Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Shell shock remains 'unsolved'

Monday Jan 19 2015

Researchers looked at how shellshock affects the brain

The Mail Online tells us shell shock has been "solved" after scientists claimed they have pinpointed the brain injury that causes pain, anxiety and breakdowns in soldiers…

Could 'DNA editing' lead to designer babies?

Monday Jan 19 2015

Could 'DNA editing' lead to designer babies?

"Rapid progress in genetics is making 'designer babies' more likely and society needs to be prepared," BBC News reports. The headline is prompted by advances in "DNA editing", which may eventually lead to genetically modified babies…

Study finds care home residents 'more likely' to be dehydrated

Friday Jan 16 2015

Study finds care home residents 'more likely' to be dehydrated

"Care home residents five times more likely to be left thirsty," The Independent reports after an analysis of some London hospital admission records found people admitted from care homes were five times more likely to be dehydrated…

Wearing killer high heels could lead to osteoarthritis, study warns

Friday Jan 16 2015

Wearing killer high heels could lead to osteoarthritis, study warns

"Killer heels could lead to osteoarthritis in knees," The Daily Telegraph reports. An analysis of the walking patterns of 14 women found evidence that walking in high heels puts the knees under additional strain, which could damage cartilage…

Inactivity 'twice as deadly' as obesity

Thursday Jan 15 2015

Inactivity 'twice as deadly' as obesity

“Lack of exercise is twice as deadly as obesity,” The Daily Telegraph reports. The headline is prompted by a Europe-wide study on obesity, exercise and health outcomes...

'Hibernation protein' could help repair dementia damage

Thursday Jan 15 2015

'Hibernation protein' could help repair dementia damage

"Neurodegenerative diseases have been halted by harnessing the regenerative power of hibernation," BBC News reports. Researchers have identified a protein used by animals…

How therapy and exercise 'may help some with CFS'

Wednesday Jan 14 2015

Exercise fears 'worsens' chronic fatigue syndrome

"Chronic fatigue syndrome patients' fear of exercise can hinder treatment," The Guardian reports. Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a long-term condition that causes persistent and debilitating fatigue. We do not know what...

Under-80 cancer deaths 'eliminated by 2050' claim

Wednesday Jan 14 2015

Under-80 cancer deaths 'eliminated by 2050' claim

"Cancer deaths will be eliminated for all under 80 by 2050,” The Independent reports. This is the optimistic prediction contained in a paper written by specialists in pharmacy from University College London (UCL)...

Napping 'key' to babies' memory and learning

Tuesday Jan 13 2015

Naps 'key' to infant learning and memory

"The key to learning and memory in early life is a lengthy nap, say scientists," BBC News reports. The scientists were interested in babies' abilities to remember activities and events. They carried out a study…

Could brain protein help people 'sleep off' the flu?

Tuesday Jan 13 2015

Brain protein may help people 'sleep off' the flu

"Scientists…believe that a nasal spray could be produced which boosts a protein so sufferers could sleep off the flu," The Daily Telegraph reports. As yet, the research has been confined to assessing the role of one protein in mice...

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...