Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Pets can carry the MRSA superbug

Thursday May 22 2014

Could your pet be a superbug carrier?

"Pets can harbour the hospital superbug MRSA and it can pass between pets and their owners," BBC News reports. New research suggests that as many as 9% of dogs may be carriers, though the risk of transmission is small…

E-cigs 'better than patches and gum' as quitting aid

Wednesday May 21 2014

E-cigs 'better than patches and gum' as quitting aid

“E-cigarettes more effective than patches to help quit smoking, says study,” The Guardian reports. A UK study has found that people who used the aids are 60% more likely to quit than those who try nicotine replacement therapy

Could a single booze binge harm your health?

Monday May 19 2014

Could a single booze binge harm your health?

“Four glasses of wine is enough to harm your health, scientists say,” reports The Independent. A study has found that just a small amount of alcohol can cause harmful bacteria to leak from the gut into the blood.

People with purpose in life 'live longer,' study advises

Wednesday May 14 2014

People with purpose in life live longer, study advises

"Sense of purpose 'adds years to life'," BBC News reports, after a new study found that having a purpose in life is linked to living longer, regardless of your age or retirement status. But this weak study can only show an association at best…

Lack of exercise 'highest risk' for women over 30

Friday May 9 2014

Women over 30 should exercise more, study finds

"Heart disease warning: Lack of exercise is worse risk for over-30s women than smoking or obesity," The Independent reports. It is important to stress that this headline is based on a result that is applicable to a population, not to an individual…

Claims that men are being 'nagged to death' inflated

Friday May 9 2014

Claims that men are being 'nagged to death' inflated

“Nagging could drive men to an early grave, study suggests,” The Independent reports. A Danish study found that both sexes were adversely affected by constant nagging, but men seemed to be more vulnerable.

ONS suggests that one in four deaths are 'avoidable'

Thursday May 8 2014

1 in 4 deaths avoidable, bulletin argues

“1 in 4 deaths could have been prevented,” The Times reports. Figures released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) found that 23% of deaths could have been prevented through better care, more effective treatment and healthier living…

Early menopause linked to mental decline

Thursday May 8 2014

Early menopause linked to mental decline

“Premature menopause is linked with poor thinking and reaction times,” The Daily Telegraph reports. A large French study found that women who had their menopause before the age of 40 had memory problems and delayed reaction times.

Is marriage a recipe for 'trouble and strife'?

Tuesday Apr 29 2014

Is marriage a recipe for 'trouble and strife'?

"Being married can make you depressed, study finds," The Independent reports. Perhaps a more accurate summary of the research the paper reports on is "being unhappily married is associated with different responses to positive pictures"…

Does fat 'disappear' into thin air?

Monday Apr 28 2014

Does thin air lead to thinner people?

"It really is thin air! Living in a high-altitude city nearly halves your risk of being obese,” the Mail Online reports. A study looking at the US armed forces found that people in high altitude areas such as Colorado were less likely…

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