NYT reporter Anahad O’Connor sent me a review copy of his latest book, “Never shower in a thunderstorm”, which hits bookshelves in paperback this week. In it, O’Conner debunks, in the style of his regular “Really?” column, numerous health myths and misconceptions such as whether artificial light is hazardous to health, are bald men more virile (of course!), and is chicken soup good for treating the common cold?
Here’s a selection from his book, with the most straightforward answer I could extract from his excellent vignettes.
Can a glass of wine with your meal prevent food poisoning? Yes
Are ab machines the best way to build a six-pack? No
Will having sex before sports hinder your performance? No
Can having sex induce labour? No
Is yo-yo dieting unhealthy? Yes
Is bottled water cleaner than tap? No
Does packing a wallet in your back pocket cause sciatica? Yes
Do toilet seats spread disease? No
Is sitting up straight good for your back? No
Can loud music deafen you? Yes
If you want the complete explanation for his answers to these questions and many more, you will, of course, have to read the book.