Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Mums 'feel shame' about how they feed their babies

Friday Sep 19 2014

Both breast and bottlefeeding mums 'feel shame'

"Mothers are made to feel 'marginalised and ashamed' when they breastfeed in public, according to an international study," the Mail Online reports. But the same study found mothers who bottlefeed also feel subject to criticism…

'Angelina Jolie effect' doubled breast gene tests

Friday Sep 19 2014

'Angelina Jolie effect' doubled breast gene tests

“Referrals to breast cancer clinics more than doubled in the UK after Angelina Jolie announced she had had a double mastectomy,” BBC News reports. NHS services saw a sharp rise in referrals from women worried about their family history of breast cancer…

Chokeberry extract 'boosts pancreas cancer chemo'

Thursday Sep 18 2014

Berries 'boosts chemo' for pancreatic cancer

“Wild berries native to North America may have a role in boosting cancer therapy,” BBC News reports. It has been found that chokeberries may help increase the powers of chemotherapy drugs in pancreatic cancer...

Do artificial sweeteners raise diabetes risk?

Thursday Sep 18 2014

Artificial sweeteners may actually raise diabetes risk

"Artificial sweeteners may promote diabetes, claim scientists," reports The Guardian. But before you go clearing your fridge of diet colas, the research in question – extensive as it was – was mainly in mice…

Cosmetics blamed for raised child asthma risk

Wednesday Sep 17 2014

Household chemicals may up child asthma risk

"Chemicals in make-up and perfumes fuelling rise in children with asthma," reports the Mail Online. One scientist, the website claims, suggests that women should take measures such as checking the contents of their make-up and avoiding using…

HPV urine test could screen for cervical cancer

Wednesday Sep 17 2014

HPV urine test could screen for cervical cancer

"A simple urine test which can detect the human papilloma virus (HPV) could offer women a much less invasive alternative to cervical cancer screening," The Independent reports. Research found urine-based testing…

Sugar intake guideline 'needs lowering'

Tuesday Sep 16 2014

Sugar intake guideline 'needs lowering'

"Sugar intake must be slashed further, say scientists," BBC News reports. A new study suggests that lowering the recommended limit to less than 3% would improve public dental health…

Brain scans offer fresh insights into ADHD

Tuesday Sep 16 2014

Brain scans offer clues into ADHD

"Doctors could soon diagnose ADHD in children with a brain scan," is the over-exuberant headline from the Mail Online. The underlying research, based on comparing the brain scans of 133 people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)…

'Rebooted' stem cells may lead to new treatments

Monday Sep 15 2014

'Rebooted' stem cells may lead to new treatments

"Scientists have managed to 'reset' human stem cells," the Mail Online reports. It is hoped studying these cells will provide more information about the mechanics of early human development…

Could meditation help combat migraines?

Monday Sep 15 2014

Meditation may help mitigate against migraines

“Daily meditation may be the most effective way of tackling migraine,” the Daily Express reports. This headline is not justified as it was based on a small pilot study involving just 19 people. It showed that an eight-week "mindfulness-based…

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...