Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Brought to you by the
NHS Knowledge Service

Years spent obese increase health risks

Tuesday Aug 23 2011

The BBC News today reported that the “health hazards of obesity may have been grossly underestimated because we are not measuring the condition adequately”. Its website says that we should...

Does stress cause grey hairs?

Tuesday Aug 23 2011

“When the going gets tough, the tufts get greying,” according to The Sun, which was among many newspapers that today reported that stress causes hair to go grey by damaging people’s DNA. The...

Gut defence mechanism discovered

Monday Aug 22 2011

“The way cells in gut fight off toxins produced by a hospital bug has been discovered,” BBC News has reported. In new research, scientists have shown that infection with the bacteria Clostridium difficile...

New skin cancer drug approved

Monday Aug 22 2011

A new skin cancer drug has been approved for use in Europe, several newspapers have reported today. The drug, called ipilimumab (brand name Yervoy), has been dubbed a “wonder drug for skin cancer”...

'New wonder pill' hard to swallow

Friday Aug 19 2011

The Daily Mail has today hailed “an all-in-one treatment that works against obesity, diabetes, heart disease and cancer”. The news is based on lab tests of a synthetic compound called...

Modified Ecstasy used in blood cancer study

Friday Aug 19 2011

“Ecstasy could be used to cure cancer after scientists modified the drug to increase its tumour-killing properties,” reported The Daily Telegraph. It said that the drug was modified to increase its tumour-killing...

Can dogs sniff out lung cancer?

Thursday Aug 18 2011

“Dogs can be trained to identify the scent of lung cancer long before symptoms develop,” the Daily Mail has today reported. The newspaper said that “sniffer dogs can be relied upon to find the unique smell of the disease in...

Mosquitoes 'getting around bed nets'

Thursday Aug 18 2011

The Daily Telegraph reported today that “insecticide-treated bed nets, whose use is being widely promoted in Africa to combat malaria, may be linked to local resurgence of the disease”. The newspaper said that a...

Alcohol studied for its effect on sleep

Wednesday Aug 17 2011

The Daily Express reported today that “a nap can be spoiled by a nightcap” and that “a wee dram before bedtime…causes insomnia and robs a night’s rest of its restorative powers”. This news story is based on...

Delayed asthma attack clue

Wednesday Aug 17 2011

BBC News has reported that scientists have “stumbled on a potential new treatment for delayed asthma attacks”. Delayed attacks, also known as late asthmatic response (LAR), can occur several hours after...

What is Behind the Headlines?

We give you the facts without the fiction. Professor Sir Muir Gray, chief knowledge officer of the NHS, explains more...

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