Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Hope for plant-based contraceptive, study claims

Tuesday May 16 2017

"Forget Plan B – try aloe vera, controversial study claims: Scientists insist pills made from dandelions and mangoes can prevent pregnancy without a hit of hormones," reports the Mail Online. The news is based on a study...

Concerns about alleged 'harmful' arsenic levels in baby rice cakes

Friday May 5 2017

"Almost half of baby rice food products contain illegal levels of inorganic arsenic despite new regulations set by the EU, according to researchers," ITV News reports…

Weak link between grandmums' smoking and autistic grandkids

Friday Apr 28 2017

"Smoking in pregnancy hurts your grandkids by 'increasing their risk of autism'," The Sun brashly reports. Researchers looked at data spanning multiple generations and reported a link between girls with autism…

Four cups of coffee 'not bad for health' suggests review

Tuesday Apr 25 2017

"Drinking up to four cups of coffee a day carries no health risk, experts say...Scientists said those who stick to that limit have no need to worry," reports the Sun. This was based on...

Children with regular bedtimes 'less likely to become obese'

Monday Apr 24 2017

"Regular bedtimes make children less likely to be obese as adults," is the slightly misleading Mail Online headline. This follows a study looking at the link between household routines in early childhood and obesity at age 11...

Touchscreen-using toddlers may sleep less

Tuesday Apr 18 2017

"'Touchscreen-toddlers' sleep less," BBC News reports. Results from a survey of UK parents suggest every hour a child spends using a touchscreen device was associated with an hour's less sleep a night…

Growing up with a pet may boost a baby's bacterial health

Monday Apr 10 2017

"Having a pet dog…can help reduce the child's chances of developing allergies and becoming obese in later years," claims the Daily Mirror, in a somewhat misleading report. Researchers did find a link between pet ownership and an increased…

British babies 'among the world's biggest criers' claim unproven

Tuesday Apr 4 2017

"Babies in Britain, Canada and Italy cry more than elsewhere," The Guardian reports. But the review the newspaper is reporting on only found reliable data from a handful of nations so the accuracy of the claim is unclear…

Morning after pill 'less reliable' for women over 11 stone

Monday Apr 3 2017

"Women who take morning-after pill could still fall pregnant if they weigh more than 11 stone," the Daily Mirror warns. New guidelines on emergency contraception discuss recent evidence that body mass index (BMI) and overall…

Breastfeeding 'doesn't boost children's intelligence'

Tuesday Mar 28 2017

"Scientists found tots given the boob had the same IQ at age three and five compared to bottle-fed youngsters," The Sun reports in its own unique way. An Irish study has found no significant differences in cognitive development between the two groups…

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