Medical Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths: What We Think We Know May Be Hurting Us

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Enjoyed course I found the course interesting and informative. It needs to be updated.
Date published: 2018-09-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Criticality Thinking in Action Nice to hear a voice of reason in a world of sloppy and wishful thinking
Date published: 2018-07-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from everyone should take this course Steve Novella is an excellent communication. He is able, in very few words, to be clear, concise, and express complex concepts.
Date published: 2018-02-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Medical Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths The course covers topics that I thought I knew, but I soon learned to be surprised and better informed. And it only got more interesting as it moved on to other topics where I had a tenuous grasp or none at all.
Date published: 2018-01-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I learned so much! Dr. Novella was clear and understandable. I had no idea that there were so many things that i thought were true that just weren't. Nice that he backed up his statements with solid research. I'd be interested in another course with him.
Date published: 2017-05-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I own this course. I love it. He provides good information and explains why it is true and applicable. This is an excellent course.
Date published: 2017-03-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Truly Great Course As a physician I did not know if I would get much out of this course. It did not take long to realize this course was packed with useful information. It is presented in a fashion that everyone can understand an apply. Lectures are top notch. I wish all of patients would take this course.
Date published: 2017-03-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Medical myths As a practicing physician for 43 years, I agree that there is a lot of misinformation promoted that can be costly and sometimes even potentially dangerous. I realise that, as physicians, we don't always have the perfect answer but evidence-based medicine is still the best recommendations at the time and definitely better than a lot of anecdotal suggestions promoted by misinformed individuals and/or groups or by some persons who may get a financial gain in promoting these erroneous ideas. The science will change but usually for the better and medical recommendations should always be evidence-based.
Date published: 2016-09-06
Rated 1 out of 5 by from A Waste of Time The course appeared to be presented solely to debunk any modality not in the lecturer's worldview, not to educate. The lectures were occasionally contradictory. There was some interesting information, but as a whole not worthwhile. Some of the information presented is not current.
Date published: 2016-08-27
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Medical Myths, Lies and Half Truths It makes me sad that the "course" is ten years old (which I didn't realize when I ordered it. -So much changes in the medical world that it seems Great Courses would have an additional "lesson plan" available from the professor that gives some of the more significant updates. As an example, stem cell was not significant ten years ago, but it is becoming more so with institutions such as Mayo discussing it's potential use.
Date published: 2016-06-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Tee-Shirt or TV-Show There is a joke amongst my brothers and me specific to when we hear/see/read a great common sense sentence we say "TEE-SHIRT"; this started when reading Thomas Paine's great work "Age of Reason". This course is full of tee-shirt moments. Imagine if reasonable people were to walk around making fun of old or new /wrong/costly/ and harmful ideas. Perhaps the world would be a better place. I did a quick sort of reviews at the bottom perspective and the comments are amazing. The instructor represents the Scientific Medical community, he is not giving his opinions; he is sharing the known understanding of reality. How does a society work to change these biases in otherwise intelligent people? I highly recommend Micheal Shermer's GC on Skepticism 101, but perhaps Shemer should make another course on his book, "Why People Believe Weird Things". I think this course should be turned into a TV-Show. Why don't channels like Science or Discovery or TLC fill the hours with evidence based knowledge instead of hunting big foot, or ghost tales, or etc, etc, etc....
Date published: 2016-02-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent Explanation/Analysis of Medical Quackery Dr. Novella does a great job of dispelling myths and lies about common (and some uncommon) medical treatments/cures. He speaks well and clearly, and adequately describes concepts and terms unfamiliar to those without a medical degree. He avoids logical fallacies, and sticks with the facts, even though it would be very easy to fall into the ad-hominim attacks for much of the content discussed. I learned a lot from this course, and much of it I'm finding corroborated from personal experience and my own research. It's nice to know how to detect bulls**t when you see it. Highly recommended course. One of the best I've listened to so far in the Great Courses library.
Date published: 2015-12-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Good information to know I found this course very interesting and informative, and plan to listen to it a second time.
Date published: 2015-03-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A course for everyone An extremely enlightening, exposing, and informative course. Expert and charismatic lecturer who reduced abstract medical issues to comprehensible explanations. Missed and would suggest adding medical analysis/research on highly hyped and rather expensive mega vegetable and mega fruit powder mixtures. Would recommend this course to virtually everyone.
