Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Targeting 'addiction switch' may help combat alcoholism

Wednesday Aug 31 2016

"Alcoholics are missing 'vital chemical in their brain' that helps control addiction," the Daily Express reports. Research carried out on rats suggests that low levels of the PRDM2 enzyme could trigger self-destructive addictive behaviour…

Childhood head injury linked to range of adult health problems

Wednesday Aug 24 2016

"Millions of Brits face dying early because of something they did when they were children," says the Daily Mirror's needlessly alarming headline. The newspaper reports on a study which found that a head injury causing concussion…

Animal research suggests Zika could affect the adult brain

Friday Aug 19 2016

"Zika virus may cause long-term memory damage, similar to Alzheimer's disease," The Daily Telegraph reports. At the moment such a claim is pure speculation as it is based on research into mice…

Perfect painkiller? Safe alternative to opiates may have been found

Friday Aug 19 2016

The Independent has claimed: "Scientists discover what could be a 'perfect' painkiller without side effects". Opiate-based painkillers such as morphine are extremely effective in relieving pain. The problem is that they are also addictive…

Calcium supplements linked to post-stroke dementia in women

Thursday Aug 18 2016

"Calcium supplements could dramatically raise the risk of dementia in women who suffer a stroke, a new study found," the Mail Online reports. However, the sample size (98) of women taking supplements was small, which casts doubts…

UK heart disease and stroke death rates now lower than cancer

Monday Aug 15 2016

"Heart disease deaths now lower than cancer – but obesity crisis means this may not last," the Daily Mirror reports. A major review of European trends in cardiovascular disease deaths found that UK cancer deaths overtook cardiovascular deaths in 2014…

Gene patterns may explain brain's Alzheimer's vulnerability

Thursday Aug 11 2016

"Scientists say they have discovered a possible explanation for how Alzheimer's disease spreads in the brain," The Guardian reports. Gene patterns in specific areas may explain why the disease tends to start...

Claims acupuncture 'staves off dementia' are missing the point

Friday Aug 5 2016

"Acupuncture may help elderly people retain their memory, research suggests," the Daily Mail reports. But the research is not new; it is in fact a review of previous Chinese trials, most of which were judged as being of poor quality…

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…

Researchers may have found an 'antidepressant roadblock'

Monday Aug 1 2016

"Hope for faster treatment for depression after scientists discover why antidepressants can take months to work," the Mail Online reports. New research suggests manipulating the brain's Gα protein may accelerate the effect of the drugs...

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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