Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Sugar guidelines unreliable says study funded by sugar industry

Wednesday Dec 21 2016

"A study … challenged recommendations by public health officials for people to cut sugar consumption," the Mail Online reports. The study has been criticised as it is funded by companies who sell sugary products, including Coca-Cola…

Diet rich in processed meat 'may worsen asthma symptoms'

Wednesday Dec 21 2016

"Regularly indulging in a bacon sandwich doubles the risk of an asthma attack," is the needlessly alarming headline in The Sun. A French study suggests eating four or more portions of processed (cured) meats a week may worsen symptoms like wheezing…

New laser therapy for low-risk prostate cancer shows promise

Tuesday Dec 20 2016

"A drug activated by laser light successfully destroys early prostate cancer while avoiding side effects … results have shown," The Guardian reports. This new technique may offer an alternative treatment to the current "wait and see" approach…

Gum disease bug linked to rheumatoid arthritis

Monday Dec 19 2016

"Want to avoid arthritis? Then brush your teeth … bugs that cause gum infections also trigger the crippling joint pain," the Mail Online reports. Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease where the immune system…

Sugar tax would 'cut childhood obesity'

Friday Dec 16 2016

'Sugary drinks tax 'will benefit children most',' BBC News reports. A new study, where researchers tried to estimate the impact of a sugar tax on soft drinks, found that it would help combat child obesity as well as tooth decay...

MRI scans in pregnancy improve diagnosis of brain defects

Thursday Dec 15 2016

"Detailed MRI scans should be offered to some women in pregnancy to help spot brain defects in the developing baby, say researchers," BBC News reports. A UK study suggests combining an MRI scan with ultrasounds could prevent misdiagnosis…

Long-term painkiller use 'linked to hearing loss in women'

Thursday Dec 15 2016

"Women who take paracetamol or ibuprofen just twice a week could be damaging their hearing permanently," the Daily Mail reports. A US study found an association between the long-term use of these widely used painkillers and reported hearing loss…

Pokémon no-go: game's exercise effects short-lived in most players

Wednesday Dec 14 2016

"Pokémon GO doesn't help people to stay fit and healthy," the Mail Online reports. A survey of US players of the popular augmented reality game found the average player's daily step rate fell back to pre-game levels after six weeks…

Brain tests may predict children at risk of becoming 'social burdens'

Tuesday Dec 13 2016

"Brain tests predict children's futures," BBC News reports. A study found that childhood factors such as low IQ, parental neglect and poor self-control were strongly associated with "socially costly" outcomes in adulthood, including smoking and obesity…

Claim high-fat diets can prevent diabetes 'unproven'

Monday Dec 12 2016

"Diets laden with butter, cream and cheese 'can help combat surge in type 2 diabetes'," the Mail Online reports. But the study it reports on only followed a small group of men for 12 weeks – not long enough to determine whether…

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

You be the judge

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%