Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Paracetamol 'useless' in treating osteoarthritis pain

Friday Mar 18 2016

"Paracetamol is next to useless at alleviating arthritic pain," The Times reports. A comprehensive review of existing data suggests paracetamol should not be used in cases of osteoarthritis…

Memories 'taken' by Alzheimer's could possibly be retrieved

Thursday Mar 17 2016

"Memories wiped by Alzheimer's could be revived, research suggests," The Daily Telegraph reports. Research involving mice suggests memories are not destroyed by Alzheimer's disease – rather, there are difficulties recalling them…

Pushy or rude patients 'more likely' to be misdiagnosed

Thursday Mar 17 2016

"'Difficult' patients are more likely to get the wrong diagnosis," The Daily Telegraph reports. A Dutch study suggests that patients who are aggressive or argumentative may cause doctors to lose focus when trying to make a diagnosis…

Common antibiotic for children 'ineffective in half of cases'

Wednesday Mar 16 2016

"Antibiotics used to treat common infections in children could soon be rendered useless," the Daily Mail reports. A major review of existing data found worryingly high levels of resistance to widely used antibiotics such as ampicillin…

Quitting smoking overnight 'better than cutting down gradually'

Tuesday Mar 15 2016

"Want to quit smoking? Forget trying to cut down, if you really want to kick the habit 'going cold turkey is the best option'," is the headline from the Mail Online. The news website reports on a trial by UK-based researchers that aimed to assess…

Study suggests gene may turn 'good' cholesterol into 'bad'

Monday Mar 14 2016

"Some people with high levels of supposedly 'good' cholesterol are at much greater risk of heart disease," BBC News reports. Researchers have identified a genetic variant – P376L – that may cause some people to have…

Gum disease linked to worsening dementia symptoms

Friday Mar 11 2016

"How brushing your teeth properly can ward of the symptoms of dementia," is the misleading headline in the Daily Mail. In the study reported on, all the participants had dementia. The researchers wanted to see if gum disease made symptoms worse…

Stem cells used to repair children's eyes after cataracts

Thursday Mar 10 2016

"Children with cataracts regain sight after radical stem cell treatment," The Guardian reports. The new operation, carried out on 12 children under two years old in China, was to treat childhood cataracts…

Can chocolate make you smarter?

Wednesday Mar 9 2016

"Chocolate makes you smarter, proves 40-year study," claims the Daily Express. The news is based on research which found that people who ate chocolate at least once a week performed better in brain tests...

'Carbs linked to lung cancer,' study finds

Tuesday Mar 8 2016

"White bread, bagels and rice 'increase the risk of lung cancer by 49%','' the Mail Online reports after a US study found a link between lung cancer and eating a diet with a high glycaemic index (GI), a measure of carbohydrate content…

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%