More pregnant women to get antibiotics

Image copyright RCOG
Image caption Rebecca with her daughter, Hannah, and baby Alistair, who was treated for Strep B

All pregnant women who go into labour too soon should be given antibiotics to protect their baby from a potentially deadly infection called Group B Strep (GBS), say new guidelines.

Hundreds of newborn babies a year in the UK catch it. With prompt treatment, most can make a full recovery.

Currently, two in every 20 infected babies develops a disability and one in every 20 dies.

The Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists wants to change this.

It says any woman who goes into labour before 37 weeks should be offered antibiotics as a precaution, even if her waters have not broken and the protective amniotic sac surrounding the baby in the womb is still intact.

Group B Strep bacteria can live harmlessly in the lower vaginal tract – about one in four women has it – and it can be passed on to the baby during delivery.

Most women will not realise they are a carrier.

The updated guidelines from the RCOG say pregnant women should be given information about the condition to raise awareness.

They also say women who have tested positive for GBS in a previous pregnancy can be tested at 35 to 37 weeks in subsequent pregnancies to see if they also need antibiotics in labour.

But they do not go as far as recommending routine screening of mothers-to-be.

The RCOG says there is no clear evidence that this would be beneficial, as previously stated by the government’s National Screening Committee but campaigners disagree.

Group B Strep Support would like every pregnant woman to be offered the opportunity to be tested for the bacteria.

Chief executive Jane Plumb said: “The RCOG guideline is a significant improvement on previous editions, however, the UK National Screening Committee still recommends against offering GBS screening to all pregnant women, ignoring international evidence that shows such screening reduces GBS infection, disability and death in newborn babies.”

Rebecca Gunn, 32 and from Wakefield, had GBS during her second pregnancy.

“I had gone in to hospital after experiencing some bleeding at 17 weeks, and that is when they picked up that I was a GBS carrier.

“The diagnosis came out of the blue. I was really surprised, as GBS hadn’t even crossed my mind.”

Image copyright RCOG

Rebecca went into labour at 38 weeks and was given intravenous antibiotics after her waters broke.

She gave birth to her son, Alistair, who was fortunately unaffected by GBS.

“I knew nothing about GBS. I’m not saying this to scare people, but it’s important they are informed and aware of the risks,” she said.

Group B Strep facts

  • GBS is not a sexually transmitted disease. Treating a woman carrying GBS does not prevent these normal bacteria that many adults carry from returning
  • A woman who has it will not usually have symptoms or side-effects
  • Testing is the only way to know if you are carrying GBS
  • If you are pregnant and found to have it, steps can be taken to reduce the risk of GBS to your baby

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My nephew is disabled and its his mothers fault | Dear Mariella

Mariella Frostrup asks the sister-in-law of a woman whose home birth went horribly wrong why she is so full of anger and blame

The dilemma I have huge anger at my brothers wife for her actions, which I feel are directly responsible for my nephew being handicapped. For her first birth she had an emergency C-section, but she then chose to have a Vbac (vaginal birth after ceasarean) home birth for her second child against all recommendations from her doctor.

The home birth went terribly wrong and my nephew has been left permanently damaged. Its a tragedy almost Shakespearean in its proportions. I knew my brother was browbeaten, but not to the extent he would let his wife harm their child.

Its caused major rifts in the family. I think my brother didnt feel supported and has pretty much cut me off because I was so upset. My heart is breaking over this. I feel my nephew was exposed to severe parental negligence and I cannot get past my anger over it.

Mariella replies Those are very serious accusations. You do appear unusually animated about what is an extremely personal matter, probably none of your business and a miscalculation rather than a crime. Pontificating about the affairs of others is nothing new to yours truly, but at a certain juncture one does have to recognise that people have a right to make their own mistakes.

Im very sorry to hear about your nephew and I have no doubt his condition pains his parents far more than it does you. Nobody could have predicted such an eventuality, not even the doctor and, although you feel strongly that they made the wrong decision, its one that was theirs alone to make and then to live with the consequences.

Why should it enrage you that they took a small risk and paid a very high price? The far more natural reaction to such a misfortune within your immediate family would surely be empathy. Instead youre raging and blaming, making assumptions about your sister-in-laws culpability and generally acting like a demonic harpy instead of a concerned in-law.

