Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Children of the 90s more likely to be overweight or obese

Wednesday May 20 2015

90s kids more likely to be overweight or obese

"Children of the 90s are three times as likely to be obese as their parents and grandparents," the Mail Online reports. A UK survey looking at data from 1946 to 2001…

Stem cells could provide a treatment for a 'broken heart'

Tuesday May 19 2015

Stem cells could provide a treatment for a 'broken heart'

"'Heartbreak' stem cells could repair damage of heart attack," The Daily Telegraph reports. Research in mice suggests that stem cells could repair the damage to muscles that occur during a heart attack and relieve symptoms of heart failure…

Bioengineering advances raise fears of 'home-brew heroin'

Tuesday May 19 2015

Bioengineering advances raise fears of 'home-brew heroin'

The Daily Mirror carries the alarming headline that, "Heroin made in home-brew beer kits could create epidemic of hard drug abuse". It says scientists are "calling for urgent action to prevent criminal gangs gaining access…

No proof orange juice boosts brain power

Monday May 18 2015

Study looks at whether orange juice is a 'brain booster'

"Drinking orange juice every day could improve brain power in the elderly, research shows," the Mail Online reports. Despite the encouraging words from the media, the small study this headline is based on does not provide strong evidence that an…

Drug combination for cystic fibrosis looks promising

Monday May 18 2015

Drug combination for cystic fibrosis looks promising

"A 'groundbreaking' new therapy for cystic fibrosis could hugely improve patients' quality of life," The Daily Telegraph reports after a combination of two drugs – lumacaftor and ivacaftor – was found to improve lung function…

Does holding your breath during an injection make it less painful?

Friday May 15 2015

Holding your breath before an injection could make it less painful

"Hate injections? Holding your breath can make the pain of jabs more bearable," the Mail Online reports. A team of Spanish researchers mechanically squeezed the fingernails of 38 willing volunteers to cause them pain…

Single mothers have 'worse health in later life'

Friday May 15 2015

Single mothers have 'worse health in later life'

"Single mothers more likely to suffer ill health, study finds," The Independent reports. A study involving over 25,000 women found evidence that single mothers were more likely to report ill health and be affected by disability…

Cannabis-extract pills 'not effective' for dementia symptoms

Thursday May 14 2015

Cannabis-extract pills showed poor results for treating dementia

"Cannabis pills 'do not help dementia sufferers'," reports The Daily Telegraph. Previous research suggested one of the active ingredients in cannabis – tetrahydrocannabinol (THC)…

Could testing grip strength predict heart disease risk?

Thursday May 14 2015

Could testing grip strength help predict heart disease risk?

"Poor grip can signal chances of major illness or premature death," the Mail Online reports. An international study has provided evidence that assessing grip strength could help identify people who were at higher risk of cardiovascular events…

Study finds seasons may affect immune system activity

Wednesday May 13 2015

Seasons may affect inflammation levels, increasing winter deaths

"Winter immune boost may actually cause deaths," The Guardian reports. A new gene study suggests there may be an increase in inflammation levels during winter, which can protect against infection but could also make...

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...