Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Finger length 'not a pointer' for future sexual behaviour

Friday Feb 6 2015

Finger length 'not a pointer' for future sexual behaviour

"How to work out if your partner is cheating on you? Check their fingers," the Daily Mirror advises. The news comes from research founded on the theory that humans are believed to display two types of mating pattern…

Flu jab is not a 'waste of time'

Friday Feb 6 2015

Flu jab is not a 'waste of time'

“Flu jab given to millions is 'useless',” and "Flu jab is a waste of time," are the irresponsible headlines in The Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail…

'Facebook envy' associated with symptoms of depression

Thursday Feb 5 2015

'Facebook envy' associated with symptoms of depression

"Facebook can cause depression in people who compare themselves with others," The Independent reports. A new study has examined the relationships between Facebook use, feelings of envy, and feelings of…

E-cigarettes may make lungs vulnerable to infection

Thursday Feb 5 2015

E-cigarettes may make lungs vulnerable to infection

"Vaping may not be as safe as smokers think, research suggests," The Guardian reports. New research found that mice exposed to e-cig vapours comparable to a typical human level experienced mild lung damage and a reduced immune response to infection…

Flu and freezing weather may be driving up winter death rates

Wednesday Feb 4 2015

Flu and freezing weather have impacted death rates

"The current death rate in England and Wales is running about one-third higher than its normal rate for this time of year," BBC News reports. A combination of flu and very cold weather may be responsible…

Modified bacteria may be useful in treating diabetes

Wednesday Feb 4 2015

Probiotics may be useful in treating diabetes

“Breakthrough pill can cure diabetes,” is the completely misleading report in the Daily Express. While researchers have achieved some level of success in using bacteria to improve diabetes control in rats, this in no way amounts to a cure for humans…

MPs vote to give the go-ahead to three-parent IVF

Wednesday Feb 4 2015

Consultation launched on 'three-parent' IVF

“In an historic move, MPs have voted in favour of the creation of babies with DNA from two women and one man,” BBC News reports. The UK is set to become the first country to license the technique known as three-parent IVF…

Strenuous jogging 'as bad as doing no exercise' claim

Tuesday Feb 3 2015

Strenuous jogging 'as bad as doing no exercise' claim

“Too much jogging 'as bad as no exercise at all',” BBC News reports. However, the results of the new Danish study on which this headline is based, are not as clear cut as the media has made out…

Teen screen time linked to less sleep

Tuesday Feb 3 2015

Teen screen time linked to poorer sleep

"Teenagers sleep less when they have more computer screen time says study," The Guardian reports. A Norwegian study found an association between the use of any type of electronic screen device in the evening and disrupted sleep patterns…

Shouting 'OW!' may help increase pain tolerance

Monday Feb 2 2015

Shouting 'OW!' may help increase pain tolerance

The Daily Mail reports on what many people have long suspected to be the case: shouting "ow" (or something stronger) may help us cope better with pain...

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...