Skip the Sex and Spinach

Every time I pick up a newspaper or check out the online news I’m amazed by the new studies that shed light on healthcare myths. At this point, you’d think researchers would be running out of things to challenge, but no, there’s still plenty of information, once thought of as gospel, that now turns out to be nothing but wishful thinking and fantasy.

News this week that made me think “duh”? Green leafy veggies are the most common cause of food poisoning.


Lettuce (Photo credit: photofarmer)

Common sense says why the hell wouldn’t they be? Leafy greens live down at ground level, get submerged in mud every time it rains, and they are hard to clean. Fields of green being planted or picked by migrant workers who probably don’t have ready access to porta-potties (though it makes sense not to set up porta-pottties near food) are the most likely culprits in providing a little e.coli to the mix.  That triple washed on the package may mean triple washed in sewage. Luckily, lettuce is easy to grow at home.

In news designed to infuriate drug makers, another study looked at male erectile dysfunction and heart disease. Forget those commercials with bathtubs and happy couples, the more severe a man’s ED, the greater his risk for heart disease and premature death.


Doctors are advised to screen and test men for heart disease instead of discreetly passing along a six pack of Viagra.

The New England Journal of Medicine stepped in this week to debunk some myths about weight loss. Turns out having sex does not burn 100-300 calories per participant.  It only burns a measly 50 calories,  equal to 10 minutes of vacuuming or 20 minutes of typing.

"Vacuuming" (93/365)

“Vacuuming” (93/365) (Photo credit: kalavinka)

So for weight loss, skip the sex and grab a vacuum. You might not work up the sweat associated with sex, but you’ll look better burning those 50 calories.

It turns out fecal transplants can be a real lifesaver. Hard to treat c. difficile infections respond better to a procedure involving donor feces infused into the patient’s small intestine than they do to antibiotics. I am not shitting you on this. Doctors who promote this treatment agree that the science bears them out, but the ick factor involved, both having the treatment and harvesting the feces for treatment, make it a tough sell.  fmt

The award for best research goes to the scientists who looked into the killing capability of cats. There is a reason that cats in movies and books are suspected of smothering babies in their sleep and nudging the elderly or infirm down stairs.

English: Young street cats, Portugal.

English: Young street cats, Portugal. (Photo credit: Wikipedia) Cats awaiting their next victims.

It’s well known that cats carry germs that cause depression and miscarriage.  Now it’s revealed that cats kill 1.4 to 3.7 billion birds and 6.9 to 20.7 billion mammals every year. Not only are they killers, they’re serial killers. Feral and outdoor cats contribute to the bulk of the killings, but people with indoor cats should be aware that, quite possibly, their fluffy little friend is plotting their demise.

Thanks, science!

Have any freaky health research studies? Let me know in the comments.

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