Date published: 2015-03-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Valuable practical advice A science based, factual review of medical myths that we come across in everyday life, especially with the explosion of medical information on the internet. With the abundance of medical cures, remedies and treatments, both new and traditional, how does one choose which may be effective and which are marketing hype? I particularly enjoyed Dr. Novellas discussion of traditional and "accepted" methods of medical treatments and the science behind them. He does an excellent job of discussing why some medical myths persist over time and become accepted even after being shown to not work. I would recommend this course to anyone seeking to find a little more truth amidst the hype and claims of many of the medical treatments and remedies out there in the world.
Date published: 2015-03-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Medical Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths This is very important information to dispel the myths that may be fooling us into doing dangerous things to ourselves or our families.
Date published: 2015-03-16
Rated 2 out of 5 by from So apparently it is ALL bogus! I understand that it is possible that literally everything that I have read and heard and been told (even by my general care physician) is untrue and that the presenter of this course is simply presenting that bad news as directly as possible - in which case I apologize for this review. But even so, I would expect a presentation of material on this topic to anticipate that many of its listeners would expect that at least some of these things work - and would present the material so as to address those expectations and to overcome objections. Not here! Just one example - that the use of mercury in vaccines has raised concerns is dismissed with the simple statement that that "it's been in use for decades" - nothing more need be said about that. And I found this same dismissive attitude to be present throughout the course. Might all be true (and my Duke-trained doctor doesn't know what he's doing when he recommends supplements and such), but the course is not persuasive and the presenter feels very offhanded to me. Clearly i didn't like it - and i usually like these courses.
Date published: 2015-03-13
Rated 3 out of 5 by from KISS principle needs to be applied. Keep It Simple Stupid is one of the oldest and best business principles. Dr. Novella is I'm sure a great teacher for a medical student. BUT, for the general public, not so good. Also, he seems to think, "why use two words when I can use ten". He needs to be reminded that he is not in the classroom.
Date published: 2015-03-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Well Worth It! Lots of good information. He confirmed more of my preconceptions than he shot down. He was very precise in his language and logically explained what medical science knows, doesn't know, can proof and can't prove. I will re-listen to it again as I always get more out these courses the second time around as they contain so much information.
Date published: 2015-03-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I couldn't stop listening! Wow, this is the best course I've ever purchased from Great Courses, and I have many of them. I kept finding myself sitting in the car in the parking lot at work, just to finish listening to a segment before turning off the car.! Dr. Novella is an excellent presenter, and dispels many widespread myths and wives' tales that I've wondered about my whole life---all with the evidence of research-based studies. I like this series so much I'm sure to listen to it again later. Great stuff!
Date published: 2015-03-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great information!!! I listen to the lectures while walking my dog!!! I have never been so anxious for it to be walk time!!!! Excellent presentation, excellent presenter, very informative content!!!!
Date published: 2015-03-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Finally some good info This was a very well done and professionally done course. It was careful to go into the background of each 'myth' and stipulate that there is a kernal of truth to most myths. This helps people realize how information can be 'formed' over time. I really enjoyed the course, thanks
Date published: 2014-12-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Medical Myths uncovered Steven Novella is one of my favorite professors of The Great Courses. I have listened to Your Deceptive Mind twice and have passed in on with the requirement that I get it back. Medical Myths; Lies and Half Truths is a gem as Dr. Novella takes on the conspiracy myths that hamper good, scientific, appropriate care. Myths that terrify me are the ones about vaccines. As a child I had measles-encephalitis and was in a coma for several days and hospitalized for weeks. There was and is no cure and I was fortunate to come out of it without too many complications. My children and grandchildren have all been vaccinated and have never had one complication from their parents' choice. I understand the danger that parents put their children in when they refuse vaccinations. The criticisms I have read regarding this course do seem to come from those who rely on conspiracy sites and half truths rather than from those who understand good science. I hope that Dr. Novella gives us another course and I will be first in line to buy it.
Date published: 2014-11-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent course A very interesting course. Full of useful information.
Date published: 2014-10-24
