Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

The top 10 most popular news stories of 2015

Wednesday Dec 30 2015

In this end of year report, we count down the top 10 most-read Behind the Headlines stories of 2015…

Being happy 'won't help you live longer' survey finds

Friday Dec 11 2015

"Happiness doesn't make you live longer, survey finds," reports The Guardian after a survey of more than 700,000 women found no evidence of a direct cause and effect link between happiness and life expectancy...

Can overweight men pass obesity risk to their children?

Friday Dec 4 2015

"Are you fat because of your dad?" is the Mail Online's bold question to its readers, explaining that "Men's weight directly affects genes in sperm linked to appetite and brain development"...

Sugar and water 'as good as a sports drink', says study

Monday Nov 30 2015

Adding a spoonful of table sugar to a glass of water could be just as good as – or better than – a sports drink, several media outlets have reported...

Loneliness 'may affect the immune system'

Tuesday Nov 24 2015

"Being lonely won't just make you miserable; it could also suppress your immune system and knock years of your life," the Daily Mail reports. This headline was prompted by a laboratory study in humans and rhesus macaque monkeys, which aimed to…

'Fit for work' disability tests linked to increase in suicides

Tuesday Nov 17 2015

"Fitness to work tests linked to 590 extra suicides in England," warns the Daily Mirror. The paper reports a "horrific death toll" from the policy of reassessing disability benefit claimants. But there is reason to be...

Study calls for smartphones and tablets to have 'bedtime mode'

Monday Nov 16 2015

"Smartphones, tablets and e-readers should have an automatic 'bedtime mode' that stops them disrupting people's sleep," BBC News reports. The concern is the devices emit short-wavelength blue light, which may disrupt the production of melatonin…

'New' sexually transmitted infection 'MG' may be widespread

Friday Nov 13 2015

"A sexually transmitted infection could have infected hundreds of thousands of people in the UK," The Guardian reports. The infection – mycoplasma genitalium – causes few, and often no, symptoms…

Stronger legs linked to stronger brains in older women

Wednesday Nov 11 2015

"Strong legs 'help the brain resist the effects of ageing','' the Mail Online reports. A study that tracked 324 female twins (162 sets) over 10 years found an association between leg strength and cognitive ability, measured…

Is a brisk walk better for losing weight than going to the gym?

Wednesday Nov 4 2015

"A brisk 30-minute walk five days a week is more effective than any other form of exercise for keeping weight down," The Times reports. That is the reported conclusion of two researchers who looked at data from the…

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

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

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