Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Frequent antibiotic use linked to higher type 2 diabetes risk

Wednesday Mar 25 2015

Frequent antibiotic users have higher type 2 diabetes risk

"Repeated antibiotic use linked to diabetes," BBC News reports. A major new study found that people who took five or more courses a year had a higher than normal risk of developing type 2 diabetes…

Study finds link between air pollution and stroke risk

Wednesday Mar 25 2015

Air pollution linked to strokes

"Air pollution is linked to an increased risk of stroke," BBC News reports, prompted by a large global study in The BMJ. Researchers found an association even with brief upsurges in air pollution levels…

Are power naps a 'five-fold' memory booster?

Tuesday Mar 24 2015

Are power naps a 'five-fold' memory booster?

"A 45-minute power nap can boost your memory five-fold, study finds," The Independent reports. However, this impressive claim is let down by the small size of the study…

'4D' ultrasound shows effects of smoking on unborn babies

Tuesday Mar 24 2015

'4D' ultrasound studies effects of smoking on unborn babies

"Unborn baby shown grimacing in womb as mother smokes," is the somewhat misleading headline in The Daily Telegraph after researchers released dramatic images of babies in the womb taken using 4D ultrasound scanners...

News analysis: Angelina Jolie's surgery to 'cut ovarian cancer risk'

Tuesday Mar 24 2015

Angelina Jolie's surgery to 'cut ovarian cancer risk'

Writing in the New York Times, actress Angelina Jolie has announced that she has recently had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed as tests showed she had an estimated 50% chance of developing ovarian cancer…

Blood test could provide an early arthritis warning

Monday Mar 23 2015

Blood test could provide an early warning of arthritis

"Arthritis breakthrough as new test diagnoses condition up to a decade earlier," the Mail Online reports. The test measures proteins linked with arthritis. The study aimed to see whether a blood test could be developed…

Climate change 'might bring rise in UK mosquito-borne diseases'

Monday Mar 23 2015

Climate change 'could see a rise in mosquito-borne disease'

"Mosquitoes heading for warmer UK," Sky News reports. A new review predicts that climate change will make the UK a hospitable environment for disease-carrying mosquitoes and ticks, leading to an outbreak of conditions such as dengue fever…

Research casts doubt on aspartame sensitivity

Friday Mar 20 2015

Aspartame: sweeter than a candy-coated kitten

"Sweetener linked to cancer is safe to use," reports the Mail Online. Aspartame – a commonly-used artificial sweetener – has been dogged by controversy, despite being deemed safe by food regulators in the UK, EU and US...

Are half of all children's teeth really rotten?

Friday Mar 20 2015

Regular dental checks can help spot tooth decay

"Rotten teeth are secret reason why teens don't smile," revealed The Times today. The Daily Mirror expressed shock over revelations that...

Following UK dietary advice may cut heart disease risk

Thursday Mar 19 2015

Following UK diet guidelines may cut heart disease risk

"Sensible diet cuts heart attack risk in months," The Times reports after a randomised controlled trial found evidence that following current UK diet guidelines can reduce cardiovascular disease risk factors…

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...