Behind the headlines

Unbiased and evidence-based analysis of health stories

Heart failure drug digoxin linked to premature death

06 May 2015
"A heart drug taken by 250,000 Britons can actually hasten death," the Mail Online warns today. An analysis of previous research on digoxin, used to treat heart failure and heart rhythm abnormalities, suggests that it can raise the risk of premature death.
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Replacing sugary drinks with water may reduce diabetes risk

05 May 2015
"Swapping orange squash for a cup of tea cuts diabetes risk," The Daily Telegraph reports.
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New prostate cancer treatment has promising results in mice

01 May 2015
Cancer cells "Prostate cancer resistant to conventional treatment could be all but wiped out by a therapy that boosts the immune system," the Daily Mail reports. The therapy, as yet only used in mice, enabled chemotherapy to destroy cancer cells in mice with previously treatment-resistant prostate cancer.
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Diet swap study highlights bowel effects of Western-style diet

01 May 2015
Cheeseburgers and chips "Diet swap experiment reveals junk food's harm to guts," BBC News reports.
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Having a spine similar to a chimp could lead to back pain

28 Apr 2015
Chimpanzees "People with lower back problems are more likely to have a spine similar in shape to the chimpanzee," BBC News reports. Research suggests that humans with similar shaped vertebrae to chimps are more vulnerable to developing a slipped disc.
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There are six different types of obesity, study argues

21 Apr 2015
Obese man tightening belt "Researchers have identified six 'types' of obese person," The Independent reports. It's argued that each type would benefit from a targeted treatment programme for obesity, rather than a "one-size-fits-all" approach.
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Why you should drink (water) before you drive

21 Apr 2015
Man driving "Not drinking enough water has same effect as drink driving," The Daily Telegraph reports. A small study found participants made more mistakes on a driving simulator task when they were mildly dehydrated than when they had plenty of fluids.
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Does happiness have a smell and is it contagious?

17 Apr 2015
"Humans can smell when other people are happy, researchers discover," The Independent reports; somewhat over-enthusiastically.
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Paracetamol may blunt feelings of pleasure as well as pain

16 Apr 2015
"Paracetamol may dull emotions as well as physical pain, new study shows'," The Guardian reports.
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No proof that bad relationships raise blood pressure

15 Apr 2015
"If you have ever blamed your partner for making your blood boil, a new study could be the evidence you need to prove it's true," Mail Online reports. But the association between stress and blood pressure is much less clear-cut than the Mail suggests.
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