Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Coil 'more effective' than morning after pill

Monday Sep 12 2016

"Women should use the coil rather than the morning-after pill as emergency contraception, according to official new guidelines," the Mail Online reports. The guidelines, from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence…

Statins are 'safe, effective and should be used more widely'

Friday Sep 9 2016

"The benefits of statins are hugely underestimated and far outweigh any harm," the Daily Mail reports. A major review also argues that the risks of statins have been exaggerated by both the media and some sections of the medical profession…

Can exercise offset some of the harms of regular drinking?

Thursday Sep 8 2016

"Adults who booze regularly but exercise for five hours a week are no more likely to die than teetotallers," the Mail Online reports. A study suggests exercise may compensate for some, but certainly not all, of the harms associated with excessive alcohol…

C-section babies 'more likely' to grow up obese

Wednesday Sep 7 2016

"Babies born by caesarean more likely to be obese as adults, study suggests," The Guardian reports. A US study found that babies born via caesarean section had a 64% increased risk of becoming obese compared to their siblings born by vaginal delivery…

Pollution particles in the brain 'linked to Alzheimer's disease'

Wednesday Sep 7 2016

"Air pollution particles linked to Alzheimer's found in human brain," Sky News reports after new research found tiny particles of magnetite – a potentially toxic by-product of traffic pollution – in samples of brain tissue...

Vitamin D 'protects against severe asthma attacks'

Tuesday Sep 6 2016

"Vitamin D supplements could halve risk of serious asthma attacks," The Guardian reports. A review of previous data found that vitamin D supplements could have a protective effect against serious asthma attacks when taken alongside...

Radiotherapy 'provides no benefit for secondary brain tumours'

Monday Sep 5 2016

"'Whole brain radiotherapy' is of no benefit to people with lung cancer which has spread to the brain," BBC News reports. A UK study found radiotherapy did not significantly increase survival times and quality of life when compared with standard care…

Billions at potential risk from Zika virus spread

Friday Sep 2 2016

"Zika: Two billion at risk in Africa and Asia," BBC News reports. A new modelling study suggests the virus could spread, via air travel, to Asia and Africa. Zika virus disease is mainly spread by mosquitoes. For most people it is a mild infection…

Plaque busting drug shows early promise in preventing Alzheimer's

Thursday Sep 1 2016

"A revolutionary drug that could stop people from ever developing Alzheimer's disease has been unveiled," the Daily Mail reports. The drug, aducanumab, encourages the immune system to attack the abnormal plaques of protein linked to Alzheimer's disease…

Targeting 'addiction switch' may help combat alcohol addiction

Wednesday Aug 31 2016

"Alcoholics are missing 'vital chemical in their brain' that helps control addiction," the Daily Express reports. Research carried out on rats suggests that low levels of the PRDM2 enzyme could trigger self-destructive addictive behaviour…

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%