Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Fitness trackers' calorie measurements are prone to error

Friday May 26 2017

"Fitness trackers out of step when measuring calories, research shows," The Guardian reports. An independent analysis of a number of leading brands found they were all prone to inaccurate recording of energy expenditure…

Does meditation carry a risk of harmful side effects?

Friday May 26 2017

"Meditation can leave you feeling even more stressed," the Daily Mail reports. The claim is prompted by a study of 60 practitioners of Buddhist meditation in the US which found they'd had a range of "challenging or difficult" experiences…

Instagram 'ranked worst for mental health' in teen survey

Friday May 19 2017

"Instagram is rated as the worst social media platform when it comes to its impact on young people's mental health, a UK survey suggests," BBC News reports. The survey asked 1,479 young people aged 14-24 to score popular social media…

Lack of sleep knocks your social appeal, says research

Wednesday May 17 2017

"A couple of bad nights is enough to make a person look 'significantly' more ugly," reports BBC News. Researchers in Sweden found people rated photographs of strangers as less attractive and healthy...

Yoga may bring long-term benefits for people with depression

Friday May 12 2017

"Yoga can ease depression symptoms, according to the largest study to ever investigate the link," the Mail Online reports. The study didn't find any benefits from doing yoga at the end of the 10-week study period…

Binge drinking could trigger abnormal heart rhythms

Thursday Apr 27 2017

"Why Oktoberfest could be damaging your heart" is the somewhat strange headline in The Times. Researchers who attended the annual Bavarian beer and folk festival found binge drinkers were more likely to have abnormal heart rhythm patterns…

Regular exercise for the over-50s 'sharpens the mind'

Wednesday Apr 26 2017

"Doing moderate exercise several times a week is the best way to keep the mind sharp if you're over 50," BBC News reports. A review of existing data found both aerobic exercise and strength training appeared to improve cognitive functions…

Children with regular bedtimes 'less likely to become obese'

Monday Apr 24 2017

"Regular bedtimes make children less likely to be obese as adults," is the slightly misleading Mail Online headline. This follows a study looking at the link between household routines in early childhood and obesity at age 11...

Cycling commuters have lower rates of heart disease and cancer

Friday Apr 21 2017

"Want to live longer? Reduce your risk of cancer? And heart disease? Then cycle to work," BBC News advises, prompted by a new study that found UK commuters who cycled to work had lower rates of cancer and heart disease…

Could your tattoos put you at risk of heat stroke?

Thursday Apr 13 2017

"Do you have a tattoo? You may be at-risk of heat stroke as inked skin produces significantly less sweat than normal," the Mail Online reports. A small US study, involving 10 men, found tattooed skin produced less sweat…

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