Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Viagra 'may cause visual disturbance' in some men

Wednesday Oct 1 2014

Viagra 'may cause eye damage' in some men

"Viagra may permanently damage vision in some men, study finds," reports The Guardian. But the news is, in fact, based on research in mice. This research suggests the medication may not be suitable for men who carry a gene mutation…

High levels of tooth decay found in three-year-olds

Tuesday Sep 30 2014

One in eight three-year-olds have tooth decay

"Tooth decay affects 12% of three-year-olds, says survey," BBC News reports. The survey, carried out by Public Health England, found big variations in different parts of the country. Experts believe sugary drinks are to blame for this trend…

Deep-fried Mars bars: no link with sudden stroke

Tuesday Sep 30 2014

Deep-fried Mars bars will probably not give you a stroke

“Eating a deep-fried Mars bar could give you a stroke in minutes,” reports Metro. However, the study that prompted this headline found no evidence that the Scottish snack can potentially trigger a fatal stroke within minutes...

Will a 'wonder drug' be available in 10 years?

Monday Sep 29 2014

Claims of a cure-all wonder drug 'available in 10 years'

"Wonder drug to fight cancer and Alzheimer's disease within 10 years," is the headline in The Daily Telegraph. This headline is a textbook example of hope (and hype) triumphing over reality…

Cherry juice touted as treatment for gout

Monday Sep 29 2014

Cherry juice touted as treatment for gout

“Daily drinks of cherry juice concentrate could help thousands of patients beat gout,” the Mail on Sunday reports. This headline is based on a small study that found drinking tart cherry juice twice a day temporarily lowered the blood uric acid levels…

Could curry spice boost brain cell repair?

Friday Sep 26 2014

Curried spice could be booster for brain cell repair

“Spicy diet can beat dementia,” is the unsupported claim in the Daily Express. Researchers did find that the spice turmeric stimulated the growth of neural stem cells in rats…

Antibiotic treatments 'fail' 15% of the time

Friday Sep 26 2014

Around one in seven antibiotic treatments fail

"Antibiotic treatments from GPs 'fail 15% of the time','' BBC News reports. In one of the largest studies of its kind, researchers estimate that just under one in seven antibiotic prescriptions in 2011 failed to treat the underlying infection…

Skirt size increase ups breast cancer risk

Thursday Sep 25 2014

Skirt size increases ups breast cancer risk

“Skirt size increase linked to breast cancer risk,” BBC News reports. The story comes from a UK study that looked at whether changes in women's skirt size since their twenties was associated with increased risk of breast cancer...

Media multitasking 'brain shrink' claims unproven

Thursday Sep 25 2014

Media multitasking 'shrinks the brain'

“Multitasking makes your brain smaller,” the Daily Mail reports. UK researchers found that people who regularly “media multitasked” had less grey matter in a region of the brain involved in emotion…

Benefits of statins 'outweigh diabetes risk'

Wednesday Sep 24 2014

Statins increase weight and diabetes risk

“Statins increase risk of diabetes but benefits are still worth it, say experts,” The Guardian reports. A large study found the medication lead to a modest increase in weight and subsequent diabetes risk…

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...