Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Blood test for breast cancer 'has potential'

Friday Jun 27 2014

Blood test for breast cancer could be possible

"Blood test could give early warning of breast cancer," The Guardian reports. Researchers have identified a genetic signature that may be useful in predicting whether a woman is likely to develop non-inherited breast cancer…

Moderate TV viewing linked to premature death

Friday Jun 27 2014

Moderate TV viewing linked to premature death

"Watching TV for three hours a day can be deadly – doubling your risk of dying early," the Mail Online reports. A study has found a link between premature death and TV viewing, but not between other types of sedentary behaviour such as computer use…

Vitamin D deficiency linked to high blood pressure

Thursday Jun 26 2014

Vitamin D deficiency linked to high blood pressure

"Vitamin D supplements could help high blood pressure," The Independent reports. The paper reports on new research into genetic variations associated with low vitamin D levels and their relationship with blood pressure…

Give kids water not fruit juice, parents advised

Thursday Jun 26 2014

Give kids water not fruit juice, parents advised

“Ban all drinks but water from dinner table, parents told,” is the The Daily Telegraph's front page headline. Obviously, the government is unlikely to directly intervene in our diets in such a draconian way. In fact…

Casual sex can boost self-esteem

Thursday Jun 26 2014

Casual sex can be self-esteem booster

"Casual sex is GOOD for you and actually helps improve self-esteem and self-worth," the Daily Mail reports. A study involving students found that casual sex did boost self-esteem, but only in people who felt comfortable about having casual sex…

Teens could be given whooping cough booster

Wednesday Jun 25 2014

Teens may need whooping cough booster

“One in five children who see a doctor with a persistent cough may have…whooping cough, new research indicates,” The Independent reports. These findings have sparked calls for teenagers to be given a booster dose of the vaccine.

Cannabis use 'genetically linked' to schizophrenia

Wednesday Jun 25 2014

Schizophrenia, cannabis use, 'genetically linked'

“Study finds people predisposed to the condition [schizophrenia’] and drug users share common genes,” the Mail Online reports. A new study suggests that ‘schizophrenia’ genes are associated with cannabis use…

New pacemaker offers heart failure hope

Tuesday Jun 24 2014

Next-gen pacemaker offers heart failure hope

A new pacemaker which synchronises heart rate with breathing could "revolutionise" the lives of people with heart failure, The Daily Telegraph reports. The device helps match heart beats with variations in breathing rates…

Menthol cigs 'encourage teens to smoke more'

Tuesday Jun 24 2014

Menthol cigs 'encourage teens to smoke more'

"Menthol cigarettes ARE more addictive," the Mail Online claims, based on a survey of 5,000 teenagers. The 2010-11 Canadian school survey found that 16% of teenagers aged 14 to 18 smoke cigarettes…

Possible pesticide link to autistic disorders

Monday Jun 23 2014

Pesticides linked to autistic disorders

"Pregnant women who live near fields sprayed with pesticides can run more than three times the risk of having a child with autism," the Mail Online reports. New research raises concerns that exposure to pesticides may impact on a pregnancy…

Probiotics

Many health claims are made for probiotics. Find out when they might help and when to be sceptical

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

Alcohol, myths and the media

Can lager help you live longer? Can wine help you lose weight? We take a sober look at the media’s claims about alcohol, and what the science actually says

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...