Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

No proof orange juice boosts brain power

Monday May 18 2015

Study looks at whether orange juice is a 'brain booster'

"Drinking orange juice every day could improve brain power in the elderly, research shows," the Mail Online reports. Despite the encouraging words from the media, the small study this headline is based on does not provide strong evidence that an…

Does holding your breath during an injection make it less painful?

Friday May 15 2015

Holding your breath before an injection could make it less painful

"Hate injections? Holding your breath can make the pain of jabs more bearable," the Mail Online reports. A team of Spanish researchers mechanically squeezed the fingernails of 38 willing volunteers to cause them pain…

Cannabis-extract pills 'not effective' for dementia symptoms

Thursday May 14 2015

Cannabis-extract pills showed poor results for treating dementia

"Cannabis pills 'do not help dementia sufferers'," reports The Daily Telegraph. Previous research suggested one of the active ingredients in cannabis – tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)…

Claims a 'sweet tooth' increases your Alzheimer’s risk too simplistic

Monday May 11 2015

Having a 'sweet tooth' could increase your Alzheimer’s risk

"Could cake and chocolate lead to Alzheimer's disease?" The Daily Telegraph asks. The question is prompted by research in mice that found evidence that having a high blood sugar level could lead to damage to the brain…

Texting may help relieve pain during minor surgery

Friday May 1 2015

Texting may help relieve pain during minor surgery

"Need pain relief for surgery? Try a text," the Daily Mail reports. The advice was prompted by a small study that found people who used a mobile phone during minor surgery were less likely to require additional pain medication…

Brain’s 'hunger hub' could be switched off

Tuesday Apr 28 2015

Brain’s 'hunger hub' could be switched off

“Have scientists found a way to banish hunger pangs?,” the Mail Online asks. The question is prompted by research in mice looking at the “biological pathways” that regulate appetite and hunger…

Air pollution linked to silent strokes

Friday Apr 24 2015

Air pollution linked to shrunken brains and silent strokes

"Adults who live in towns and cities suffer ageing of the brain and increased risk of dementia and [silent] strokes because of air pollution," The Daily Telegraph reports. A "silent stroke" (technically known as a covert brain infarct…

DNA changes in sperm may help explain autism

Wednesday Apr 15 2015

DNA changes in sperm may trigger autism

"DNA changes could explain why autism runs in families, according to study," The Independent reports. Research suggests a set of changes in a father's DNA – known as methylation – is linked to autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in their offspring…

Middle-age spread 'seems to reduce dementia risk'

Friday Apr 10 2015

Middle-aged spread 'seems to reduce dementia risk'

"Being overweight 'reduces dementia risk'," BBC News reports. The story comes from a cohort study of nearly 2 million UK adults aged over 40. It showed that being overweight or obese was linked to a lower risk of dementia…

No such thing as baby brain, study argues

Wednesday Apr 8 2015

No such thing as baby brain, study argues

"'Baby brain' is a stereotype and all in the mind, the Mail Online reports. The headline is prompted by a US study that aimed to see if "baby brain" (aka "mumnesia") – alleged memory lapses and problems with concentration during pregnancy…

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What is Behind the Headlines?

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