Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Doctors 'vastly outperform' symptom checker apps

Tuesday Oct 11 2016

"Doctors correctly diagnose illness 'twice as often as online symptom checkers'," The Sun reports. A US study ran a head-to-head comparison between doctors and a symptom checker platform called Human Dx using what are known as clinical vignettes…

Does vitamin D in pregnancy prevent ADHD?

Monday Oct 10 2016

"Sunbathing mothers guard against hyperactive babies," The Daily Telegraph reports – a headline that achieves the dubious dual distinction of being both inaccurate and irresponsible…

'No link' between night shifts and breast cancer risk

Friday Oct 7 2016

"Working night shifts has 'little or no effect' on a woman's risk of developing breast cancer, new research suggests," BBC News reports. This was the reassuring finding of a new study looking at data from 10 different countries…

Cervical screening every 10 years for healthy women is 'safe'

Thursday Oct 6 2016

"Cervical cancer: gap between screenings 'can be increased to 10 years'," The Guardian reports. A Dutch study suggests women who test negative for the human papilloma virus (HPV), the leading cause of cervical cancer…

Men conceived by IVF 'may inherit sperm problems'

Thursday Oct 6 2016

"Baby boys born through a common type of IVF treatment … may not be [able to] have children naturally," The Daily Telegraph reports. A new study has looked at a small sample of men born using the…

Claims that coffee prevents dementia are lukewarm at best

Wednesday Oct 5 2016

"Coffee really can help to prevent dementia: Just two cups a day 'cuts the risk of developing it by 36 per cent','' the Mail Online reports. But if you look closely at the research behind this report, the results are of borderline significance…

Warning over babies sleeping in car seats

Tuesday Oct 4 2016

"Long periods sleeping in car seats may be dangerous for young babies," the Daily Mail reports. The results of a small study suggest babies spending long periods of time in a car seat may lead to breathing difficulties…

Does going on holiday help boost the immune system?

Monday Oct 3 2016

"Prescribing holidays 'could help fight infections'," BBC News reports, while the Mail Online claims holidays can "turbo-boost" the immune system. But the news isn't quite as conclusive as it sounds…

Women taking the contraceptive pill 'more likely to be depressed'

Friday Sep 30 2016

"Are you on the Pill? You're more likely to be depressed: Women who use contraception are up to 70% more likely to be on antidepressants," reports the Mail Online. The news is based on a study by researchers in Denmark...

Ibuprofen-like painkillers linked to an increased risk of heart failure

Thursday Sep 29 2016

"Ibuprofen could raise the risk of heart failure by up to 83%," claims the Daily Mirror. But this headline massively overstates the danger of this painkiller. In fact, new research suggests that taking painkillers...

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%