Vol. 11 December 15, 2009 Holiday Hits and Myths


“What we’re really talking about is trying to predict the fluid dynamics of a $900 billion lake of money–the private insurance premium pool.”
-Jeff Goldsmith referring to the difficulty of predicting health insurance company behavior after a health care reform bill is passed.   
             Health Care Blog.org 12/14/09

Average amount of weight gain between Thanksgiving and New Years by 200 people studied by NIH: 1 lb.

Average amount of weight gain reported by most participants when asked to estimate how much they had gained during that same period:  3 lbs. (1)

Number of placebo-controlled, peer-reviewed studies that show that sugar does NOT make children more active: 12

Chances that heavy sugar ingestion will increase the activity of children: 0
.                               –Even true for children with Attention Deficit Disorder (2)

Chances that nocturnal feasting will cause you to gain more weight: 0
.                                 –– ITTCS -“It’s The Total Calories, Stupid”

Number of poisonings resulting from 22,793 poinsettia exposures in 1996 according to U.S. Poison Control Centers: 0 (3)

Estimated number of poinsettia leaves a person would need to ingest in order to produce poisoning symptoms based on studies in rats: 500-600
.                                 – or one kilogram of its sap.

Average daily number of suicides in United States: 80
Months of lowest average rate of suicides: Nov, Dec, Jan.
Months of highest average of rate of suicides: May, June, July (4)

Number of successful hangover cures discovered in an extensive review of randomized studies in both traditional and complementary medicine: 0  (4)
.                          – Time and rehydration are the only ones. (5)

Per cent decrease in toys recalled for being hazardous between 2007 and 2008: 50
Number of recalls in 2008 and number related to lead content: 74 / 45
Number of actual toys recalled for lead content in 2008: 4.6 MILLION (6)

Number of injuries in children <17 from tipped-over furniture from 1990 to 2007: 14,700
Per cent of these accidents due to falling TV sets: 47  (7)
.        – Researchers speculate that a recent increase is related to purchase of large flat screen TVs.

Price of a pocket-sized, hold-in-your-palm ultrasound device for an obstetrician or ER physician who has everything:  $3,299.99
.             – a “phantom” trainer for just another $199.99 is highly recommended

1. Consumer Reports Health Blog.org, 12/11/09
2. BMJ Dec. 17, 2008 :337 a2769, Festive Medical Myths, Vreemer & Carroll
3. Am J Emerg Med 1996:14, 671
4. Annenberg Public Policy Center 11/19/07
Harv Health Lett 2006;31:3
6. Livinghealth.com
Clin Peds Oct. 2009, 48:8, 851 

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