Medical Myths debunked

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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3 thoughts on “Medical Myths debunked

  1. I love this sort of book, but haven't read Bad Science yet. I was a scientist before I left to have my children and I enjoy reading about the science behind every day things. I think I'll put them both on my Christmas list.

  2. Oh dear, am always eating food dropped on the floor following the five-second rule, i.e. if it's not there for longer than five seconds, it's okay. I obviously need to get this to correct my behaviour! Don't think I'll be putting it in the smallest room though, it might bring on chronic constipation.

  3. Bad Science is an important book, the other is fun. It reminds me of when I went to see Dr Phil Hammond this summer and he spent ages talking about constipation and the Bristol Stool Chart – hilarious.The 5 second rule is a myth, and double-dipping is out too – don't put that half-eaten dorito back in the dip … but you can be too paranoid about these things – I've never had any obvious stomach bugs from picking food up – yet!

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