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.


Morning walks and frequent breaks 'as good as drugs for blood pressure'

21 February 2019

"Just 30 minutes of exercise a day 'as good as drugs' to lower blood pressure," reports the Daily Mirror. Australian researchers conducted experiments on 67 adults aged 55 to 80 to look at the effects of half an hour of walking on the blood pressure of people who were otherwise sitting down for 8 hours a day.

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Cervical cancer 'could become a thing of the past'

20 February 2019

"Cervical cancer could be eliminated in most countries by 2100," reports The Guardian. The headline is prompted by a new study that predicted what might happen to cervical cancer over the next 50 years. Most cases of cervical cancer are caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), and there are effective vaccines that can protect people from contracting HPV.

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Struggling to do push-ups? You may be at risk of heart disease

19 February 2019

'How many push-ups you can do could predict your risk of heart disease' Metro reports

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Teenage cannabis use linked to depression in later life

14 February 2019

"Teen cannabis use is to blame for 60,000 people suffering depression in the UK," reports The Sun.

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Older people with depression 'less likely to be referred for psychological therapy'

13 February 2019

"The elderly are being fobbed off with pills for mental health problems instead of receiving therapy," claims the Mail Online, while The Daily Telegraph reports that "NHS ageism is blocking older people's access to talking therapies". The news reports, and their sensational claims, are based on a new review looking into older people's experience of seeking help for depression.

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Do 'heavily processed' foods increase the risk of an early death?

12 February 2019

"Study links heavily processed foods to risk of earlier death," reports The Guardian. Researchers reported that middle-aged French people who ate 10% more so-called "ultra-processed" food had a slightly increased chance of dying over a 7-year period compared with those who ate less. The researchers describe ultra-processed food as "food products that contain multiple ingredients that are manufactured through a multitude of industrial processes".

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Could smaller portion sizes from your 'local chippy' help combat obesity?

07 February 2019

'Chippies are selling smaller portions of fish and chips in bid to fight Britain’s obesity crisis' reports The Sun

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Eating more fruit and veg 'improves mental wellbeing'

06 February 2019

'Adding more fruit and veg to your diet boosts your mood and emotional wellbeing' the Mail Online reports

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Women's brains 'may age slower' than men's

05 February 2019

‘Women’s brains are nearly four years younger than men’s, at least in how they burn fuel, according to scans performed by US researchers’ The Guardian reports

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E-cigs 'twice as effective' than nicotine patches, gum or sprays for quitting

31 January 2019

"E-cigarettes are almost twice as effective at helping smokers give up tobacco than other alternatives such as nicotine patches or gum," Sky News reports.

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A nagging sore throat may be an early sign of cancer

30 January 2019

"GPs with patients who have a persistent sore throat, combined with shortness of breath, trouble swallowing or earache, should consider cancer as the cause," BBC News reports.

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Screen time linked to 'delayed development' in young children

29 January 2019

"Letting a toddler spend lots of time using screens may delay their development of skills such as language and sociability," BBC News reports

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Gum disease linked to Alzheimer's, study claims

24 January 2019

'Gum disease bug could play ‘central role’ in development of Alzheimer’s' The Independent reports

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Aspirin bleeding risk 'balances out' lower heart attack risk in 'worried well'

23 January 2019

"Daily dose of aspirin 'not worth risk' as study warns of bleeding side-effects," The Daily Telegraph reports

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