Behind the headlines

Unbiased and evidence-based analysis of health stories

Ebola could reach UK, but outbreak risk is low

16 Oct 2014
“Global threat of Ebola: From the US to China, scientists plot spread of deadly disease across the world from its West African hotbed,” reports the Mail Online. This is a terrifyingly apocalyptic-sounding headline, yet the real story about Ebola is that, while still frightening and deadly, it is still a very low risk to people in the UK. Screening arrangements for visitors to the UK arriving from affected countries are being put into place.
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Stem cells used to improve low vision

16 Oct 2014
"Embryonic stem cells transplanted into eyes of blind restore sight," The Daily Telegraph reports, covering a study where human stem cells were transplanted into the eyes of people with visual impairment. This led to a significant improvement in their vision.
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Broccoli could 'hold the key' for treating autism

15 Oct 2014
"Broccoli chemical may improve autism symptoms," The Daily Telegraph reports. A small study suggests sulforaphane, a chemical that gives broccoli its distinctive taste, may help improve some of the symptoms of autism spectrum disorder (ASD).
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Is a cure for type 1 diabetes 'within reach'?

13 Oct 2014
"Type 1 diabetes cure within reach after breakthrough," The Independent reports after researchers have managed to "coax" human stem cells into becoming insulin-producing cells.
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Could grapefruit juice protect against diabetes?

10 Oct 2014
“Grapefruit juice 'could be the key to weight loss’,'' is the misleading headline in The Daily Telegraph.
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Vaginal orgasm 'doesn't exist', researchers argue

09 Oct 2014
Couple in bed "There is no such thing as a vaginal orgasm," says the Mail Online, in a story that suggests some women have been diagnosed with sexual disorders based on the "myth" that they can orgasm through vaginal intercourse alone.
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Cannabis labelled 'harmful and as addictive as heroin'

08 Oct 2014
cannabis plant "Cannabis: the terrible truth," is today's Daily Mail front page splash story. The paper cites the risks posed by cannabis – including a doubling of the risk of schizophrenia – based on research the paper says has "demolished the argument that the drug is safe".
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Ebola outbreak to get worse says WHO

08 Oct 2014
Ebola virus under microscope “Ebola infections will treble to 20,000 by November,” BBC News reports, following the publication of an analysis of the current epidemic by the World Health Organization (WHO).
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Green tea compound may improve cancer drugs

07 Oct 2014
cup of green tea "Green tea could helps [sic] scientists develop new cancer fighting drugs," the Mail Online reports. But before you rush out to the shops, in no way does this study suggest green tea can fight cancer.
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Moderate regular drinking may 'damage sperm'

06 Oct 2014
“Just five alcoholic drinks a week could reduce sperm quality,” The Guardian reports. A study involving Danish military recruits found that even moderate drinking, if done regularly, was associated with a drop in quality.
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