Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

'Chocolate good for the heart' claims sadly too good to be true

Wednesday May 24 2017

"Regularly tucking into a bar of chocolate may actually be good for us," reports the Mail Online. Researchers in Denmark say people who eat chocolate one to six times a week are less likely to get a heart condition called atrial fibrillation…

Just half a glass of wine a day may increase breast cancer risk

Tuesday May 23 2017

"Just half a glass of wine a day ups the risk of breast cancer by nine per cent, experts warn," The Sun reports. A major report looking at global evidence found that drinking just 10g of alcohol a day – 1.25 units – was linked to an increased...

Dementia saliva testing 'shows early promise'

Monday May 22 2017

"Simple saliva test for dementia 'shows promise' in bid to diagnose the disease early," the Daily Mirror reports. This news is based on a laboratory study that took saliva samples from 12 healthy adults, nine adults with Alzheimer’s disease…

Instagram 'ranked worst for mental health' in teen survey

Friday May 19 2017

"Instagram is rated as the worst social media platform when it comes to its impact on young people's mental health, a UK survey suggests," BBC News reports. The survey asked 1,479 young people aged 14-24 to score popular social media…

Swallowable gastric balloon could help with weight loss

Thursday May 18 2017

"Swallowable gastric balloon could help the obese lose weight without surgery," The Guardian reports. The news, which was widely reported, is based on a study presented at the European Congress of Obesity in Portugal...

'Fat but fit' still at higher risk of heart disease

Wednesday May 17 2017

"The idea that people can be fat but medically fit is a myth," reports BBC News. The story is based on research from scientists at the University of Birmingham, reported at a medical conference but not yet published...

Lack of sleep knocks your social appeal, says research

Wednesday May 17 2017

"A couple of bad nights is enough to make a person look 'significantly' more ugly," reports BBC News. Researchers in Sweden found people rated photographs of strangers as less attractive and healthy...

Hope for plant-based contraceptive, study claims

Tuesday May 16 2017

"Forget Plan B – try aloe vera, controversial study claims: Scientists insist pills made from dandelions and mangoes can prevent pregnancy without a hit of hormones," reports the Mail Online. The news is based on a study...

Can fizzy water make you fat?

Monday May 15 2017

"Fizzy water could cause obesity by encouraging you to eat more," The Daily Telegraph reports. Researchers aimed to see whether it could be the carbonation in soft drinks – rather than the sugar…

Keyhole knee surgery is 'waste of time' review finds

Friday May 12 2017

“Keyhole knee surgery for arthritis pain 'is pointless’,” the Daily Mail reports. The headline is promoted by a review of the available evidence around knee arthroscopy (keyhole) procedures for people with degenerative knee conditions like osteoarthritis…

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We give you the facts without the fiction. Professor Sir Muir Gray, founder of Behind the Headlines, explains more...

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