Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Vegetative patients show awareness during scans

Friday Oct 17 2014

MRI scans detected signs of meaningful brain activity

"Vegetative patients may be more conscious of the world than we think," The Independent reports. Electrodes have detected what has been described as "well-preserved" networks of brain activity in patients in a vegetative state…

Broccoli could 'hold the key' for treating autism

Tuesday Oct 14 2014

Broccoli could 'hold the key' for treating autism

"Broccoli chemical may improve autism symptoms," The Daily Telegraph reports. A small study suggests sulforaphane, a chemical that gives broccoli its distinctive taste, may help improve some of the symptoms of autism spectrum disorder…

Questions about life after death remain unanswered

Wednesday Oct 8 2014

Whether there’s life after death remains a mystery

“Life after death is a real phenomenon,” Metro reports – but the headline is pure hype. Researchers were actually looking at “near-death experiences” – a very different thing. Indeed, the research involved people who did not die…

Deep-fried Mars bars: no link with sudden stroke

Tuesday Sep 30 2014

Deep-fried Mars bars will probably not give you a stroke

“Eating a deep-fried Mars bar could give you a stroke in minutes,” reports Metro. However, the study that prompted this headline found no evidence that the Scottish snack can potentially trigger a fatal stroke within minutes...

Will a 'wonder drug' be available in 10 years?

Monday Sep 29 2014

Claims of a cure-all wonder drug 'available in 10 years'

"Wonder drug to fight cancer and Alzheimer's disease within 10 years," is the headline in The Daily Telegraph. This headline is a textbook example of hope (and hype) triumphing over reality…

Could curry spice boost brain cell repair?

Friday Sep 26 2014

Curried spice could be booster for brain cell repair

“Spicy diet can beat dementia,” is the unsupported claim in the Daily Express. Researchers did find that the spice turmeric stimulated the growth of neural stem cells in rats…

Media multitasking 'brain shrink' claims unproven

Thursday Sep 25 2014

Media multitasking 'shrinks the brain'

“Multitasking makes your brain smaller,” the Daily Mail reports. UK researchers found that people who regularly “media multitasked” had less grey matter in a region of the brain involved in emotion…

Brain scans offer fresh insights into ADHD

Tuesday Sep 16 2014

Brain scans offer clues into ADHD

"Doctors could soon diagnose ADHD in children with a brain scan," is the over-exuberant headline from the Mail Online. The underlying research, based on comparing the brain scans of 133 people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)…

Could meditation help combat migraines?

Monday Sep 15 2014

Meditation may help mitigate against migraines

“Daily meditation may be the most effective way of tackling migraine,” the Daily Express reports. This headline is not justified as it was based on a small pilot study involving just 19 people. It showed that an eight-week "mindfulness-based…

Prescription sleeping pills linked to increased Alzheimer’s risk

Wednesday Sep 10 2014

Sleeping pills may increase Alzheimer’s risk

“Prescription sleeping pills … can raise chance of developing Alzheimer's by 50%,” reports the Mail Online. This headline is based on a study comparing the past use of benzodiazepines, such as diazepam and temazepam...

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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