Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

'Want to live longer? Try racquet sports', recommends study

Wednesday Nov 30 2016

"If you want to stave off death for as long as possible, you might want to reach for a tennis racquet," The Guardian reports. A study looking at the impact of individual sports on mortality found racquet sports reduced the risk of death by around 47%...

Low social status 'damages immune function'

Friday Nov 25 2016

"Simply being at the bottom of the social heap directly alters the body," BBC News reports. The headline is based on a study in which researchers used female monkeys to simulate social hierarchies. Monkeys of low social status…

Are high-speed cyclists at risk from air pollution?

Monday Oct 31 2016

"High-speed cyclists 'breathe in dangerous levels of air pollution'," The Sun reports. Alexander Bigazzi, a Canadian engineer, put together a mathematical model, and his figures suggest cycling faster than 20km…

Women now drinking 'almost as much alcohol as men'

Tuesday Oct 25 2016

"Women have caught up with men in the amount of alcohol they drink," The Guardian reports. A survey of data from around the world suggests the gap between men and women is closing rapidly when it comes…

Heading footballs may cause short-term brain changes

Monday Oct 24 2016

"Heading a football can significantly affect a player's brain function and memory for 24 hours, a study has found," BBC News reports. The news is based on a small experimental study involving 19 amateur footballers. The players were asked…

'No link' between night shifts and breast cancer risk

Friday Oct 7 2016

"Working night shifts has 'little or no effect' on a woman's risk of developing breast cancer, new research suggests," BBC News reports. This was the reassuring finding of a new study looking at data from 10 different countries…

Does going on holiday help boost the immune system?

Monday Oct 3 2016

"Prescribing holidays 'could help fight infections'," BBC News reports, while the Mail Online claims holidays can "turbo-boost" the immune system. But the news isn't quite as conclusive as it sounds…

Could riding roller coasters help you pass kidney stones?

Tuesday Sep 27 2016

"Got kidney stones? Ride a roller coaster! Study shows it is the most pain-free cost-efficient way to pass them," say the Mail Online of a study carried out in the US which tested riding roller coasters as a way of passing kidney stones...

Gut bacteria may be linked to 'dangerous' body fat

Monday Sep 26 2016

The BBC reports that: "The make-up of the bacteria found in human faeces may influence levels of dangerous fat in our bodies." The article is based on a UK study looking at faeces samples taken from twins, and various measures of obesity...

Fitness trackers 'don't help you lose weight'

Friday Sep 23 2016

“Fitness trackers may not help weight loss,” reports Sky News on a new trial which investigated whether using wearable technology helped people lose more weight compared to standard weight-loss programmes...

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...

Superfoods: the evidence

We examine the evidence behind the health claims made about the most popular superfoods

Clinical trials and medical research

Clinical trials explained, including how to take part in one and why medical research is important

Strength and Flex

Download our Strength and flexibility podcast series and get a free personal trainer