Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Smartphone app used to scan blood for parasites

Thursday May 7 2015

Smartphone app used to scan blood for parasites

"A smartphone has been used to automatically detect wriggling parasites in blood samples," BBC News reports. It is hoped the customised device could help in programmes to get rid of parasites in parts of Africa…

Infection clue points to causes of rheumatoid arthritis

Wednesday May 6 2015

In rheumatoid arthritis, the body's immune system T-cells attack the joints

"Infection could trigger arthritis," claimed a headline in the Daily Express today. But you needn't worry that a cough or cold will cause you crippling joint pain: the headline is an oversimplification of some fascinating – if early stage – research...

Appetite for apples? How fruit sugars may not suppress hunger

Wednesday May 6 2015

Fruit: delicious, but may not suppress appetite

Brains scans showed that those who had a fructose drink had more brain activity when shown pictures of high-calorie food than when they were given glucose...

Heart failure drug digoxin linked to premature death

Tuesday May 5 2015

Heart failure drug digoxin linked to premature death

"A heart drug taken by 250,000 Britons can actually hasten death, a major study has found," the Mail Online warns today. An analysis of previous research on digoxin, used to treat heart failure, suggests it can raise the risk of premature death…

New test could improve diagnosis of ovarian cancer

Tuesday May 5 2015

New ovarian cancer screening technique 'twice as effective'

"New ovarian cancer test twice as effective as existing methods," The Guardian reports, after new research proved relatively successful in diagnosing ovarian cancer. This study hasn't identified a new blood test for…

Replacing sugary drinks with water may reduce diabetes risk

Friday May 1 2015

Sugary drinks increases diabetes risk, while water can cut it

"Swapping orange squash for a cup of tea cuts diabetes risk," The Daily Telegraph reports. The news is based on a major UK study, involving around 25,000 adults...

Texting may help relieve pain during minor surgery

Friday May 1 2015

Texting may help relieve pain during minor surgery

"Need pain relief for surgery? Try a text," the Daily Mail reports. The advice was prompted by a small study that found people who used a mobile phone during minor surgery were less likely to require additional pain medication…

UK life expectancy expected to rise to late 80s by 2030

Thursday Apr 30 2015

UK life expectancy expected to rise to late 80s by 2030

"Life expectancy is rising faster than thought, with 90 expected to become the norm in some affluent areas of the country by 2030," The Guardian reports. The same predictions led the Daily Mail to warn of a "life expectancy timebomb"...

New prostate cancer treatment has promising results in mice

Thursday Apr 30 2015

New prostate cancer treatment has impressive results in mice

"Prostate cancer resistant to conventional treatment could be all but wiped out by a therapy that boosts the immune system," the Daily Mail reports. The therapy, as yet only used in mice, destroyed previously resistant cancerous cells…

Diet swap study highlights bowel effects of Western-style diet

Wednesday Apr 29 2015

Diet swap study highlights bowel effects of western-style diet

"Diet swap experiment reveals junk food's harm to guts," BBC News reports. African-American volunteers were asked to eat an African diet, while Africans were asked to eat a typical American diet, and the effects on the bowel were striking…

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

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...