Medicine is Weird

July 4, 2022 | Reagan

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The COVID-19 pandemic has put medicine at the forefront of most conversations. Simultaneously it has left non-science minded folks like myself trying to catch up on the never ending debates over science vs. pseudoscience. On my journey to educate myself, I discovered a few curiosity-piquing books on medical misconceptions that I'm sure folks out there will love or love to hate. The list below includes great titles, killer cover art, and a wide range of perspectives on the science of medicine.

Large as life  Ontario Science Centre worker Bill Marshall adjusts a mannequin illustrating some 20 body parts that can now be replaced surgically
"Large as life, Ontario Science Centre worker Bill Marshall adjusts a mannequin illustrating some 20 body parts that can now be replaced surgically" by David Cooper 1983 (Photo in Toronto Star Photograph Archive)


Medical Misconceptions

Kill or Cure

Viral BS: Medical Myths and Why We Fall For Them by Dr. Seema Yasmin

From my ever growing TBR [To-Be-Read] pile, this book's cover art really grabbed my attention. I appreciated the short chapters and how it covered popular myths that I could recall being brought up in conversations or on the news. Overall it helped me feel like a more informed consumer of health news.

Kill or Cure

Hype: A Doctor's Guide to Medical Myths, Exaggerated Claims and Bad Advice by Dr. Nina Shapiro

Do we really need to drink 8 glasses of water a day and only eat Kale? Personally, I prefer spinach (and chips!) and this book made me feel like that was okay. Overall this book does a great job of helping you worry less. The author decodes popular misconceptions and promotes lifestyle choices that we can all realistically implement.   

Kill or Cure

Overkill: When Modern Medicine Goes Too Far by Dr. Paul A. Offit

Another title focused on patient advocacy, this book may leave you questioning common medical interventions like sunscreen and eye-drops for pink eye. No stranger to hot button issues, Dr. Paul Offit knows how to grab readers' attention on topics such as vaccines, religion & medicine and celebrities as health advocates. Can we say medical click-bait?

Kill or Cure
1 Out of 10 Doctors Recommends by Dr. Eric Bender, Dr. Murdoch Khaleghi and Dr. Bobby Singh

Humor really is the best medicine and this collection of hilarious essays are sure to go down like a spoonful of sugar. Warning, some topics were a little gross to read about, unless you're the kind of reader who would consider using live eels to relieve constipation?

Kill or Cure

Medical Myths, Lies, and Half-Truths: What We Think We Know May Be Hurtin Us by Steven Novella

I am a big fan of this lecture series, The Great Courses, especially since they are available in multiple formats including DVD videodiscs, eVideo streaming video files and my personal favourite, eAudiobooks! This particular course really emphasizes how you are responsible for your own health and it gives you practical tools to evaluate the accuracy of medical information that is out there in the universe. 


Curiosity Peaking Medical Histories

Kill or Cure

Kill or Cure: An Illustrated History of Medicine by Steve Parker

Talk about a front row seat to medical history, this book is an oldie but a goody. Full of remarkable chance discoveries, pioneering medical instruments and wonder drugs, this book traces the history of medical progress through notebooks and other first-person accounts. Not for the faint of heart, this hefty 400 page book also includes illustrations. 

Kill or Cure

The Wine-Dark Sea Within: A Turbulent History of Blood by Dhun Sethna

A global perspective on the history of blood may sound like a snooze, but I really enjoyed the author's writing style (having a personal interest in the topic didn't hurt). Imagine for a moment the scientist who discovered that blood is circulated throughout the body in a single direction. Now imagine how that news would have been received by folks back in 1628. Have I peaked your curiosity? The Wine-Dark Sea Within is an impactful read that will have you impressing friends at parties in no time. 


Related post

If you enjoyed this post, you may also like another recent post showcasing "6 Vintage Ads & Pamphlets for Medical Remedies Sold in Ontario." Can you tell which remedies were genuinely trying to reduce human suffering? And which ones were not?

Edited on July 6, 2022 to change "curiosity-peeking" to "curiosity-piquing."