Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Zika virus: your questions answered

Wednesday Feb 10 2016

The World Health Organization reports that the Zika virus has now spread through both South and Central America and expects three to four million people to be infected in 2016. So what is the Zika virus and what steps can you take to protect yourself?

Paracetamol use in pregnancy and infancy linked to child asthma

Wednesday Feb 10 2016

"Babies given paracetamol are nearly a third more likely to develop asthma," the Mail Online reports. The study the news is based on also found a link between maternal use of the painkiller in pregnancy, and childhood asthma…

New NICE guidelines on sun exposure warn 'tanning is unsafe'

Wednesday Feb 10 2016

"No safe way to suntan, new NICE guidance warns," BBC News reports. Though the guidelines also stress the benefits of moderate sun exposure to prevent vitamin D deficiency; which is more common in the UK than many people realise…

'Bionic spine' could pave the way for new paralysis treatments

Tuesday Feb 9 2016

"'Bionic spine' could enable paralysed patients to walk using subconscious thought," reports The Guardian. In a study using sheep, Australian researchers have developed a device that can record movement signals…

Hope that blood test 'could diagnose five types of cancer'

Monday Feb 8 2016

"A new blood test that detects five different forms of cancer is one step closer to becoming a reality and could save millions of lives around the world," the Mail Online reports. The test looks for abnormal changes…

Could statins treat common cause of vision loss?

Friday Feb 5 2016

"Statins could be miracle cure for blindness," reports the Express, following a new study into dry age-related macular degeneration (AMD), one of the leading causes of blindness in adults...

Smoking bans linked to fewer heart attacks and strokes

Thursday Feb 4 2016

The ban on smoking indoors in public places “has helped save the lives of passive smokers,” says the Daily Mail. The headline refers to a review of the effects of smoking bans, which found fewer admissions to hospitals...

Just one hour of sitting down may increase diabetes risk by a fifth

Wednesday Feb 3 2016

"Every extra hour sitting down can raise your risk of type 2 diabetes by a fifth," the Daily Mirror reports. The paper reports on a study that looked at the effects of sedentary behaviour on type 2 diabetes risk…

Weight loss in middle age: A warning sign of dementia?

Wednesday Feb 3 2016

"How losing weight in middle age 'could be a sign of dementia'," the Daily Mail reports. A US study suggests there is an association between middle-age weight change and risk of mild cognitive impairment – which can be an early sign of dementia…

UK regulators give go-ahead for 'embryo editing'

Tuesday Feb 2 2016

"UK scientists have been given the go-ahead by the fertility regulator to genetically modify human embryos," BBC News reports. The UK body that regulates research into embryos…

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%