Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Study explores effect of plain cigarette packs

Tuesday Jul 15 2014

Study explores effect of anti-smoking images

"Long-term smokers find the taste of plain-packaged cigarettes worse than that of branded cigarettes," The Guardian reports. The news comes from Australian research into the impact of plain packaging and health risk warnings on packets of cigarettes…

Spoons lead to inaccurate medicine doses for kids

Tuesday Jul 15 2014

Spoon measurements confusing for parents

“Using a spoon to measure medicine for children can lead to potentially dangerous dosing mistakes,” the Daily Mail reports. Parents have long been instructed to provide liquid medication to their children in dosages…

Sex addiction affects brain in 'same way as drugs'

Monday Jul 14 2014

Sex addiction effects brain in 'same way as drugs'

"Is compulsive sexual behaviour comparable to drug addiction?" The Guardian asks. UK researchers, using brain scans, found that men with a sex addiction exhibited changes to the brain, when exposed to pornography, similar to those seen in drug addicts…

'Exercise may help prevent Alzheimer's disease'

Monday Jul 14 2014

Alzheimer's 'preventable' through exercise

"Cut Alzheimer's risk by walking," the Daily Mail recommends. This advice is prompted by a statistical modelling study looking at population attributable risks (PARS) – factors known to influence the prevalence of a disease, such as Alzheimer's…

Offer weight loss surgery to diabetics, says NICE

Friday Jul 11 2014

'Offer weight loss surgery to diabetics,' says NICE

"An expansion of weight loss surgery in England is being proposed to tackle an epidemic of type 2 diabetes," BBC News reports. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recommended that obese people with type 2 diabetes…

Vasectomy-associated prostate cancer risk 'small'

Friday Jul 11 2014

Vasectomy prostate cancer risk 'small'

“Men who have the snip increase their risk of suffering fatal prostate cancer, according to research,” the Daily Mail reports. However, while the increase in risk was found to be statistically significant, it was small in absolute terms…

Obesity link for siblings

Thursday Jul 10 2014

Obesity link found between siblings

“Children are five times more likely to become obese if their older brother or sister is overweight,” reports the Daily Mail. There is a widespread assumption that a significant risk factor for child obesity is if they have…

Malaria parasites can 'hide' inside bone marrow

Thursday Jul 10 2014

Malaria parasites can 'hide' inside bone marrow

“Malaria parasites can hide inside the bone marrow and evade the body's defences, research confirms,” BBC News report. It is hoped that this insight into the activities of the parasites could lead to new treatments...

Call to tackle maternal blood infection risk

Wednesday Jul 9 2014

Risk of blood infection in labour 'overlooked'

“Pregnant women and new mothers need closer attention for signs of potentially fatal sepsis, a study says,” reports BBC News. While still rare, sepsis – a blood infection – is now the leading cause of maternal death in the UK...

Cycling linked to prostate cancer, but not infertility

Wednesday Jul 9 2014

Cycling linked to prostate cancer, but not infertility

"Men who cycle more than nine hours a week are … more likely to develop prostate cancer," the Mail Online inaccurately reports. The story comes from the publication of an online survey into cycling in the UK and its effects on health outcomes…

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...