Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Have taller women evolved to have more babies?

Monday Apr 29 2013

Have taller women evolved to have more babies?

“Taller, skinnier women have evolved to have more babies than their shorter counterparts,” the Mail Online website has claimed. It reports on research examining...

Parasite genes drive up antimalarial resistance

Monday Apr 29 2013

Drug-resistance malaria - new strain discovered

"New drug-resistant strains of the parasite that causes malaria have been identified," is the worrying news being reported on the BBC News website. Covering the same piece of research, The Guardian outlines the ongoing "scientific detective hunt in…

Negative parenting linked with kids being bullied

Friday Apr 26 2013

Over-protective parents ups child’s bullying risk

“Children who have overprotective parents are more likely to be bullied by their peers,” BBC News explains. The news correctly presents the findings of a major study on the effects of parenting on a child’s risk of being bullied, but it focuses…

Can belief in God help with depression?

Friday Apr 26 2013

Can belief in God help with depression?

"Believing in God can help treat depression," the Mail Online website claims. But how much faith can we put in this story?...

Sugary soft drinks linked to raised risk of diabetes

Thursday Apr 25 2013

Sugary soft drinks can cause a range of health problems

'One soft drink a day increases Type 2 diabetes risk by a fifth,' The Independent warns, reporting on a European study that has examined the relationship between type 2 diabetes and sugary drinks. The study…

MMR catch-up campaign targets a million children

Thursday Apr 25 2013

New MMR catch-up campaign – one million children targeted

The MMR vaccine should be given to all unvaccinated schoolchildren aged from 10 to16 as part of a national catch-up campaign, the government has announced. This MMR vaccination catch-up campaign aims to prevent further…

Celebrity chefs can’t be blamed for obesity rates

Wednesday Apr 24 2013

Celeb cookbooks can’t be blamed for obesity rates

"TV chefs 'adding to obesity crisis by encouraging us to eat fatty dishes'," reports the Metro, with similar stories blaming celebrity chefs for our bulging waistlines in much of the media…

Cosmetic treatments need new regulation report finds

Wednesday Apr 24 2013

Cosmetic treatments needs stricter regulation report concludes

New proposals to regulate cosmetic procedures were widely reported in the papers today, with the Daily Mail reporting the need to "rein in cosmetic surgery cowboys", and The Daily Telegraph warning that anti-wrinkle treatments…

Even 'light' smoking may raise women's arthritis risk

Tuesday Apr 23 2013

Even light smoking doubles rheumatoid arthritis risk

"Smoking just a few cigarettes a day more than doubles a woman's risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis," the Mail Online website reveals. The website reports on a Swedish study that found women who smoke…

Statins may help impotence – but only to limited extent

Tuesday Apr 23 2013

Statins may help impotence – but only to limited extent

"Statins could be a cheap and effective treatment for erectile dysfunction," reports the Daily Mail. Sadly, for those affected by erectile dysfunction (impotence), the Mail’s claim is not supported by the evidence presented by the study...

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 these 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...