Behind the Headlines

Behind the Headlines, a service provided by the NHS, offers an unbiased and evidence-based analysis of health stories that make the news. Click here to read more about Behind the Headlines.


Puzzle-solving 'doesn't slow down mental decline in older people'

11 December 2018

"Crosswords do not prevent dementia but can make your brain sharper to start off with," reports the Mail Online. The question of whether doing puzzles and problem-solving activities can stave off mental decline in older age is often debated. This study of 498 people born in Scotland in 1936 found people who enjoyed intellectually stimulating tasks had better mental functioning at around age 64 than less intellectually active people, but that their rate of mental decline from that point was the same.

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Could some people benefit from a higher dosage of statins?

10 December 2018

'Higher doses of statins could prevent thousands of deaths, research finds' The Independent reports

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Hypnotherapy may offer relief from IBS symptoms

06 December 2018

'Hypnosis could be an effective way of treating irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a study has suggested' the Mail Online reports

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Chemicals in cosmetics and perfumes linked to earlier puberty in girls

05 December 2018

'Chemicals found in perfume, hand creams and body lotion may make girls go through puberty months early' the Mail Online reports

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Older people 'would benefit' from weight training and more protein

04 December 2018

"GPs should prescribe protein powders and weight lifting to pensioners to help reverse frailty," The Daily Telegraph reports.

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Can aerobic exercise slow down ageing?

29 November 2018

'Running is better than weight training at reversing signs of ageing' The Independent reports

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Popular prostate cancer videos on YouTube 'inaccurate and biased'

28 November 2018

'An analysis of YouTube videos on prostate cancer has found biased and misleading medical information which could harm patients' Sky News reports

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New treatment for multiple sclerosis has promising initial results

27 November 2018

'Strengthening the body against the Epstein-Barr virus could reduce MS's effects' the Mail Online reports

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Teens who eat meals with family 'have healthier diets'

22 November 2018

"Family meals really do improve teenagers' diets and put them on a path to healthy eating in later life – even if home life is dysfunctional," reports the Mail Online

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High-carb, low-protein diet 'may keep brain young' – at least in mice

21 November 2018

"Low-protein, high-carb diet may help ward off dementia," reports The Guardian. Researchers studying mice kept on different diets found that mice on either restricted-calorie diets or low-protein, high-carbohydrate diets showed differences in the hippocampus region of the brain compared with mice fed on other diets. The hippocampus plays an important part in memory, especially long-term memory, and the differences seen in this brain region suggest that either of these diets might have a protective effect.

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New treatment for peanut allergies shows promise

20 November 2018

"Peanut allergy treatment 'in sight'," reports BBC News, on a new study investigating the effectiveness of a new drug to reduce the symptoms seen in people with severe peanut allergies.

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Low-carb diet 'could increase long-term weight loss'

15 November 2018

"Low-carb dieters can lose more than 1.5 stone over three years," reports The Daily Telegraph. Researchers in the US carried out a trial involving 164 people who'd already lost weight on a 10-week diet, during which all meals were provided. They assigned them to a further 20 weeks of dieting intended to maintain weight loss.

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'No evidence' that vitamin D prevents cancer or heart attacks

14 November 2018

"Vitamin D supplements may be pointless for preventing heart disease and cancer," reports the Mail Online. Vitamin D, known as the "sunshine vitamin" because our skin makes it from contact with sunlight, is needed to make strong bones. In recent years, scientists have investigated whether it's also helpful in preventing cardiovascular disease (heart attacks and strokes) or cancer. This study tested 25,871 adults over the age of 50 in the US, half of whom took high daily doses of vitamin D, over 5 years.

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Genetic links between depression and obesity explored

14 November 2018

'Being overweight can cause depression, researchers say, with the effects thought to be largely psychological' The Guardian reports

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