Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Fit middle-aged men have lower cancer risk

Friday Mar 27 2015

Fit middle-aged men have lower cancer risk

"Very fit men in their late 40s are less likely to get lung cancer and colorectal cancer than unfit men," says BBC News as it reports on a new US study…

Crossing your fingers may help reduce pain

Friday Mar 27 2015

Crossing your fingers may help relieve pain

"Crossing your fingers might reduce pain," says The Guardian. The study behind the news found crossing your fingers may confuse the way your brain processes feelings of hot and cold…

Do antibiotics in pregnancy cause cerebral palsy and epilepsy?

Thursday Mar 26 2015

Antibiotic use in pregnancy linked to cerebral palsy and epilepsy

"Antibiotic used in pregnancy linked to risk of epilepsy and cerebral palsy," The Guardian reports. The results of a new study suggest women who take macrolide antibiotics were slightly more likely to give birth to a child with one (or both)…

Milk and dairy 'good for the brain' claim unproven

Thursday Mar 26 2015

Milk and dairy 'good for the brain' claim unproven

"Three glasses of milk every day ‘helps prevent Alzheimer's and Parkinson's’," is the misleading headline in The Daily Telegraph. The study it reports on only found that a high-dairy diet was linked to increased levels of an…

Frequent antibiotic use linked to higher type 2 diabetes risk

Wednesday Mar 25 2015

Frequent antibiotic users have higher type 2 diabetes risk

"Repeated antibiotic use linked to diabetes," BBC News reports. A major new study found that people who took five or more courses a year had a higher than normal risk of developing type 2 diabetes…

Study finds link between air pollution and stroke risk

Wednesday Mar 25 2015

Air pollution linked to strokes

"Air pollution is linked to an increased risk of stroke," BBC News reports, prompted by a large global study in The BMJ. Researchers found an association even with brief upsurges in air pollution levels…

Are power naps a 'five-fold' memory booster?

Tuesday Mar 24 2015

Are power naps a 'five-fold' memory booster?

"A 45-minute power nap can boost your memory five-fold, study finds," The Independent reports. However, this impressive claim is let down by the small size of the study…

'4D' ultrasound shows effects of smoking on unborn babies

Tuesday Mar 24 2015

'4D' ultrasound studies effects of smoking on unborn babies

"Unborn baby shown grimacing in womb as mother smokes," is the somewhat misleading headline in The Daily Telegraph after researchers released dramatic images of babies in the womb taken using 4D ultrasound scanners...

News analysis: Angelina Jolie's surgery to 'cut ovarian cancer risk'

Tuesday Mar 24 2015

Angelina Jolie's surgery to 'cut ovarian cancer risk'

Writing in the New York Times, actress Angelina Jolie has announced that she has recently had her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed as tests showed she had an estimated 50% chance of developing ovarian cancer…

Blood test could provide an early arthritis warning

Monday Mar 23 2015

Blood test could provide an early warning of arthritis

"Arthritis breakthrough as new test diagnoses condition up to a decade earlier," the Mail Online reports. The test measures proteins linked with arthritis. The study aimed to see whether a blood test could be developed…

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

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...