Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Scientists find gene that 'delays Alzheimer's'

Wednesday Dec 2 2015

Scientists have identified a genetic variation thought to delay the start of Alzheimer's disease, according to several media reports. The news is based on a study of 71 descendants of the same ancestral family in northern Colombia...

Do potatoes reduce stomach cancer risk?

Tuesday Dec 1 2015

"Eating lots of potatoes will reduce your risk of getting stomach cancer," according to enthusiastic media reports that seized on the UK's love affair with the spud...

Sugar and water 'as good as a sports drink', says study

Monday Nov 30 2015

Adding a spoonful of table sugar to a glass of water could be just as good as – or better than – a sports drink, several media outlets have reported...

High-strength 'skunk' cannabis linked to brain changes

Friday Nov 27 2015

"Scientists warn smoking 'skunk' cannabis wrecks brains," The Sun reports, somewhat simplistically. A small study found some users of the high-strength skunk strain of cannabis had changes in nerve fibres in a specific part of the brain...

Experts call for more research into ADHD drug Ritalin

Friday Nov 27 2015

"The drug Ritalin should be prescribed with caution as the quality of evidence available about its benefits and risks is poor," the Mail Online reports. A review found no high-quality evidence about both the benefits and risks…

Reports of an 'end to daily diabetes jabs' are premature

Thursday Nov 26 2015

"The daily trial of insulin injections could soon be over for hundreds of thousands of people with type-1 diabetes," is the overoptimistic headline in The Times. A small study involving immune "T-reg cells" proved safe for participants…

Babies born on the weekend have slightly higher death risk

Wednesday Nov 25 2015

"Babies delivered at the weekend are significantly more likely to die or suffer serious injury," reports the Daily Mail. While the increase in risk is both significant and an obvious cause for concern, it is a very small increase…

Loneliness 'may affect the immune system'

Tuesday Nov 24 2015

"Being lonely won't just make you miserable; it could also suppress your immune system and knock years of your life," the Daily Mail reports. This headline was prompted by a laboratory study in humans and rhesus macaque monkeys, which aimed to…

Has the 'happiness region' of the brain been discovered?

Monday Nov 23 2015

"Neurologists 'work out the key to finding happiness'," claims The Independent. Japanese researchers claim to have found a link between reported happiness and an area of the brain called the precuneus…

One diet 'doesn’t fit all' – people 'metabolise food differently'

Friday Nov 20 2015

"No one diet fits all," the Daily Mail reports. Israeli researchers monitored 800 adults to measure what is known as postprandial glycemic response – the amount by which blood sugar levels increase after a person eats a meal…

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%