Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Are broken bones, loneliness and poor sleep really hidden killers?

Wednesday May 18 2016

"Revealed, the five hidden killers that could send you to an early grave," the Daily Mail reports. These "hidden killers" include loneliness and poor sleep. But this is a simplistic take on complex research…

Women who regularly attend religious services 'live longer'

Tuesday May 17 2016

"Going to church could save your life," reports the Daily Mail, adding that, "Women who worship once a week are '25 per cent less likely to die early'." Perhaps surprisingly, while the first part of the headline is overly simplistic…

Dad's age, diet and lifestyle may cause birth defects

Monday May 16 2016

"Men are being warned to become fathers by 40 or face a greater risk of having children with serious illnesses," the Daily Mail reports after a new review looked at some of the evidence about paternal influences on the risk of childhood diseases…

Immune system 'plays a role in dementia'

Friday May 13 2016

"Scientists have identified a new cause of devastating neurological conditions," the Mail Online reports – but this is entirely inaccurate. A review of existing evidence makes the case that the innate immune system may be…

No evidence probiotics are beneficial for healthy adults

Thursday May 12 2016

"Probiotic goods a 'waste of money' for healthy adults, research suggests," The Guardian reports. A new review of previously gathered data found no evidence that probiotics improved the balance of gut bacteria in healthy adults…

Is a pint of beer a day good for the heart?

Thursday May 12 2016

"Pint of beer a day could protect you from heart attacks," The Independent reports. A new review on the alleged protective effects of moderate beer drinking has been warmly welcomed by the UK media – but nobody reported it was funded…

BMI categories may need adjusting, argue researchers

Wednesday May 11 2016

"Being overweight may not be as unhealthy as it was 40 years ago," BBC News reports. New research has found a body mass index (BMI) of 27 is linked to the lowest rate of death – but someone with a BMI of 27 is currently classed as being overweight...

33,000 deaths 'linked to failings in NHS heart attack care'

Tuesday May 10 2016

"Thousands of heart victims killed by poor care," claims the Daily Mail. A review of clinical data from the last 10 years in England and Wales looked at patients with a history of what are known as…

Are we sleepwalking into a 'global sleep crisis'?

Monday May 9 2016

"We are facing a global sleep crisis because we don't go to bed early enough, say scientists," the Mail Online reports. The warning comes from a study produced by a research team using a smartphone app (Entrain) to track sleep patterns…

Study finds no link between mobile phones and brain cancer

Monday May 9 2016

"Mobile phones don't increase the risk of brain cancer, 30-year study concludes," the Mail Online reports. The Australian study found the massive increase in mobile phone use over the past 30 years was not matched by a similar rise in brain cancer cases…

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

Miracle foods: myths and the media

Can a curry save your life? Read our report on the supposed health benefits of common foods

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...

Sugar intake should be reduced

Sugar intake should be drastically reduced, says report

A new government report recommends no more than 5% of our calorie intake should come from 'free sugars'. The previous recommendation was 10%