Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Air pollution linked to silent strokes

Friday Apr 24 2015

Air pollution linked to shrunken brains and silent strokes

"Adults who live in towns and cities suffer ageing of the brain and increased risk of dementia and [silent] strokes because of air pollution," The Daily Telegraph reports. A "silent stroke" (technically known as a covert brain infarct…

A magnet for mosquitoes? Blame your genes

Thursday Apr 23 2015

A magnet for mosquitoes? Could be your genes’ fault

"Mosquitoes 'lured by body odour genes','' BBC News reports. Researchers tested a series of non-identical and identical twins, and found that identical twins had similar levels of attractiveness to mosquitoes…

Why you should drink (water) before you drive

Monday Apr 20 2015

Why you should drink before you drive (water, that is)

"Not drinking enough water has same effect as drink driving," The Daily Telegraph reports. A small study found participants made more mistakes on a driving simulator task when they were mildly dehydrated than when they had plenty of fluids…

Study doesn't prove e-cigs make quitting smoking harder

Friday Apr 17 2015

Man using e-cigarette

"E-cigs don’t help smokers quit fags - in fact they make it harder to stop," the Daily Mirror reports, apparently turning on its head the common view that using e-cigarettes can help you quit smoking conventional cigarettes...

Does happiness have a smell and is it contagious?

Thursday Apr 16 2015

Does happiness have a smell and is it contagious?

"Humans can smell when other people are happy, researchers discover," The Independent reports; somewhat over-enthusiastically. In a new study, Dutch researchers investigated where happiness could be "spread" to others…

Middle age 'starts at 60' claims media

Thursday Apr 16 2015

'40 is the new 60' – middle age begins later in life now

"Middle age begins at 60, say researchers," The Times reports. A new population modelling study estimates that due to increased lifespan, what was once regarded as elderly should be seen as middle-aged, and this trend will continue into the future…

No proof that bad relationships raise blood pressure

Tuesday Apr 14 2015

A stressful marriage could be bad for your blood pressure

"If you have ever blamed your partner for making your blood boil, a new study could be the evidence you need to prove it's true," Mail Online reports. But the association between stress and blood pressure is much less clear-cut than the Mail suggests…

Can a facelift make you more likeable?

Monday Apr 13 2015

Does having a facelift make women more likeable?

"Having plastic surgery can make you more likeable," the Mail Online reports. It says cosmetic facial surgery not only makes you look younger, but could also improve what people think of your character. As the Mail Online reports...

'Marathon men' make better sexual partners, media claims

Thursday Apr 9 2015

'Marathon men' make better sexual partners, media claim

"Marathon runners are the best in bed," is the spurious claim in Metro. The headline is based on a study that only looked at long-distance runners’ finger ratios – said to be a marker for high testosterone levels – not reported partner satisfaction…

Vigorous exercise 'may help prevent early death'

Tuesday Apr 7 2015

Getting sweaty could help prevent early death

"Short bursts of vigorous exercise helps prevent early death," The Independent reports after an Australian study found vigorous exercise, such as jogging, reduced the risk of premature death…

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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