Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Painkiller use linked to irregular heartbeat

Wednesday Apr 9 2014

Painkiller use linked to irregular heartbeat

“Painkillers used by millions of Britons have been linked to higher risk of an irregular heartbeat that could trigger a stroke,” the Mail Online reports.

Review recommends plain cigarette packs

Friday Apr 4 2014

Review recommends plain cigarette packs

“The government has announced its support for the introduction of standardised cigarette packets, following a review,” BBC News reports. The review concludes that plain packaging would have a positive impact on public health.

Can warm-water exercise help high blood pressure?

Thursday Apr 3 2014

Exercising in hot water may help high blood pressure

"Working out in warm water could be a radical new cure for high blood pressure," the Mail Online reports. Results of a small study suggest that "hot aquarobics" may benefit people who had failed to respond to conventional treatment for high blood…

No proof Earl Grey can fight heart disease

Tuesday Apr 1 2014

Earl Grey unproven as replacement for statins

“A cup of Earl Grey 'as good as statins' at fighting heart disease,” reports The Daily Telegraph, entirely without proof. The science behind this headline did not show Earl Grey was as good as statins…

Smoke-free laws linked to improved child health

Friday Mar 28 2014

Smoke-free laws linked to improved child health

"Laws banning smoking in public places have had a positive impact on child health," BBC News reports. Researchers found lower rates of premature births and severe asthma cases in countries with a smoking ban…

Doctors launch new tool to measure your 'heart age'

Thursday Mar 27 2014

Maybe your heart is 'older' than you are

“People are being urged to find out their "true" heart age in order to cut the risk of heart attacks and strokes,” BBC News reports. Doctors have put together a new risk calculator called JBS3 that can tell you the real “age” of your heart…

No evidence that plain cigarette packs work, says industry funded study

Wednesday Mar 26 2014

Plain packs don’t work, says industry funded study

"Unbranded cigarettes could mean people smoke more, experts warn," The Daily Telegraph reports. However, the evidence provided by the “experts” has not been peer reviewed and their work has been funded by cigarette manufacturer Philip Morris…

Could Botox be used to treat severe asthma

Tuesday Mar 25 2014

Botox – treatment option for severe asthma?

“Botox is commonly used to smooth out wrinkles, but new research suggests it could be used to help asthma sufferers,” the Mail Online reports. While early results seem encouraging, the research being reported on is still at proof of concept stage…

Saturated fats and heart disease link 'unproven'

Tuesday Mar 18 2014

Saturated fats heart disease link 'unproven'

“No link found between saturated fat and heart disease,” The Daily Telegraph reports. Researchers have pooled the results of over 70 studies and say they have found no significant link between saturated fats and heart disease…

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"…

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