Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Warnings of a dementia epidemic may be unfounded

Friday Aug 21 2015

Warnings of a dementia epidemic may have been unfounded

"Dementia may not be the fast-growing epidemic it has been painted to be," The Guardian reports. Latest data from Europe shows the percentage of dementia cases have levelled off, rather than increased…

Working long hours 'increases stroke risk'

Friday Aug 21 2015

Working long hours increases stroke risk

"People working long hours are more likely to have a stroke, according to analysis of more than half a million people," BBC News reports. Researchers pooled the data from 25 previous studies that included more than 600,000 individuals…

Just one drink a day 'may raise breast cancer risk'

Thursday Aug 20 2015

Just one drink a day 'may raise breast cancer risk'

"Just one drink a day raises breast cancer risk" is the front page headline in the Daily Mail following the results of a new study. While the health risks of heavy drinking are well established, the effects of light drinking are less clear…

Water fluoridation 'a safe way of stopping tooth decay'

Thursday Aug 20 2015

Water fluoridation 'a safe way of stopping tooth decay'

"Adding fluoride to tap water could save the NHS millions and dramatically improve children's dental health," the Mail Online reports. A new UK study concluded that water fluoridation is a "safe and effective way" of preventing tooth decay…

E-cigarettes '95% less harmful than smoking' says report

Wednesday Aug 19 2015

E-cigarettes '95% less harmful than smoking' says report

"E-cigarettes are 95% less harmful than tobacco and could be prescribed on the NHS in future to help smokers quit," BBC News reports. This is the main finding of an evidence review carried out by Public Health England…

Guidelines set to tackle over-prescribing of antibiotics

Tuesday Aug 18 2015

Guidelines set to tackle problem of over-prescribing antibiotics

"GPs face axe for handing out too many pills," the Daily Mail reports. The headline is prompted by remarks made by Professor Mark Baker, clinical practice chief at the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence…

Aspirin lowers risk of hereditary bowel cancer in obese people

Tuesday Aug 18 2015

Obesity raises risk of hereditary bowel cancer; aspirin lowers it

"A daily aspirin may slash bowel cancer risk for the obese," the Daily Mail reports. But the headline fails to make it clear that this latest research didn't involve people in the general public who were obese…

Is your purse a hotbed of bacterial infection?

Monday Aug 17 2015

Is your purse a hotbed of bacterial infection?

"More than 90 per cent of purses have bacteria on them, and women are the worst offenders," the Mail Online reports. A study found purses could be a reservoir for bacteria, especially those made out of synthetic materials…

Low-fat diet 'better' than low-carb diet for getting rid of body fat

Friday Aug 14 2015

Low-fat diet 'better' than low-carb diet for getting rid of body fat

"Low-fat diets 'better than cutting carbs' for weight loss," says BBC News. But wait, the Mail Online says: "Low-carb 'is best for weight loss". Confused? Traditionally, weight-loss diets were based on the concept of eating a low-fat diet…

Music can help ease pain and anxiety after surgery

Thursday Aug 13 2015

Music can help ease pain and anxiety after surgery

"Listening to music before, during and after an operation can help reduce pain," BBC News reports. An analysis of data found evidence that people who listened to music had reduced anxiety and were less likely to request pain relief…

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%