Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Key protein in childbirth contractions identified

Wednesday Jun 18 2014

Protein that triggers labour 'identified,' media claims

"Australian scientists discover protein that triggers child birth," the Mail Online reports. The protein (β-inhibitory protein) is thought to cause the uterus to contract and could possibly be used to induce labour in obese women...

Office screen work linked to dry eye syndrome

Wednesday Jun 18 2014

Office screen work linked to dry eye syndrome

"People who spend their working hours staring at a computer screen have changes…typical… with… dry eye [syndrome]," The Independent reports. A Japanese study suggests a link between staring at a screen all day and damage to the tear ducts…

Can a 'microwave helmet' detect strokes?

Tuesday Jun 17 2014

It sounds like science fiction but microwave helmets to detect stroke are a reality

"Microwave helmet 'can spot a stroke'," reports BBC News. There are two types of stroke. The majority of strokes are caused by a clot stopping blood flow to an area of the brain. This...

Do doctors confuse ME with a heart problem?

Tuesday Jun 17 2014

ME can be a hard condition to live with and difficult to treat

"ME: one third of patients 'wrongly diagnosed'," says The Daily Telegraph, which has reported on a new study of a condition called postural tachycardia syndrome (PoTS)...

Warning issued over washing raw chicken

Monday Jun 16 2014

Warning issued over washing raw chicken

"Don't wash chicken before cooking it, warns Food Standards Agency," The Guardian reports. The Food Standards Agency (FSA) has issued the advice as many people do not realise that washing raw poultry can spread bacteria…

'Bionic' pancreas could be used to treat diabetes

Monday Jun 16 2014

'Bionic' pancreas could be used to treat diabetes

"An artificial pancreas could allow thousands of diabetes patients to live normal lives," the Mail Online website reports. A UK study involving a device that “top-ups” blood sugar levels with insulin has proved successful in people with type 1 diabetes…

Hip replacement cement linked with deaths

Friday Jun 13 2014

Hip replacement surgery is long and not without its risks

"Toxic NHS hip implants blamed for more than 40 deaths," The Daily Telegraph reports. Other media sources similarly report how surgical "cement" used in some hip replacements has been linked to the deaths...

Are 'career girl' lifestyle abortions on the rise?

Friday Jun 13 2014

Some women delay or avoid having kids to focus on a career or lifestyle

Media sources have reported on the "career girl" abortion (Daily Mail) or "lifestyle" abortion (The Daily Telegraph) after figures released by the Department of Health showed...

'Super-mums' at risk of depression

Thursday Jun 12 2014

'Super-mums' at risk of depression

"'Super-mums' … may be more likely to suffer from depression, researchers say," the Mail Online reports. A US study found a possible association between concern about being perceived as a perfect parent and maternal depression risk…

High-factor sunscreen doesn’t cut melanoma risk

Thursday Jun 12 2014

High-factor sunscreen doesn’t cut melanoma risk

“High-factor sun cream cannot…protect against the deadliest form of skin cancer,” The Guardian reports. Research involving mice with a predisposition to develop melanoma found that sunscreen only delayed, rather than prevented, the onset of melanoma…

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...