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Novella needs to go back to school I am surprised the Great Courses still sell this one. While the initial two discs are useful Novella then gets into areas his seems to know little about or just ignores data that does not support his old school thinking. A couple of topics are just BS and he rambles into things not pertinent to the topic. His understanding of electromagnetism and the new developments in biophysics is lacking. The work of Robert O. Becker, M.D. dates back many years and he was black-listed because he opposed the electric industry's stand that high voltage lines had no negative risks. Novella did not note the very high levels of cancer in Russian electrical substations. The navy's SANGUINE project to build an extremely low frequency (ELF) system in Wisconsin and Michigan to communicate with submerged submarines around the world was shown to have serious health effects. The results were kept secret and the navy and government denied knowledge of the studies and the project was dropped. Becker's work on using (PEMF) pulsed electromagnetic fields to heal bone fractures is used by the medical profession, but he found the energy level had to be extremely low or it would not work. Higher energy levels damaged cells, the very low level caused cells to revert to more basic types (sort of like stem cells) that could become bone cells. Electromagnetism has influenced evolution over billions of years to the extent that some bacteria and many species have internal GPS's in that some their proteins contain magnetite. The earth has a permanent magnetic field (The Schumann Resonance) at the same frequency as our brain waves. This explains some of Novella's Myths. My biggest medical complaint is that the medical/pharmaceutical industry has spent billions of dollars on cancer research to sell toxic chemicals that kill all cells and destroy the immune system. Only recently have they centered on the immune system. Also they have not used the immense power of computers to study the effect of their treatments.
Date published: 2014-09-05
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Different view of reality Going through Medical Myths, Lies and Half-Truths I experienced what I would call ...cognitive dissonance. Picture a venn diagram containing two overlapping circles, one labeled D for doc and one labeled P for patient. Inside circle D represents conventional docs like the author's views, outside is myth. It came as a shock to me, age 68, that the natural medicines I have used to successfully treat heart, cancer, and major infection are, according to the doc, not real. For example the doc apparently believes that drugs approved by the FDA are safe and effective while supplements are not. Yet drugs, taken as prescribed by docs conservatively killed over 100,000 last year, while supplements killed The doc considers vaccines promoted by the CDC perfectly safe and effective. In theory a single vaccine might help, but in practice, vaccine manufacturers have to add Aluminum, mercury, aborted fetal tissue, foreign viral DNA to irritate the immune system enough so they work. And then they hit an infant with 49 doses by the time they are five, one-size-fits all. No wonder tens of thousands of mothers, like Kerri Rivera say their child was fine till they got their 5th,10th or 20th dose. Then the CDC recently all but admitted they buried data that showed an association between black children and autism. In the chapter on toxicity the good doc informs us that detox treatments have no medical legitimacy. Yet why did some out-of-the box alternative docs employ saunas, colon flushes etc. to successfully treat 911 workers years after other conventional docs loaded them up with toxic pharmaceuticals that only treat symptoms and never get at causes? I have a genetic condition that makes my skin four times as permeable as normal skin. If, in the toxic world that we live, if I didn't employ saunas and other detox modalities I don't think I am healthy enough to write this. In the section on anti-oxidants the doc made a good point when he said that “...we would have evolved mechanisms to sop up oxidative free radicals”. 7,000 doctors in Germany use ozone to treat infections. This is an oxidative therapy that stimulates an increase in super oxide dismutase, a very effective antioxidant. Of course money medicine will never embrace it because oxygen is not patentable. The good doc constantly makes a universal claim of no evidence for this or that alternative medicine therapy. Has he researched all 30 million studies in pub med? And do we really need an FDA approved $$ clinical trial to claim that water cures dehydration or that an herb that has been in the food supply for thousands is safe to eat? I think it is a myth that standard of care docs practice evidence based medicine. I could not find any safety studies of administering two drugs simultaneously to a patient let alone 5 or 10 drugs to children or the elderly. (For you math types the combinations of 5000 drugs are well into the quadrillions) In conclusion I recommend one read “The Truth About the Drug Companies” by a former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, dr Marsha Angell or “Bad Pharma” and other books as an antidote to the misinformation in this course.
Date published: 2014-09-02
