Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Can coffee machines and kettles spread toxic spores?

Monday Jun 26 2017

"Your coffee machine could be making you ill," the Mail Online reports, saying that steam released by the machine could be creating the perfect conditions for fungi to grow. The Sun reports a similar risk for kettles and showers…

Does paracetamol taken in pregnancy affect masculinity?

Friday Jun 23 2017

"Taking paracetamol when pregnant 'makes boys less manly, less aggressive and lowers their sex drive'," reports The Sun. But the alarming headline doesn't explain that the research was in mice, not humans. Researchers gave daily doses...

Sex link to older people's brain power, says study

Thursday Jun 22 2017

"Sex is the key to staying sharp in old age," reports the Mail Online after researchers found older people who have regular sex scored better on two of five brain tests. Participants who had sex at least...

'Contaminated air' on planes linked to health problems

Wednesday Jun 21 2017

"Toxic fumes in aircraft cabins could cause serious health problems, scientists warn:" reports The Sun. This is based on a UK study investigating air contamination on aircraft and its possible effects on the health of pilots and cabin crew…

Cholesterol-lowering jab 'shows promise' for heart disease

Tuesday Jun 20 2017

"Cholesterol-lowering jab to help prevent heart disease," reports BBC Online. The headline refers to a recent mouse study that aimed to see whether a new vaccine could reduce cholesterol and lower the risk of heart disease…

Blood test may show if prostate cancer treatment is working

Monday Jun 19 2017

"Prostate cancer blood test helps target treatment," BBC News reports. A study found a blood test could detect which men with advanced prostate cancer would benefit from new drug treatment. Researchers analysed...

Is a new flu pandemic just three mutations away?

Friday Jun 16 2017

"Just three mutations are needed to make bird flu a potential pandemic strain that could kill millions," is the alarming headline from the Mail Online. However, the chance of all three mutations occurring has been described as "relatively low"…

Obese mums more likely to give birth to babies with birth defects

Thursday Jun 15 2017

"Women who are obese when they conceive are more likely to have a baby with serious birth defects," The Guardian reports. Swedish researchers looked at more than a million health records and found a link between excess body mass index (BMI)…

Vegetarian dieting may lead to greater weight loss

Thursday Jun 15 2017

"Dieters who follow a vegetarian eating plan lose nearly twice as much weight," the Daily Mail reports following the results of a new study. Researchers randomly assigned two groups of people with type 2 diabetes to…

Risk of aspirin-related bleeding is higher in the over-75s

Wednesday Jun 14 2017

"People over 75 taking daily aspirin after a stroke or heart attack are at higher risk of major – and sometimes fatal – stomach bleeds than previously thought," BBC News reports. Aspirin can help thin the blood, so it is…

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