Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Could a 30-minute 'power nap' make up for a bad night's sleep?

Thursday Feb 12 2015

A 30-minute 'power nap' could make up for a bad night's sleep

"Indulging in a power nap can repair the damage caused by a lack of sleep," the Daily Mail reports. But the study that prompted the headline is very small – involving just 11 healthy young men…

Long-term smoking 'may cause' brain shrinkage

Thursday Feb 12 2015

Long-term smoking 'may cause' brain damage

“Smokers have thinner brain cortex and could have impaired thinking,” The Independent reports. MRI scans of long-term smokers show signs that the cerebral cortex – the grey matter of the brain – which plays a key role in…

Unemployment and job insecurity linked to increased risk of suicide

Wednesday Feb 11 2015

Unemployment and job insecurity linked to increased risk of suicide

“Unemployment causes 45,000 suicides a year worldwide,” The Guardian reports. The story comes from a study that looked at the association between suicide rates and unemployment in 63 countries across the world…

1980s fat guidelines 'lacked evidence,' study argues

Tuesday Feb 10 2015

1980s fat guidelines 'lacked evidence,' study argues

"Butter isn't bad for you after all: Major study says 80s advice on dairy fats was flawed," is the headline on the front of the Daily Mail as a new study argues dietary fat guidelines introduced in the 1980s lacked a rigorous evidence base…

Finger length 'not a pointer' for future sexual behaviour

Friday Feb 6 2015

Finger length 'not a pointer' for future sexual behaviour

"How to work out if your partner is cheating on you? Check their fingers," the Daily Mirror advises. The news comes from research founded on the theory that humans are believed to display two types of mating pattern…

'Facebook envy' associated with symptoms of depression

Thursday Feb 5 2015

'Facebook envy' associated with symptoms of depression

"Facebook can cause depression in people who compare themselves with others," The Independent reports. A new study has examined the relationships between Facebook use, feelings of envy, and feelings of…

E-cigarettes may make lungs vulnerable to infection

Thursday Feb 5 2015

E-cigarettes may make lungs vulnerable to infection

"Vaping may not be as safe as smokers think, research suggests," The Guardian reports. New research found that mice exposed to e-cig vapours comparable to a typical human level experienced mild lung damage and a reduced immune response to infection…

Flu and freezing weather may be driving up winter death rates

Wednesday Feb 4 2015

Flu and freezing weather have impacted death rates

"The current death rate in England and Wales is running about one-third higher than its normal rate for this time of year," BBC News reports. A combination of flu and very cold weather may be responsible…

Strenuous jogging 'as bad as doing no exercise' claim

Tuesday Feb 3 2015

Strenuous jogging 'as bad as doing no exercise' claim

“Too much jogging 'as bad as no exercise at all',” BBC News reports. However, the results of the new Danish study on which this headline is based, are not as clear cut as the media has made out…

Teen screen time linked to less sleep

Tuesday Feb 3 2015

Teen screen time linked to poorer sleep

"Teenagers sleep less when they have more computer screen time says study," The Guardian reports. A Norwegian study found an association between the use of any type of electronic screen device in the evening and disrupted sleep patterns…

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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