Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Roll-ups 'as hazardous as factory made cigarettes'

Wednesday Feb 12 2014

Roll-ups just as bad as factory-made cigarettes

“Rollies vs Straights: Roll-your-own ‘at least as hazardous as any other type of cigarette’,” reports The Independent. “Roll-ups” (cigarettes made using rolling tobacco and paper), have been associated with poverty…

NICE publishes new draft guidelines on statins use

Wednesday Feb 12 2014

Thousands more should be prescribed statins say NICE

"Millions more people should be put on cholesterol-lowering statin drugs," BBC News reports. Draft guidance from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recommended that the drugs should be given to people with an…

Sugar intake linked to heart disease deaths

Tuesday Feb 4 2014

Sugar intake linked to heart disease deaths

“Three fizzy drinks per day could triple chance of heart disease,” says The Daily Telegraph. Its headline is based on a major US study showing a link between high levels of sugar consumption and a higher relative risk of dying from cardiovascular disease…

Media hype blood clot risk of birth control pills

Monday Feb 3 2014

Birth control pill blood clot risk hyped by media

“Deadly risk of pill used by 1m women: Every GP in Britain told to warn about threat from popular contraceptive,” reports the Mail Online. Combined hormonal contraceptives (or “the pill”) are in the news after letters were sent to doctors…

Heart failure patients may have higher cancer risk

Wednesday Jan 29 2014

Heart failure patients found to have higher cancer risk

"Heart attacks increase the risk of developing cancer," is the completely inaccurate headline on the Mail Online website. The Mail was attempting to report on a study looking at cancer risk in people with heart failure…

'Good' cholesterol can turn 'bad', study finds

Monday Jan 27 2014

How 'good' cholesterol can turn 'bad'

"Good cholesterol also has a nasty side that can increase the risk of heart attacks," BBC News reports after a US study has suggested that labelling cholesterol either "good" or "bad" is oversimplifying a complex situation…

Little proof sunbathing cuts heart attack risk

Tuesday Jan 21 2014

Scant evidence sunbathing cuts heart attack risks

"Sunbathing 'can cut risk of heart attacks and strokes'," reports the Metro – but there is little hard evidence to back the claim. New research has tried to explain previous observations that blood pressure is lower in the summer than in the winter in…

Women who spend too long sitting may die earlier

Friday Jan 17 2014

Women who spend too long sitting may die earlier

“Why sitting for too long can be deadly for older women... even if they go to the gym,” reports the Mail Online. The study this news is based on found an association between sedentary behaviour…

UK gout rates rise 30%

Thursday Jan 16 2014

Sharp rise in UK gout rates

“Britain is the gout capital of Europe with one in 40 people affected by the condition,” the Daily Mirror reports. Gout is a particularly painful form of arthritis, though unlike many other types, its underlying causes can be treated…

Medical 'superglue' shows promise for heart surgery

Thursday Jan 9 2014

Medical 'superglue' shows promise for heart surgery

"A medical superglue has been developed that has the potential to patch heart defects on the operating table," BBC News reports. The glue has currently only be used in animals, but the results are encouraging…

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What is Behind the Headlines?

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