Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Kitchen sponges may be a 'bacteria hotspot' – but no need to worry

Thursday Aug 3 2017

"Study finds just a sugar-cube sized piece of kitchen sponge can contain 54 BILLION bacterial cells," the Mail Online reports. A German study sampled a number of different kitchen sponges and found they contained far more bacteria than expected…

Western sperm counts 'halved' in last 40 years

Wednesday Jul 26 2017

"Sperm counts among Western men have halved in last 40 years," The Guardian reports. A major review of research carried out since 1973 found an estimated 50-60% drop in sperm count in developed nations...

'Buying time' and not just things may increase life satisfaction

Tuesday Jul 25 2017

"Using money to free-up time is linked to increased happiness," BBC News reports. Researchers surveyed people from a number of developed countries and found those who reported using money to free up time…

Snoring link to Alzheimer’s disease unproven

Monday Jul 24 2017

"Snoring linked to Alzheimer's," the Mail Online reports. A US study reported an association between sleep-disorder breathing and Alzheimer's disease in later life. But no definitive link between the two has been proven...

'Regular sex keeps you younger' claims are unsupported

Monday Jul 17 2017

"Scientists have found you can hold back the hands of time with a regular romp," is the typically colourful headline in The Sun. While a healthy sex life may be a good thing, the research in question isn't exactly mind blowing…

Long working week 'may increase risk of irregular heartbeat'

Friday Jul 14 2017

"Long working days can cause heart problems, study says," The Guardian reports. Researchers found people who work 55 or more hours a week had an increased risk of developing a type of irregular heartbeat…

Does having a 'sense of purpose' in life help you sleep better?

Monday Jul 10 2017

"Sense of purpose aids sleep, US scientists find," The Guardian reports on a new study that explored the relationship between having a sense of purpose in life and quality of sleep in older adults...

Middle-aged office workers 'sit down more' than OAPs

Tuesday Jun 27 2017

"Middle-aged male office workers 'more sedentary than over-75-year-olds'," The Daily Telegraph reports. A survey in Scotland suggests previous studies may have underestimated sedentary behaviour in middle-age by not…

Can coffee machines and kettles spread toxic spores?

Monday Jun 26 2017

"Your coffee machine could be making you ill," the Mail Online reports, saying that steam released by the machine could be creating the perfect conditions for fungi to grow. The Sun reports a similar risk for kettles and showers…

Sex link to older people's brain power, says study

Thursday Jun 22 2017

"Sex is the key to staying sharp in old age," reports the Mail Online after researchers found older people who have regular sex scored better on two of five brain tests. Participants who had sex at least...

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