Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

'Game changer' HIV drug cuts infection risk by 86%

Wednesday Feb 25 2015

'Game changer' HIV drug cuts infection risk by 87%

"Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%," The Independent reports. The drug, Truvada, has proved very successful in a "real-world" trial…

Depression linked to violent crime

Wednesday Feb 25 2015

Depression linked to violent crime

"Depressed people are three times more likely to commit a violent crime," the Daily Mirror reports. Research into Swedish crime and medical data found that depression was linked with an increased risk of a person committing a violent crime…

Peanut butter for non-allergic babies may reduce later allergies

Tuesday Feb 24 2015

Peanuts can be a choking hazard for young children

"The cure for peanut allergy – peanuts, from the age of four months," says The Guardian. This is bad advice...

Anger possibly linked with non-fatal heart attacks

Tuesday Feb 24 2015

There are lots of benefits to trying to remain calm

"'Plate-throwing rage' raises heart attack risk nearly 10 fold," The Daily Telegraph reports, slightly inaccurately. This headline reports on a study that found that just seven out of 313 people had felt "very angry"...

Many deaths of mentally ill in custody 'avoidable'

Monday Feb 23 2015

Charities have previously called for an end to the use of "face-down restraint"

"Hundreds of deaths in mental health units 'were avoidable'," says a report on the front page of today’s Independent. The Guardian highlights 662 mentally ill detainee deaths from 2010 to 2013...

Media overstates dementia benefits of Mediterranean diet

Monday Feb 23 2015

The Mediterranean diet is similar to the UK's recommended "Eatwell plate"

"New diet to fight dementia," claims the Sunday Express, somewhat predictably, while The Independent reports: "Mediterranean diet could help beat dementia". Despite the media focus...

New HPV vaccine may protect against 90% of cervical cancers

Friday Feb 20 2015

New HPV vaccine may protect against 90% of cervical cancers

"New HPV vaccine stops 90% of cervical cancers," the Mail Online reports. The vaccine, which protects against nine common strains of the cancer-causing human papilloma virus (HPV), has proved both safe and effective in a study involving 14,000 women…

Sunlight UV damage to skin persists even after dark

Friday Feb 20 2015

Sunlight UV damage to skin persists even in the dark

"Moving immediately into the shade does not stop sun damage, as UV rays can continue damaging skin cells hours after exposure," The Guardian reports. A study has found evidence that damage to DNA can continue after initial exposure…

Nanoparticles used to treat damaged arteries

Thursday Feb 19 2015

'Nano drones' used to repair damaged arteries

"New trials suggest microscopic stealth drones could be used to seek and repair damaged arteries," The Daily Telegraph, somewhat overexcitedly, reports. A study in mice has found promising results for a targeted treatment…

Researchers may have unmasked mystery of cannabis 'munchies'

Thursday Feb 19 2015

Researchers may have unmasked mystery of 'cannabis munchies'

"Cannabis 'munchies' explained by new study," The Guardian reports. "Munchies" is widely used slang for a common effect of cannabis: sudden hunger pangs, even if a user has just eaten. A new study set out to find why cannabis causes increased appetite…

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...