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A paid shill of Monsanto Corporation? If you believe Dr. Novella, then you'll be happily believing that there is a preponderance of science (or maybe even that there in FACT is proven to be no harm) to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that GMO foods, artificial chemical additives to foods, mercury in vaccines, and a host of other things that we are almost force-fed in America today, are totally harmless. According to him, go ahead and eat up with no worries. Well, I'm no conspiracy theorist, and my politics are fiscal conservative and social liberal. But I'm cautious enough about all the claims against these things to do my homework, due diligence. And I believe that there is NO proven science to date that says all these things he claims we should not worry about, are in fact safe. In fact, if you do your own homework, you'll see that only in North America (USA, Canada, and Mexico) are many/most of these things even allowed to be called "food". In other countries, it's illegal to place things such as ethylene glycol (that's the stuff in your car radiator that keeps the water from freezing - it tastes sweet, house-cats like it and are KILLED by it), high fructose corn syrup, GMOs, and a host of other chemicals that are in our "food supply" in anything meant for humans OR animals to eat. The big industrial "food companies" and corporations like Monsanto have successfully lied to and bribed our lawmakers into allowing this stuff to be in America's food supply. Well, I for one am NOT buying into it. And I'm not buying or consuming any of these things either, unless and until the day comes that it is scientifically proven without any doubt that there is no harm to these things. At this present time, there are more studies showing harm from these types of ingredients than there are showing good. BUT they make these large companies money, at the expense of all of our collective health. That this Doctor would repeatedly say in many of the lectures in this course that "for sure" there is no harm to any of this stuff; well, to me it reeks of crony capitalism. Like maybe he's a paid shill of Monsanto corporation. I'm asking for a refund on this course. I'll look for another one with a more balanced perspective, one that is truly based on what the science is, rather than what Monsanto would like me to believe.
Date published: 2014-04-04
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Horribly biased Of course mainstream medicos are going to bash alternative medicine, but I expected something better from the Teaching Company. Regarding homeopathy a very skeptical friend who had worked in the mainstream medical field tried homeopathy and found that it helped her a great deal. Furthermore, her adult son with Down's Syndrome, had nearly miraculous healings of his issues (not the DS, but other things). How about offering a well-rounded opinion of alternative treatment methodologies instead of blindly following the mainstream?
Date published: 2014-01-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Illuminating but without any room for debate This is an extensive, revealing and sometimes disturbing look at how patients often go astray and the hucksters who are ready to pounce on them--and also the harm that can be done to themselves and others by well-meaning people who let hopes, magic, and unproven, unscientific theories become almost a religion to them despite facts that point the other way. The doctor, however, will rub some viewers the wrong way with his no compromise attacks on nontraditional medicine and a host of nutritional, health, and other well-being practices that he dislikes but are being promoted in the marketplace and followed by individual believers--and not totally without redeeming value. Some will object that not all he so broadly attacks and dismisses is as evil or without any value as he states. They will say he puts so much stock in "cold" science that he has no room left for "human understanding" or a broader medical view than the "accepted" doctrine. He clearly is a scientific "prove it without doubt" kind of uncompromising person who with a rare exception or two leaves no room for gray areas, differing interpretations or even discussion of positions he doesn't buy into. The nature of the course forces him to simplify a lot--which he generally does well-but an extended and more nuanced discussion could certainly be be done in some of his takes on nutrition and other matters. People who believe in a conspiracy of big drug companies and the "medical establishment" will see him as part of that. That would be unfair. He appears to me to be a committed doctor with a passion for the truth and for healing people with science rather than mystical practices or miracle cures of the day. All in all a series of lectures with lots of stuff to ponder and an invitation to think critically. And, a surprise to me, positive thoughts on some aspects of hypnotism.
Date published: 2013-04-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Personal Favorite, Whatever Some Say The critical comments from physicians are probably valid (I haven't been to medical school), but as far as I can tell they are all peripheral at best to the topics Dr. Novella covers. From where I sit, they look like specialists lording their specialized knowledge over a specialist in another field. All I can do is address this course from a layman's point of view. From that perspective, there is little to criticize and many praises to sing. Dr. Novella addresses popular beliefs about health and nutrition that all of us have heard, whether we believe them or not. I consider myself fairly well versed in popular myths, and even I had some surprises. Dr. Novella addresses a wide variety of things we think we know that aren't so. Some of these are relatively benign, some more pernicious, some perpetrated by hoaxers and frauds. One very valuable lesson from this course is the role of the media in perpetuating bad information, not because of any conspiracy, but because of the realities of the journalistic cycle and a popular misunderstanding of the distance between "a new study shows" and "science has proven." If you are a doctor with a specialty other than neurology (Dr. Novella's field), then I gather that you might get irritated with some odd bits here and there. If you want to learn about some things we "know" that just ain't so, then I cannot recommend this course highly enough.
Date published: 2013-01-19
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Medical Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths: What We Think We Know May Be Hurting Us
Course Trailer
Medical Knowledge versus Misinformation
1: Medical Knowledge versus Misinformation

