Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Is blinking a sign of a 'brain nap?'

Wednesday Jan 2 2013

Is blinking a sign of a 'brain nap?'

The Daily Mail suggests that the reason we blink is so our brains can "switch off" and have a "little nap". The story is based on research in only 20 healthy adults in Japan looking at how natural blinking relates to brain activity

Is high-fat food addictive?

Thursday Dec 13 2012

High-fat food 'addictive' - changes brain

'Dieting makes people feel depressed because cutting out fatty foods alters their brain' is the alarming claim in The Daily Telegraph. They are reporting on a recent study looking at what effect suddenly withdrawing a high-fat diet had on mice…

Orkney's world-record MS rates – Vikings to blame?

Tuesday Dec 11 2012

Orkney has world-record MS rates – Vikings to blame?

'Vikings could be to blame for why Scots have highest levels of multiple sclerosis' is the somewhat imaginative leap taken by the Daily Mail reporting at a study looking at the unusually high multiple sclerosis rates in Orkney, Shetland and Aberdeen…

Green tea may be a 'brain booster'

Friday Nov 30 2012

Green tea may be a 'brain booster'

'Research has shown green tea can help improve memory and cognition in men' the Daily Mail tells us. But this may be overselling the results of a small study looking at patterns of blood flow inside the brain…

Car exhaust fumes 'link' to autism

Tuesday Nov 27 2012

Car exhaust fumes 'link' to autism

A potential link between pollution and autism is being widely reported in the media, with The Sun headline claiming 'Exhaust fume link to autism in infants and The Daily Telegraph reporting that 'Traffic fumes linked to autism...

Psoriasis drug could hold key to dementia treatment

Monday Nov 26 2012

Psoriasis drug may offer hope of dementia treatment

BBC News reports that, "drugs used to calm inflammation in psoriasis may also help to combat the effects of Alzheimer's disease, a study on mice suggests." Alzheimer's disease is a type of dementia, a condition characterised...

Smoking 'rots brain’ causing mental decline

Monday Nov 26 2012

Smoking 'rots' brain, causes mental decline

'Smoking doesn't just age your lungs, it damages your brain, too' the Daily Mail warns. The headline is prompted by a UK study looking at the impact of lifestyle factors, such as smoking, on mental functioning and memory…

'Autism gene discovered' by researchers

Thursday Nov 8 2012

'Autism gene' discovered by researchers

"Genetic mutation discovered in people with autism," The Daily Telegraph reports. The newspaper goes on to say that this mutation "cuts communication between brain cells to about one-tenth of normal levels"...

'Dementia gene' explored in teens

Tuesday Nov 6 2012

Alzheimer’s could be spotted 20 years before symptoms develop

A "dementia gene" has been found in a third of teenagers, "helping to predict the disease 20 years before devastating symptoms strike", the Daily Mail claims. While, according to the Daily Express, the "dementia gene"...

Drinking alcohol every day 'link' to brain damage

Friday Oct 26 2012

The 'Grapes of Daft' – wine / brain damage link

'Just two glasses of wine a day can nearly halve the number of brain cells we produce' is the warning in the Daily Mail. The news is prompted by a recent study looking at how moderate drinking affects brain cell development and cognitive function…

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...

Miracle Foods: myths and the media

Each day there's a new crop of possibly life-changing headlines about how food affects our health. Read our report on the health properties of food

Clinical trials and medical research

Clinical trials explained, including how to take part in one and why medical research is important

Video: clinical trials

In this video, find out about clinical trials, what they involve and who can take part in one.

Atlas of risk

NHS Atlas of Risk

Compare cause of death and health risks based on age, sex and where you live

Strength and Flex

Download our Strength and flexibility podcast series and get a free personal trainer