Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Leaving babies to cry 'will improve their sleep', study says

Friday May 27 2016

"Babies do sleep better if you leave them to cry," the Daily Mail reports. A small study suggests that "graduated extinction" – better known as controlled crying in this country – increased sleep length and reduced the…

Could cannabis damage DNA that is then passed down generations?

Thursday May 26 2016

"Smoking cannabis can alter a person's DNA, causing mutations that expose a user to serious illnesses," the Mail Online reports. A new review has looked at the role cannabis may play in what is known as chromothripsis…

Exam stress linked to teen suicide

Thursday May 26 2016

"First detailed study into 130 [teen] suicide cases in England finds range of common anxieties," The Guardian reports, citing factors including exam stress, bullying and bereavement…

Link between stillbirth and air pollution 'inconclusive'

Wednesday May 25 2016

"Air pollution may raise risk of stillbirth and pregnant women should consider leaving cities, say scientists," The Daily Telegraph reports. This is somewhat radical advice given the study that prompted the headline…

Dad's age, diet and lifestyle may cause birth defects

Monday May 16 2016

"Men are being warned to become fathers by 40 or face a greater risk of having children with serious illnesses," the Daily Mail reports after a new review looked at some of the evidence about paternal influences on the risk of childhood diseases…

Diluted apple juice 'as good as' rehydration drinks for children

Wednesday May 4 2016

"Scientists have revealed which fruit can stop toddlers crying due to stomach pains," says the Daily Mirror, missing the point of the study it reports on. The study looked at the use of diluted apple juice to prevent dehydration...

Attending all-girl school linked to increased risk of eating disorders

Thursday Apr 21 2016

"Anorexia could be 'contagious' in girls' schools," the Daily Telegraph reports, while the Mail Online claims that, "Pushy parents are driving children to eating disorders." The study, which took place in Sweden, found…

Child head injuries could harm relationship with parents

Monday Apr 18 2016

"A simple bang on the head can alter a child's relationship with their parents claim academics," the Daily Mail reports. A Canadian study found children who had experienced even just a mild traumatic head injury…

Would you trust a smartphone app as a contraceptive?

Friday Apr 15 2016

"An innovative new app might provide a more effective form of birth control than the contraceptive pill," The Sun reports. The Natural Cycles fertility app combines the use of a thermometer to measure body temperature with calendar calculating…

Zika virus 'does cause birth defects'

Thursday Apr 14 2016

"The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention … has confirmed that the Zika virus causes severe birth defects," BBC News reports. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has concluded that…

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What is Behind the Headlines?

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