Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Combined Pill may raise breast cancer risk

Friday Aug 1 2014

Contraceptive pills may double breast cancer risk

"Some contraceptive pills double risk of breast cancer," The Daily Telegraph reports, as a new US study found an increased risk of 50% with use of the combined oral contraceptive pill, commonly called "the pill"…

Study probes effect of NHS Health Checks

Friday Aug 1 2014

NHS Health Checks 'waste of time' study argues

"Health MOTs routinely offered to over-40s on the NHS may be a waste of time," the Mail Online reports. The report says researchers have found no difference in the prevalence of diseases such as diabetes in GP practices that offer NHS Health Checks…

Warning over waistline link to type 2 diabetes

Thursday Jul 31 2014

Warning over waistline link to diabetes

"Public Health England said there was a 'very high risk' of diabetes with waistlines over 40in (102cm) in men or 35in (88cm) in women," BBC News reports. A new report highlights the connection between obesity and diabetes, which can be life-threatening…

Could a blood test screen for suicide risk?

Thursday Jul 31 2014

Could a blood test screen for suicide risk?

"People with certain gene mutation 'may be more likely to end their life'," reports the Mail Online. A postmortem study found a gene called SKA2 was less active in the brains of people with mental illness who had committed suicide…

Ebola virus threat to the UK is 'very low'

Thursday Jul 31 2014

Ebola threat to the UK is 'very low'

Health news has been dominated recently by the outbreak of the Ebola virus in West Africa, with over 1,800 confirmed cases and 1,013 deaths…

'Morning sickness' linked to healthier babies

Wednesday Jul 30 2014

'Morning sickness' linked to healthier babies

"Morning sickness isn't all bad news: Women battling the condition may have 'healthier, more intelligent babies'," the Daily Mail reports. A review of the evidence found a link between nausea and vomiting in pregnancy and improved pregnancy outcomes…

Eating more than 5 a day 'brings no extra benefit'

Wednesday Jul 30 2014

Eating more than 5 a day 'brings no extra benefit'

"Eating more than five a day has 'no extra health benefit'," reports The Independent. The paper reports on a review that combined the results of previous research looking at the effect of increasing the amount of fruit…

Tiny area of the brain linked to fear of the future

Tuesday Jul 29 2014

Tiny brain part linked to pessimism and dread

"Pea-sized brain hub could shed light on depression," BBC News reports. UK scientists think they have identified part of the brain responsible for feelings of foreboding. This part of the brain, called the habenula, may also be associated with depression…

Running 7 minutes a day 'halves heart death risk'

Tuesday Jul 29 2014

Running 7 minutes a day 'halves heart death risk'

"Running for just a few minutes each day can reduce the risk of dying from heart disease," The Guardian reports. Ultimately, you can't outrun the Grim Reaper. But this news accurately reflects the results of a large long-term US study on health outcomes…

Over-60s exercise claim based on just 12 people

Monday Jul 28 2014

Seconds of intense exercise 'improves health'

"Two minute of exercise … is enough to boost pensioners' health," the Daily Mirror reports. A pilot study into high intensity training suggests it may be an effective method of combating the effects of ageing…

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...