Strangest health stories of 2011

Few of the studies that these stories are based on are ???bad science???, but overeager reporting of findings can turn interesting, but minor, findings into overblown news. Thankfully, dangerous claims are rare. More often, the claims made in the media are just plain weird. Here???s a selection of the strangest:

  • Saucepans can cause early menopause. This bizarre claim suggested that household objects may be a health risk. In fact, they based this inference on a limited study of chemicals called perfluorocarbons (PFCs) in drinking water. The research did not prove that PFCs can bring on the menopause.
  • Bear bile may help the heart. Ursodeoxycholic acid can affect heart rhythm in heart cells extracted from rats ??? beyond that it???s unclear what this chemical that is produced synthetically (but can be extracted from bears??? bile) does for humans.
  • Quilting keeps you happy and healthy. One paper hyped this survey of 29 women that did not objectively measure any aspect of their physical or mental health, or compare quilt-making to any other type of hobby.

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