Category Skepticism

Dispelling Flu Vaccine “Myths of the Facts” with Facts of the Facts

A growing number of health care facilities require that all of their employees get the influenza vaccine every year in order to help prevent their patients from getting the flu. It’s a well known fact that handwashing is the single most effective way to prevent the spread of infections; however, vaccinations work even better in preventing the spread of influenza. Voluntary vaccination isn’t enough, however, to achieve herd immunity within the hospital community. For our employees, refusing the vaccine without a preapproved religious or medical exemption is grounds for dismissal.

Microwave Dangers? Top 5 Claims vs. The Evidence

As a fitness professional, I often get asked about Microwave Dangers. Questions like, ”Is using the microwave oven bad for my health?” “I’ve heard microwaving changes the molecular structure or water/ food making it less nutritious or unhealthy. Is that true?” “Does the microwave cause cancer?”

The Predictive Value of Screening Tests and Phone Calls from Guys You Want to Love You, Part 1

On my to-do list today is grading the final exam in my “Introduction to Epidemiology” class. About a quarter of the exam addresses issues in screening for latent (subclinical) disease. In his 1986 book, Medical Care Can Be Dangerous to Your Health: A Guide to the Risks and Benefits, Eugene D. Robin provided this apt description of what screening programs do: Make patients out of normal human beings.

A Communication Autopsy of a Feel-Good Television News Health Story

Sometimes journalists focus their efforts on distinguishing fact from fiction: they carry out well-planned, well-executed, objective investigations that yield illuminating findings about important issues. But when it comes to building and keeping an audience, telling an appealing story is often more important than proceeding properly with skeptical, truth-seeking investigation. The late Don Hewitt, creator and, for more than 35 years, executive producer of the extraordinarily successful CBS Television newsmagazine program “60 Minutes,” frequently suggested that the priority for journalists is summed up by four words: tell me a story.

Psychiatric Medications Make Weight Loss Nearly Impossible, but Weight Gain A Snap

Who here has trouble losing weight? Why I could not lose the weight baffled me. Well, it’s actually more complex than I thought. First, a lack of self-control is usually the knee-jerk assumption as to why you gain weight. This is based on the belief that weight loss is a simple matter of thermodynamics: one takes in more calories than one “burns”. That is true – but only to a point. I take a combination of psychiatric medications; the resulting weight gain is what the scientific literature calls “antipsychotic induced weight gain” (AIWG) (Lett et al., 2012, P. 242). Knowing mine is AIWG is frustrating: It is why my 900 calorie diet and exercise regimen do not work.

The Moment That Changes Everything

It was a chilly December afternoon. London, 2008. I was late for the tube – so I bundled up, walked swiftly around the corner, through the turnstile, when I heard the train arriving. That meant I had about one minute – let the dash begin. I leaped up several flights of stairs to make it onto the train by a whisker… and then my life changed.