Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

'More adults should be taking statins,' says NICE

Friday Jul 18 2014

'More adults should be taking statins' says NICE

NICE suggests thousands of lives a year could be saved if more adults were offered these cholesterol lowering drugs

Steroid asthma inhalers restrict children’s growth

Thursday Jul 17 2014

Asthma inhalers restrict children’s growth

"Children who use inhalable steroids for asthma grow slower than their peers in the first year of taking the medication," The Guardian reports. The effect found by researchers was small, on average a reduction of half a centimetre per year…

Protein may help control diabetes symptoms

Thursday Jul 17 2014

Protein may help control diabetes symptoms

"Diabetes could be cured 'in single jab'," is the misleading headline in the Daily Express. The news comes from an exciting new mouse study that found promising results for a treatment for type 2 diabetes. But the study did not show that it would cure…

Owning a dog may make older adults fitter

Wednesday Jul 16 2014

Owning a dog may make older adults fitter

“Want to appear 10 years younger? Just buy a dog,” is the dubious claim on the Mail Online. A study has found a link between dog ownership and increased physical activity in older adults, but how this is linked to looking younger is unclear...

Prediabetes label 'unhelpful', experts argue

Wednesday Jul 16 2014

Prediabetes unhelpful label experts argue

"Labelling people as having pre-diabetes is unhelpful and unnecessary, researchers claim," BBC News report. In an opinion piece in the BMJ, the authors argue that the term's usage achieves next to nothing in terms of practical clinical benefits…

Study explores effect of plain cigarette packs

Tuesday Jul 15 2014

Study explores effect of anti-smoking images

"Long-term smokers find the taste of plain-packaged cigarettes worse than that of branded cigarettes," The Guardian reports. The news comes from Australian research into the impact of plain packaging and health risk warnings on packets of cigarettes…

Spoons lead to inaccurate medicine doses for kids

Tuesday Jul 15 2014

Spoon measurements confusing for parents

“Using a spoon to measure medicine for children can lead to potentially dangerous dosing mistakes,” the Daily Mail reports. Parents have long been instructed to provide liquid medication to their children in dosages…

Sex addiction affects brain in 'same way as drugs'

Monday Jul 14 2014

Sex addiction effects brain in 'same way as drugs'

"Is compulsive sexual behaviour comparable to drug addiction?" The Guardian asks. UK researchers, using brain scans, found that men with a sex addiction exhibited changes to the brain, when exposed to pornography, similar to those seen in drug addicts…

'Exercise may help prevent Alzheimer's disease'

Monday Jul 14 2014

Alzheimer's 'preventable' through exercise

"Cut Alzheimer's risk by walking," the Daily Mail recommends. This advice is prompted by a statistical modelling study looking at population attributable risks (PARS) – factors known to influence the prevalence of a disease, such as Alzheimer's…

Offer weight loss surgery to diabetics, says NICE

Friday Jul 11 2014

'Offer weight loss surgery to diabetics,' says NICE

"An expansion of weight loss surgery in England is being proposed to tackle an epidemic of type 2 diabetes," BBC News reports. The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recommended that obese people with type 2 diabetes…

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...