Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Napping 'key' to babies' memory and learning

Tuesday Jan 13 2015

Naps 'key' to infant learning and memory

"The key to learning and memory in early life is a lengthy nap, say scientists," BBC News reports. The scientists were interested in babies' abilities to remember activities and events. They carried out a study…

Could brain protein help people 'sleep off' the flu?

Tuesday Jan 13 2015

Brain protein may help people 'sleep off' the flu

"Scientists…believe that a nasal spray could be produced which boosts a protein so sufferers could sleep off the flu," The Daily Telegraph reports. As yet, the research has been confined to assessing the role of one protein in mice...

Blood test may tell you the best way to quit smoking

Monday Jan 12 2015

Blood test may tell you the best way to quit smoking

"A blood test could help people choose a stop-smoking strategy that would give them the best chance of quitting," BBC News reports. The test measures how quickly an individual breaks down nicotine inside their body…

Does contraceptive jab make HIV more likely?

Monday Jan 12 2015

Contraceptive jab 'linked to increased HIV risk'

"Contraceptive injections moderately increase a woman's risk of becoming infected with HIV," The Guardian reports. The headline was prompted by an analysis of 12 studies that looked at whether the use of hormonal contraception…

'Bionic' spinal implant helped paralysed rats walk

Friday Jan 9 2015

'Bionic' spinal implant helped paralysed rats walk

"Elastic implant 'restores movement' in paralysed rats," BBC News reports after researchers developed an implant that can be used to treat damaged spinal cords in rats…

How 'baby talk' may give infants a cognitive boost

Friday Jan 9 2015

How 'baby talk' gives infants a cognitive boost

"Say 'mama'! Talking to babies boosts their ability to make friends and learn," the Mail Online reports. In a review, two American psychologists argue that even very young infants respond to speech, and that "baby talk" is essential for their development…

Can eating like a Viking 'reduce obesity risks'?

Thursday Jan 8 2015

'Eat like a Viking' advice for the obese

"A Nordic diet could reduce the dangers of being overweight, a study suggests," The Daily Telegraph reports. The headline comes from the results of a small randomised controlled trial…

New 'game-changing' antibiotic discovered

Thursday Jan 8 2015

New 'game-changing' antibiotics discovered

“New class of antibiotic could turn the tables,” on antibiotic resistance The Guardian reports and is just one of many headlines proclaiming the discovery of a “super-antibiotic” and for once, such enthusiastic headlines might be largely justified…

Could meal-in-a-pill 'trick' body into losing weight?

Wednesday Jan 7 2015

Could meal-in-a-pill 'trick' body into losing weight?

"Weight loss drug fools body into reacting as if it has just eaten," The Guardian reports. The drug, fexaramine, replicates signals that are produced when the body begins eating; though as yet has only been tested in mice…

Out-of-character criminal actions linked to dementia

Wednesday Jan 7 2015

Out of character criminal actions linked to dementia

“Could criminal behaviour be the first sign of dementia?” the Mail Online asks. A US study found an association between sudden, unusual criminal behaviour, such as shoplifting or urinating in public, and various types of dementia…

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...