Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Did the English smoking ban stop 90,000 children getting ill?

Friday May 29 2015

Smoking was banned in all public places in England in 2007

"90,000 children spared illness by smoking ban," reports the Daily Mail. This impressive-seeming statistic is based on research looking at how many under-14s ended up in hospital with respiratory infections in the years...

Traffic and aircraft noise linked to bigger bellies

Tuesday May 26 2015

Traffic and aircraft noise exposure linked to bigger bellies

"Living near a main road causes people to gain weight with the risk of obesity," is the slightly dubious claim in The Daily Telegraph. While a Swedish study did find an association between noise pollution and obesity, cause and effect has not been proved…

Holidays and parties mean we may drink more than we think

Friday May 22 2015

Holidays and parties mean we may drink more than we think

"The amount of alcohol people in England drink has been underestimated by the equivalent of 12 million bottles of wine a week," BBC News reports…

Quarter of sun-exposed skin samples had DNA mutations

Friday May 22 2015

Quarter of sun-exposed skin samples had DNA mutations

A sobering BBC News headline greets sun worshippers on the eve of the spring bank holiday: "More than a quarter of a middle-aged person's skin may have already made the first steps towards cancer"…

Mildly cold weather 'more deadly' than heatwaves or very cold snaps

Thursday May 21 2015

Mild cold 'more deadly' than heatwaves or very cold snaps

"Mildly cold, drizzly days far deadlier than extreme temperatures," The Independent reports. An international study looking at weather-related deaths estimated that moderate cold killed far more people than extremely hot or cold temperatures…

Single mothers have 'worse health in later life'

Friday May 15 2015

Single mothers have 'worse health in later life'

"Single mothers more likely to suffer ill health, study finds," The Independent reports. A study involving over 25,000 women found evidence that single mothers were more likely to report ill health and be affected by disability…

Study finds seasons may affect immune system activity

Wednesday May 13 2015

Seasons may affect inflammation levels, increasing winter deaths

"Winter immune boost may actually cause deaths," The Guardian reports. A new gene study suggests there may be an increase in inflammation levels during winter, which can protect against infection but could also make...

Texting may help relieve pain during minor surgery

Friday May 1 2015

Texting may help relieve pain during minor surgery

"Need pain relief for surgery? Try a text," the Daily Mail reports. The advice was prompted by a small study that found people who used a mobile phone during minor surgery were less likely to require additional pain medication…

UK life expectancy expected to rise to late 80s by 2030

Thursday Apr 30 2015

UK life expectancy expected to rise to late 80s by 2030

"Life expectancy is rising faster than thought, with 90 expected to become the norm in some affluent areas of the country by 2030," The Guardian reports. The same predictions led the Daily Mail to warn of a "life expectancy timebomb"...

Having a spine similar to a chimp could lead to back pain

Monday Apr 27 2015

Chimpanzee shaped spine could lead to back pain

"People with lower back problems are more likely to have a spine similar in shape to the chimpanzee," BBC News reports. Research suggests that humans with similar shaped vertebrae to chimps are more vulnerable to developing a slipped disc…

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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