We all dice with decision-making, most of us getting it right and wrong in near equal measure. Even the most cautious can wind up on the wrong side of fate. Im no medical expert, but there is plenty of advice out there, from the NHS and others, saying that a Vbac birth is a perfectly safe option. Added risks occur in 0.35% to 2% of women, odds that most of us would consider entirely acceptable. A C-section is a medical procedure many would want to avoid. The hospital stay and recuperation time are much prolonged so I can understand why your sister-in-law might not have wanted to repeat the experience. Im not going to get into a debate about the pros and cons of 21st century birth options, but they are plentiful. Some would consider a water birth an indulgence, others are determined to go drug free and still others are eager to avail themselves of any drugs they can lay their hands on.

You use incredibly emotive language parental negligence, browbeaten, tragedy of Shakespearean proportions no less and although you admit to carrying huge anger I wonder if you understand how much that anger is carrying you. Rage, applied to this sad state of affairs, is inappropriate and unhelpful. Your brother and his wife made a perfectly valid choice, one many other parents have opted for with happy results. Childbirth has decreased in danger for both mother and child in the developed world. As a result many prefer to welcome a new baby in the comfort of their own home knowing they can easily reach hospital if necessary.

Im not in a position to judge whether this incident is part of a pattern of indulgent behaviour that might justify your judgmental stance. Whatever your sister-in-laws past misdemeanours it strains credibility that your current strife is rooted in this poor womans regrettable decision, which even in your description cant be considered much more than miserable misfortune. Id be looking to myself if I were you, and delving deep to try to ascertain why youve taken this so personally. Do you have children yourself? Is there a lot of past history between you and your brother? Could your response be exaggerated for reasons other than the obvious?

Whatever the answers Id urge you to set about some honest soul-searching. We spend a lot of time vicariously living other peoples lives these days, whether its the Kardashians or celebrities in the jungle, giving us an unrealistic sense of our connection to strangers. You seem to be suffering a similar malaise by confusing whose life you are living and Id urge you to direct attention back to your own. Any excess emotional energy would be better directed to helping them cope with the challenge of your disabled nephew rather than chastising them for their culpability in his condition.

If you have a dilemma, send a brief email to Follow her on Twitter @mariellaf1

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Women are turning to Instagram to find plastic surgeons, and its getting dangerous

If you spend a lot of time checking out posts on your Instagram Discover feed, chances are you’ve come across some plastic surgery videos or before-and-after shots. It’s become super trendy for plastic surgeons to market on Instagram, and for patients to share videos of their procedures (like Farrah Abraham’s posts about her vaginal rejuvenation process). Providers like Michael Salzhauer, M.D., a.k.a. Dr. Miami, constantly share videos and pics of popular surgeries.

But now, a new study shows that very few people posting surgery ads and using plastic surgery-related hashtags on Instagram are, in fact, reputable cosmetic-surgery providers. The takeaway? Don’t look for a plastic surgeon on social media.


The paper, published in Aesthetic Surgery Journal, looked at the Instagram results for 21 surgery-related hashtags including #boobjob, #facelift, #liposuction, and #brazilianbuttlift. They found 1.8 million tagged posts, and looked at the top nine posts from each hashtag. The majority of these posts were shared by foreign surgeons, and 26 percent were shared by doctors like ob-gyns and dermatologists who were not certified by the American Board of Plastic Surgery or the Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Canada. In fact, only 17.8 percent of the top posts came from board-certified plastic surgeons. And other people sharing the images and videos included spas, dentists, and even a hair salon.

“This is a very scary finding,” researcher Robert Dorfman said in a press release. “Providers — ranging from physicians who are not licensed in plastic surgery to dentists, hair salon employees, and barbers — are doing procedures for which they do not have formal or extensive training. That’s extremely dangerous for the patient.”

There are much safer ways to find a surgeon than following Instagram filters. The American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) has an online tool allowing you to search for board-certified plastic surgeons by location. All the physicians listed are ASPS members, meaning they have more than six years of surgical training and experience with at least three of those years spent specifically in plastic surgery.


“One of the first steps you can take towards a successful procedure is to become an educated consumer,” the ASPS website advises. “Read about patient safety and how to make smart choices about your surgeon and the facilities where your procedure will be performed. Browse through before-and-after photos to see the kinds of improvements surgical and minimally-invasive procedures can make.”

Basically, do your research — and always, always go with a board-certified plastic surgeon.

