Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Excess body fat now linked to 13 different types of cancer

Thursday Aug 25 2016

"Experts have linked eight more cancers to being overweight or obese, nearly tripling the list from five to 13," the Daily Mail reports. This is the latest finding of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC)…

Being sick of the daily commute could be affecting your health

Wednesday Aug 24 2016

"Why your commute is killing you: stressful rush-hour journeys are shortening commuters' lifespans," The Sun reports after the Royal Society for Public Health published a report arguing that commuting can negatively impact both physical and mental health…

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…

Combined HRT breast cancer risk 'may have been underestimated'

Tuesday Aug 23 2016

"Women who take a common form of HRT are nearly three times as likely to get breast cancer, a major study has found," the Daily Mail reports. Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) is a treatment used to relieve symptoms of the…

Gene scanning 'could improve screening for oesophageal cancer'

Monday Aug 22 2016

"Simple test can now reveal which heartburn patients are at risk of oesophageal cancer," is the hopeful headline in the Daily Mail, reporting on a new study from researchers at Queen Mary University of London…

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…

Women's cancer risk may increase the longer they're obese

Wednesday Aug 17 2016

"Fat women who refuse to diet 'are more likely to get cancer'," states the Mail Online, using a headline that is both inaccurate and offensive. The study it reports on looked at the relationship between weight during adulthood, and cancer risk…

Does time of day influence our susceptibility to infection?

Tuesday Aug 16 2016

"Viruses more dangerous in the morning," BBC News reports, but The Telegraph tells us that "the evening commute is worse for health". So who's right? It depends if you're talking about mice or humans…

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

Miracle foods: myths and the media

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

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...

Sugar intake should be reduced

Sugar intake should be drastically reduced, says report

A new government report recommends no more than 5% of our calorie intake should come from 'free sugars'. The previous recommendation was 10%