Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

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…

One in three heart attack cases 'misdiagnosed'

Tuesday Aug 30 2016

BBC News reports a "third [of people] given wrong initial heart attack diagnosis", while The Sun makes the totally unsupported claim that "Doctors miss heart attacks in women 'because they expect victims to be fat, middle-aged men'."…

Baby doll simulators may actually increase teen pregnancy rates

Friday Aug 26 2016

"Young girls exposed to electronic babies – designed to simulate the real experience of having a baby and discourage teenage pregnancy – were more likely to get pregnant," The Guardian reports…

Excess body fat now linked to 13 different types of cancer

Thursday Aug 25 2016

"Experts have linked eight more cancers to being overweight or obese, nearly tripling the list from five to 13," the Daily Mail reports. This is the latest finding of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)…

Being sick of the daily commute could be affecting your health

Wednesday Aug 24 2016

"Why your commute is killing you: stressful rush-hour journeys are shortening commuters' lifespans," The Sun reports after the Royal Society for Public Health published a report arguing that commuting can negatively impact both physical and mental health…

Childhood head injury linked to range of adult health problems

Wednesday Aug 24 2016

"Millions of Brits face dying early because of something they did when they were children," says the Daily Mirror's needlessly alarming headline. The newspaper reports on a study which found that a head injury causing concussion…

Combined HRT breast cancer risk 'may have been underestimated'

Tuesday Aug 23 2016

"Women who take a common form of HRT are nearly three times as likely to get breast cancer, a major study has found," the Daily Mail reports. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is a treatment used to relieve symptoms of the…

Gene scanning 'could improve screening for oesophageal cancer'

Monday Aug 22 2016

"Simple test can now reveal which heartburn patients are at risk of oesophageal cancer," is the hopeful headline in the Daily Mail, reporting on a new study from researchers at Queen Mary University of London…

Animal research suggests Zika could affect the adult brain

Friday Aug 19 2016

"Zika virus may cause long-term memory damage, similar to Alzheimer's disease," The Daily Telegraph reports. At the moment such a claim is pure speculation as it is based on research into mice…

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%