This article originally appeared on Women’s Health

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Pelvic mesh victims disgusted at suggestion of anal sex as solution

Only a misogynist could think this way, says Australian woman in response to her doctors solution to painful intercourse

Australian victims of faulty pelvic mesh implants have expressed disgust at doctors suggestions of anal intercourse as a solution to their ruined sex lives.

A disturbing email exchange between doctors emerged earlier this month as part of a federal court class action in Australia, which was launched by hundreds of women who had the devices implanted to treat common childbirth complications.

The devices, manufactured by pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson, caused chronic and debilitating pain, including during intercourse.

The emails reflected a callous attitude towards women among French gynaecologists involved with the company.

In the emails, doctors talk about alternatives to sex for women suffering painful intercourse. It is no less true that sodomy could be a good alternative! one doctor wrote. Another discussed the difficulty of raising sexual matters with his patients.

I said to myself, there you go, for your next prolapse [patient], you talk to her about orgasms. OK! But also about fellatio, sodomy, the clitoris with or without G-spot etc, he wrote. I am sure of one thing: that I would very quickly be treated like some kind of sex maniac (which, perhaps, I am) or a pervert, or an unhealthily curious person.

The attitudes accord with evidence before the current Senate inquiry into the devices, which has heard women were advised to consider anal intercourse as a solution to the extreme pain caused by intercourse.

The comments outraged members of the Australian Pelvic Mesh Support Group, which sent Guardian Australia a collection of anonymised responses from women to the revelations.

Many of the women said they had encountered similar attitudes from their own doctors.

My husband and I were given advice [about] sexual activity, one woman said. We were gobsmacked. The whole sexual deviation thing is supposed to make the pain and complications from mesh go away. I find this type of advice disgusting.

Another woman said the comments were demoralising and devalued women. She said they represented another form of abuse.

Our vaginas have been abused by mesh and now doctors are suggesting our anus be abused. Despicable! Only a misogynist could think this way, she said.

A third woman wrote that the appalling comments showed a complete lack of respect to the women involved. Another wrote that they suggested women were nothing more than a receptacle to satisfy men.

The suggestion that women who are unable to have vaginal intercourse should practise anal instead completely devalues a womans right to a full and healthy sex life as an active, empowered and fulfilled participant, she said.

It suggests that a woman is nothing more than a receptacle to satisfy men and that any hole will do. Im appalled that anyone, particularly a womans treating medical practitioner, would be so thoughtless and arrogant as to suggest that anal sex is an adequate solution to sexual dysfunction.

Greens senator Rachel Siewert is chairing the senate inquiry into the devices. Siewert described the treatment of many of the women as appalling.

The way many women have been treated when trying to get treatment and support when they have had bad outcomes from mesh implants is appalling, including suggestions by medical professionals that anal intercourse is an alternative to vaginal intercourse after mesh implants have gone terribly wrong, she said.

We have heard a lot of harrowing evidence during the inquiry so many women have been horribly impacted by mesh implants. There is a clear pattern emerging of poor processes and advice which is leading to women having their lives severely impacted.

The class action is continuing in the federal court.

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Women of color face greater exposure to chemicals in beauty products than white women

Exposure to beauty-product-related chemicals—and, ultimately, white beauty standards—could be putting women of color at risk for reproductive harm.

According to Ami Zota, an assistant professor of environmental and occupational health at Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University, and Bhavna Shamasunder, an assistant professor in the Urban and Environmental Policy Department at Occidental College, women of color have higher levels of beauty-product-related chemicals in their bodies compared to white women.

The commentary, published in the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology, infers this could be attributed to Black, Latina, and Asian-American women using more beauty products to conform to Western beauty standards, like using skin lightening creams or hair relaxers to achieve white characteristics of beauty. Additionally, marketing efforts for douching products have targeted Black women specifically.

Each of these products contain chemicals that put women at reproductive risk: Skin lighteners have mercury, which could lead to kidney damage and neurotoxicity. Hair relaxers, meanwhile, could cause uterine fibroid tumors, endocrine disruption, and cause girls to start puberty prematurely. And douches, which have long been denounced as more harmful than helpful for vaginal health, also contain chemicals that lead to endocrine disruption, as well as gynecological cancers.

Ultimately, Zota and Shamasunder conclude that responsibility lies on health professional societies to promote improved ingredient testing and disclosure in beauty products. Health scientists can also address these effects by integrating the biological results of beauty products into the “exposome,” or the totality of a person’s environmental exposures from conception to death.

