Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Instagram 'ranked worst for mental health' in teen survey

Friday May 19 2017

"Instagram is rated as the worst social media platform when it comes to its impact on young people's mental health, a UK survey suggests," BBC News reports. The survey asked 1,479 young people aged 14-24 to score popular social media…

Swallowable gastric balloon could help with weight loss

Thursday May 18 2017

"Swallowable gastric balloon could help the obese lose weight without surgery," The Guardian reports. The news, which was widely reported, is based on a study presented at the European Congress of Obesity in Portugal...

'Fat but fit' still at higher risk of heart disease

Wednesday May 17 2017

"The idea that people can be fat but medically fit is a myth," reports BBC News. The story is based on research from scientists at the University of Birmingham, reported at a medical conference but not yet published...

Lack of sleep knocks your social appeal, says research

Wednesday May 17 2017

"A couple of bad nights is enough to make a person look 'significantly' more ugly," reports BBC News. Researchers in Sweden found people rated photographs of strangers as less attractive and healthy...

Hope for plant-based contraceptive, study claims

Tuesday May 16 2017

"Forget Plan B – try aloe vera, controversial study claims: Scientists insist pills made from dandelions and mangoes can prevent pregnancy without a hit of hormones," reports the Mail Online. The news is based on a study...

Can fizzy water make you fat?

Monday May 15 2017

"Fizzy water could cause obesity by encouraging you to eat more," The Daily Telegraph reports. Researchers aimed to see whether it could be the carbonation in soft drinks – rather than the sugar…

Keyhole knee surgery is 'waste of time' review finds

Friday May 12 2017

“Keyhole knee surgery for arthritis pain 'is pointless’,” the Daily Mail reports. The headline is promoted by a review of the available evidence around knee arthroscopy (keyhole) procedures for people with degenerative knee conditions like osteoarthritis…

Yoga may bring long-term benefits for people with depression

Friday May 12 2017

"Yoga can ease depression symptoms, according to the largest study to ever investigate the link," the Mail Online reports. The study didn't find any benefits from doing yoga at the end of the 10-week study period…

Life expectancy for people with HIV now 'near normal'

Thursday May 11 2017

"Young people on the latest HIV drugs now have near-normal life expectancy because of improvements in treatments," BBC News reports. The report says advances in antiretroviral drug treatments reduce the risks of serious complications…

Ibuprofen linked to increased risk of heart attacks

Wednesday May 10 2017

"Taking painkillers for just one week 'raises the risk of a heart attack'," the Daily Mail reports. The report is based on a new analysis that found a link between anti-inflammatory painkillers like ibuprofen and heart attack 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

Miracle foods: myths and the media

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

You be the judge

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%