Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Mobile phone use 'linked to poor sperm quality'

Monday Feb 22 2016

"Men who talk on their mobile phones for an hour a day 'are twice as likely to have low sperm quality'," the Daily Mail reports. Is the use of smartphones damaging men's sperm? The quick answer, based on the results of this study, is we don't know...

Exercise in middle-age 'stops your brain shrinking'

Thursday Feb 11 2016

"A new study has suggested that exercising in your 40s could stop the brain shrinking," The Daily Telegraph reports. A study found people with good fitness levels in their 40s had larger brains than their unfit peers when measured 20 years later…

New NICE guidelines on sun exposure warn 'tanning is unsafe'

Wednesday Feb 10 2016

"No safe way to suntan, new NICE guidance warns," BBC News reports. Though the guidelines also stress the benefits of moderate sun exposure to prevent vitamin D deficiency; which is more common in the UK than many people realise…

Smoking bans linked to fewer heart attacks and strokes

Thursday Feb 4 2016

The ban on smoking indoors in public places “has helped save the lives of passive smokers,” says the Daily Mail. The headline refers to a review of the effects of smoking bans, which found fewer admissions to hospitals...

Just one hour of sitting down may increase diabetes risk by a fifth

Wednesday Feb 3 2016

"Every extra hour sitting down can raise your risk of type 2 diabetes by a fifth," the Daily Mirror reports. The paper reports on a study that looked at the effects of sedentary behaviour on type 2 diabetes risk…

Playground equipment contains toxic levels of lead paint

Monday Jan 25 2016

"Paint on playground equipment has been found to contain high amounts of the toxin lead – up to 40 times recommended levels," BBC News reports. Researchers sampled levels at 26 playgrounds in the south of England…

Calls for research into effects of ultrasound exposure on health

Wednesday Jan 20 2016

"Ultrasound in public places could be triggering sickness," the Daily Mail reports. Ultrasounds are high frequency sound waves used by a wide range of devices, and are thought to be inaudible to most humans...

Are ads for candy-flavoured e-cigs tempting teens to vape?

Monday Jan 18 2016

"Advertisements for … flavoured e-cigarettes could encourage children to try vaping," ITV News reports after a study found children shown these ads were more likely to express an interest in trying flavoured e-cigs…

Men at high risk of getting HIV 'need preventative treatment'

Thursday Jan 14 2016

"Giving healthy gay men HIV drugs 'could help reverse epidemic'," BBC News reports. A modelling study looking at the effects of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), where drugs are used to prevent infection…

Exercise is 'most effective' method of preventing lower back pain

Wednesday Jan 13 2016

"Exercise is the best medicine to banish back pain and stop people taking sick days," reports the Daily Mirror. While this may be true, the research in question did not look at treatments for existing back pain…

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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