Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Mindfulness may be effective for treating lower back pain

Wednesday Mar 23 2016

"Meditation could ease the agony of back pain, a study suggests," the Daily Mirror reports. A US study compared a technique called mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) with usual care and cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) for…

Claims that man flu 'really exists' are unsupported

Wednesday Mar 23 2016

"Man flu really does exist," reports the Mail Online in a massive leap from the results of a small study that didn't look at flu at all. The study actually looked at why women are more likely to have autoimmune conditions such as lupus…

Pushy or rude patients 'more likely' to be misdiagnosed

Thursday Mar 17 2016

"'Difficult' patients are more likely to get the wrong diagnosis," The Daily Telegraph reports. A Dutch study suggests that patients who are aggressive or argumentative may cause doctors to lose focus when trying to make a diagnosis…

Quitting smoking overnight 'better than cutting down gradually'

Tuesday Mar 15 2016

"Want to quit smoking? Forget trying to cut down, if you really want to kick the habit 'going cold turkey is the best option'," is the headline from the Mail Online. The news website reports on a trial by UK-based researchers that aimed to assess…

No cure for grey hair

Wednesday Mar 2 2016

"A cure to dye for … the end of grey hair is in sight," says The Daily Telegraph. Several other media outlets have also reported enthusiastically about the discovery of a gene for grey hair, and how this could pave...

Daily diet of almonds is no magic solution for weight loss

Wednesday Feb 24 2016

"Desperate to lose weight?" asks the Mail Online. "Eat almonds! Handful a day 'wards off hunger and replaces empty calories from junk food'," it says, entirely without any justification, as the study it reports on didn't look at weight…

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…

Mobile phone use 'linked to poor sperm quality'

Monday Feb 22 2016

"Men who talk on their mobile phones for an hour a day 'are twice as likely to have low sperm quality'," the Daily Mail reports. Is the use of smartphones damaging men's sperm? The quick answer, based on the results of this study, is we don't know...

Exercise in middle-age 'stops your brain shrinking'

Thursday Feb 11 2016

"A new study has suggested that exercising in your 40s could stop the brain shrinking," The Daily Telegraph reports. A study found people with good fitness levels in their 40s had larger brains than their unfit peers when measured 20 years later…

New NICE guidelines on sun exposure warn 'tanning is unsafe'

Wednesday Feb 10 2016

"No safe way to suntan, new NICE guidance warns," BBC News reports. Though the guidelines also stress the benefits of moderate sun exposure to prevent vitamin D deficiency; which is more common in the UK than many people realise…

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...

Superfoods: the evidence

We examine the evidence behind the health claims made about the most popular superfoods

Clinical trials and medical research

Clinical trials explained, including how to take part in one and why medical research is important

Strength and Flex

Download our Strength and flexibility podcast series and get a free personal trainer