In Dr. Novella's introductory lecture, discover the importance of debunking medical myths and learn tips on where to seek out solid, medically backed information. Then, get a taste of the lectures to come by unpacking common myths about hiccups, sneezing, swallowing gum, curing a hangover, and swimming after eating....

32 min
Myths about Water and Hydration
2: Myths about Water and Hydration

Water is the most basic element of life. And yet there are many misconceptions about keeping your body hydrated. How exactly do our bodies regulate water? How much water should you really drink every day? Are expensive bottles of water and water purifiers worth the cost?...

32 min
Vitamin and Nutrition Myths
3: Vitamin and Nutrition Myths

You cannot overdose on vitamins. Organically grown food is more nutritious than traditionally grown food. Everyone should take vitamin supplements-and the more the better. These are some of the many myths and half-truths you investigate in this lecture on vitamin use and nutritional health....

30 min
Dieting-Separating Myths from Facts
4: Dieting-Separating Myths from Facts

More than any other component of health, dieting is the area most prone to myths and misinformation. Here, evaluate the veracity of everything from the benefits of low-carb and low-fat diets to the use of weight-loss supplements and intense workouts to the nature of "good" and "bad" fats....

28 min
The Fallacy That Natural Is Always Better
5: The Fallacy That Natural Is Always Better

Natural isn't always better for you, as Dr. Novella demonstrates by guiding you through some common fallacies about the "natural foods" you can find in almost any grocery store around the world. These include how such foods are cultivated, how they're labeled and sold, and how they're prepared and consumed....

32 min
Probiotics and Our Bacterial Friends
6: Probiotics and Our Bacterial Friends

There are billions of bacteria around and inside your body-and some of them are actually beneficial to your health. Explore the truths behind probiotics: what they are, whether they help with issues like tooth decay and irritable bowel syndrome, and the future possibilities of genetically engineered bacteria....

28 min
Sugar and Hyperactivity
7: Sugar and Hyperactivity

It's commonly believed that large amounts of sugar lead to hyperactivity in children. But is that really the case? Debunk common misconceptions about the effects of sugar, food additives, and food allergies on children's behavior, and learn more about what may sometimes be the true culprit: attention deficit hyperactivity disorder....

29 min
Antioxidants-Hype versus Reality
8: Antioxidants-Hype versus Reality

Another popular medical subject is antioxidants: substances in "superfoods" such as green tea that stabilize oxygen-free radicals. Discover what scientists have found about the potential for antioxidants to treat diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, to prevent cancer and heart disease, and to promote longevity and lifelong health....

30 min
The Common Cold
9: The Common Cold

Finally put to bed the popular myths about one of the most common illnesses: a cold. You've heard the stories about not going out in cold weather, eating chicken soup, washing your hands, and taking over-the-counter medicine. Now, discover what science says about what works and what doesn't....

30 min
Vaccination Benefits-How Well Vaccines Work
10: Vaccination Benefits-How Well Vaccines Work

Vaccines are perhaps the single safest and most effective preventive health measure ever devised. In the first of two lectures on this subject, learn the history of vaccination, what types of vaccines doctors use to stave off specific diseases, and why some people still question whether this technique works....

33 min
Vaccination Risks-Real and Imagined
11: Vaccination Risks-Real and Imagined

Focus now on myths surrounding the safety of vaccines-including the mumps-measles-rubella (MMR) vaccine and its false link to autism in children. Because of the unwarranted fear and confusion among parents, this particular myth has led to decreased vaccination rates and the reemergence of serious infectious diseases....

32 min
Antibiotics, Germs, and Hygiene
12: Antibiotics, Germs, and Hygiene

Infection remains a serious problem for our species, despite our well-developed immune systems. After learning about different bacteria and other invasive organisms, delve into some half-truths about antibiotic resistance and good hygiene. End the lecture with the answer to an intriguing question: Can you be too clean?...

32 min
Vague Symptoms and Fuzzy Diagnoses
13: Vague Symptoms and Fuzzy Diagnoses

Diagnoses are the labels we attach to the signs and symptoms of particular diseases or illnesses. But not all diagnoses are equally valid. Here, learn how doctors make informed diagnoses and investigate several diseases that illustrate the controversy behind them, including chronic Lyme disease, chronic fatigue syndrome, and fibromyalgia....

32 min
Herbalism and Herbal Medicines
14: Herbalism and Herbal Medicines

Herbalism is perhaps the oldest form of medicine. So how much does it really differ from modern pharmacology? Find out as Dr. Novella explores the complicated process of drug development and testing, and then scientifically debunks popular herbal remedies such as echinacea, Gingko biloba, and St. John's wort....

