Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Brain differences linked to chronic fatigue syndrome

Friday Oct 31 2014

Brain differences linked to chronic fatigue syndrome

"Scientists find three differences in the brain [of people with chronic fatigue syndrome]," the Mail Online reports. Researchers used advance brain scanning techniques in 15 people and found three distinct abnormalities in their brain structure…

Genes may play a role in Ebola survival chances

Friday Oct 31 2014

Genes could affect Ebola survival chances

"Genetic factors could play an important role in whether people survive the Ebola virus," BBC News reports. Researchers found around one in five mice remained unaffected by the infection…

Does paracetamol ease pain of decision making?

Thursday Oct 30 2014

Paracetamol 'may ease the pain of decision making'

"Paracetamol could make difficult decisions less of a headache," the Mail Online reports. The story follows a US study that looked at whether taking paracetamol could reduce the pain of making difficult decisions…

Details of autism genes uncovered in global study

Thursday Oct 30 2014

Global study learns more about autism genes

"A massive international study has started to unpick the 'fine details' of why some people develop autism," BBC News reports. Analysis of the genes of people with autism suggests certain genetic variants disrupt signalling pathways inside the brain…

Milk may be linked to bone fractures and early death

Wednesday Oct 29 2014

Milk linked to bone fractures and early death

"Drinking more than three glasses of milk a day may not protect bones against breaking – and may even lead to higher rates of death," the Mail Online reports. Do not be alarmed – your milkman is no Hallowe'en death-bringer…

Could sex with 21 women 'cut prostate risk'?

Wednesday Oct 29 2014

Sex with 21 women 'lowers prostate cancer risk' claims

"Sleeping with more than 20 women protects men against prostate cancer, academics find," The Daily Telegraph reports. The study in question included more than 1,500 men diagnosed with prostate cancer and a matched…

Agave syrup no better than placebo cough remedy

Tuesday Oct 28 2014

Placebo as 'effective as syrup' in treating coughs

"Placebo cough treatment benefits children and their parents, study suggests," The Daily Telegraph reports. A US study found that children’s reported cough symptoms improved even though they were just given a dummy treatment…

Drugs may work better at certain times of the day

Tuesday Oct 28 2014

Drugs may work better at certain times of the day

“Take your medication at the right time of day or it might not work,” The Independent reports. The news is based on a study which looked at the pattern of genes made in 12 different mouse organs, to see if any of the genes showed a circadian rhythm…

Lab-grown killer cells could treat brain tumours

Monday Oct 27 2014

Lab-grown killer cells could treat brain tumours

"Scientists … have discovered a way of turning stem cells into killing machines to fight brain cancer," BBC News reports. While the results of this study were encouraging, the research involved mice, not humans…

A mug of cocoa is not a cure for memory problems

Monday Oct 27 2014

Could cocoa boost memory in older people?

"Cup of cocoa could give the elderly the memory of a 'typical 30 or 40-year-old'," The Independent reports. Before you race down to the supermarket to pick up a tub of chocolatey powder, you might want to pause...

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...