Also, health providers should be aware that these products unfairly target women of color and should inform their clients of the potentially-toxic risks associated with using these products to conform to white standards of beauty.

Read the full commentary on beauty product chemicals and their effect on women of color here.

H/T EurekAlert

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Vaginal seeding after Caesarean ‘risky’, warn doctors – BBC News

Image copyright Getty Images

New mothers should not embrace the trend of “seeding” their babies with vaginal bacteria, say doctors.

It exposes children born by Caesarean section to bacteria that could have coated their bodies if they had been born vaginally.

The idea is bacteria help train the immune system and lower the risk of allergies and asthma.

But doctors in Denmark and the UK said there was too little evidence and it may be doing more harm than good.

Being born by Caesarean section is linked to a higher risk of some immune-based diseases.

And there is growing medical interest in the role of the microbiome – the microorganisms that call our bodies home – in preventing disease.


Seeding involves taking a swab of vaginal fluid and rubbing it into the newborn’s face, skin and eyes.

A report, published in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, said more than 90% of Danish obstetricians (pregnancy and birth doctors) had said they had been asked about vaginal seeding.

It said there was no evidence of any benefit to seeding as there was only one proper study of the technique and it involved just four babies.

However, it warned of clear risks to the baby, including infections such as group-B streptococcus, E. coli and a range of sexually transmitted infections.

Dr Tine Clausen, the report author and a consultant at Nordsjaellands Hospital in Denmark, said: “We know that women and their partners are increasingly speaking to their doctors about vaginal seeding.”

She told the BBC News website: “I really understand, it’s a fascinating thought that you’re able to mimic nature by doing the seeding, but it’s based on some theoretical thoughts and we don’t have evidence to support it.”

Dr Clausen said a swab may not contain the same bacteria as those transferred during a vaginal birth and any bacteria were more diluted because of blood and amniotic fluid in the vaginal tract during labour.

Her advice to women is to “avoid unnecessary [Caesarean] sections, aim for breast feeding for at least half a year and to have early skin-to-skin contact”.

Each of which does have a beneficial impact on a child’s microbiome.

In the UK, about a quarter of babies are born via Caesarean section

Dr Patrick O’Brien, from the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, said: “There is no robust evidence to suggest that vaginal seeding has any associated benefits.

“We would therefore not recommend it until more definitive research shows that it is not harmful and can in fact improve a child’s digestive and/or immune system.”

Follow James on Twitter.

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Two Women And A Man Plan To Sue Usher After Claims He ‘Gave Them An STD’

We might not talk about them, but Sexually Transmitted Infections are more common than you think. In 2015, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that there was a total of around 110 million cases of three prevalent STIs which had dedicated federally funded programmes. These STIs were gonorrhea, syphilis, and chlamydia. About 50.5 million reported cases occurred in men and 59.5 million cases were found in women. Young people between the ages of 15 and 24 were seen to be disproportionately affected, making up 50% of new infections despite representing only 25% of people who have had sex.

This has been linked to the high proportion of young people who fail to get tested, and thus spread diseases they are unaware they are carrying in the first place. Some argue that the low testing figures among young people can be attributed to the stigma around STIs while others maintain many don’t believe they are at risk and thus feel testing doesn’t apply to them. Either way, there is a serious need for more young people to engage more with sexual health services in order to correctly identify their status when it comes to these infections. Arguably, the stigma around STIs not only prevents some from testing but is also a reason why positive status may be concealed after results are received. Hollywood actor Charlie Sheen revealed that he had paid millions of dollars to hide his HIV-positive status, after being blackmailed by an unnamed party for years. Another celebrity is now being accused of hiding the fact that he has an STI, thus knowingly infecting others, and is facing legal action as a result. Born Usher Raymond IV, R&B superstar is being sued for allegedly concealing the fact that he has herpes. Herpes is a common STD: the CDC reports that one out of every six people aged 14 to 49 years in the US has the disease. It is caused by two types of virus – the herpes simplex type 1 and herpes simplex type 2 viruses – which are carried by sores. Contact with these sores, and the fluid within them, leads to infection. Genital herpes can be managed, but has no cure. Celebrity attorney Lisa Bloom, who also represents Blac Chyna in her revenge-porn case against her ex Robert Kardashian – announced this during a press release. Three people – two women and one man – are suing him for not telling them about his diagnosis.This follows reports that he paid a woman $1.1 million in December 2012 to settle a similar lawsuit which accused him of infecting her with the disease. Usher is alleged to have been diagnosed with this disease around 2009, based on court documents, and is said to havecontinued to have unprotected sex with the unnamed woman while fully aware of his condition. The woman, who then worked as a stylist, is said to have suffered from vaginal sores, fevers and other herpes symptoms and court papers showed that Usher covered her medical bills to the tune of $2,754.40 in addition to the million dollar settlement. According to California state law, it is illegal to knowingly transmit an STD. Now married – Usher wed his current wife Grace Miguel in 2015 following his divorce from first wife Tameka Foster in 2009 – the singer and father of two is yet to comment on the allegations. In yet another high profile case, the stigma around STIs continues to shroud discussion of such diagnoses in secrecy and this does not have to be the case. The more open we all are about our health, and the more proactive we are about testing, the better for everyone in the long run. H/T: People

