Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Doctors issue warning about overtreating patients

Wednesday May 13 2015

Doctors issue warning about overtreating patients

"NHS tests and drugs 'do more harm than good'," is the headline in The Telegraph, while The Guardian warns: "Doctors to withhold treatments in campaign against 'too much medicine'."…

Hormone oestrogen linked to male breast cancer

Tuesday May 12 2015

Hormone oestrogen linked to male breast cancer

"Men with naturally high levels of the female hormone oestrogen are at greater risk of male breast cancer," The Daily Telegraph reports. Men with high levels of the hormone were significantly more likely to develop this rare form of breast cancer…

Scientists 'amazed' at spread of typhoid 'superbug'

Tuesday May 12 2015

Scientists 'amazed' at spread of typhoid 'superbug'

"Antibiotic-resistant typhoid is spreading across Africa and Asia and poses a major global health threat," BBC News reports. A multidrug-resistant strain of the bacterium H58 was found in 21 out of the 63 countries studied…

Claims a 'sweet tooth' increases your Alzheimer’s risk too simplistic

Monday May 11 2015

Having a 'sweet tooth' could increase your Alzheimer’s risk

"Could cake and chocolate lead to Alzheimer's disease?" The Daily Telegraph asks. The question is prompted by research in mice that found evidence that having a high blood sugar level could lead to damage to the brain…

Overweight diabetics 'live longer' than slimmer diabetics

Monday May 11 2015

Overweight diabetics 'live longer' than slimmer diabetics

"Overweight diabetics are 13 per cent less likely to die prematurely than those of a normal weight or those who are obese," the Mail Online reports. Research suggests that the obesity paradox may be involved in diabetes…

Eating little and often 'no better for dieters than fewer feasts'

Friday May 8 2015

Eating little and often no better for dieters than fewer feasts

"Eating little and often – like Jennifer Aniston – could help dieters achieve a healthy weight loss," reports the Mirror. Meanwhile, the Mail Online urges us to "Forget three square meals a day – eating six smaller portions...

Media hypes molecular blood pressure regulation discovery

Friday May 8 2015

Blood pressure monitor: high reading can indicate a circulatory problem

The Mail Online hails a "breakthrough in treating high blood pressure", saying scientists have discovered how the body regulates it, which could "slash risk of heart attacks and stroke"...

Probiotic yoghurts 'may help' hay fever

Thursday May 7 2015

Probiotic yoghurts may help with hay fever

New research found initial, but not definitive, evidence that probiotics may offer some relief from this common allergic condition for some people...

Smartphone app used to scan blood for parasites

Thursday May 7 2015

Smartphone app used to scan blood for parasites

"A smartphone has been used to automatically detect wriggling parasites in blood samples," BBC News reports. It is hoped the customised device could help in programmes to get rid of parasites in parts of Africa…

Infection clue points to causes of rheumatoid arthritis

Wednesday May 6 2015

In rheumatoid arthritis, the body's immune system T-cells attack the joints

"Infection could trigger arthritis," claimed a headline in the Daily Express today. But you needn't worry that a cough or cold will cause you crippling joint pain: the headline is an oversimplification of some fascinating – if early stage – research...

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...