Don't Swallow Your Gum!: Myths, Half-Truths, and Outright Lies about Your Body and Health

Don't Swallow Your Gum!: Myths, Half-Truths, and Outright Lies about Your Body and Health

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by Aaron E. Carroll, Rachel C. Vreeman
     
 

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People have more access to medical information than ever before, and yet we still believe "facts" about our bodies and health that are just plain wrong. DON'T SWALLOW YOUR GUM! takes on these myths and misconceptions, and exposes the truth behind some of those weird and worrisome things we think about our bodies. Entries dispel the following myths and

Overview


People have more access to medical information than ever before, and yet we still believe "facts" about our bodies and health that are just plain wrong. DON'T SWALLOW YOUR GUM! takes on these myths and misconceptions, and exposes the truth behind some of those weird and worrisome things we think about our bodies. Entries dispel the following myths and more:

- You need to drink 8 glasses of water a day
- Chewing gum stays in your stomach for seven years
- You can catch poison ivy from someone who has it
- If you drop food on the floor and pick it up within five seconds, it's safe to eat
- Strangers have poisoned kids' Halloween candy

With the perfect blend of authoritative research and a breezy, accessible tone, DON'T SWALLOW YOUR GUM is full of enlightening, practical, and quirky facts that will debunk some of the most perennial misconceptions we believe about our health and well-being.

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
Adult/High School–Two doctors have written a breezy and entertaining, yet relevant and scientific, book full of facts with which to “prove our mothers wrong.” Divided into six sections, each comprising approximately 10 “myths” in two pages each, the book covers issues about disease, sex and pregnancy, babies and children, what we eat, and “controversial” topics. No, it is not necessary to drink eight glasses of water a day. Eating turkey does not make you sleepy. The authors also set the record straight on the five-second rule, the connection between dog hair and allergies, and the dangers of waking a sleepwalker. The final “controversial” section includes the causes of autism and the connection between the Superbowl and the abuse of women. It is easy to imagine teens browsing through and sharing fun tidbits with one another. In fact, with its offhand tone, liberal use of expressions like “sucks” and “BS,” the occasional gratuitous gross-out story, short chapters, and compact paperback format, the book reads as if it were written with teen appeal in mind. At the same time, the authors demonstrate clear research and documentation, including more than 40 pages of references. The introduction explains the difference between association and causation, the trials needed to prove the truth, and why so many misperceptions exist.-Angela Carstensen, Convent of the Sacred Heart, New York City

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780312533878
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
05/26/2009
Edition description:
First Edition
Pages:
240
Sales rank:
473,694
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 7.14(h) x 0.63(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Men with big feet have bigger penises

Have you ever noticed a man with particularly big feet and wondered if other parts of him were just as large? While some claim that a man's penis size can be predicted by the size of his feet, others say that it's the size of his hands or even his nose that really gives away the secret of what's in his pants. This idea of comparing body parts to estimate hidden assets may have originated with discriminating shoppers, but it may also have its roots in real science. The Hox gene in mammals plays a role in the development of the toes and fingers, as well as the penis or clitoris. Given how rarely one hears "gene expression" mentioned along with the talk of penises and feet, it seems much more likely that this myth springs from our desire, as humans, to identify patterns—even when the pattern is not really there. We like to have explanations for things we see, and we like to group like things with like things (in this case, appendages on men).

Despite the similar genetic controls for these protuberances, men with big feet do not necessarily have bigger penises. While at first, the prospects for estimating penile length with a quick glance at a man's feet seemed promising, science now shows us that this is not the case. A study of sixty men in Canada suggested that there was a weak—but statistically significant—relationship between penile length and both body height and foot length (remember—statistically significant doesn't necessarily mean significant in real life). However, a larger study of 104 men, done by two urologists, Drs. Shah and Christopher, which measured penises when pulled to their longest lengths, found that shoe size and penis size were not correlated with one another. An even larger study called the "Definitive Penis Size Survey," which looked at 3,100 men, also found no relationship between shoe size and erect penis size. This was even when men reported their size, as opposed to direct measurement. And when men are asked to report the length of their own members . . . well, let's just say that science also shows us that exaggeration routinely comes into play. Furthermore, the "Definitive Penis Size Survey" was never peer-reviewed or published in a scientific journal. We trust the results from Drs. Shah and Christopher the most, but this survey backs them up. Studies also show no link between finger length and penis size. You can look at a guy's feet or hands all you want, but they won't tell you anything else about how he measures up.

Excerpted from DON'T SWALLOW YOUR GUM! by AARON E. CARROLL and RACHEL C. VREEMAN

Copyright © 2009 by Aaron E. Carroll And Rachel C. Vreeman

Published in June 2009 by St. Martin's Press

All rights reserved. This work is protected under copyright laws and reproduction is strictly prohibited. Permission to reproduce the material in any manner or medium must be secured from the Publisher.

Meet the Author

Dr. Aaron E. Carroll is an associate professor of Pediatrics and the director of the Center for Health Policy and Professionalism Research at the Indiana University School of Medicine.

Dr. Rachel C. Vreeman is an assistant professor of Pediatrics in Children's Health Services Research at the Indiana University School of Medicine and co-director of Pediatric Research for the Academic Model for the Prevention and Treatment of HIV/AIDS (AMPATH).

Aaron and Rachel's research has been featured in The New York Times, USA Today, The Los Angeles Times, Scientific American, Newsweek, and many other national publications. They have appeared on Good Morning America, CBS Evening News, and ABC News NOW.

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Don't Swallow Your Gum!: Myths, Half-Truths, and Outright Lies about Your Body and Health 3.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Dinia More than 1 year ago
This is an easy-to-read book which busts medical myths that I previously thought unshakeable. I was truly surprised at many of the "facts" that were proven to be otherwise. The book gives background in many cases and debunks each myth in an easy-to-understand manner with a mix of light humor. It makes this book as entertaining as it is informative.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago