Behind the Headlines

Your guide to the science that makes the news

Smoking increases risk of bowel cancer in women

Wednesday May 1 2013

Women smokers more vulnerable to bowel cancer

BBC News has revealed that, "Women who smoke have a higher risk of cancer than men," reporting the results of a new study examining the relationship between gender and bowel cancer caused by smoking. The large-scale study found that smoking…

Breast implants may make cancer harder to spot

Wednesday May 1 2013

Breast implants may make finding cancer harder

“Breast implants may harm breast cancer survival chances,” The Guardian warns, along with other media sources reporting on the same subject. It is important to stress that the research the media has reported does not suggest...

Hormone drugs can cut breast cancer

Tuesday Apr 30 2013

Hormone drugs can cut breast cancer

“Hormone treatments can cut breast cancer rates in at-risk women by 38%,” reports the Daily Mirror. The news, covered by much of the media, is based on...

Does fish in Mediterranean diet combat memory loss?

Tuesday Apr 30 2013

Will a fishy Mediterranean diet stop memory loss?

The health benefits of a Mediterranean-style diet have hit the headlines, with The Daily Telegraph reporting we should, 'Eat oily fish to prevent memory loss,' while the Mail Online focuses on how oily fish can keep the memory 'sharp'...

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…

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...