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Viral BS

Medical Myths and Why We Fall for Them

Dr. Seema Yasmin

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Dissecting the biggest medical myths and pseudoscience, Viral BS explores how misinformation can spread faster than microbes.

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…

Dissecting the biggest medical myths and pseudoscience, Viral BS explores how misinformation can spread faster than microbes.

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. Yasmin's handy Bulls*%t Detection Kit.

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Viral BS

Dr. Seema Yasmin

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Reviews

Reviews

[Yasmin] analyzes the pseudoscience that becomes hard to shake and reviews related research that presents the truth. The antidote is easy to swallow, thanks to Yasmin's approach.

Listen, I'm an actress who's lived in LA over 20 years. Obviously, I love to charge my crystals by the light of a full moon while dabbing essential oils behind my ears! But when it comes to my actual health, and my family's health, I don't need the wellness woo words of an Instagram influencer, I need a real doctor to tell me what is up. And I would trust Dr. Seema Yasmin with my life, and I have. She's brilliant!

I could listen to Seema Yasmin forever. Her background in medicine and communications with first-hand experience in the Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) at the CDC, make Dr. Yasmin a formidable presence in the public domain during these times of COVID-19. She sets a gold standard on how to convey tough news.

Examining myths and pseudoscience across multiple domains—including medicine, culture, climate, and nutrition—Viral BS will appeal to anyone who is interested in getting at the truth.

Addressing a whole range of claims related to medicine and science, Viral BS draws on good evidence to explain what is and is not true and explore why people believe misinformation. A fun, practical book written in an engaging, personal style.

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About

Book Details

Publication Date
Status
Available
Trim Size
6
x
9
Pages
272
ISBN
9781421440408
Illustration Description
2 line drawings
Table of Contents

Introduction
1. Do the flat tummy detox teas touted by Instagram celebrities actually work?
2. Should you eat your baby's placenta?
3. Do vaccines cause autism?
4. Can autism be cured?
5. Are children

Introduction
1. Do the flat tummy detox teas touted by Instagram celebrities actually work?
2. Should you eat your baby's 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 Alzheimer's 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 cat's 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. Yasmin's Bullshit Detection Kit
Acknowledgments
About the Author
Index

Author Bio
Featured Contributor

Seema Yasmin

Seema Yasmin is an Emmy Award–winning health reporter, epidemiologist, and medical doctor. The director of the Stanford Center for Health Communication and a clinical assistant professor at Stanford University School of Medicine, she is the author of Muslim Women Are Everything: Stereotype-Shattering Stories of Courage, Inspiration, and Adventure and The Impatient Dr. Lange: One Man's Fight to End...