30 min
Homeopathy-One Giant Myth
15: Homeopathy-One Giant Myth

Devised before the advent of science-based medicine, homeopathy is a controversial belief system that should not be substituted for effective treatment. So how is it supposed to work? Why has the science community rejected its prescriptions? How are homeopathic products prepared-and what is actually in them?...

32 min
Facts about Toxins and Myths about Detox
16: Facts about Toxins and Myths about Detox

Find out where toxins come from, how our bodies work to effectively handle toxins, and what toxins you should worry about. Then, discover the scientific reasons why detoxifying treatments like colon cleansing, over-the-counter herbal agents, and skin products do nothing more than leech money out of your wallet....

33 min
Myths about Acupuncture's Past and Benefits
17: Myths about Acupuncture's Past and Benefits

Acupuncture has recently received a great deal of attention but has yet to be convincingly proven to be medically effective beyond nonspecific placebo effects. In this lecture, take a closer look at the practice's Eastern and Western origins, its medical claims, its false potential as a form of anesthesia, and more....

30 min
Myths about Magnets, Microwaves, Cell Phones
18: Myths about Magnets, Microwaves, Cell Phones

The idea of using electromagnetism to heal has been around for centuries. Investigate how magnetic fields in objects like microwaves and cell phones work on our bodies, how healing is attempted through devices such as bracelets and pads, and how research shows that this curious form of medicine is scientifically unsound....

32 min
All about Hypnosis
19: All about Hypnosis

When you hear the word "hypnosis," odds are you're thinking about the trance-like states you see on stage and TV. But does it have actual medical benefits? Here, delve into the neuroscience of hypnosis and examine truths about its clinical uses in dealing with memory loss, sleep disorders, chronic pain, and more....

28 min
Myths about Coma and Consciousness
20: Myths about Coma and Consciousness

What are the different levels of consciousness one can have in a coma? Is it truly possible to just wake up from a coma? Can people know that others are present while comatose? Movies and stories in the media perpetuate our confusion about comas and consciousness. Separate myth from reality here....

32 min
What Placebos Can and Cannot Do
21: What Placebos Can and Cannot Do

Myths about placebos are "gateway myths"-meaning they often lead to many other medical misconceptions and half-truths. By understanding how placebos are defined, how they are administered, and what their different effects can be, you can better grasp whether they really make for an effective form of medicine....

31 min
Myths about Pregnancy
22: Myths about Pregnancy

Carrying a baby low while pregnant means it's a boy. Never eat fish or drink caffeine while pregnant. Intercourse every 48 hours will increase your chances of conception. A whirlwind of misinformation surrounds the subject of pregnancy. Unpack many of the most common-and popular-myths in this lecture....

32 min
Medical Myths from around the World
23: Medical Myths from around the World

Get a broader perspective on medical misinformation with this tour of myths from around the world, including South Korea (where sleeping with an electric fan on is thought to be deadly), parts of Africa (where it's believed that intercourse with a virgin can cure HIV infection), and Japan (where some believe personality is tied to blood type)....

33 min
Roundup-Decluttering Our Mental Closet
24: Roundup-Decluttering Our Mental Closet

Finish the course with a brief survey of "mini-myths," including that body heat is mostly lost through your head, that cracking your knuckles causes arthritis, and that eating turkey makes you sleepy. Afterward, take a moment to ponder the benefits of knowing how to sort through misconceptions and hype....

35 min
Steven Novella

All of our beliefs are open to revision: When new data comes in, or maybe just a better way of interpreting data or looking at the way things work, we have to be open to revising what we thought we knew.


Georgetown University


Yale School of Medicine

About Steven Novella

Dr. Steven Novella is Assistant Professor of Neurology at the Yale School of Medicine. He earned his M.D. from Georgetown University and completed his residency training in neurology at Yale University. Dr. Novella is active in both clinical research and in medical education at every level, including patients, the public, medical students, and health professionals. An expert in neuroscience, Dr. Novella focuses his practice on neuromuscular disorders. His personal blog, NeuroLogica Blog, is considered one of the top neuroscience blogs and covers issues in neuroscience as well as the intersection of science with the media and society. Dr. Novella is also the founder and senior editor of Science-Based Medicine, a medical blog dedicated to promoting the highest standards of basic and clinical science in medical practice. Dr. Novella is president and cofounder of the New England Skeptical Society, a nonprofit educational organization designed to further public understanding of science. As the host and producer of the organization's award-winning science show, The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe, Dr. Novella explores the latest scientific discoveries, the presentation of science in the mainstream media, and public understanding and attitudes toward science.

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