Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

People with 'obesity gene' can still lose weight

Wednesday Sep 21 2016

"No excuses not to slim as 'fat gene' found not to affect ability to lose weight," reports The Daily Telegraph. It is one of several news outlets to report on research suggesting people who put on weight easily because of a genetic variant…

NICE issues new guidelines on sexting in teens

Tuesday Sep 20 2016

"An NHS watchdog has issued advice about sexting to help professionals spot the difference between 'normal' sexual experimentation and harmful sexual behaviour among children and teens," BBC News reports…

Cuddling a kitten almost certainly won't kill you

Tuesday Sep 20 2016

"Cuddling kittens can kill you," warns The Telegraph in one of the more alarming headlines to appear in the national press for some time. But cat lovers can relax – deaths and serious illness from "killer kittens"…

Contraceptive pills not proven to protect against the flu

Monday Sep 19 2016

"How taking the pill could protect you from the flu," was the curious headline on a recent Mail Online article. The equally curious animal study involved female mice who had their ovaries surgically removed…

Women dying needlessly due to not attending cervical screening

Friday Sep 16 2016

"The lives of hundreds more cervical cancer patients could be saved if all those eligible went for screening," BBC News reports. An analysis estimates an additional 347 deaths per year in England could be prevented if all eligible women…

Could fertility breakthrough lead to babies with no mothers?

Thursday Sep 15 2016

"Fertility breakthrough means babies could be conceived from skin cells – so men can have babies with each other," is the excitable headline in the Daily Mirror. But the research in the news is at an early stage – and was in mice…

Invasive early prostate cancer treatments not always needed

Thursday Sep 15 2016

"Closely monitoring prostate cancer offers just as good a chance of survival as harsh and invasive treatments," The Daily Telegraph reports. Researchers found invasive treatments for early stage prostate cancer, such as surgery…

E-cigarettes 'help thousands successfully quit smoking'

Wednesday Sep 14 2016

"The rise in popularity of e-cigarettes in the UK may have resulted in more successful attempts to quit smoking," BBC News reports. A UK study looking at survey data from England over the past 10 years showed…

Coil 'more effective' than morning after pill

Monday Sep 12 2016

"Women should use the coil rather than the morning-after pill as emergency contraception, according to official new guidelines," the Mail Online reports. The guidelines, from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence…

Statins are 'safe, effective and should be used more widely'

Friday Sep 9 2016

"The benefits of statins are hugely underestimated and far outweigh any harm," the Daily Mail reports. A major review also argues that the risks of statins have been exaggerated by both the media and some sections of the medical profession…

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%