Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

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…

Sedentary lifestyle, not watching TV, may up diabetes risk

Thursday Apr 2 2015

Sedentary lifestyle, not watching TV, may up diabetes risk

"Experts claim being a couch potato can increase the risk of developing diabetes," the Daily Express reports. A study estimated that each hour of time spent watching TV increased the risk of type 2 diabetes by 2.1% in high-risk people…

New Down’s syndrome test more accurate than current screening

Thursday Apr 2 2015

New Down’s syndrome test more accurate than current screening

"Blood test for Down's syndrome 'gives better results'," BBC News reports. The test, which is based on spotting fragments of "rogue DNA", achieved impressive results in a series of trials…

Concerns raised about increased e-cigarette use in teenagers

Wednesday Apr 1 2015

Concerns raised about increased e-cigarette use in teenagers

"E-cigarettes: Many teenagers trying them, survey concludes," BBC News reports after a survey of around 16,000 English teenagers found one in five teens had tried an e-cigarette…

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...