Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Air pollution linked to silent strokes

Friday Apr 24 2015

Air pollution linked to shrunken brains and silent strokes

"Adults who live in towns and cities suffer ageing of the brain and increased risk of dementia and [silent] strokes because of air pollution," The Daily Telegraph reports. A "silent stroke" (technically known as a covert brain infarct…

DNA changes in sperm may help explain autism

Wednesday Apr 15 2015

DNA changes in sperm may trigger autism

"DNA changes could explain why autism runs in families, according to study," The Independent reports. Research suggests a set of changes in a father's DNA – known as methylation – is linked to autism spectrum disorder (ASD) in their offspring…

Middle-age spread 'seems to reduce dementia risk'

Friday Apr 10 2015

Middle-aged spread 'seems to reduce dementia risk'

"Being overweight 'reduces dementia risk'," BBC News reports. The story comes from a cohort study of nearly 2 million UK adults aged over 40. It showed that being overweight or obese was linked to a lower risk of dementia…

No such thing as baby brain, study argues

Wednesday Apr 8 2015

No such thing as baby brain, study argues

"'Baby brain' is a stereotype and all in the mind, the Mail Online reports. The headline is prompted by a US study that aimed to see if "baby brain" (aka "mumnesia") – alleged memory lapses and problems with concentration during pregnancy…

Healthy diet could cut risk of Alzheimer's disease

Tuesday Mar 31 2015

MIND diet may 'halve' the risk of Alzheimer’s disease

"A new diet could more than halve a person's risk of developing Alzheimer's disease," the Mail Online reports. In a new study, researchers looked at the effects of three diets on the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease…

Crossing your fingers may help reduce pain

Friday Mar 27 2015

Crossing your fingers may help relieve pain

"Crossing your fingers might reduce pain," says The Guardian. The study behind the news found crossing your fingers may confuse the way your brain processes feelings of hot and cold…

Milk and dairy 'good for the brain' claim unproven

Thursday Mar 26 2015

Milk and dairy 'good for the brain' claim unproven

"Three glasses of milk every day ‘helps prevent Alzheimer's and Parkinson's’," is the misleading headline in The Daily Telegraph. The study it reports on only found that a high-dairy diet was linked to increased levels of an…

Study finds link between air pollution and stroke risk

Wednesday Mar 25 2015

Air pollution linked to strokes

"Air pollution is linked to an increased risk of stroke," BBC News reports, prompted by a large global study in The BMJ. Researchers found an association even with brief upsurges in air pollution levels…

Are power naps a 'five-fold' memory booster?

Tuesday Mar 24 2015

Are power naps a 'five-fold' memory booster?

"A 45-minute power nap can boost your memory five-fold, study finds," The Independent reports. However, this impressive claim is let down by the small size of the study…

Do people with depression perceive time differently?

Friday Mar 13 2015

Do people with depression perceive time differently?

"How depression affects our sense of time: Hours drag on and even stand still," is the somewhat over-hyped headline from the Mail Online. As the old saying goes – Time flies when you’re having fun. So does the reverse also ring true?…

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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