Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Study suggests gene may turn 'good' cholesterol into 'bad'

Monday Mar 14 2016

"Some people with high levels of supposedly 'good' cholesterol are at much greater risk of heart disease," BBC News reports. Researchers have identified a genetic variant – P376L – that may cause some people to have…

Can happiness break your heart?

Thursday Mar 3 2016

"Moments of joy 'can damage heart'," reports BBC News. That's the finding of a study carried out to assess whether Takotsubo syndrome (TTS) – where negative emotional events such as grief cause the chambers of the heart to balloon...

Half of all childhood asthma cases are 'overdiagnosed'

Friday Feb 26 2016

"Half a million children who have been diagnosed with asthma may not actually have the condition," The Daily Telegraph reports. This is the finding of a Dutch study…

Air pollution 'kills 40,000 a year' in the UK, says report

Tuesday Feb 23 2016

"Air pollution is contributing to about 40,000 early deaths a year in the UK," BBC News reports. The figures are the conclusion of a report assessing the impact of air pollution on public health in the UK…

New blood test can detect a range of inherited heart conditions

Friday Feb 19 2016

"A new blood test could help diagnose people with inherited heart conditions," BBC News reports. Inherited heart conditions affect around 1% of the population, and can disrupt the normal functioning of the heart – sometimes with fatal results…

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"…

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...

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