Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Dementia saliva testing 'shows early promise'

Monday May 22 2017

"Simple saliva test for dementia 'shows promise' in bid to diagnose the disease early," the Daily Mirror reports. This news is based on a laboratory study that took saliva samples from 12 healthy adults, nine adults with Alzheimer’s disease…

Review finds no link between dairy and heart attack or stroke risk

Tuesday May 9 2017

"Eating cheese does not raise risk of heart attack or stroke," reports The Guardian. This follows a large review pooling the results of 29 observational studies into the link between dairy consumption and cardiovascular disease; coronary heart disease…

Weak link between grandmums' smoking and autistic grandkids

Friday Apr 28 2017

"Smoking in pregnancy hurts your grandkids by 'increasing their risk of autism'," The Sun brashly reports. Researchers looked at data spanning multiple generations and reported a link between girls with autism…

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…

Reported link between diet drinks and dementia and stroke is weak

Friday Apr 21 2017

"Diet drinks triple your risk of stroke and dementia," the Daily Mail reports, as US research found a link between daily intake and increased risk. However, the chain of evidence is not as strong as reported…

Two older drugs could be 'repurposed' to fight dementia

Thursday Apr 20 2017

"Depression and cancer drugs offer hope for dementia sufferers," Sky News reports. The headline is prompted by a study looking at the effect of two drugs – one used to treat depression and another being trialled for cancer treatment...

Being either under or overweight may increase migraine risk

Tuesday Apr 18 2017

"People who are too fat or too thin are 'more likely to suffer from migraines'," reports The Sun. Researchers reviewed data from 12 studies involving 288,981 people and concluded obese people have a 21% increased risk of migraines...

Brain cell reprogramming therapy shows promise for Parkinson's

Tuesday Apr 11 2017

"New technique in which brain cells are reprogrammed could one day provide a cure for Parkinson's disease," The Independent reports. Researchers, using mice with Parkinson's disease, "reprogrammed" cells to replace the nerves lost in the condition…

Tea not proven to 'shield you against dementia'

Friday Apr 7 2017

"It's tea time! How at least two cups a day can shield you from dementia," reports the Mail Online. This rather optimistic headline reports on a Singaporean study of around 900 Chinese people aged 55 and above…

Reports that Marmite prevents dementia are laying it on a bit thick

Wednesday Apr 5 2017

"A daily slice of Marmite on toast may help prevent you getting dementia," the Daily Mail reports, with little justification. A small study did find that Marmite had an effect on electrical activity in the brain, but there is no evidence...

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