Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

New theory about migraine triggers published

Tuesday Dec 22 2015

"Migraine breakthrough as scientists discover the process that triggers EVERY symptom - paving the way for a cure," the Daily Mail over-optimistically reports. While a new theory about the cause(s) of migraines is plausible, it is also unproven…

Antidepressant use in pregnancy 'linked to childhood autism'

Tuesday Dec 15 2015

"Taking antidepressants during pregnancy almost doubles the risk of children developing autism," The Daily Telegraph reports. Researchers say it is possible that chemicals present in antidepressants could interfere with child development…

Molecule removed Alzheimer’s plaques from brains of mice

Wednesday Dec 9 2015

"A molecule can clear Alzheimer's plaques from the brains of mice and improve learning and memory, Korean scientists have found in early tests," BBC News reports. However, the Daily Express’s claim of a "wonder pill" are premature…

Scientists find gene that 'delays Alzheimer's'

Wednesday Dec 2 2015

Scientists have identified a genetic variation thought to delay the start of Alzheimer's disease, according to several media reports. The news is based on a study of 71 descendants of the same ancestral family in northern Colombia...

High-strength 'skunk' cannabis linked to brain changes

Friday Nov 27 2015

"Scientists warn smoking 'skunk' cannabis wrecks brains," The Sun reports, somewhat simplistically. A small study found some users of the high-strength skunk strain of cannabis had changes in nerve fibres in a specific part of the brain...

Has the 'happiness region' of the brain been discovered?

Monday Nov 23 2015

"Neurologists 'work out the key to finding happiness'," claims The Independent. Japanese researchers claim to have found a link between reported happiness and an area of the brain called the precuneus…

Region of brain 'shorter' in people with hallucinations

Wednesday Nov 18 2015

"A study of 153 brain scans has linked a particular furrow, near the front of each hemisphere, to hallucinations in schizophrenia," BBC News reports. While schizophrenia is commonly associated with hallucinations…

Study calls for smartphones and tablets to have 'bedtime mode'

Monday Nov 16 2015

"Smartphones, tablets and e-readers should have an automatic 'bedtime mode' that stops them disrupting people's sleep," BBC News reports. The concern is the devices emit short-wavelength blue light, which may disrupt the production of melatonin…

Stronger legs linked to stronger brains in older women

Wednesday Nov 11 2015

"Strong legs 'help the brain resist the effects of ageing','' the Mail Online reports. A study that tracked 324 female twins (162 sets) over 10 years found an association between leg strength and cognitive ability, measured…

No hard evidence champagne can prevent dementia

Monday Nov 9 2015

"Drinking three glasses of champagne per week could help stave off dementia and Alzheimer's disease," the Daily Mirror reports. But before you break out the Bolly, you should know the study that prompted this headline was on rats…

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What is Behind the Headlines?

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