Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Risky stem cell treatment 'halts progress of multiple sclerosis'

Friday Jun 10 2016

"New treatment can 'halt' multiple sclerosis, says study," BBC News reports. The treatment involves effectively destroying the existing immune system and creating a new one using stem cells. But this new treatment…

Should we rethink the causes of anorexia?

Thursday Jun 9 2016

"Anorexia is not about a fear of getting fat, but rather a pleasure at losing weight, experts reveal," says the Daily Mail. The headline oversimplifies the results of a study that looked at women's responses to photos of women of varying weights…

Green tea extract 'boosts mental ability' in people with Down's

Wednesday Jun 8 2016

"Down's syndrome can be treated with green tea," says The Daily Telegraph, reporting on a study that looked at the effect of a chemical extract on learning difficulties…

Migraines linked to increased heart disease risk in women

Wednesday Jun 1 2016

"Women who suffer migraines have a 50 per cent greater chance of developing a major heart … problem," the Daily Mail reports. Individual risks to women remain small, but because migraines are so widespread…

Proof opiates are useful for chronic back pain 'lacking'

Tuesday May 24 2016

"Powerful painkillers doled out in their millions are ineffective against back pain," the Daily Mail reports. An Australian review found evidence for the effectiveness of opiate-based painkillers, such as tramadol and…

Study: 'mini strokes should be treated immediately with aspirin'

Thursday May 19 2016

"People should consider taking aspirin immediately after a minor stroke," BBC News reports. A review of existing evidence found people treated with aspirin after a mini stroke (transient ischaemic attack, or TIA)…

Magic mushroom ingredient tested as depression treatment

Wednesday May 18 2016

"Magic mushrooms 'promising' in depression," BBC News reports. Magic mushrooms is an umbrella term for fungi that contain psilocybin. This is a psychoactive substance that can cause intense LSD-like…

Immune system 'plays a role in dementia'

Friday May 13 2016

"Scientists have identified a new cause of devastating neurological conditions," the Mail Online reports – but this is entirely inaccurate. A review of existing evidence makes the case that the innate immune system may be…

Study finds no link between mobile phones and brain cancer

Monday May 9 2016

"Mobile phones don't increase the risk of brain cancer, 30-year study concludes," the Mail Online reports. The Australian study found the massive increase in mobile phone use over the past 30 years was not matched by a similar rise in brain cancer cases…

UK dementia rates have fallen sharply in men

Wednesday Apr 20 2016

"Dementia rate falls as men behave themselves," The Times reports. A UK study of dementia trends over the last 20 years suggests that the number of men developing the condition has dropped significantly, possibly as a result of lifestyle changes…

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...

Superfoods: the evidence

We examine the evidence behind the health claims made about the most popular superfoods

Clinical trials and medical research

Clinical trials explained, including how to take part in one and why medical research is important

Strength and Flex

Download our Strength and flexibility podcast series and get a free personal trainer