Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

High UK child death rates unfairly blamed on GPs

Thursday Mar 28 2013

UK 'worst in EU' for child deaths

"Almost 2,000 British children a year die from 'avoidable' causes because family doctors lack training in paediatric care," The Independent alarmingly claims. The story comes from a review of health services for children across 15 countries...

Could new gene markers herald better cancer tests?

Thursday Mar 28 2013

Gene tests for common cancers 'five years away'

Most of the UK media have reported on what has been described as landmark research into the genetics of breast, ovarian and prostate cancer. Many commentators state that this will lead to cheap and reliable screening tests…

Can regular saunas harm sperm quality?

Wednesday Mar 27 2013

Sauna use link to lower sperm count

"Men who visit saunas may be damaging their sperm," the Mail Online website warns. This warning comes from the results of a tiny study involving just 10 men asked to follow a Scandinavian-style sauna programme...

New guidelines on child antisocial behaviour

Wednesday Mar 27 2013

New guidelines on child antisocial behaviour

BBC News is reporting that there is a new ‘Guide to help parents to spot 'problem behaviour’’, while The Daily Telegraph claims that ‘More than one million parents could be offered state-funded lessons…

Social isolation increases death risk in older people

Tuesday Mar 26 2013

Isolated older people have increased death risk

"Social isolation is associated with a higher risk of death in older people regardless of whether they consider themselves lonely," BBC News has reported. Previous research has suggested that people who have limited social contact are...

Do TV and video games really make kids naughty?

Tuesday Mar 26 2013

Do TV and video games really make kids naughty?

“Watching TV for three hours a day will not harm your children”, The Independent reports. However, The Daily Express contradicts this, saying “Too much television turns children into monsters”. In this case…

Brain protein may play role in Down's syndrome

Monday Mar 25 2013

Protein loss link to Down's syndrome

BBC News reports that low levels of a particular protein may contribute to some of the characteristics of Down's syndrome. The news comes from a study that builds on previous research into the condition...

Can Parkinson's drug help old people decide?

Monday Mar 25 2013

Parkinson drug helps people 'think younger'

"A drug used to treat Parkinson’s disease could help older people make better decisions," the Mail Online website reports after a recent study found that L-dopa, a medication used to boost dopamine levels, aided decision making in some elderly people…

Women who stop taking breast cancer drugs risk early death

Friday Mar 22 2013

Women who quit breast cancer treatment risk early death

“Breast cancer survivors who cut short preventative treatment ‘risk early death’,” The Guardian reports, saying that women who have only three years of preventative treatment rather than five are more likely to die earlier…

Are benefits of telehealth care worth the cost?

Friday Mar 22 2013

Benefits of telehealth care 'not worth the money'

‘NHS remote monitoring costs more’ BBC News reports after the publication of a new study looking at the cost-effectiveness of telehealth. Telehealth involves using technology to enable healthcare professionals to remotely monitor…

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


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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...