Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Paracetamol in pregnancy 'link to autism and ADHD' not proven

Monday Jul 4 2016

"Women who take paracetamol during pregnancy 'risk having a child with autism or ADHD'," the Mail Online reports. But the Spanish study it reports on provides no evidence of a direct link to either condition…

Is 'Disney Princess culture' a bad influence on young girls?

Tuesday Jun 28 2016

"Disney princesses such as Elsa from Frozen can damage young girls' body esteem," the Daily Mail reports – inaccurately. The study the news comes from actually found a more complex pattern of influences on both girls and boys...

Diabetes drugs may be useful for Alzheimer's, mice research finds

Wednesday Jun 22 2016

"Drugs prescribed to treat diabetes could cure Alzheimer's disease" is the significantly over-hyped headline in The Daily Telegraph. What new research did find is that there seems to be shared biological processes between Alzheimer's and diabetes…

Almost half of all UK adults may be living with chronic pain

Tuesday Jun 21 2016

"Almost half the adult population is living with chronic pain," the Daily Mail reports. A major new review suggests that around 28 million adults in the UK are affected by some type of chronic pain…

Brain scans find differences in 'badly behaved' teen boys

Thursday Jun 16 2016

"'Striking’ structural differences seen in study which compared brain scans of young men with antisocial behavioural problems with their healthy peers," The Guardian reports.

Should we rethink the causes of anorexia?

Thursday Jun 9 2016

"Anorexia is not about a fear of getting fat, but rather a pleasure at losing weight, experts reveal," says the Daily Mail. The headline oversimplifies the results of a study that looked at women's responses to photos of women of varying weights…

Green tea extract 'boosts mental ability' in people with Down's

Wednesday Jun 8 2016

"Down's syndrome can be treated with green tea," says The Daily Telegraph, reporting on a study that looked at the effect of a chemical extract on learning difficulties…

Depression blood test could lead to personalised treatments

Tuesday Jun 7 2016

"UK scientists have developed a blood test to help doctors pick the best drug for patients with depression," BBC News reports, somewhat prematurely. It is currently unproven whether such a test, based on measuring inflammation…

Women are more likely to suffer from anxiety than men

Tuesday Jun 7 2016

"Women twice as likely as men to experience anxiety, research finds," The Guardian reports. A new review that attempts to get a global snapshot of the prevalence of anxiety disorders identifies a number of vulnerable groups...

Exam stress linked to teen suicide

Thursday May 26 2016

"First detailed study into 130 [teen] suicide cases in England finds range of common anxieties," The Guardian reports, citing factors including exam stress, bullying and bereavement…

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What is Behind the Headlines?

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