Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Paralysed man walks again after pioneering surgery

Tuesday Oct 21 2014

Paralysed man walks again after pioneering surgery

"World first as man whose spinal cord was severed WALKS," the Mail Online reports. In what has been described as pioneering research, transplanted cells have been used to stimulate the repair of his spinal cord…

Smokers' homes 'as polluted as Beijing'

Tuesday Oct 21 2014

Living with a smoker 'as bad as living in Beijing'

"Living with smoker 'as bad as living in polluted city'," BBC News reports. Scottish researchers have estimated that the level of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) in smokers' households is similar to those found in a heavily polluted city such as Beijing…

BMI tests 'miss' over a quarter of obese children

Monday Oct 20 2014

BMI tests 'missing' over a quarter of obese children

"Quarter of obese children missed by BMI tests," the Mail Online reports. The headline was prompted by a review that combined the results of 37 studies in more than 50,000 children and found body mass index (BMI)…

Viagra could double up as heart failure drug

Monday Oct 20 2014

Viagra could 'double-up' as heart failure drug

"Sex pill Viagra could help men suffering from heart disease," reports the Mirror. This headline follows a new review into the potential heart benefits of the active ingredient in erectile dysfunction drugs such as sildenafil (Viagra)…

Vegetative patients show awareness during scans

Friday Oct 17 2014

MRI scans detected signs of meaningful brain activity

"Vegetative patients may be more conscious of the world than we think," The Independent reports. Electrodes have detected what has been described as "well-preserved" networks of brain activity in patients in a vegetative state…

Exercise data signs could cut sugary drink intake

Friday Oct 17 2014

Exercise data signs help cut sugary drink intake

"Signs warning shoppers how much exercise they need to do to burn off calories in sugary drinks can encourage healthier choices," BBC News reports. Signs in shops in an area of Baltimore led to a change in shopping habits amongst teenagers…

Crash diets 'work best' claim misguided

Thursday Oct 16 2014

Crash diets 'can work' claim

“Crash diets DO work, claim experts,” the Mail Online reports. It reports on an Australian study involving 200 obese adults who were randomly assigned to either a 12-week rapid weight loss programme on a very low-calorie diet…

New way to distinguish between ovarian tumours

Thursday Oct 16 2014

New test to distinguish between ovarian tumours

"A new test can help doctors identify ovarian cancer more accurately and cut down on instances of unnecessary surgery," BBC News reports. The BBC accurately reflects the findings of researchers who developed new tests for ovarian cancer. These tests…

Stem cells used to improve low vision

Wednesday Oct 15 2014

Stem cells used to improve low vision

"Embryonic stem cells transplanted into eyes of blind restore sight," The Daily Telegraph reports, covering a study where human stem cells were transplanted into the eyes of people with visual impairment…

Ebola could reach the UK, but outbreak risk is low

Wednesday Oct 15 2014

The Ebola virus: scientists are tracking how it spreads

“Global threat of Ebola: From the US to China, scientists plot spread of deadly disease across the world from its West African hotbed,” reports the Mail Online. This is a terrifyingly apocalyptic-sounding headline, yet...

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

Stem cell research in the news

Stem cells are often portrayed in the media as a miracle cure for many serious conditions and disabilities. We analyse the facts behind these stories

Miracle Foods: myths and the media

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

Video: the placebo effect

Watch Ben Goldacre explain what the placebo effect is and describes its role in medical research and in the pharmaceutical industry

Your NHS Health Check

Millions of people have already had their free "midlife MOT". Find out why this health check-up is so important

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...