Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Over-60s 'benefit from bursts of intense exercise'

Monday Jul 28 2014

Seconds of intense exercise 'improves health'

"Two minute of exercise … is enough to boost pensioners' health," the Daily Mirror reports. A pilot study into high intensity training suggests it may be an effective method of combating the effects of ageing…

Should donor blood be screened for hepatitis E?

Monday Jul 28 2014

Blood donors 'are spreading hepatitis E'

"One in almost every 3,000 blood donors in England could be infected with hepatitis E, according to a new study," The Times reports. Hepatitis E normally causes only a mild infection that usually clears up by itself without the need for treatment…

Study links shift work to increased risk of diabetes

Friday Jul 25 2014

Shift work linked to diabetes

“Type 2 diabetes is more common in people who work shifts, a large international study suggests,” BBC News reports. The BBC reports on a review that searched the literature and found 12 studies including more than 225,000 people…

TV and gaming after work 'leads to feelings of guilt'

Friday Jul 25 2014

TV and gaming after work 'leads to feelings of guilt'

'Watching TV after work makes you feel 'guilty’' The Independent reports. The results of an online survey suggest watching TV and playing video games after work to relax could be self-defeating, as the activities trigger feelings of guilt and shame…

Deadly MERS 'camel flu' may now be airborne

Thursday Jul 24 2014

Deadly MERS 'camel flu' may now be airborne

"Deadly Mers virus 'could now be airborne'," The Independent reports. Air samples suggest that the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome virus, which has an estimated 30% case fatality rate, could now be spread through the air...

Paracetamol 'doesn’t work' for lower back pain

Thursday Jul 24 2014

Paracetamol 'doesn’t work' for lower back pain

“Paracetamol used to treat acute lower back pain is no better than a dummy pill,” BBC News reports. A well-conducted trial casts doubts on the widespread recommendation that paracetamol is an effective treatment for lower back pain…

Sleep deprivation may affect memory

Wednesday Jul 23 2014

Sleep deprivation may affect memory

"Sleep deprived people are more likely to … hold 'false' memories of the past," The Daily Telegraph reports. New results suggest that lack of sleep may make more people more vulnerable to develop certain types of memory problems…

Umami flavouring 'may help you feel fuller faster'

Wednesday Jul 23 2014

Umami flavouring 'may help you feel fuller faster'

"Always hungry? You need more UMAMI in your life: study finds so-called 'fifth taste' in sauces and meat helps us feel satisfied," reports the Mail Online. Umami is a Japanese term that roughly translates as "pleasant savoury taste"…

Study offers insight into genetics of schizophrenia

Tuesday Jul 22 2014

Fresh insights into the genetics of schizophrenia

"More than 100 schizophrenia genes have been pinpointed," reports the Daily Mail. In one of the largest studies of its kind, researchers have gained further insights into the genetics of the condition, which it is hoped could lead to new treatments…

Probiotics 'may improve blood pressure'

Tuesday Jul 22 2014

Probiotics may help improve blood pressure

“Eating probiotics may lower blood pressure,” The Daily Telegraph reports. Probiotics, so-called “friendly bacteria”, have been found to moderately reduce blood pressure in a new study…

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...