NHS Health Checks…

Running 7 minutes a day 'halves heart death risk'

Tuesday Jul 29 2014

Running 7 minutes a day 'halves heart death risk'

"Running for just a few minutes each day can reduce the risk of dying from heart disease," The Guardian reports. Ultimately, you can't outrun the Grim Reaper. But this news accurately reflects the results of a large long-term US study on health outcomes…

Probiotics 'may improve blood pressure'

Tuesday Jul 22 2014

Probiotics may help improve blood pressure

“Eating probiotics may lower blood pressure,” The Daily Telegraph reports. Probiotics, so-called “friendly bacteria”, have been found to moderately reduce blood pressure in a new study…

'More adults should be taking statins,' says NICE

Friday Jul 18 2014

'More adults should be taking statins' says NICE

NICE suggests thousands of lives a year could be saved if more adults were offered these cholesterol lowering drugs

Steroid asthma inhalers restrict children’s growth

Thursday Jul 17 2014

Asthma inhalers restrict children’s growth

"Children who use inhalable steroids for asthma grow slower than their peers in the first year of taking the medication," The Guardian reports. The effect found by researchers was small, on average a reduction of half a centimetre per year…

Study explores effect of plain cigarette packs

Tuesday Jul 15 2014

Study explores effect of anti-smoking images

"Long-term smokers find the taste of plain-packaged cigarettes worse than that of branded cigarettes," The Guardian reports. The news comes from Australian research into the impact of plain packaging and health risk warnings on packets of cigarettes…

Vitamin D deficiency linked to high blood pressure

Thursday Jun 26 2014

Vitamin D deficiency linked to high blood pressure

"Vitamin D supplements could help high blood pressure," The Independent reports. The paper reports on new research into genetic variations associated with low vitamin D levels and their relationship with blood pressure…

Teens could be given whooping cough booster

Wednesday Jun 25 2014

Teens may need whooping cough booster

“One in five children who see a doctor with a persistent cough may have…whooping cough, new research indicates,” The Independent reports. These findings have sparked calls for teenagers to be given a booster dose of the vaccine.

New pacemaker offers heart failure hope

Tuesday Jun 24 2014

Next-gen pacemaker offers heart failure hope

A new pacemaker which synchronises heart rate with breathing could "revolutionise" the lives of people with heart failure, The Daily Telegraph reports. The device helps match heart beats with variations in breathing rates…

Menthol cigs 'encourage teens to smoke more'

Tuesday Jun 24 2014

Menthol cigs 'encourage teens to smoke more'

"Menthol cigarettes ARE more addictive," the Mail Online claims, based on a survey of 5,000 teenagers. The 2010-11 Canadian school survey found that 16% of teenagers aged 14 to 18 smoke cigarettes…

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