Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Hopes for chemicals that turn 'bad' fat 'good'

Tuesday Dec 9 2014

Hopes for a compound that turns 'bad' fat 'good'

"Scientists discovered how to trigger a molecule which can turn 'bad' white fat cells into 'good' energy-burning brown fat cells," The Daily Telegraph reports, saying that it could "replace the treadmill". But this proof of concept lab research…

Lack of sleep linked to negative thinking

Monday Dec 8 2014

Lack of sleep linked to negative thinking

“Feeling anxious? Go to bed earlier: Getting more sleep really can calm the mind,” reports the Mail Online. However, if you’re more of a ‘glass half-empty’ sort of person, the headline could have read “feeling anxious affects your sleep”…

Text alerts 'help prompt people to take their pills'

Monday Dec 8 2014

Text alerts 'help prompt people to take their pills'

"A text messaging service could help people remember to take the medicines they have been prescribed," BBC News reports after a small trial scheme in London helped increase drug adherence in people with cardiovascular disease…

Obesity could 'rob you' of 20 years of health

Friday Dec 5 2014

Obesity could 'rob you' of 20 years of health

"Obesity knocks 20 years of good health off your life and can accelerate death by eight years," the Mail Online reports. A study has estimated very obese men aged 20 to 39, with a body mass index (BMI) of 35…

More breastfeeding 'would save NHS millions'

Friday Dec 5 2014

If more mums breastfed, it would save the NHS millions

"Increase in breastfeeding could save NHS £40m a year," The Independent reports after a recent economic modelling study projected a reduction in childhood diseases and breast cancer rates would lead to considerable savings for the health service…

Drug found to help repair spinal cord injuries

Thursday Dec 4 2014

New drug found to help repair spine injuries

"A drug that can encourage nerves in the spinal cord to grow and repair injuries has been developed by US scientists," BBC News reports. The drug, intracellular sigma peptide, helped restore varying degrees of nerve functions in previously disabled rats…

Nitrate-rich leafy greens 'good for the heart'

Thursday Dec 4 2014

Nitrate-rich leafy greens 'good for the heart'

“Leafy vegetables contain chemical nitrate that improves heart health,” the Mail Online reports. In a recent study, researchers looked at the effects of a nitrate-rich diet on rats…

Do time-restricted eating habits reduce obesity?

Thursday Dec 4 2014

Time-restricted eating habits may reduce obesity

“Want to lose weight? Eat all your food in an eight-hour time frame – and never snack at night,” reports the Mail Online. However, these tips are based on a mouse study – no humans were involved…

NICE recommends home births for some mums

Wednesday Dec 3 2014

NICE recommend homes births for some mums

"Home birth 'could be best for many mothers','' BBC News reports. New guidelines from NICE recommend home births or births at midwife-led centres for women with a low risk of pregnancy complications…

Weight loss surgery 'not a quick fix' for good health

Tuesday Dec 2 2014

Weight loss surgery 'not a quick fix' for good health

"Weight loss surgery isn't just a quick fix to becoming healthy – you have to exercise too," the Mail Online reports. Weight loss surgery, such as fitting a gastric band, usually results in significant weight loss…

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...