Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Seasonal affective disorder 'may be a myth', study argues

Friday Jan 22 2016

"Stop blaming SAD for your bad mood - it doesn't exist! Seasonal changes have 'NO effect on depression'," the Daily Mail reports. A new study found no significant association between lack of sunshine and reported symptoms of depression…

Paternal depression linked to premature birth

Thursday Jan 21 2016

"Depression in expectant fathers linked to premature births," The Independent reports. A Swedish study found a link between paternal depression occurring for the first time and an increased risk of very premature birth…

New genetic risk factor for ovarian cancer identified

Thursday Jan 21 2016

"A faulty gene has been identified that increases the risk of ovarian cancer more than threefold," The Independent reports. The genetic mutation, found in the BRIP1 gene, adds to the known genetic warning signs for ovarian cancer…

Calls for research into effects of ultrasound exposure on health

Wednesday Jan 20 2016

"Ultrasound in public places could be triggering sickness," the Daily Mail reports. Ultrasounds are high frequency sound waves used by a wide range of devices, and are thought to be inaudible to most humans...

Researchers investigate why obesity can trigger bowel cancer

Tuesday Jan 19 2016

"Excess calories 'turn off a hormone in the intestine that blocks colon cancer'," the Mail Online reports. Obesity is a known risk factor for bowel cancer (colorectal cancer). There is evidence that a diet rich in processed meats…

Are ads for candy-flavoured e-cigs tempting teens to vape?

Monday Jan 18 2016

"Advertisements for … flavoured e-cigarettes could encourage children to try vaping," ITV News reports after a study found children shown these ads were more likely to express an interest in trying flavoured e-cigs…

NHS Health Checks 'prevented thousands of heart attacks'

Friday Jan 15 2016

"NHS Health Checks scheme hailed as 'remarkable success'," Pulse Magazine reports, while The Sun adds "GP quiz [is a] life saver". NHS Health Checks, introduced in 2009, are a kind of middle-aged health "MOT"…

Men at high risk of getting HIV 'need preventative treatment'

Thursday Jan 14 2016

"Giving healthy gay men HIV drugs 'could help reverse epidemic'," BBC News reports. A modelling study looking at the effects of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), where drugs are used to prevent infection…

A potato-rich diet before pregnancy could up diabetes risk

Wednesday Jan 13 2016

"Eating potatoes before pregnancy increases risk of diabetes," The Daily Telegraph reports. Researchers found a small, but significant, increase in gestational diabetes risk in mothers who ate a potato-rich diet before their pregnancy…

Exercise is 'most effective' method of preventing lower back pain

Wednesday Jan 13 2016

"Exercise is the best medicine to banish back pain and stop people taking sick days," reports the Daily Mirror. While this may be true, the research in question did not look at treatments for existing back pain…

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%