Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Sugary soft drinks linked to earlier periods in girls

Wednesday Jan 28 2015

Sugary soft drinks linked to earlier periods in girls

"Sugary drinks may cause menstruation to start earlier, study suggests," The Guardian reports. A US study found that girls drinking more than one and a half drinks a day had their period around three months earlier than girls drinking two or less a week…

Gift vouchers can help pregnant smokers quit

Wednesday Jan 28 2015

Gift vouchers can help pregnant smokers quit

"Offering shopping vouchers worth a total of £400 to pregnant smokers makes them more likely to quit the habit, say researchers," BBC News reports...

Female lung cancer deaths 'may outstrip breast cancer' in 2015

Tuesday Jan 27 2015

Lung cancer has a notoriously poor prognosis

The Mail Online states: "Lung cancer death rates among European women set to overtake breast cancer for first time this year," adding that "researchers blame high levels of smoking, especially in Britain..."

Media dementia scare over hay fever and sleep drugs

Tuesday Jan 27 2015

Not all antihistamines are the same

"Hay fever tablets raise risk of Alzheimer's," is the main front page news in the Daily Mirror. The Guardian mentions popular brand names such as Nytol, Benadryl, Ditropan and Piriton among the pills studied...

People with autism have 'unique' brain patterns

Monday Jan 26 2015

Autism affects social interaction, communication, interests and behaviour

"The brains of people diagnosed with autism are 'uniquely synchronised'," the Mail Online reports. Researchers used brain scans to study the brain activity of people with autism and found a distinctly unique pattern of connectivity…

Brown fat may protect against diabetes and obesity

Monday Jan 26 2015

Brown fat may protect against diabetes and metabolic syndrome

“Fat can protect you against obesity and diabetes," the Mail Online reports. However, the small study it reports on was looking at brown fat, which is only found in small amounts in adults…

Statin use may be widening health inequalities in England

Friday Jan 23 2015

Use of statins may be widening health inequalities

'Mass prescription of statins ‘will widen social inequalities’' The Independent report. A UK analysis of heart disease deaths from 2000 to 2007 found that statins were far more effective for the richest 20% of the population compared to the poorest 20%...

Angry Twitter communities linked to heart deaths

Friday Jan 23 2015

Angry Twitter communities linked to heart deaths

"Angry tweeting 'could increase your risk of heart disease','' is the poorly reported headline in The Daily Telegraph. The study it reports on found there is a link between angry tweets and levels of heart disease deaths…

New heart attack test shows promise for women

Thursday Jan 22 2015

New heart attack test shows promise for women

"Doctors could spot twice as many heart attacks in women by using a newer, more sensitive blood test," BBC News reports. In women, for reasons that are unclear, a heart attack often doesn't trigger the symptom most people associate with the condition…

Claims that 'men worsen labour pains' are unproven

Thursday Jan 22 2015

Claims that its 'official' men worsen labour pains are unproven

"It’s official: men really shouldn’t be at the birth," is the bizarre headline in The Times, as it reports on a pain study on women who were not even pregnant, let alone giving birth…

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...