Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Are pollution and attention problems related?

Monday Nov 10 2014

This study did not prove that pregnant women's exposure to pollution affects their children

"Could ADHD be triggered by mothers being exposed to air pollution while pregnant?," asks the Mail Online. Pregnant women have enough to worry about, without going round in a gas mask or moving to the country. Fortunately...

Stem cells could repair Parkinson's damage

Friday Nov 7 2014

Stem cells could repair Parkinson's damage

"Stem cells can be used to heal the damage in the brain caused by Parkinson's disease," BBC News reports following the results of new Swedish research in rats...

Norovirus returns: advice is to stay away from GP

Friday Nov 7 2014

Norovirus returns; stay away from GP advice

"If you've got winter vomiting bug, stay at home," the Mail Online advises. The return of the norovirus has prompted advice for those with a suspected infection to stay away from GPs and hospitals, as there is little they can do to help…

Fruit chemical may prevent organ damage

Thursday Nov 6 2014

Injections of fruit chemical repairs organ damage

"Could fruit help heart attack patients? Injection of chemical helps reduce damage to vital organs and boosts survival," reports the Daily Mail – "at least in rodents," it should have added…

Does having a hobby help you live longer?

Thursday Nov 6 2014

Does having a hobby help you live longer?

"Having a hobby can add YEARS to your life," The Daily Express reports. The headline is prompted by an international study that looked at ageing and happiness. The study found older people who reported the greatest sense of purpose in life survived…

Smoking increases risk of chronic back pain

Wednesday Nov 5 2014

Smoking 'increases risk of chronic back pain'

"Smokers are three times more likely to suffer from back pain," the Mail Online reports. The headline was prompted by the results of a recent study, which involved observing 68 people with sub-acute back pain…

'Elite controllers' may provide clues for HIV cure

Wednesday Nov 5 2014

'Elite controllers' may provide clues for HIV cure

"Scientists have uncovered the genetic mechanism which appeared to have led two HIV-infected men to experience a 'spontaneous cure'," the Mail Online reports. The idea is to modify the HIV virus, making it harmless, rather than trying to kill it…

Short height 'linked to dementia death risk'

Tuesday Nov 4 2014

Short height 'linked to dementia death risk'

"Short men more likely to die from dementia," The Daily Telegraph reports, though the results of the study it reports on are not as clear cut as the headline suggests. Researchers combined the results of 18 surveys...

Shift work 'ages the brain', study suggests

Tuesday Nov 4 2014

Shift work 'ages the brain', study argues

“Shift work dulls your brain,” BBC News reports. In a French study, researchers assessed 3,232 adults using a variety of cognitive tests and compared the results between people who reported they had never performed…

Weight loss surgery cuts diabetes risk in very obese

Monday Nov 3 2014

Weight loss surgery cuts diabetes risk by '80%'

'Weight loss surgery can dramatically reduce the odds of developing type 2 diabetes' BBC News report. A UK study found that having bariatric surgery reduced the risk of diabetes by around 80% in morbidly obese people...

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...