Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

How immunotherapy might treat multiple sclerosis

Thursday Sep 4 2014

Autoimmune disease like MS could be 'switched off'

"Breakthrough hope for MS treatment as scientists discover how to 'switch off' autoimmune diseases," the Mail Online reports. UK researchers have discovered that altering the activities of certain genes can change aggressive cells to protective cells…

Claims e-cigarettes are a 'gateway to cocaine'

Thursday Sep 4 2014

E-cigarettes – 'gateway drug to cocaine' claims

"E-cigarettes could lead to using cocaine and cannabis scientists say," the Daily Mirror reports. In an article sure to prove controversial, two neuroscientists argue that nicotine may "prime" the brain…

What is proton beam therapy?

Wednesday Sep 3 2014

Proton beam therapy may be useful in treating rare children's cancer

Proton beam therapy has been discussed widely in the media in recent days. This is because of the controversy surrounding the treatment of a young boy called Ashya King, who has medulloblastoma...

Missing breakfast linked to type 2 diabetes

Wednesday Sep 3 2014

Missing breakfast linked to type 2 diabetes

"Skipping breakfast in childhood may raise the risk of diabetes," the Mail Online reports. A study of UK schoolchildren found that those who didn’t regularly eat breakfast had early signs of having risk markers for type 2 diabetes...

Lumpectomy 'as effective as double mastectomy'

Wednesday Sep 3 2014

Double mastectomy no better than lumpectomy

"Double mastectomy for breast cancer 'does not boost survival chances'," The Guardian reports. Statistics from California cast doubt on the notion that removing both breasts in cases of breast cancer has a greater benefit than less radical surgery…

Could watching action films make you fat?

Tuesday Sep 2 2014

Watching action films could be making you fat

“Couch potatoes captivated by fast-paced action films eat far more than those watching more sedate programmes,” The Independent reports. A small US study found that people snacked more when watching action-packed movies…

Brain can be ‘retrained’ to prefer healthy foods

Tuesday Sep 2 2014

Brains retrained to prefer healthier foods

“The brain can be trained to prefer healthy food over unhealthy high-calorie foods, using a diet which does not leave people hungry,” reports BBC News. It reports on a small pilot study involving 13 overweight and obese people…

Heart failure drug could 'cut deaths by a fifth'

Monday Sep 1 2014

Heart failure drug will 'cut deaths by a fifth'

“A new drug believed to cause a 20 per cent reduction in heart failure deaths could present a 'major advance' in treatment,” The Independent reports. The drug, LCZ696, helps improve blood flow in heart failure patients…

Students showing signs of phone addiction

Monday Sep 1 2014

Students showing signs of smartphone addiction

“Students spend up to 10 hours a day on their mobile phones,” the Mail Online reports. The results of a US study suggest that some young people have developed an addiction to their phone…

Study finds plain cigarette pack fears 'unfounded'

Friday Aug 29 2014

Plain packs don't lead to 'unintended consequences'

"Cigarette plain packaging fear campaign unfounded," reports The Guardian. After Australia introduced plain packaging laws in 2012, opponents of the legislation argued it would lead to a number of unintended consequences…

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...