Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Can a facelift make you more likeable?

Monday Apr 13 2015

Does having a facelift make women more likeable?

"Having plastic surgery can make you more likeable," the Mail Online reports. It says cosmetic facial surgery not only makes you look younger, but could also improve what people think of your character. As the Mail Online reports...

How dogs could sniff out prostate cancer

Monday Apr 13 2015

Hounds could be used to find prostate cancer

"Dogs trained to detect prostate cancer with more than 90% accuracy," The Guardian reports. Two trained bomb-sniffing dogs also proved remarkably successful in detecting compounds associated with prostate cancer in urine samples…

Can plucking hairs stimulate new hair growth?

Friday Apr 10 2015

Can plucking hairs can stimulate new hair growth?

"Plucking hairs 'can make more grow'," BBC News reports, while the Daily Mail went as far as saying scientists have found "a cure for baldness". But before you all reach for your tweezers, this discovery was made in mice, not humans…

Middle-age spread 'seems to reduce dementia risk'

Friday Apr 10 2015

Middle-aged spread 'seems to reduce dementia risk'

"Being overweight 'reduces dementia risk'," BBC News reports. The story comes from a cohort study of nearly 2 million UK adults aged over 40. It showed that being overweight or obese was linked to a lower risk of dementia…

'Marathon men' make better sexual partners, media claims

Thursday Apr 9 2015

'Marathon men' make better sexual partners, media claim

"Marathon runners are the best in bed," is the spurious claim in Metro. The headline is based on a study that only looked at long-distance runners’ finger ratios – said to be a marker for high testosterone levels – not reported partner satisfaction…

Short people may have an increased risk of heart disease

Thursday Apr 9 2015

Short people may have increased risk of heart disease

"Shorter people at greater risk of heart disease, new research finds," reports The Guardian. It reports that a study of nearly 200,000 people has found that for every 2.5 inches (6.35cm) less in height…

No such thing as baby brain, study argues

Wednesday Apr 8 2015

No such thing as baby brain, study argues

"'Baby brain' is a stereotype and all in the mind, the Mail Online reports. The headline is prompted by a US study that aimed to see if "baby brain" (aka "mumnesia") – alleged memory lapses and problems with concentration during pregnancy…

Do diet soft drinks actually make you gain weight?

Wednesday Apr 8 2015

Does drinking diet fizzy drinks actually make you fatter?

"Is Diet Coke making you fat? People who drink at least one can a day have larger waist measurements," the Mail Online reports. A US study found an association between the daily consumption of diet fizzy drinks and expanded waist size…

Superbug 'could kill 80,000 people' experts warn

Tuesday Apr 7 2015

Superbug 'could kill 80,000 people' experts warn

"Superflu pandemic is biggest danger to UK apart from a terrorist attack – and could kill 80,000 people," is the warning in The Independent. A briefing produced by experts outlines how…

Vigorous exercise 'may help prevent early death'

Tuesday Apr 7 2015

Getting sweaty could help prevent early death

"Short bursts of vigorous exercise helps prevent early death," The Independent reports after an Australian study found vigorous exercise, such as jogging, reduced the risk of premature death…

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

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...