Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Cannabis 'safe to treat pain' but no proof it helps

Monday Oct 5 2015

Many people claim cannabis can control their pain

"Smoking cannabis daily 'is safe when treating chronic pain – but only if you're an experienced user', study finds," says a Mail Online headline. It refers to a study done in Canada to see how safe medical cannabis is for treating chronic pain...

Too soon to say being tall increases cancer risk

Friday Oct 2 2015

Too soon to say being tall increases cancer risk

"Higher risk of cancer if you are tall," says the Daily Mirror. Most media outlets provided a similar spin on the seemingly big news that the risk of developing cancer increases with every 10cm of height...

High blood pressure: does it leads to diabetes?

Thursday Oct 1 2015

Blood pressure measurement is an important health metric

"Study gives strongest link yet between blood pressure and diabetes," says The Guardian. At first glance these might be considered two unconnected conditions, but research over the years has led to diabetes being...

Probiotic friendly bacteria may play role in stopping asthma

Thursday Oct 1 2015

Childhood asthma: the casues are complex

"'Good bacteria' key to stopping asthma," says BBC News. Before you go out and buy a year's supply of probiotic yoghurt drinks, it's worth noting a few points that burst the hype...

Are calcium pills any good at cutting fracture risk?

Wednesday Sep 30 2015

Calcium pills: the prevailing wisdom that they're good for bones is being challenged

"Calcium supplements don't work, say experts," The Daily Telegraph reports. While this headline is not strictly true, new research has shown that for most healthy people, calcium supplements will make little difference...

Olive oil and wholegrains 'lower heart disease risk'

Tuesday Sep 29 2015

Swapping butter for olive oil and wholegrains 'lowers heart disease risk'

“Butter isn’t better than margarine after all,” declares the Mail Online, after a new study finds that reducing saturated fat does indeed lower the risk of heart disease...

Too soon for 'aspirin doubles cancer survival' claim

Monday Sep 28 2015

Aspirin pills: cheap and with proven benefits, but do they improve your chance of surviving cancer?

"Aspirin could almost double your chance of surviving cancer," the Daily Mail reports, with most of the newspapers featuring similar claims...

Doctors should 'wait longer' before diagnosing miscarriage

Friday Sep 25 2015

Doctors should 'wait longer' before diagnosing miscarriage

'Doctors are being advised to wait longer before they diagnose a miscarriage' Guardian reports. A new study found evidence that suggest women should be given a second ultrasound scan, two weeks after the first, to confirm the diagnosis…

'No significant link' between breastfeeding and higher IQ

Thursday Sep 24 2015

'No link' between breastfeeding and higher IQ, study reports

"Breastfeeding has no benefit over bottle feeding when it comes to a child's IQ," the Daily Mail says, reporting on the results of a study that found no significant link between breastfeeding and increased intelligence…

Fidgeting probably not a useful alternative to proper exercise

Thursday Sep 24 2015

Fidgeting is probably not a useful alternative to proper exercise

"Fidgeting 'offsets unhealthy effects of sitting for long periods and may help you live longer'," the Daily Mirror reports. A new study reported fidgeting may help make up for the harmful effects of most people's sedentary lifestyles…

Miracle cure or scam?

Will an online miracle cure really provide the answer to your health problem?

Health anxiety (hypochondria)

Most of us worry about our health from time to time. But for some people, this worry never goes away and becomes a problem in itself

Miracle foods: myths and the media

Can a curry save your life? Read our report on the supposed health benefits of common foods

How to read health news

How to read health news

Fact or fiction? Killer or cure? We show you how to look Behind the Headlines.

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...

Sugar intake should be reduced

Sugar intake should be drastically reduced, says report

A new government report recommends no more than 5% of our calorie intake should come from 'free sugars'. The previous recommendation was 10%