Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Can eating like a Viking 'reduce obesity risks'?

Thursday Jan 8 2015

'Eat like a Viking' advice for the obese

"A Nordic diet could reduce the dangers of being overweight, a study suggests," The Daily Telegraph reports. The headline comes from the results of a small randomised controlled trial…

New 'game-changing' antibiotic discovered

Thursday Jan 8 2015

New 'game-changing' antibiotics discovered

“New class of antibiotic could turn the tables,” on antibiotic resistance The Guardian reports and is just one of many headlines proclaiming the discovery of a “super-antibiotic” and for once, such enthusiastic headlines might be largely justified…

Could meal-in-a-pill 'trick' body into losing weight?

Wednesday Jan 7 2015

Could meal-in-a-pill 'trick' body into losing weight?

"Weight loss drug fools body into reacting as if it has just eaten," The Guardian reports. The drug, fexaramine, replicates signals that are produced when the body begins eating; though as yet has only been tested in mice…

Out-of-character criminal actions linked to dementia

Wednesday Jan 7 2015

Out of character criminal actions linked to dementia

“Could criminal behaviour be the first sign of dementia?” the Mail Online asks. A US study found an association between sudden, unusual criminal behaviour, such as shoplifting or urinating in public, and various types of dementia…

Wholegrains, not just porridge, may increase life

Tuesday Jan 6 2015

Claims 'porridge prolongs life' are inaccurate

"The key to a long and healthy life? A bowl of porridge every day," is the somewhat inaccurate headline in the Daily Mail. The study it reports on was looking at the health benefits of wholegrains in general, not just porridge…

Why common cold may thrive at low temperatures

Tuesday Jan 6 2015

The common cold may thrive in colder noses

"Keeping your nose warm may be the secret to avoiding [a cold]," the Mail Online reports. Results suggest that a colder temperature may reduce immune function inside the nasal cavity, allowing cold viruses to spread…

New skin cancer drugs show promise in lab tests

Monday Jan 5 2015

New skin cancer drugs show promise

"New skin cancer drug set for clinical trials," The Guardian reports. In fact, two new compounds designed to treat malignant melanoma are due for trials after promising results in laboratory research…

Are most cancers down to 'bad luck'?

Monday Jan 5 2015

Are most cancers due to 'bad luck'?

"Most types of cancer can be put down to bad luck rather than risk factors such as smoking," BBC News reports. A US study estimates around two-thirds of cancer cases are caused by random genetic mutations…

UK Ebola case confirmed but risk remains low

Sunday Jan 4 2015

Ebola threat to the UK is 'very low'

A case of Ebola has been confirmed in the UK, but the risk of Ebola to the general public remains very low. Ebola can only be transmitted by direct contact...

Our health news predictions for 2015

Friday Jan 2 2015

A few days ago we looked at The Guardian’s health news predictions for 2014. So we decided to see if we could better the newspaper’s efforts by providing our own health predictions for 2015…

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...