Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Everyday chemicals 'pose threat to health'

Wednesday Feb 20 2013

Everyday chemicals are ‘global threat’ to health report concludes

'Poisoned by everyday life' is the front-page headline in the Daily Mail today, covering a new report that warns that chemicals used in everyday products are 'linked to a huge range of diseases.' It goes on to explain that...

New NICE guidelines for NHS fertility treatment

Wednesday Feb 20 2013

NHS-funded IVF to be offered to over 40s

New standards set out for treating fertility problems dominate the health news. The coverage is based on updated infertility guidance from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE)…

'Needy partners' have weaker immune systems

Tuesday Feb 19 2013

Being in 'needy relationship' weakens immune system

“How a bad relationship can make you ill – by damaging your immune system” reports the Mail Online. Generations of poets and songwriters have told us how love can break our hearts, but the study covered by the Mail suggests…

Brain implant offers hope for early-stage Parkinson’s

Tuesday Feb 19 2013

Brain implant offers hope for early-stage Parkinson’s

'A new highly accurate form of brain surgery could bring hope to thousands of Parkinson's sufferers,' the Mail Online website has reported. The report is based on a new and encouraging study...

Unsafe sex linked to rise in HIV rates in gay men

Monday Feb 18 2013

Unsafe sex causes rise in HIV rates in gay men

"The number of gay and bisexual men contracting HIV rose…because of an increase in numbers having unprotected sex," The Guardian reports. The story is based on a study of men who have sex with men...

'Fizzy drink tax' to stop UK being 'fat man of Europe'

Monday Feb 18 2013

'Fizzy drink tax' to stop UK being 'fat man of Europe'

The Academy of Medical Royal Colleges has published a report containing 10 recommendations designed to tackle the UK’s obesity epidemic – a story covered by most of the UK media…

Could being kept in the dark cure lazy eye?

Friday Feb 15 2013

Being kept in the dark could cure lazy eye

‘Keeping children with a lazy eye in the dark for ten days could help them see better', reports the Daily Mail, somewhat irresponsibly, following research actually involving kittens. The Mail reports on a study looking at…

Smoking bans may help cut premature births

Friday Feb 15 2013

Smoking bans may help cut premature births

"Smoking ban 'cuts premature births'," BBC News has reported. Despite the BBC News headline, this research only showed an association between the smoking ban and a reduction in premature births. It didn’t show direct cause and effect…

Horsemeat investigation: latest update

Friday Feb 15 2013

Is horsemeat harmful?

The Food Standards Agency released a statement on February 14 confirming that it had detected the presence of phenylbutazone (bute) in horses slaughtered in the UK. The advice that contaminated horsemeat poses little health risk remains unchanged…

Could HRT stop dementia?

Thursday Feb 14 2013

HRT helps to restore female hormone levels

Taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT) could delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease for millions of women, a number of newspapers have reported today. The reports overextrapolate …

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

News: 'Half of all health news is spun'

Read about the September 2012 study that found over-optimism about scientific results from researchers, press offices and journalists alike

Miracle cure or scam?

Will an online miracle cure provide the answer to your health problem?

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 theses stories

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

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

Alcohol, myths and the media

Can lager help you live longer? Can wine help you lose weight? We take a sober look at the media’s claims about alcohol, and what the science actually says


Take a LifeCheck

A few moments spent now could add years to your life

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...