Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Air dryers 'blown away' by paper towels in germ tests

Friday Nov 21 2014

Air dyers 'spread more germs' than paper towels

"Hand dryers 'splatter' users with bacteria," The Daily Telegraph reports. The headline is prompted by an experimental study that compared the potential transfer of germs to the surrounding environment…

Breastfeeding voucher scheme 'shows promise'

Friday Nov 21 2014

Vouchers for breastfeeding scheme 'shows promise'

"Initial results of a controversial scheme offering shopping vouchers to persuade mothers to breastfeed have shown promise," BBC News reports. The scheme, which has attracted controversy…

Cancer guidelines may improve diagnosis rates

Thursday Nov 20 2014

New cancer guidelines may improve diagnosis rates

"Doctors to get more help to spot cancer early," The Guardian reports. NICE has produced new draft guidelines that may help GPs pick up on possible early warning signs of cancer…

Is growth in ADHD 'caused by marketing'?

Thursday Nov 20 2014

Growth in ADHD 'caused by marketing, not medicine'

"The global surge in ADHD [attention deficit hyperactivity disorder] diagnosis has more to do with marketing than medicine, according to experts," the Mail Online reports. But these experts are sociologists…

Have antibiotic changes upped heart infections?

Wednesday Nov 19 2014

Heart infections are on the rise - is NICE to blame?

"Rates of a deadly heart infection have increased after guidelines advised against giving antibiotics to prevent it in patients at risk," BBC News reports. But there is no evidence of a direct link between the two…

Report links obesity to advanced prostate cancer

Wednesday Nov 19 2014

Obesity 'probable cause' of advanced prostate cancer

"Being overweight raises risk of men developing aggressive prostate cancer," The Guardian reports. A major new report from the World Cancer Research Fund has found strong evidence obesity increases the risk of aggressive prostate cancer…

Does being poor make your teeth fall out?

Tuesday Nov 18 2014

Good oral hygiene can help prevent tooth loss

"People with lower income end up with eight fewer teeth than the rich," The Independent reports. The headline is prompted by a new study based on...

Triclosan soap linked to mouse liver cancers

Tuesday Nov 18 2014

Washing your hands probably won't give you cancer

"A chemical ingredient of cosmetics, soaps, detergents, shampoos and toothpaste has been found to trigger liver cancer," reports The Independent. The chemical in question, triclosan...

'Food environment' needs changing, doctors argue

Monday Nov 17 2014

Mediterranean diet 'best way' to treat obesity

"A Mediterranean diet may be a better way of tackling obesity than calorie counting, leading doctors have said," BBC News reports. In a recently published editorial, they also argue the NHS should do more to encourage its staff to eat more healthily…

Just one kiss 'spreads 80 million bugs'

Monday Nov 17 2014

Kissing 'spreads 80 million bugs'

"A single 10-second kiss can transfer as many as 80 million bacteria," BBC News reports. Dutch scientists took "before and after" samples from 21 couples to see the effect an intimate kiss had on the bacteria found in the mouth…

Miracle cure or scam?

Will an online miracle cure really provide the answer to your health problem?

Health anxiety (hypochondria)

Most of us worry about our health from time to time. But for some people, this worry never goes away and becomes a problem in itself

Stem cell research in the news

Stem cells are often portrayed in the media as a miracle cure for many serious conditions and disabilities. We analyse the facts behind these stories

Miracle Foods: myths and the media

Can a curry save your life? Read our report on the supposed health benefits of common foods

Video: the placebo effect

Watch Ben Goldacre explain what the placebo effect is and describes its role in medical research and in the pharmaceutical industry

Your NHS Health Check

Millions of people have already had their free "midlife MOT". Find out why this health check-up is so important

How to read health news

How to read health news

Fact or fiction? Killer or cure? We show you how to look Behind the Headlines.

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...