Can your zip code predict when you will die? Should you space out childhood vaccines? Does talcum powder cause cancer? Why do some doctors recommend e-cigarettes while other doctors recommend you stay away from them? Health information-and misinformation-is all around us, and it can be hard to separate the two. A long history of unethical medical experiments and medical mistakes, along with a host of celebrities spewing anti-science beliefs, has left many wary of science and the scientists who say they should be trusted. How do we stay sane while unraveling the knots of fact and fiction to find out what we should really be concerned about, and what we can laugh off? In Viral BS, journalist, doctor, professor, and CDC-trained disease detective Seema Yasmin, driven by a need to set the record straight, dissects some of the most widely circulating medical myths and pseudoscience. Exploring how epidemics of misinformation can spread faster than microbes, Dr. Yasmin asks why bad science is sometimes more believable and contagious than the facts. Each easy-to-read chapter covers a specific myth, whether it has endured for many years or hit the headlines more recently. Dr. Yasmin explores such pressing questions as * Do cell phones, Nutella, or bacon cause cancer? * Are we running out of antibiotics? * Does playing football cause brain disease? * Is the CDC banned from studying guns? * Do patients cared for by female doctors live longer? * Is trauma inherited? * Is suicide contagious? and much more. Taking a deep dive into the health and science questions you have always wanted answered, this authoritative and entertaining book empowers readers to reach their own conclusions. Viral BS even comes with Dr. Yasmins handy pull-out-and-keep Bulls*%t Detection Kit.
Introduction 1. Do the flat tummy detox teas touted by Instagram celebrities actually work? 2. Should you eat your babys placenta? 3. Do vaccines cause autism? 4. Can autism be cured? 5. Are children being paralyzed by the common cold virus? 6. Do we inherit trauma from our parents? 7. Are genetically modified foods safe? 8. How long can you eat leftovers? 9. Is MSG addictive? 10. Is drinking diet soda linked to Alzheimers disease and stroke? 11. Do mammograms cause more problems than they detect? 12. Is it dangerous to be pregnant in America? 13. The raging statin debate: Should you take a cholesterol-lowering drug? 14. Does aspirin prevent cancer? 15. Did the maker of aspirin test medicines in Nazi concentration camps? 16. Does the birth control pill cause depression? 17. Do vitamin D supplements protect against obesity, cancer, and pneumonia? 18. Will fish oil supplements prevent heart disease or give you cancer? 19. Are heartburn medicines linked to a serious gut infection? 20. Were dietary supplements linked to a deadly outbreak of hepatitis? 21. Can gay and bisexual men donate blood? 22. Are e-cigarettes helpful or harmful? 23. Is marijuana a performance-enhancing drug for athletes? 24. Did a morning sickness pill for pregnant women cause birth defects in thousands of babies? 25. Is there lead in your lipstick? 26. Why do immigrants in America live longer than American-born people? 27. Has the US government banned research about gun violence? 28. The Frackademia Scandal: Did oil and gas companies pay academics to say fracking was safe? 29. Does playing American football give players brain damage? 30. Did the US government infect people with syphilis and gonorrhea? 31. Does talcum powder cause ovarian cancer? 32. Does infection with Ebola cause lifelong symptoms? 33. Are older adults at higher risk of contracting sexually transmitted infections? 34. Did genetically modified mosquitoes spread Zika, and does the virus cause birth defects? 35. Can your cats poop make you better at business? 36. Is suicide contagious? 37. Are suicide rates linked to the economy? 38. Are there more suicides during the holiday season? 39. Are you more likely to die from a medical mistake than from a car crash? 40. Is it dangerous to go to the hospital in July? 41. Do patients cared for by female doctors live longer? 42. Can a pill make racists less racist? 43. Are airplane condensation trails, aka chemtrails, bad for your health? 44. Do bad teeth cause heart disease? 45. Can your zip code predict when you will die? 46. Does debunking a myth help it spread? Dr. Yasmins Bullshit Detection Kit Acknowledgments About the Author Index