Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Are good neighbours really life-savers?

Tuesday Aug 19 2014

Are good neighbours really life-savers?

'Having good neighbours can help cut heart attack risk, study shows' The Independent reports. A US study has found an association between high levels of 'social cohesion' and reduced heart attack risk…

Targeted brain stimulation 'could aid stroke recovery'

Tuesday Aug 19 2014

Targeted brain stimulation 'could aid stroke recovery'

"Stimulating the part of the brain which controls movement may improve recovery after a stroke," BBC News reports after researchers used lasers to stimulate a particular region of the brain with promising results in mice…

Bone marrow drug could treat alopecia

Monday Aug 18 2014

Bone marrow drug could treat alopecia

"Alopecia sufferers given new treatment hope with repurposed drug," The Guardian reports. A drug used to treat bone marrow cancer, ruxolitinib, reversed hair loss in three patients…

Depression 'common' in early Parkinson’s

Monday Aug 18 2014

Depression 'common' in early Parkinson’s

“Depression more common in early Parkinson’s,” BBC News reports, as a new study investigates the impact this degenerative condition can have on mental health…

Caution urged over CT scan radiation doses

Friday Aug 15 2014

Patients receive a dose of radiation during a CT scan

BBC News reports on a sharp rise in the number of CT scans being performed, exposing people to the potential health risks of radiation. However, as The Daily Telegraph says, it is not possible to calculate the cancer risk...

Macmillan finds cancer survival 'postcode lottery'

Friday Aug 15 2014

Tower blocks in Dagenham: the area has one of the worst cancer survival rates

"Cancer postcode lottery 'costs 6,000 lives a year'," reports The Times. This, and similar headlines, are based on cancer survival figures compiled by Macmillan Cancer Support...

High-salt diet linked to 1.6 million heart deaths

Thursday Aug 14 2014

Too much salt in the diet is believed to cause cardiovascular disease

"Salty diet 'causes 1.6 million deaths worldwide each year'," reports The Daily Telegraph. It goes on to quote a researcher saying this is "nearly 1 in 10 of all deaths from cardiovascular causes worldwide". This scary-sounding headline...

Is UK obesity fuelling an increase in 10 cancers?

Thursday Aug 14 2014

Obesity is known to be associated with increased risk of cancer

"Being overweight and obese puts people at greater risk of developing 10 of the most common cancers," reports BBC News. The news is based on research using information in UK GP records for over 5 million people...

Anti-obesity drugs 'may still work in middle-age'

Wednesday Aug 13 2014

Middle-age spread is best dealt with by eating less and getting more exercise

“Drug to halt the dreaded spread of middle age,” reports The Daily Telegraph, with similar headlines on the Daily Express and Daily Mail websites. However, these claims are rather premature given the research they’re based on anti-obesity drugs...

Salt injections: not a cure for cancer

Wednesday Aug 13 2014

It's unwise to inject yourself with table salt

"Salt injection 'kills cancer cells' by causing them to self-destruct," reports the Mail Online. Despite this headline, there is no new treatment for cancer using salt...

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...