Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Holidays and parties mean we may drink more than we think

Friday May 22 2015

Holidays and parties mean we may drink more than we think

"The amount of alcohol people in England drink has been underestimated by the equivalent of 12 million bottles of wine a week," BBC News reports…

Quarter of sun-exposed skin samples had DNA mutations

Friday May 22 2015

Quarter of sun-exposed skin samples had DNA mutations

A sobering BBC News headline greets sun worshippers on the eve of the spring bank holiday: "More than a quarter of a middle-aged person's skin may have already made the first steps towards cancer"…

Minor ailment scheme doesn't provide free Calpol for all

Thursday May 21 2015

The minor ailment scheme doesn't provide free Calpol for all

"Thousands discover Calpol has been free on NHS 'for years' as mum's Facebook post goes viral," the Daily Mirror reports. This and other similar headlines were prompted by a post made on the social networking site Facebook…

Is paracetamol use in pregnancy harmful for male babies?

Thursday May 21 2015

Paracetamol use in pregnancy 'harmful' for male babies

"Paracetamol use in pregnancy may harm male foetus," The Guardian reports. Researchers found evidence that taking paracetamol for seven days may lower the amount of testosterone testicular tissue can produce…

Mildly cold weather 'more deadly' than heatwaves or very cold snaps

Thursday May 21 2015

Mild cold 'more deadly' than heatwaves or very cold snaps

"Mildly cold, drizzly days far deadlier than extreme temperatures," The Independent reports. An international study looking at weather-related deaths estimated that moderate cold killed far more people than extremely hot or cold temperatures…

Links between hay fever, asthma and prostate cancer inconclusive

Wednesday May 20 2015

Hay fever ups prostate cancer risk but asthma boosts survival rates

"Men with hay fever are more likely to have prostate cancer – but those with asthma are more likely to survive it," the Daily Mirror reports. Those were the puzzling and largely inconclusive findings of a new study looking at these three conditions...

Children of the 90s more likely to be overweight or obese

Wednesday May 20 2015

90s kids more likely to be overweight or obese

"Children of the 90s are three times as likely to be obese as their parents and grandparents," the Mail Online reports. A UK survey looking at data from 1946 to 2001…

Stem cells could provide a treatment for a 'broken heart'

Tuesday May 19 2015

Stem cells could provide a treatment for a 'broken heart'

"'Heartbreak' stem cells could repair damage of heart attack," The Daily Telegraph reports. Research in mice suggests that stem cells could repair the damage to muscles that occur during a heart attack and relieve symptoms of heart failure…

Bioengineering advances raise fears of 'home-brew heroin'

Tuesday May 19 2015

Bioengineering advances raise fears of 'home-brew heroin'

The Daily Mirror carries the alarming headline that, "Heroin made in home-brew beer kits could create epidemic of hard drug abuse". It says scientists are "calling for urgent action to prevent criminal gangs gaining access…

No proof orange juice boosts brain power

Monday May 18 2015

Study looks at whether orange juice is a 'brain booster'

"Drinking orange juice every day could improve brain power in the elderly, research shows," the Mail Online reports. Despite the encouraging words from the media, the small study this headline is based on does not provide strong evidence that an…

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...