Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Lack of sleep may disrupt development of a child's brain

Tuesday Nov 29 2016

"New brain scans reveal sleep deprivation damages children's brains more than previously thought," the Mail Online reports. Researchers measured the brain activity of children whose sleep had been restricted by four…

Expensive IVF add-ons 'not evidence based'

Monday Nov 28 2016

"Nearly all costly add-on treatments offered by UK fertility clinics to increase the chance of a birth through IVF are not supported by high-quality evidence," BBC News reports, covering the findings of a review by experts in evidence-based medicine…

Low social status 'damages immune function'

Friday Nov 25 2016

"Simply being at the bottom of the social heap directly alters the body," BBC News reports. The headline is based on a study in which researchers used female monkeys to simulate social hierarchies. Monkeys of low social status…

Just a small cut in saturated fats reduces heart disease risk

Friday Nov 25 2016

"Swapping butter and meat for olive oil and fish does cut the risk of heart disease," The Times reports. New research suggests that swapping just 15% of your daily calorie intake away from saturated fats could reduce heart disease risk by around 8%...

Review questions recent official vitamin D guidance

Thursday Nov 24 2016

"Vitamin D pills branded 'waste of time' and could even be 'harmful' according to new research," The Sun reports. But, despite the headline, no new research has been done. The news comes from a review of existing evidence…

Men's attitude towards fatherhood 'affects child behaviour'

Wednesday Nov 23 2016

"Children of confident fathers who embrace parenthood are less likely to show behavioural problems before their teenage years," The Guardian reports. A study found a link between positive attitudes towards fatherhood and good behaviour at age 11…

Can a high-tech treatment help combat some of our oldest fears?

Tuesday Nov 22 2016

"Scientists have raised hopes for a radical new therapy for phobias," The Guardian reports. Brain scanners were used to identify brain activity pinpointing when people are most receptive to the "rewriting" of fearful memories…

Bagged salads 'pose salmonella risk,' say researchers

Monday Nov 21 2016

"Bagged salad can fuel the growth of food-poisoning bugs like salmonella and make them more dangerous," BBC News reports. Researchers found evidence that the environment inside a salad bag offers an ideal breeding ground for salmonella, a type of…

Online calculator that tries to predict IVF success released

Friday Nov 18 2016

"Couples can find out their chances of having a baby over multiple cycles of IVF treatment using a new online calculator," BBC News reports. The calculator is designed to predict the success of in vitro fertilisation (IVF) – often used when a woman…

Does vitamin D cut lung infection risk in older adults?

Friday Nov 18 2016

"Why you should take vitamin D as you get older: High doses reduce the risk of respiratory illnesses by 40%," the Mail Online reports. Researchers in Colorado investigated whether a high dose of vitamin D in older adults…

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

Miracle foods: myths and the media

Can a curry save your life? Read our report on the supposed health benefits of common foods

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...

Sugar intake should be reduced

Sugar intake should be drastically reduced, says report

A new government report recommends no more than 5% of our calorie intake should come from 'free sugars'. The previous recommendation was 10%