Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Immune system 'plays a role in dementia'

Friday May 13 2016

"Scientists have identified a new cause of devastating neurological conditions," the Mail Online reports – but this is entirely inaccurate. A review of existing evidence makes the case that the innate immune system may be…

No evidence probiotics are beneficial for healthy adults

Thursday May 12 2016

"Probiotic goods a 'waste of money' for healthy adults, research suggests," The Guardian reports. A new review of previously gathered data found no evidence that probiotics improved the balance of gut bacteria in healthy adults…

Is a pint of beer a day good for the heart?

Thursday May 12 2016

"Pint of beer a day could protect you from heart attacks," The Independent reports. A new review on the alleged protective effects of moderate beer drinking has been warmly welcomed by the UK media – but nobody reported it was funded…

BMI categories may need adjusting, argue researchers

Wednesday May 11 2016

"Being overweight may not be as unhealthy as it was 40 years ago," BBC News reports. New research has found a body mass index (BMI) of 27 is linked to the lowest rate of death – but someone with a BMI of 27 is currently classed as being overweight...

33,000 deaths 'linked to failings in NHS heart attack care'

Tuesday May 10 2016

"Thousands of heart victims killed by poor care," claims the Daily Mail. A review of clinical data from the last 10 years in England and Wales looked at patients with a history of what are known as…

Are we sleepwalking into a 'global sleep crisis'?

Monday May 9 2016

"We are facing a global sleep crisis because we don't go to bed early enough, say scientists," the Mail Online reports. The warning comes from a study produced by a research team using a smartphone app (Entrain) to track sleep patterns…

Study finds no link between mobile phones and brain cancer

Monday May 9 2016

"Mobile phones don't increase the risk of brain cancer, 30-year study concludes," the Mail Online reports. The Australian study found the massive increase in mobile phone use over the past 30 years was not matched by a similar rise in brain cancer cases…

Exercise benefits you - even in polluted city air

Friday May 6 2016

"Why walking is good for you ... even in the smog. Health benefits of a stroll found to outweigh harm caused by chemicals and dust pumped out by traffic," says the Mail Online. The report in question was carried out...

Can you really 'catch' obesity?

Thursday May 5 2016

"Obesity could be contagious like superbug C diff, suggest scientists," The Daily Telegraph reports. This rather alarming headline follows a study that explored characteristics of bacteria living in the human gut...

Diluted apple juice 'as good as' rehydration drinks for children

Wednesday May 4 2016

"Scientists have revealed which fruit can stop toddlers crying due to stomach pains," says the Daily Mirror, missing the point of the study it reports on. The study looked at the use of diluted apple juice to prevent dehydration...

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%