Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Children's plastic toys can 'harbour viruses for hours'

Monday Jun 27 2016

"Plastic toys 'can harbour nasty viruses for hours, raising risk of infection'," the Mail Online reports. New research suggests that enveloped viruses, which have a protective shell, may survive on toys for up to 24 hours...

Drugs, ginger and acupuncture 'best for morning sickness'

Wednesday Jun 22 2016

"Hundreds of thousands of pregnant women with morning sickness should be given drugs to ease their symptoms," the Daily Mirror reports. The recommendation comes from a set of new guidelines that also say ginger…

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.

Teens who vape e-cigs 'six times more likely to smoke cigarettes'

Tuesday Jun 14 2016

"Vaping is a gateway to smoking," the Mail Online reports, seriously overstating the evidence of a new US study. While the study did find teens who experimented with e-cigs were more likely to smoke "traditional" tobacco products…

Leaving babies to cry 'will improve their sleep', study says

Friday May 27 2016

"Babies do sleep better if you leave them to cry," the Daily Mail reports. A small study suggests that "graduated extinction" – better known as controlled crying in this country – increased sleep length and reduced the…

Could cannabis damage DNA that is then passed down generations?

Thursday May 26 2016

"Smoking cannabis can alter a person's DNA, causing mutations that expose a user to serious illnesses," the Mail Online reports. A new review has looked at the role cannabis may play in what is known as chromothripsis…

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…

Link between stillbirth and air pollution 'inconclusive'

Wednesday May 25 2016

"Air pollution may raise risk of stillbirth and pregnant women should consider leaving cities, say scientists," The Daily Telegraph reports. This is somewhat radical advice given the study that prompted the headline…

Dad's age, diet and lifestyle may cause birth defects

Monday May 16 2016

"Men are being warned to become fathers by 40 or face a greater risk of having children with serious illnesses," the Daily Mail reports after a new review looked at some of the evidence about paternal influences on the risk of childhood diseases…

Diluted apple juice 'as good as' rehydration drinks for children

Wednesday May 4 2016

"Scientists have revealed which fruit can stop toddlers crying due to stomach pains," says the Daily Mirror, missing the point of the study it reports on. The study looked at the use of diluted apple juice to prevent dehydration...

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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