Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Being optimistic after heart attack may help with recovery

Friday Mar 6 2015

Being optimistic after heart attack may help with recovery

"It's true! Optimists do live longer," is the slightly misleading headline from the Mail Online. The study it reports on actually looked at the effects of optimism on physical and emotional health in 369 people recovering from a heart attack…

Gene testing could find those who would benefit most from statins

Wednesday Mar 4 2015

Gene testing could find those who would benefit most from statins

"Patients with the highest genetic risk of suffering a heart attack benefit the most from cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, a study has found," The Guardian reports. Those with the highest genetic risk score appear to get the most benefit from the drugs…

Adults may only get 'real flu' every five years

Wednesday Mar 4 2015

Adults may only get 'real flu' every five years

"Average adult catches virus just once every five years," the Daily Mail reports. A study has estimated that influenza infections become less frequent with age and occur every five years from the age of 30…

Is long-term paracetamol use not as safe as we thought?

Tuesday Mar 3 2015

Is long-term paracetamol use not as safe as we thought?

"Daily paracetamol could raise the risk of heart attacks, stroke and early death," the Mail Online reports. A new review of previous data found that long-term use was linked with a small increased risk of adverse events, such as heart attack…

Coffee can 'cut risks of heart attack' claims

Tuesday Mar 3 2015

Coffee can 'clean arteries' and may prevent heart attacks

"Three coffees a day cuts the risk of heart disease and strokes," the Daily Mirror reports. A large study of 25,000 adults from South Korea has found that people who drink between three and five cups of coffee per day were less likely…

Over two hours screen time a day may raise a child’s blood pressure

Thursday Feb 26 2015

Over two hours screen time a day ups a child’s blood pressure

"Watching TV for more than two hours a day increases the risk of raised blood pressure in children," The Daily Telegraph reports. A large study, involving more than 5,000 children who were followed up over two years…

Anger possibly linked with non-fatal heart attacks

Tuesday Feb 24 2015

There are lots of benefits to trying to remain calm

"'Plate-throwing rage' raises heart attack risk nearly 10 fold," The Daily Telegraph reports, slightly inaccurately. This headline reports on a study that found that just seven out of 313 people had felt "very angry"...

Nanoparticles used to treat damaged arteries

Thursday Feb 19 2015

'Nano drones' used to repair damaged arteries

"New trials suggest microscopic stealth drones could be used to seek and repair damaged arteries," The Daily Telegraph, somewhat overexcitedly, reports. A study in mice has found promising results for a targeted treatment…

Plain packaging 'may help smokers to cut down'

Tuesday Feb 17 2015

Plain packaging 'may help smokers smoke less'

"Plain packaging reduced unconscious triggers to smoke," BBC News reports. This claim is based on two related experiments where smokers were either exposed to a picture of a branded pack of cigarettes, a picture of a plain pack...

1980s fat guidelines 'lacked evidence,' study argues

Tuesday Feb 10 2015

1980s fat guidelines 'lacked evidence,' study argues

"Butter isn't bad for you after all: Major study says 80s advice on dairy fats was flawed," is the headline on the front of the Daily Mail as a new study argues dietary fat guidelines introduced in the 1980s lacked a rigorous evidence base…

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