Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

New HPV vaccine may protect against 90% of cervical cancers

Friday Feb 20 2015

New HPV vaccine may protect against 90% of cervical cancers

"New HPV vaccine stops 90% of cervical cancers," the Mail Online reports. The vaccine, which protects against nine common strains of the cancer-causing human papilloma virus (HPV), has proved both safe and effective in a study involving 14,000 women…

Sunlight UV damage to skin persists even after dark

Friday Feb 20 2015

Sunlight UV damage to skin persists even in the dark

"Moving immediately into the shade does not stop sun damage, as UV rays can continue damaging skin cells hours after exposure," The Guardian reports. A study has found evidence that damage to DNA can continue after initial exposure…

Nanoparticles used to treat damaged arteries

Thursday Feb 19 2015

'Nano drones' used to repair damaged arteries

"New trials suggest microscopic stealth drones could be used to seek and repair damaged arteries," The Daily Telegraph, somewhat overexcitedly, reports. A study in mice has found promising results for a targeted treatment…

Researchers may have unmasked mystery of cannabis 'munchies'

Thursday Feb 19 2015

Researchers may have unmasked mystery of 'cannabis munchies'

"Cannabis 'munchies' explained by new study," The Guardian reports. "Munchies" is widely used slang for a common effect of cannabis: sudden hunger pangs, even if a user has just eaten. A new study set out to find why cannabis causes increased appetite…

Menopausal symptoms 'last longer' than previously thought

Wednesday Feb 18 2015

Menopausal symptoms 'last longer' than previously thought

"Menopause lasts 'up to 14 years'," the Daily Mail reports, with The Daily Telegraph reporting a similar figure – but according to The Guardian, it's "12 years"…

Impact of daytime naps on children's sleep quality uncertain

Wednesday Feb 18 2015

Impact of daytime naps on toddlers’ sleep quality uncertain

“Daytime naps ‘should stop at the age of two’: Children have poorer quality sleep if they rest during the afternoon,” is the inaccurate headline on the Mail Online…

Plain packaging 'may help smokers to cut down'

Tuesday Feb 17 2015

Plain packaging 'may help smokers smoke less'

"Plain packaging reduced unconscious triggers to smoke," BBC News reports. This claim is based on two related experiments where smokers were either exposed to a picture of a branded pack of cigarettes, a picture of a plain pack...

Molecule could protect against Alzheimer's disease

Tuesday Feb 17 2015

Molecule could protect against Alzheimer's disease

"Alzheimer's breakthrough: scientists home in on molecule which halts development of disease," The Daily Telegraph reports. The so-called "chaperone molecule", known as "Brichos", helps prevent the clumping of proteins…

Media heralds the discovery of 'infidelity gene'

Monday Feb 16 2015

Researchers say they have found the 'infidelity gene' in women

"Women are more likely to cheat on their partner if they carry the ‘infidelity gene'," the Mail Online reports. The "infidelity gene", a variant of the AVPR1A gene, may be associated with female sexual infidelity, researchers have found…

Super-strength 'skunk' cannabis linked to psychosis

Monday Feb 16 2015

Super-strength 'skunk' cannabis linked to psychosis

" 'Skunk-like cannabis' increases risk of psychosis, study suggests," BBC News reports after a new study found high-potency strains of "skunk" cannabis – infamous for both its strength and its pungent smell – could be linked to one in four cases of…

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...