Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Gene testing could find those who would benefit most from statins

Wednesday Mar 4 2015

Gene testing could find those who would benefit most from statins

"Patients with the highest genetic risk of suffering a heart attack benefit the most from cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, a study has found," The Guardian reports. Those with the highest genetic risk score appear to get the most benefit from the drugs…

Adults may only get 'real flu' every five years

Wednesday Mar 4 2015

Adults may only get 'real flu' every five years

"Average adult catches virus just once every five years," the Daily Mail reports. A study has estimated that influenza infections become less frequent with age and occur every five years from the age of 30…

Coffee can 'cut risks of heart attack' claims

Tuesday Mar 3 2015

Coffee can 'clean arteries' and may prevent heart attacks

"Three coffees a day cuts the risk of heart disease and strokes," the Daily Mirror reports. A large study of 25,000 adults from South Korea has found that people who drink between three and five cups of coffee per day were less likely…

Is long-term paracetamol use not as safe as we thought?

Tuesday Mar 3 2015

Is long-term paracetamol use not as safe as we thought?

"Daily paracetamol could raise the risk of heart attacks, stroke and early death," the Mail Online reports. A new review of previous data found that long-term use was linked with a small increased risk of adverse events, such as heart attack…

Immune changes found in people with CFS/ME

Monday Mar 2 2015

CFS/ME can cause excessive and debilitating tiredness

"Distinct stages to chronic fatigue syndrome identified," reports BBC News online. People with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), sometimes called myalgic encephalopathy (ME), can have debilitating exhaustion...

MS stem cell treatment only a 'miracle' for some

Monday Mar 2 2015

Stem cell therapies are still at the cutting edge of medical science

The Daily Telegraph reports a "miracle" stem cell therapy that reverses multiple sclerosis, and which according to The Sunday Times gets "wheelchair-bound" people dancing...

Healthy older adults carry leukaemia mutations

Friday Feb 27 2015

Healthy older adult carry leukaemia mutations

"DNA develops to acquire genetic mutations linked with cancer as you get older," The Independent reports. A study of samples of blood cells found that DNA in older people began to acquire mutations associated with leukaemia…

Does deadly diet drug DNP defeat diabetes?

Friday Feb 27 2015

Banned weight-loss drug DNP could treat diabetes

"A chemical [DNP] which caused munitions factory workers to lose weight inexplicably in the First World War could cure diabetes," The Daily Telegraph reports. The banned weight loss drug looked effective and safe when given in a modified form to rats…

Over two hours screen time a day may raise a child’s blood pressure

Thursday Feb 26 2015

Over two hours screen time a day ups a child’s blood pressure

"Watching TV for more than two hours a day increases the risk of raised blood pressure in children," The Daily Telegraph reports. A large study, involving more than 5,000 children who were followed up over two years…

Longer sleep linked to stroke

Thursday Feb 26 2015

 Persistent long sleep may be stroke warning sign

"People who sleep more than eight hours are more likely to have a stroke," The Independent reports. After pooling data from previous research, researchers estimate that people who regularly sleep more than eight hours a day have a 46% higher risk…

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...