Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Ten years of hormone breast cancer drugs 'may benefit some'

Monday Jun 6 2016

"Taking hormonal drugs for up to 15 years reduces the risk of breast cancers coming back," BBC News reports. A new study looked at 1,918 postmenopausal women with what is known as oestrogen receptor-positive (or ER+) breast cancers…

'Friendly' virus repairs damaged liver cells (but only in mice)

Friday Jun 3 2016

"Have scientists found a cure for alcoholism?," the Mail Online asks, missing the point of the research entirely. Researchers were able to improve liver damage in mice. But this does not amount to curing an addiction to alcohol…

Research raises hope of a 'Holy Grail' universal cancer vaccine

Thursday Jun 2 2016

"'Universal cancer vaccine' breakthrough claimed by experts," The Independent reports. Researchers extracted genetic code called RNA from cancer cells, embedded them in nanoparticles to make them appear…

Could statins prevent breast cancer returning?

Thursday Jun 2 2016

"Statins could be used in the treatment of breast cancer," Sky News report. Findings from a new study suggest the potential involvement of cholesterol in breast cancer reoccurrence…

Migraines linked to increased heart disease risk in women

Wednesday Jun 1 2016

"Women who suffer migraines have a 50 per cent greater chance of developing a major heart … problem," the Daily Mail reports. Individual risks to women remain small, but because migraines are so widespread…

Treatment 'breakthrough' in man with advanced skin cancer

Tuesday May 31 2016

"Skin cancer cure hope for millions as major treatment breakthrough sees man's tumours disappear 'completely'," the Daily Mirror reports. While the headline is premature, the case report does present interesting findings…

Leaving babies to cry 'will improve their sleep', study says

Friday May 27 2016

"Babies do sleep better if you leave them to cry," the Daily Mail reports. A small study suggests that "graduated extinction" – better known as controlled crying in this country – increased sleep length and reduced the…

Could cannabis damage DNA that is then passed down generations?

Thursday May 26 2016

"Smoking cannabis can alter a person's DNA, causing mutations that expose a user to serious illnesses," the Mail Online reports. A new review has looked at the role cannabis may play in what is known as chromothripsis…

Exam stress linked to teen suicide

Thursday May 26 2016

"First detailed study into 130 [teen] suicide cases in England finds range of common anxieties," The Guardian reports, citing factors including exam stress, bullying and bereavement…

Link between stillbirth and air pollution 'inconclusive'

Wednesday May 25 2016

"Air pollution may raise risk of stillbirth and pregnant women should consider leaving cities, say scientists," The Daily Telegraph reports. This is somewhat radical advice given the study that prompted the headline…

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%