Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

'Painless' flu vaccine skin patch shows promise

Wednesday Jun 28 2017

"A 'painless' sticking plaster flu jab that delivers vaccine into the skin has passed important safety tests in the first trial in people," BBC News reports. Results of a small phase 1 trial were encouraging, with no serious side effects reported…

Does paracetamol taken in pregnancy affect masculinity?

Friday Jun 23 2017

"Taking paracetamol when pregnant 'makes boys less manly, less aggressive and lowers their sex drive'," reports The Sun. But the alarming headline doesn't explain that the research was in mice, not humans. Researchers gave daily doses...

Risk of aspirin-related bleeding is higher in the over-75s

Wednesday Jun 14 2017

"People over 75 taking daily aspirin after a stroke or heart attack are at higher risk of major – and sometimes fatal – stomach bleeds than previously thought," BBC News reports. Aspirin can help thin the blood, so it is…

Beta-blockers 'useless' for many heart attack patients, study reports

Tuesday May 30 2017

"Many patients given beta blockers after a heart attack may not benefit from being on the drugs, suggesting they may be being overprescribed," The Guardian reports. Beta-blockers are drugs used to regulate the heart by making it beat…

Life expectancy for people with HIV now 'near normal'

Thursday May 11 2017

"Young people on the latest HIV drugs now have near-normal life expectancy because of improvements in treatments," BBC News reports. The report says advances in antiretroviral drug treatments reduce the risks of serious complications…

Ibuprofen linked to increased risk of heart attacks

Wednesday May 10 2017

"Taking painkillers for just one week 'raises the risk of a heart attack'," the Daily Mail reports. The report is based on a new analysis that found a link between anti-inflammatory painkillers like ibuprofen and heart attack risk…

Blood test may lead to targeted therapy for prostate cancer

Friday May 5 2017

"A blood test has been developed that could help target treatment for men with advanced prostate cancer," BBC News reports. The test could help identify men unlikely to respond to drugs such as enzalutamide…

Statins side effects 'have been overstated', says study

Wednesday May 3 2017

"Side effects from statins 'really are all in the mind'," The Times reports. A new study found people taking statins were more likely to report side effects, such as muscle aches, but only if they knew they were taking the drug...

Two older drugs could be 'repurposed' to fight dementia

Thursday Apr 20 2017

"Depression and cancer drugs offer hope for dementia sufferers," Sky News reports. The headline is prompted by a study looking at the effect of two drugs – one used to treat depression and another being trialled for cancer treatment...

Frog slime could protect us against future flu epidemic

Wednesday Apr 19 2017

"'Potent' new molecule in frog slime may give us new way to beat flu epidemics, say boffins," The Sun reports. Researchers looked at secretions from the skin of a south Indian frog called Hydrophylax bahuvistara…

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