Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Kidney injuries 'killing thousands,' study claims

Wednesday Apr 23 2014

Kidney injuries 'killings thousands', doctor claims

“Failures in basic hospital care are resulting in more than 1,000 deaths a month from … acute kidney injury,” The Independent reports. A study commissioned by the NHS estimates that up to 40,000 people may be dying from this preventable condition.

Edible flowers not proven to prevent cancer

Wednesday Apr 23 2014

Eating flowers unproven as cancer preventer

“Eating flowers grown in British gardens could help to reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer, according to a new study,” The Daily Telegraph reports. However, the study the news is based on did not actually involve any humans…

Cheap holidays 'increased' melanoma rates

Tuesday Apr 22 2014

Cheap holidays 'increased' melanoma rates

"Skin cancer rates 'surge since 1970s'" BBC News reports. A press release from Cancer Research UK highlights the fact that there has been a sharp rise in melanoma rates since the 1970s…

'Silver surfers' may have lower depression risk

Tuesday Apr 22 2014

'Silver Surfers' may have lower depression risk

"Silver surfers are happier than techno-foges [sic]: Internet use cuts elderly depression rates by 30 per cent," the Mail Online reports after the results of a US study have suggested…

Apathy unproven as early warning sign of dementia

Thursday Apr 17 2014

Apathy may be early warning sign of dementia

“Elderly who lose interest in pastimes could be at risk of Alzheimer's,” reports The Daily Telegraph, with other papers reporting similar headlines.

NICE highlights how hand washing can save lives

Thursday Apr 17 2014

NICE highlights how hand washing saves lives

“Doctors and nurses should do more to stop hospital patients developing infections, an NHS watchdog says,” BBC News reports. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has highlighted how basic hygiene protocols…

PET scans may improve brain injury diagnosis

Wednesday Apr 16 2014

PET scans may improve brain injury diagnosis

“PET scans could predict extent of recovery from brain injury, trials show,” The Guardian reports. Evidence suggests that the advanced scanning devices may be able to detect faint signs of consciousness in people with severe brain injuries.

Cannabis linked to brain differences in the young

Wednesday Apr 16 2014

Cannabis used linked to brain abnormalities

“Using cannabis just once a week harms young brains,” the Daily Mail reports. The newspaper reports on an US study that took one-off brain MRI scans of a group of 20 young adult recreational cannabis users, and a comparison group of 20 non-users…

Eating chocolate probably won’t save your marriage

Tuesday Apr 15 2014

Eating chocolate probably won’t save your marriage

“As blood glucose levels plummet, aggression levels rise, and people take it out on those closest to them,” The Daily Telegraph reports.

Salt cuts have 'saved lives,' says study

Tuesday Apr 15 2014

'Salt cuts have saved lives,' says study

"Cutting back on salt does save lives," is the good news on the front page of the Daily Mail. The headline is based on a study of data obtained from the Health Survey for England, the National Diet and Nutrition Survey, and the Office for National…


Many health claims are made for probiotics. Find out when they might help and when to be sceptical

Call to make 5 a day fruit and veg into '7 a day'

Recent research suggests that eating seven portions of fruit and vegetables is associated with a lower risk of dying from heart disease and cancer. Should we all be eating more?

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

Alcohol, myths and the media

Can lager help you live longer? Can wine help you lose weight? We take a sober look at the media’s claims about alcohol, and what the science actually says


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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...