Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Pollution particles in the brain 'linked to Alzheimer's disease'

Wednesday Sep 7 2016

"Air pollution particles linked to Alzheimer's found in human brain," Sky News reports after new research found tiny particles of magnetite – a potentially toxic by-product of traffic pollution – in samples of brain tissue...

Plaque busting drug shows early promise in preventing Alzheimer's

Thursday Sep 1 2016

"A revolutionary drug that could stop people from ever developing Alzheimer's disease has been unveiled," the Daily Mail reports. The drug, aducanumab, encourages the immune system to attack the abnormal plaques of protein linked to Alzheimer's disease…

Targeting 'addiction switch' may help combat alcohol addiction

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…

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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