Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

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…

Pregnant drinking may harm kids' mental health

Friday Sep 12 2014

Advice is clear: avoid alcohol in pregnancy

"Binge drinking ONCE during pregnancy can damage your child's mental health and school results," says the Mail Online. The headline follows an analysis of results from...

Weight discrimination study fuels debate

Friday Sep 12 2014

Research suggests "shaming" people about weight problems may be counterproductive

Much of the media has reported that discriminatory "fat shaming" makes people who are overweight eat more, rather than less. The Daily Mail describes how...

People may be addicted to eating rather than food

Thursday Sep 11 2014

People may be addicted to eating rather than food

“Food is not addictive ... but eating is: Gorging is psychological compulsion, say experts,” the Mail Online reports. The news follows an article in which scientists argue that – unlike drug addiction...

Bacteria found in honey may help fight infection

Thursday Sep 11 2014

Bacteria found in honey may help fight infection

"Bacteria found in honeybee stomachs could be used as alternative to antibiotics," reports The Independent. The world desperately needs new antibiotics to counter the growing threat of bacteria developing resistance...

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...