Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Touchscreen-using toddlers may sleep less

Tuesday Apr 18 2017

"'Touchscreen-toddlers' sleep less," BBC News reports. Results from a survey of UK parents suggest every hour a child spends using a touchscreen device was associated with an hour's less sleep a night…

Being either under or overweight may increase migraine risk

Tuesday Apr 18 2017

"People who are too fat or too thin are 'more likely to suffer from migraines'," reports The Sun. Researchers reviewed data from 12 studies involving 288,981 people and concluded obese people have a 21% increased risk of migraines...

Could your tattoos put you at risk of heat stroke?

Thursday Apr 13 2017

"Do you have a tattoo? You may be at-risk of heat stroke as inked skin produces significantly less sweat than normal," the Mail Online reports. A small US study, involving 10 men, found tattooed skin produced less sweat…

Daily diet of fresh fruit linked to lower diabetes risk

Wednesday Apr 12 2017

"Eating fresh fruit daily could cut risk of diabetes by 12%," the Mail Online reports. A study of half a million people in China found those who ate fruit daily were 12% less likely to get type 2 diabetes than those who never or rarely ate it…

Brain cell reprogramming therapy shows promise for Parkinson's

Tuesday Apr 11 2017

"New technique in which brain cells are reprogrammed could one day provide a cure for Parkinson's disease," The Independent reports. Researchers, using mice with Parkinson's disease, "reprogrammed" cells to replace the nerves lost in the condition…

Growing up with a pet may boost a baby's bacterial health

Monday Apr 10 2017

"Having a pet dog…can help reduce the child's chances of developing allergies and becoming obese in later years," claims the Daily Mirror, in a somewhat misleading report. Researchers did find a link between pet ownership and an increased…

Tea not proven to 'shield you against dementia'

Friday Apr 7 2017

"It's tea time! How at least two cups a day can shield you from dementia," reports the Mail Online. This rather optimistic headline reports on a Singaporean study of around 900 Chinese people aged 55 and above…

Antibiotic use linked to 'pre-cancerous' bowel changes

Thursday Apr 6 2017

"Taking antibiotics for more than two weeks increases your risk of bowel cancer by 73 per cent," reports the Daily Mail. However, the study it reports on did not look at rates of bowel cancer. What it did find is an increased risk of bowel polyps…

Reports that Marmite prevents dementia are laying it on a bit thick

Wednesday Apr 5 2017

"A daily slice of Marmite on toast may help prevent you getting dementia," the Daily Mail reports, with little justification. A small study did find that Marmite had an effect on electrical activity in the brain, but there is no evidence...

Firefighters warned about heart attack risk

Wednesday Apr 5 2017

"Working in hot temperatures increases the risk of suffering a heart attack," BBC News reports. It has been known for some time that the leading cause of death amongst serving firefighters is heart attacks and not fire-related injuries…

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