Bad Medicine: Misconceptions and Misuses Revealed, from Distance Healing to Vitamin O

Bad Medicine: Misconceptions and Misuses Revealed, from Distance Healing to Vitamin O

Bad Medicine: Misconceptions and Misuses Revealed, from Distance Healing to Vitamin O

Bad Medicine: Misconceptions and Misuses Revealed, from Distance Healing to Vitamin O

Synopsis

"Christopher Wanjek uses a take-no-prisoners approach in debunking the outrageous nonsense being heaped on a gullible public in the name of science and medicine. Wanjek writes with clarity, humor, and humanity, and simultaneously informs and entertains." -Dr. Michael Shermer, Publisher, Skeptic magazine; monthly columnist, Scientific American; author of Why People Believe Weird Things Prehistoric humans believed cedar ashes and incantations could cure a head injury. Ancient Egyptians believed the heart was the center of thought, the liver produced blood, and the brain cooled the body. The ancient Greek physician Hippocrates was a big fan of bloodletting. Today, we are still plagued by countless medical myths and misconceptions. Bad Medicine sets the record straight by debunking widely held yet incorrect notions of how the body works, from cold cures to vaccination fears. Clear, accessible, and highly entertaining, Bad Medicine dispels such medical convictions as: You only use 100f your brain: CAT, PET, and MRI scans all prove that there are no inactive regions of the brain . . . not even during sleep. Sitting too close to the TV causes nearsightedness: Your mother was wrong. Most likely, an already nearsighted child sits close to see better. Eating junk food will make your face break out: Acne is caused by dead skin cells, hormones, and bacteria, not from a pizza with everything on it. If you don't dress warmly, you'll catch a cold: Cold viruses are the true and only cause of colds. Protect yourself and the ones you love from bad medicine-the brain you save may be your own.

Excerpt

C ompared to the ancient cockroach, we truly are a baby species. The first humans rose above the tall grasses of central Africa a mere 150,000 years ago and, with their sharpened rocks and heightened curiosity, set forth to conquer the world. The cockroaches followed, never missing the opportunity for a free meal. Many millennia later, it's difficult to say who the winner is. Pound for pound, the world is weighted more with roaches than humans. And we humans are the hunted, easy prey for viruses and bacteria. This has not been an easy lesson for big-brained humans to learn—that we are not the dominant species; that there exists a world of microorganisms beyond what we can see with our eyes; that we are living not in the Age of Man but rather the Age of Bacteria. We didn't catch on for about 149,900 years, until roughly the close of the nineteenth century. But when we did …eureka! Germ theory. We immediately applied this hard-won knowledge to the field of medicine. We washed our hands, supplied clean water to cities, created vaccines, and understood the body in terms of cellular interaction. Suddenly, by the twentieth century, we were living, on average, at least twice as long as at any time in history.

All told, it is amazing we have come as far as we have. The forces of nature are well beyond our control and, at times, seem overwhelming. Drought and famine strike at will. Epidemics of disease wipe out entire cities and villages. Fires, floods, and earthquakes destroy in seconds what it took centuries to build. Imagine yourself forty thousand years ago, helpless. Let's face it, you're no . . .

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