You know, this little segment technically started as a way for me to pull together my favorite things from the week all in one place, but not-so-secretly I’m a major grouch with bad science. Look, it’s not my fault, I’ve just been in this biz for 5 years and don’t take too kindly to people abusing and misusing it.
1. Turmeric makes a tasty dinner–and that’s it.
There is literally a name for compounds like curcumin (the ‘magically healthy’ part of turmeric) and it has THE BEST acronym you guys: Pan-Assay Interference Compounds aka PAINs. Who said scientists don’t have a sense of humor?
Okay, so what actually happens is that these jerks tend to just give false, non-specific results when you run a panel of tests. The last article I saw on it claimed that it was anti everything from fungal infections to cancer to erectile dysfunction. Sounds incredibly non-specific.
Here’s a review that mentions how much time and money has been wasted trying to test out curcumin in humans. Nature (a hella fancy science journal) has a real cute cartoon with their top list of PAINS. It’s good. Also the article is baller too, and uses words like seductive.
2. Fight. Fight! FIGHT!
Have you ever wanted to see a scientific showdown happen publicly? Sometimes PubMed is a spicy, spicy place and I love it. Alas, the text can’t be accessed without one of those nice journal licenses, but the titles say it all. Oh, and by the by, this one is about the alkaline diet, which is a bunch of BS for cancer treatments. Maybe for kidney-related issues, but if you think your stomach ain’t ON IT with pH regulation you’d be, well, wrong.
3. Nope, your kid is just like that.
Okay, maybe it’s because one of my best friends is expecting, but I’ve got babies on the lineup today as well. Turns out that sugar has no impact on a child’s behavior, you just assume it does and then treat your kid like they’re acting more hyper. I hate to break it to you (no I don’t) but the 5 year old ain’t the problem here. Although I might say this rumor can float around a while longer if it helps children eat less sugar and more of literally anything else, please.
4. Oh hey, sometimes bloodletting was a GOOD idea.
Almost worse than an old-timey cure that doesn’t work at all might be an an old-timey cure that maybe occasionally sort of maybe worked. Apparently, under some very specific infection conditions, bloodletting might have actually been a benefit. So of course they took it as a sign to kindly remove the blood from every patient who didn’t actively flee them. To be clear, there are infinitely more, infinitely better options these days for fighting infections that you can get from fine, actual doctors. And yes I just linked to WebMD.
Photo by William Iven on Unsplash
5. Sawbones: A Marital Tour of Misguided Medicine
The Sawbones Podcast is one of my all-time favorite places to listen to the wacky high jinks of our great(ly misguided) forefathers in medicine. If you like podcasts, check it out. If you want to like podcasts, check it out. If you like learning about similar topics here, definitely check it out.