Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

NICE cancer email hoax warning

Friday Mar 14 2014

NICE cancer email hoax warning

"A health watchdog is warning that thousands of people have been sent hoax emails." BBC News reports. The emails, purporting to come from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE), wrongly warn people they may have cancer…

Easy access to takeaways 'increases obesity risk'

Friday Mar 14 2014

Living and working near takeaways ups obesity risk

"Encountering too many takeaway outlets near our homes, workplaces and even on the daily commute to work could be increasing our risk of obesity," The Independent reports…

Oxytocin nasal spray tested for anorexia

Thursday Mar 13 2014

Oxytocin nasal spray tested for anorexia

“A kiss to 'cure' anorexia: 'Love hormone' can help reduce sufferers' obsession with food and weight,” is the unsupported claim on the Mail Online. This story involved the media’s favourite hormone, oxytocin which…

Statins side effects are minimal study argues

Thursday Mar 13 2014

Statins side effects are minimal study argues

"Cholesterol-lowering statins have almost no side effects," The Guardian reports. A new UK study argues that the majority of reported side effects are actually due to the nocebo effect; symptoms that are literally "all in the mind"…

Breast cancer exercise advice may change

Wednesday Mar 12 2014

NICE found little evidence to support the theory that exercise would be bad for women with breast cancer

"Exercise advised for lymphoedema after breast cancer," reports BBC News. The headlines follow the publication of new draft recommendations by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence...

Obese 11-year-old girls 'get lower school grades'

Wednesday Mar 12 2014

Being a healthy weight at age 11 made little difference to later academic achievement

"Study links obesity in teenage girls with lower academic results," BBC News reports. Previous studies have reported that child and adolescent obesity has a wide variety of adverse consequences...

Low-level drinking in early pregnancy 'harms baby'

Tuesday Mar 11 2014

Low-level drinking in early pregnancy 'harms baby'

"Drinking alcohol early in pregnancy, even in small amounts, increases chances of harming your baby," reports The Independent, one of several news outlets to report on the latest study on the risks of drinking during pregnancy...

Children's diets contain 'too much salt'

Tuesday Mar 11 2014

Children's diets contain 'too much salt'

“Children eat too much salt,” reports The Daily Telegraph, one of several news outlets to report on new findings that have led researchers to call for further reductions in the salt content of processed food...

Are e-cigarettes a 'gateway to nicotine addiction'?

Monday Mar 10 2014

E-cigarettes have sparked a fierce debate

"E-cigarettes are encouraging a new generation to become hooked on nicotine," reports the Mail Online today. E-cigarettes are devices that deliver a heated aerosol ("vapour") of nicotine in a way that mimics conventional cigarettes...

Claims new blood test can detect Alzheimer's disease

Monday Mar 10 2014

Could new tests make accurately diagnosing dementia easier?

“Blood test that can predict Alzheimer's,” was the headline used by BBC News, the Daily Mail and The Guardian today. Similar coverage was seen across many of the front pages of other newspapers...

Probiotics

Many health claims are made for probiotics. Find out when they might help and when to be sceptical

Call to make 5 a day fruit and veg into '7 a day'

Recent research suggests that eating seven portions of fruit and vegetables is associated with a lower risk of dying from heart disease and cancer. Should we all be eating more?

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

Alcohol, myths and the media

Can lager help you live longer? Can wine help you lose weight? We take a sober look at the media’s claims about alcohol, and what the science actually says

LifeCheck

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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...