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Don’t Swallow Your Gum: and Other Medical Myths Debunked by Dr Aaron Carroll and Dr Rachel Vreeman

This short book looks into about seventy-five medical myths and old wives tales, examines the evidence, and debunks them.

Many will have read Ben Goldacre’s bestselling book Bad Science – (If you haven’t read it, do! My review is here) in which the author did some serious scientific debunking. I would guess that Bad Science is preaching mostly to the converted, non-believers wouldn’t necessarily choose to read a book like that. However this book, although also in the debunking business, is light and funny but also full of useful information with wide appeal.

It’s split into six sections – Myths about: your body, illnesses and injuries, sex and pregnancy, babies and children, what we eat and lastly myths that spark controversy and debate. It starts off with a funny – The Myth that men with big feet have bigger penises, but soon you’re learning that you don’t need to poo every day; if you’re thirsty you’re probably not dehydrated, you’re just thirsty under normal circumstances; that it’s never safe to eat food that’s been dropped on the floor even if it was for just a couple of seconds, and many, many more. Most of the chapters are only a couple of pages, so it was an ideal book to dip into over a few lunchtimes (it would also make a good toilet book for those that use them!). An entertaining popular science read. (6.5/10)

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