Behind The Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Video games 'blur reality', claims newspaper

Wednesday Sep 21 2011

The Daily Mail has today reported that “video games blur real life boundaries and prompt thoughts of violent solutions to players’ problems”. This headline is based on a small study exploring whether frequent...

Teenagers influenced by smoking in movies

Tuesday Sep 20 2011

“Teenagers who watch films showing actors smoking are more likely to take it up, new UK research suggests,” reported BBC News. It said a study of 5,000 15-year-olds looked at their exposure to smoking on screen, and whether or not they had tried smoking.

Eating chocolate is not exercise

Thursday Sep 15 2011

Many newspapers overreacted to a story on chocolate today. “Dark chocolate may be as good for health as exercise,” reported the Daily Mirror. “Chocolate gives you a workout,” claimed the Daily Express.

Does laughter increase tolerance to pain?

Wednesday Sep 14 2011

“Study reveals laughter really is the best medicine,” reports BBC news. Several newspapers covered this small study investigating the effect of laughter on pain tolerance. The study found that people...

A drink a day and health in older women

Wednesday Sep 7 2011

A study has found that “middle-aged women who indulge in a drink or two a day are boosting their chance of good health in their seventies”, The Daily Telegraph reported. This study was in 13,894 nurses in the US.

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...

Exercise more and 'live longer'

Tuesday Aug 16 2011

“15-minute of daily exercise is the ‘bare minimum for health’,” reported BBC News. It added that “just 15 minutes of exercise a day can boost life expectancy by three years, and cut death risk by 14%”.

Brain size and daylight

Wednesday Jul 27 2011

Scientists have revealed that “people have bigger brains the further north they hail from”, The Sun reported. However, it added, this has nothing to do with them being more intelligent than southerners, but because they have to cope with less light.

Cranberry compared to antibiotics for UTIs

Tuesday Jul 26 2011

The Daily Telegraph reported that, “women who drink cranberry juice to ease urinary tract infections would be better off sticking to a low dose of antibiotics.”

Bad sleep 'may impair memory'

Tuesday Jul 26 2011

“A continuous night's uninterrupted sleep may be the essential requirement for a good memory,” The Independent has reported. The newspaper added that it isn’t just the amount of sleep that is important for...

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