Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

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…

Being overweight, not just obese, still carries serious health risks

Tuesday Jun 13 2017

"Four million people died in 2015 as a result of being too tubby, struck by cancer, heart disease, diabetes and other killer conditions," reports The Sun. This is based on a global study that looked at how the proportion of people who…

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

You be the judge

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%