Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Obesity link for siblings

Thursday Jul 10 2014

Obesity link found between siblings

“Children are five times more likely to become obese if their older brother or sister is overweight,” reports the Daily Mail. There is a widespread assumption that a significant risk factor for child obesity is if they have…

Malaria parasites can 'hide' inside bone marrow

Thursday Jul 10 2014

Malaria parasites can 'hide' inside bone marrow

“Malaria parasites can hide inside the bone marrow and evade the body's defences, research confirms,” BBC News report. It is hoped that this insight into the activities of the parasites could lead to new treatments...

Call to tackle maternal blood infection risk

Wednesday Jul 9 2014

Risk of blood infection in labour 'overlooked'

“Pregnant women and new mothers need closer attention for signs of potentially fatal sepsis, a study says,” reports BBC News. While still rare, sepsis – a blood infection – is now the leading cause of maternal death in the UK...

Cycling linked to prostate cancer, but not infertility

Wednesday Jul 9 2014

Cycling linked to prostate cancer, but not infertility

"Men who cycle more than nine hours a week are … more likely to develop prostate cancer," the Mail Online inaccurately reports. The story comes from the publication of an online survey into cycling in the UK and its effects on health outcomes…

Gene mutation linked to distinct type of autism

Tuesday Jul 8 2014

Gene mutation linked to distinct type of autism

“Have scientists found the autism gene?" asks the Mail Online. The news is based on a genetic study that found children with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) were more likely to have a mutation in a gene called CHD8 than children without the disorder…

New Alzheimer’s test may help future clinical trials

Tuesday Jul 8 2014

Blood test for Alzheimer’s '87% accurate'

"Research in more than 1,000 people has identified a set of proteins in the blood which can predict the start of the dementia with 87% accuracy," BBC News reports. But media claims that "Alzheimer's disease could be prevented" are premature…

Two-question test for alcohol misuse 'effective'

Monday Jul 7 2014

Two question screening for alcohol misuse 'effective'

“Do you regularly have more than six drinks in one sitting? Or do you regret a drunken escapade that took place in the past year? Answering yes to both questions may be a sign that you have a drink problem," the Mail Online reports.

Aggressive breast cancer protein discovered

Monday Jul 7 2014

Scientists make breakthrough in breast cancer research

"A breakthrough by scientists could lead to a new treatment for one of the most aggressive forms of breast cancer," the Mail Online reports. Researchers have identified a protein called integrin αvβ6…

Children’s TV contains unhealthy 'food cues'

Friday Jul 4 2014

Children’s TV contains unhealthy 'food cues'

'Children are being bombarded with scenes of unhealthy eating on TV' The Independent reports. Researchers looking at public broadcasting in the UK and Ireland found children’s TV contained a high number of visual and verbal references to unhealthy foods…

Headbanging could damage your (Motör)head

Friday Jul 4 2014

How headbanging could be bad for your head

“German doctors are highlighting the dangers of headbanging after a 50-year-old man developed bleeding in the brain following a Motörhead concert,” BBC News reports. The news is based on a case report in The Lancet…

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...