Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Does paracetamol taken in pregnancy affect masculinity?

Friday Jun 23 2017

"Taking paracetamol when pregnant 'makes boys less manly, less aggressive and lowers their sex drive'," reports The Sun. But the alarming headline doesn't explain that the research was in mice, not humans. Researchers gave daily doses...

Obese mums more likely to give birth to babies with birth defects

Thursday Jun 15 2017

"Women who are obese when they conceive are more likely to have a baby with serious birth defects," The Guardian reports. Swedish researchers looked at more than a million health records and found a link between excess body mass index (BMI)…

An egg a day may prevent stunted growth in infants

Thursday Jun 8 2017

"An egg a day appears to help young children grow taller," BBC News reports. Research involving young children in Ecuador found babies given one egg a day for six months had improved growth compared with…

Babies put into their own room at six months 'sleep longer'

Tuesday Jun 6 2017

"Babies moved into their own room at six months sleep better and are lower risk of obesity, poor sleep patterns and tantrums," reports The Sun. This is based on a US study looking at room-sharing…

TV in bedroom 'risk factor' for child obesity

Monday Jun 5 2017

"Children who have TVs in their bedrooms are more likely to be overweight than those who do not," BBC News reports. A UK study found a link between children having a TV in their room and an increased risk of obesity…

Link between stress in pregnancy and ADHD unfounded

Wednesday May 31 2017

"Stressed mothers-to-be face an increased risk of giving birth to a child who will develop ADHD or heart disease later in live," the Mail Online reports. However, the new study it is reporting on did not look at long-term outcomes in children…

Parents' phone addiction may lead to child behavioural problems

Wednesday May 31 2017

"Is our smartphone addiction damaging our children?," The Guardian asks, after publication of a recent study into "technoference" – when people switch their attention away from others to check their phone or tablet…

Hope for plant-based contraceptive, study claims

Tuesday May 16 2017

"Forget Plan B – try aloe vera, controversial study claims: Scientists insist pills made from dandelions and mangoes can prevent pregnancy without a hit of hormones," reports the Mail Online. The news is based on a study...

Concerns about alleged 'harmful' arsenic levels in baby rice cakes

Friday May 5 2017

"Almost half of baby rice food products contain illegal levels of inorganic arsenic despite new regulations set by the EU, according to researchers," ITV News reports…

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…

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