Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Cuddling a kitten almost certainly won't kill you

Tuesday Sep 20 2016

"Cuddling kittens can kill you," warns The Telegraph in one of the more alarming headlines to appear in the national press for some time. But cat lovers can relax – deaths and serious illness from "killer kittens"…

Invasive early prostate cancer treatments not always needed

Thursday Sep 15 2016

"Closely monitoring prostate cancer offers just as good a chance of survival as harsh and invasive treatments," The Daily Telegraph reports. Researchers found invasive treatments for early stage prostate cancer, such as surgery…

Vitamin D 'protects against severe asthma attacks'

Tuesday Sep 6 2016

"Vitamin D supplements could halve risk of serious asthma attacks," The Guardian reports. A review of previous data found that vitamin D supplements could have a protective effect against serious asthma attacks when taken alongside...

Radiotherapy 'provides no benefit for secondary brain tumours'

Monday Sep 5 2016

"'Whole brain radiotherapy' is of no benefit to people with lung cancer which has spread to the brain," BBC News reports. A UK study found radiotherapy did not significantly increase survival times and quality of life when compared with standard care…

One in three heart attack cases 'misdiagnosed'

Tuesday Aug 30 2016

BBC News reports a "third [of people] given wrong initial heart attack diagnosis", while The Sun makes the totally unsupported claim that "Doctors miss heart attacks in women 'because they expect victims to be fat, middle-aged men'."…

Baby doll simulators may actually increase teen pregnancy rates

Friday Aug 26 2016

"Young girls exposed to electronic babies – designed to simulate the real experience of having a baby and discourage teenage pregnancy – were more likely to get pregnant," The Guardian reports…

Does time of day influence our susceptibility to infection?

Tuesday Aug 16 2016

"Viruses more dangerous in the morning," BBC News reports, but The Telegraph tells us that "the evening commute is worse for health". So who's right? It depends if you're talking about mice or humans…

Virtual reality helped improve nerve function in paralysed people

Friday Aug 12 2016

"Virtual reality has helped eight paralysed patients regain some feeling in their legs in 'a big surprise'," Sky News reports. Researchers using virtual reality (VR) combined with a robotic exoskeleton were surprised to find participants…

Can disruption to your body clock influence back pain symptoms?

Thursday Aug 4 2016

"Scientists have discovered that our spinal discs have a 24-hour body clock that can cause … pain when it gets out of synch," the Daily Mail reports; overstating research limited to mice. While the results may have human implications…

Chlamydia vaccine research 'shows early progress'

Wednesday Jul 20 2016

"Could a nose spray prevent chlamydia?" asks the Daily Mail, one of several media outlets reporting on promising research to develop a vaccine for the sexually transmitted disease (STI)...

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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