Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

'Good ways to pop a pill'

Friday Nov 14 2014

Swallowing a pill is never fun, but for some it's really difficult

"Just a spoonful of water helps the medicine go down: Scientists discover the best way to swallow tablets," explains the Mail Online today. In fact, scientists haven't necessarily discovered the "best"...

Do people who take weight loss pills eat unhealthily?

Friday Nov 14 2014

Slimming pills: do they really make you think you can eat more cookies?

"Are slimming pills fuelling the obesity epidemic?" asks the Mail Online, reporting on research that suggests dieters "mistakenly believe they can eat whatever they want" after taking weight-loss drugs...

Sex with funny, rich men linked with more orgasms

Thursday Nov 13 2014

Our bodies respond to our thoughts and emotions during sex

"Women have stronger orgasms if their partner is funny - and rich", says the Mail Online. This headline is wrong. And the research it’s based on, while fascinating, is rather inconclusive...

'Smart drug' modafinil won't make you brainier

Thursday Nov 13 2014

Studying hard is still the best way to enhance exam performance

"Smart drug 'may help improve creative problem solving'," is the headline in The Daily Telegraph. The media reports have been prompted by a new study on the effects of modafinil...

Long-term mobile phone use and cancer

Thursday Nov 13 2014

We still don't properly understand the long-term effects of mobile phone use

"Do mobile and cordless phones raise the risk of brain cancer?" asks the Mail Online today. There are now more mobile phones than people in the UK, so you would expect the commonsense answer to be...

Health workers 'neglect hygiene late in their shifts'

Wednesday Nov 12 2014

Hospitals take hand hygiene very seriously

"Visit hospital in the morning to be sure of a doctor with clean hands," reports The Daily Telegraph. The Telegraph cites a US study which found healthcare workers often fail to wash their hands...

Watching 'Dad's Army' won't stop you going blind

Wednesday Nov 12 2014

Researchers used eye mapping software to identify glaucoma

"Fancy an episode of Dad's Army? How watching TV and films can save your eyesight," is the curious headline in the Daily Express...

Genes tweaked to 'starve' prostate cancer cells

Tuesday Nov 11 2014

Prostate cancer is one of the commonest cancers in men

"Prostate cancer could be 'halted' by injections," reports The Independent. While this headline rather simplifies the research findings, the research it's based on demonstrates an interesting way to stop prostate cancer – for mice, at least...

Long-term cannabis users brains 'are different'

Tuesday Nov 11 2014

Cannabis users were given MRI scans

"Cannabis use 'shrinks and rewires' the brain," reports The Daily Telegraph, with much of the media reporting similar "brain rewiring" headlines...

Anxiety affects children in different ways

Monday Nov 10 2014

Teens and children may have different needs resulting from their anxiety

"Teenage anxiety: Tailored treatment needed," BBC News reports, saying a "one-size-fits-all approach to treating teenagers with anxiety problems may be putting their futures at risk." The news is based on research that looked at...

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...