Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

'Shift workers should avoid steak' claim mistaken

Thursday Oct 23 2014

Nightshift workers told to avoid iron-rich foods

"Shift workers should avoid tucking into steak, brown rice or green veg at night," because these foods "disrupt the body clock," the Mail Online reports. But the research in question involved lab mice…

Dopamine drug linked to compulsive sex, shopping and gambling

Thursday Oct 23 2014

Dopamine drug linked to sex, shopping & gambling

"Drugs for restless leg syndrome cause gambling, hypersexuality, and compulsive shopping," Metro reports. A US study found that the dopamine receptor agonists class of drugs carries the rare but severe side effect of encouraging compulsive behaviours…

Changes in 'Parkinson’s walk' predicts dementia

Wednesday Oct 22 2014

Subtle changes in walking 'early sign of dementia'

"Subtle changes in the walking pattern of Parkinson's patients could predict their rate of cognitive decline," The Times reports after new research compared the gait of people with Parkinson's disease with those of healthy volunteers…

NICE wants tooth brushing to be taught in schools

Wednesday Oct 22 2014

NICE say schools should teach teeth brushing

"Children should get their teeth brushed at school, says NHS watchdog," The Daily Telegraph reports. The new guidelines have been welcomed by some, but others have accused the watchdog of acting like a "supernanny state"...

Paralysed man walks again after pioneering surgery

Tuesday Oct 21 2014

Paralysed man walks again after pioneering surgery

"World first as man whose spinal cord was severed WALKS," the Mail Online reports. In what has been described as pioneering research, transplanted cells have been used to stimulate the repair of his spinal cord…

Smokers' homes 'as polluted as Beijing'

Tuesday Oct 21 2014

Living with a smoker 'as bad as living in Beijing'

"Living with smoker 'as bad as living in polluted city'," BBC News reports. Scottish researchers have estimated that the level of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) in smokers' households is similar to those found in a heavily polluted city such as Beijing…

BMI tests 'miss' over a quarter of obese children

Monday Oct 20 2014

BMI tests 'missing' over a quarter of obese children

"Quarter of obese children missed by BMI tests," the Mail Online reports. The headline was prompted by a review that combined the results of 37 studies in more than 50,000 children and found body mass index (BMI)…

Viagra could double up as heart failure drug

Monday Oct 20 2014

Viagra could 'double-up' as heart failure drug

"Sex pill Viagra could help men suffering from heart disease," reports the Mirror. This headline follows a new review into the potential heart benefits of the active ingredient in erectile dysfunction drugs such as sildenafil (Viagra)…

Vegetative patients show awareness during scans

Friday Oct 17 2014

MRI scans detected signs of meaningful brain activity

"Vegetative patients may be more conscious of the world than we think," The Independent reports. Electrodes have detected what has been described as "well-preserved" networks of brain activity in patients in a vegetative state…

Exercise data signs could cut sugary drink intake

Friday Oct 17 2014

Exercise data signs help cut sugary drink intake

"Signs warning shoppers how much exercise they need to do to burn off calories in sugary drinks can encourage healthier choices," BBC News reports. Signs in shops in an area of Baltimore led to a change in shopping habits amongst teenagers…

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

Your NHS Health Check

Millions of people have already had their free "midlife MOT". Find out why this health check-up is so important

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...