Category Archives: “Health” products

“I don’t feel very much like Pooh today,” said Pooh. “There there,” said Piglet. “I’ll bring you tea and honey until you do.” ? A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

The skepdick was watching Dr. Oz last week at the gym ( A – the treadmill only gets a few channels and B – sometimes you have to watch shows that mostly spout bullshit in order to identify and correct said bullshit) and what do you suppose he was pushing on the poor unsuspecting audience this time?


If nothing else, hunny is delicious

You guessed it, a show all about poo.  No, wait, it was about honey.  Damn.  Dr. Oz made five claims about the benefits of honey, all five of which I was skeptical as usual (no, I don’t think Dr. Oz works for Big Honey (although that does actually exist and probably paid for some of the studies we discuss below (okay, maybe not, I have no proof))).  Let’s take these claims in order and see if he’s pushing his usual bullshit folk “wisdom” or if honey does indeed do what the good ol doctor says it can do.



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Holy Basil, Batman!

The skepdick is in an ongoing discussion with a friend about the safety of fluoride in our drinking water.  Perhaps one day she’ll come around and be convinced by the real evidence, but that hasn’t happened yet, despite the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention listing water fluoridation as one of the ten great public health achievements of the 20th century.  The World Health Organization sets an upper limit on fluoride in drinking water at 1 mg/L (mg/L equals ppm) and recommends an appropriate concentration of 0.5 mg/L which is the level of fluoridation in most of the government supplied drinking water in the United States.  Despite the fact that water fluoridation has been proven to reduce caries (the infection that causes dental cavities) by up to 40%, she believes any level of fluoride is dangerous.  She believes we should eliminate fluoride altogether from our drinking water, a belief I do not share.  What we do agree on is that fluoride can be very dangerous in high doses.

Last week she sent me a link to a news article about a new way to remove fluoride from water.  The strength-to-awaken blog reports that holy basil leaves contain special properties.  Let’s take a look and see if this herb is as powerful as this pseudoscientific website claims (by the way, if you feel sensitive to the planetary movements of the galaxy this is the site for you).

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This article is just the shot in the arm we don’t need. But the flu shot is one that we do.

The skepdick came across this alarmingly titled article “If You Would Like To Depress Your Immune System, Get This Year’s Flu Shot”  while doing some research.  Go ahead and read that title again.  Yep, the author (we’ll refer to him as such) is suggesting the flu vaccine will offer you nothing

other than a depressed immune system with a side serving of carcinogenic, immunotoxic, neurotoxic, and sterility agents, [except] the usual poisons based on previous formulations. Moreover, their effectiveness in preventing the flu is less than a placebo.


This poor woman could have benefited from a flu shot.

Okay, so what’s going on here?  The author’s first claim focuses on thimerosal (aka thiomersal) as the main “poison” in the flu vaccine and his second claim is that the vaccine isn’t worth getting at all (did he actually write, “less than a placebo”?).  We need to ask three questions:  do vaccines depress our immune system, do they contain poison, and are they effective.

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Chemotherapy causes cancer! WTF? Does the color pink cause breast cancer? Oh the irony.

The skepdick found an article on the website titled:

Scientists Make Another Obvious Discovery: Chemo Causes Cancer

while doing some skeptic research.  It didn’t take me long to give it a very poor trustworthiness rating (Go to to learn how you can rate sites as well).  The article claims scientists just made this “new” discovery about how chemotherapy causes cancer but its nothing more than a rehashing of this news story from August 2012.

The actual journal article referenced in the article does not suggest that chemotherapy causes cancer.  Far from it.  But some reporter (I won’t call this person a journalist) decided to run with the “chemo causes cancer” headline and now the story keeps popping up like, well, cancer.  Why?  Because fear headlines sell papers.  That’s why. Continue reading

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Prince Charles = Prince of homeopathy?

The skepdick was not shocked to see Prince Charles once again advocating a load of rubbish.  The heir to the throne has long been a believer in homeopathy despite there being no evidence that it works and no possible mechanism by which it could work.  Apparently he has been secretly lobbying politicians to allocate more funds for the National Health Service to spend on homeopathic treatments.  He even has an ally in parliament, one David Tredinnick who supports homeopathy and said on the BBC, “We should do what they do in the rest of the world, which is to take [homeopathy] seriously.”

What?  I take it seriously not because it works, but because so many people think that it does.  Homeopathy does not work.  If you don’t think it’s dangerous, take a look at this webpage describing 437 people have died because of it.  If people, and that includes Prince Charles, choose to believe in utter nonsense based on no evidence whatsoever, that’s up to them.  But medicine and the NHS should be based on proven science and they shouldn’t waste money on snake oil and bullshit.  Why do they still have a monarch over there anyway?  At least in our country the snake oil salesmen have the decency to just be movie star celebrities who get jobs on The View.

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Saliva. Not just for scuba masks.

The skepdick has believed for years that children born via cesarean are more likely to develop allergies than those born traditionally.  I hadn’t had a chance to revisit this through my recently developed skeptical lens, but when I did some research recently I quickly found some studies showing that it may in fact be true (mostly just for food allergies and asthma).

Also I discovered that a good way to clean your baby’s pacifier is to put it in your mouth and suck off the dirt.

What?  Yep.  And not just the tip, the whole pacifier.  Suck off that grime and save your kid from getting eczema.

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Does your smartphone keep you awake at night?

The skepdick was using his Samsung Galaxy S3 during the Ironman 3 credits last week checking on imdb if the movie was originally scheduled for a Christmas release (it wasn’t) and if there was a typical post credits Marvel universe scene (there was and it sucked).  The phone was quite bright in the dark theater and my friend suggested I install this new Twilight app on my phone.  The app supposedly helps keep you in a stable sleep cycle.

At night, using your phone’s gps to synchronize with the local time of day, the app automatically dims the screen and at the same time applies a red filter to the display.  The red filter and dimness are all user adjustable.  The idea is that bright blue-tinted light from tablet and phone displays is more deleterious to sleep patterns than red light.  Let’s investigate this notion of specific types of light-dependent sleep patterns and see if the app is worth the cost (it’s free).  Open your eyes wide, look into the light and say hello to Carol Anne.

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