Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Iron tablets may damage DNA

Friday Feb 12 2016

"Iron tablets taken by millions of people could damage the body within just 10 minutes," the Mail Online reports; somewhat over-dramatically. A study looking at cell samples in a lab, and not actual humans, did find some evidence of damage to DNA…

Scientists look at what puts the 'junk' into junk foods

Thursday Feb 11 2016

"Scientists say they have cracked what makes processed foods… harmful," the Daily Mail reports. A small study suggests processed foods are high in "PAMPs" – pathogen-associated molecular patterns – which are molecules that trigger inflammation…

Smoking bans linked to fewer heart attacks and strokes

Thursday Feb 4 2016

The ban on smoking indoors in public places “has helped save the lives of passive smokers,” says the Daily Mail. The headline refers to a review of the effects of smoking bans, which found fewer admissions to hospitals...

Are ads for candy-flavoured e-cigs tempting teens to vape?

Monday Jan 18 2016

"Advertisements for … flavoured e-cigarettes could encourage children to try vaping," ITV News reports after a study found children shown these ads were more likely to express an interest in trying flavoured e-cigs…

NHS Health Checks 'prevented thousands of heart attacks'

Friday Jan 15 2016

"NHS Health Checks scheme hailed as 'remarkable success'," Pulse Magazine reports, while The Sun adds "GP quiz [is a] life saver". NHS Health Checks, introduced in 2009, are a kind of middle-aged health "MOT"…

Sugary drinks linked to increased fat levels around vital organs

Tuesday Jan 12 2016

"People who consume sugary drinks are more likely to develop dangerous fat that becomes wrapped around internal organs," the Daily Mail reports after a US study found a link between the consumption of sugary drinks and increased visceral fat levels…

Active and secondhand smoking both linked to early menopause

Wednesday Dec 16 2015

"Women who are heavy or habitual smokers are more likely to experience the menopause earlier [before the age of 50], a study suggests," BBC News reports. The same study found a weaker link for women exposed to secondhand smoke…

Is paracetamol any good for treating flu?

Monday Dec 14 2015

"Paracetamol will not ease the symptoms of flu, according to a study by doctors in New Zealand," The Times reports. A small study suggests the widely used painkiller does not help combat the overall effects of infection...

Flavouring found in e-cigarettes linked to 'popcorn lung'

Tuesday Dec 8 2015

"Smokers who use e-cigs 'are risking harm to their lungs'," the Daily Mail reports after US researchers discovered some brands contained diacetyl, a buttery flavouring linked to lung disease in people who worked in microwave popcorn factories…

Coffee 'can make you live longer' claims

Wednesday Nov 18 2015

"Drinking three to five cups of coffee a day could help people live longer, new research has found," The Independent reports. Research suggests a link between regular coffee consumption and reduced risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease…

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What is Behind the Headlines?

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