Behind the headlines

Unbiased and evidence-based analysis of health stories

Do dopamine drugs lead to compulsive shopping?

24 Oct 2014
Medicine pills “Drugs for restless leg syndrome cause gambling, hypersexuality and compulsive shopping,” Metro reports.
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No need for nightshift workers to avoid steak

24 Oct 2014
Liver "Shift workers should avoid tucking into steak, brown rice or green veg at night," because these foods "disrupt the body clock," the Mail Online reports.
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Changes in 'Parkinson's walk' predict dementia

23 Oct 2014
Mature couple walking on beach "Subtle changes in the walking pattern of Parkinson's patients could predict their rate of cognitive decline," The Times reports after new research compared the gait of people with Parkinson's disease with those of healthy volunteers.
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Paralysed man walks again after pioneering surgery

22 Oct 2014
Graphic image of nerve cells "World first as man whose spinal cord was severed WALKS," the Mail Online reports. In pioneering research, transplanted cells have been used to stimulate the repair of a man's spinal cord.
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Smokers' homes 'as polluted as Beijing'

22 Oct 2014
Child in back seat of car and mother smoking a cigarette in the front seat "Living with smoker 'as bad as living in polluted city'," BBC News reports. Scottish researchers have estimated that the level of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) in smokers' households is similar to those found in a heavily polluted city such as Beijing.
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Exercise data signs could cut sugary drink intake

20 Oct 2014
“Signs warning shoppers how much exercise they need to do to burn off calories in sugary drinks can encourage healthier choices,” BBC News reports. Signs in shops in an area of Baltimore seemed to have led to a change in shopping habits amongst Afro-American teenagers.
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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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