Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Brain training app used to treat memory condition

Monday Jul 3 2017

"Brain training games boost the memory and may reduce the risk of dementia, new research suggests," The Daily Telegraph reports. Researchers used an app called Game Show to treat people with amnestic mild cognitive impairment...

Some women in the UK still unaware of cervical screening

Friday Jun 30 2017

"Nearly a quarter of women who don't make cervical screening appointments are unaware that the process even exists, according to a UK survey," BBC News reports. Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that starts in the cervix, the entrance to the womb…

Can magnesium help depression – or is it just a placebo?

Thursday Jun 29 2017

"Over-the-counter magnesium tablets significantly improve depression in just two weeks, new research reveals," the Mail Online reports. A small study found that people taking the supplements – on top of their existing treatment…

Overweight teen boys have increased risk of stroke in later life

Thursday Jun 29 2017

"Boys who get fat in their teenage years are much more likely to suffer a life-threatening stroke as an adult, experts today warned," The Sun reports. Swedish researchers suspect the association could be down to the effects of...

'Painless' flu vaccine skin patch shows promise

Wednesday Jun 28 2017

"A 'painless' sticking plaster flu jab that delivers vaccine into the skin has passed important safety tests in the first trial in people," BBC News reports. Results of a small phase 1 trial were encouraging, with no serious side effects reported…

Middle-aged office workers 'sit down more' than OAPs

Tuesday Jun 27 2017

"Middle-aged male office workers 'more sedentary than over-75-year-olds'," The Daily Telegraph reports. A survey in Scotland suggests previous studies may have underestimated sedentary behaviour in middle-age by not…

Can coffee machines and kettles spread toxic spores?

Monday Jun 26 2017

"Your coffee machine could be making you ill," the Mail Online reports, saying that steam released by the machine could be creating the perfect conditions for fungi to grow. The Sun reports a similar risk for kettles and showers…

Does paracetamol taken in pregnancy affect masculinity?

Friday Jun 23 2017

"Taking paracetamol when pregnant 'makes boys less manly, less aggressive and lowers their sex drive'," reports The Sun. But the alarming headline doesn't explain that the research was in mice, not humans. Researchers gave daily doses...

Sex link to older people's brain power, says study

Thursday Jun 22 2017

"Sex is the key to staying sharp in old age," reports the Mail Online after researchers found older people who have regular sex scored better on two of five brain tests. Participants who had sex at least...

'Contaminated air' on planes linked to health problems

Wednesday Jun 21 2017

"Toxic fumes in aircraft cabins could cause serious health problems, scientists warn:" reports The Sun. This is based on a UK study investigating air contamination on aircraft and its possible effects on the health of pilots and cabin crew…

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

You be the judge

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%