Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

PET scans may improve brain injury diagnosis

Wednesday Apr 16 2014

PET scans may improve brain injury diagnosis

“PET scans could predict extent of recovery from brain injury, trials show,” The Guardian reports. Evidence suggests that the advanced scanning devices may be able to detect faint signs of consciousness in people with severe brain injuries.

Cannabis linked to brain differences in the young

Wednesday Apr 16 2014

Cannabis used linked to brain abnormalities

“Using cannabis just once a week harms young brains,” the Daily Mail reports. The newspaper reports on an US study that took one-off brain MRI scans of a group of 20 young adult recreational cannabis users, and a comparison group of 20 non-users…

Eating chocolate probably won’t save your marriage

Tuesday Apr 15 2014

Eating chocolate probably won’t save your marriage

“As blood glucose levels plummet, aggression levels rise, and people take it out on those closest to them,” The Daily Telegraph reports.

Salt cuts have 'saved lives,' says study

Tuesday Apr 15 2014

'Salt cuts have saved lives,' says study

"Cutting back on salt does save lives," is the good news on the front page of the Daily Mail. The headline is based on a study of data obtained from the Health Survey for England, the National Diet and Nutrition Survey, and the Office for National…

Could statins also protect against dementia?

Monday Apr 14 2014

Could statins also protect against dementia?

"Heart pills taken by millions of people in Britain could dramatically reduce the risk of dementia," the Daily Express reports. A study from Taiwan has found an association between statin use and reduced dementia risk…

New hepatitis C drug treatment 'shows promise'

Monday Apr 14 2014

New hepatitis C drug 'show promise'

"A new treatment for hepatitis C 'cured' 90% of patients with the infection in 12 weeks, scientists said," BBC News reports after a new drug protocol designed to target the protein that assists the spread of the virus through the body has shown promising…

No way to reliably identify low-risk prostate cancer

Friday Apr 11 2014

Prostate cancer testing giving men 'false hope'

“Men with prostate cancer being given 'false hope',” The Daily Telegraph reports. UK researchers have examined the accuracy of different methods that have sometimes been used (mostly outside the UK)…

Lab-grown vaginas successfully implanted

Friday Apr 11 2014

Lab-grown vaginas successfully implanted

"Doctors implant lab-grown vagina" is the headline on the BBC News website, reporting on the latest breakthrough in the increasingly exciting field of tissue engineering. In this latest study, tissue engineering was used to develop a vagina…

Effectiveness of Tamiflu and Relenza questioned

Thursday Apr 10 2014

The Cochrane Collaboration has thoroughly reviewed evidence for neuroaminidase inhibitors

“Ministers blew £650 MILLION on useless anti-flu drugs,” the Daily Mail reports. The paper cites a large study, which investigated the effectiveness of the antiviral drugs Tamiflu (oseltamivir) and Relenza (zanamivir).

Removing copper from body could slow cancer

Thursday Apr 10 2014

Removing copper from body could slow cancer

"Copper can block growth of rare cancer," is the rather unclear headline in The Daily Telegraph. Researchers have found that a drug that reduces the amount of copper in the body may also be able to lessen the growth of some kinds of tumours…

Probiotics

Many health claims are made for probiotics. Find out when they might help and when to be sceptical

Call to make 5 a day fruit and veg into '7 a day'

Recent research suggests that eating seven portions of fruit and vegetables is associated with a lower risk of dying from heart disease and cancer. Should we all be eating more?

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

Alcohol, myths and the media

Can lager help you live longer? Can wine help you lose weight? We take a sober look at the media’s claims about alcohol, and what the science actually says

LifeCheck

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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...