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Photographer Captures What Can Happen To A Babys Head During Birth

Stunning images taken during childbirth have captivated the Internet with snapshots of how the human body can shape itself to its circumstances in this case literally.

The images reveal how the vaginal delivery process can mold a babys head into a cone shape. This is a normal occurrence at birth, but these images of ababy boy named Graham were a bit more extreme.

Photographer Kayla Reeder captured the moment on Valentines Day morning, when she received a call that the mother, Nikki, had gone into labor. Pushing took about an hour as the boy was a tad sideways in the birth canal, but otherwise Nikki experienceda smooth delivery.

The molding on Grahams head was extra dramatic because of his position, Reedertold IFLScience. His head was tilted a bit to the side so the molding isnt centered and it caused his mama to push for a bit longer than if he wouldhave been in a better position. Soon after birth the molding went down and by few days old he had a perfectly shaped head.

Hello there, baby Graham!Kayla Reeder
A beautiful baby boy.Kayla Reeder

So why does this happen?

Newborns do not have fully formed skulls at birth, instead they have plates joined together by fibrous material called sutures. These sutures allow the bones to move during birth and help the baby squeeze through the narrow birth canal.

In addition, babies have a couple of soft areas on their heads, where the skull bones havent fused together. These soft regions, called fontanels, also help ease the babys head through the birth canal.

Since the babys skull is incredibly malleable, resting its head in the same position can result in an uneven head shape, called positional plagiocephaly. Minor molding is considered a cosmetic issue more than anything, as flat spots on the back of the head dont cause brain damage or stunt growth.

In this case,baby Graham’shead formed back into a normal shape truly revealing the miraculous wonders of the human body.

But it’s not just the baby that changes shape. Check out how the mother’s organs literally shift during pregnancy to accommodate hergrowing child in the animation below.

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It’s Time For These 101 Ridiculous Science “Facts” To Die

Who hasn’t shared an amazing science fact only to feel embarrassed later on, when you find out the information was wrong? No more!

It’s time to put an end to the most alluring science myths, misconceptions, and inaccuracies passed down through the ages.

To help the cause we’ve rounded up and corrected dozens of the most shocking science “facts” that are bizarrely wrong about food, animals, the Earth, biology, space, alcohol, andhealth.


MYTH: There are bugs in your strawberry Frappuccino.

MYTH: There are bugs in your strawberry Frappuccino.

Ron Cogswell/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

This one is no longer true.

Before April 2012, Starbucks’ strawberry Frappucino contained a dye made from the ground-up bodies of thousands of tiny insects, called cochineal bugs (or Dactylopius coccus).

Farmers in South and Central America make a living harvesting and smashing the bugs that go into the dye. Their crushed bodies produce a deep red ink that is used as a natural food coloring, which was “called cochineal” red but is now called “carmine color.”

Starbucks stopped using carmine color in their strawberry Frappucinos in 2012. But the dye is still used in thousands of other food products from Nerds candies to grapefruit juice. Not to mention cosmetics, like lovely shades of red lipstick.

Sources: Business Insider, CHR Hansen,,, LA Times

MYTH: Eating food within 5 seconds of dropping it on the floor is safe.

MYTH: Eating food within 5 seconds of dropping it on the floor is safe.

Flickr / Rubbermaid Products

It’s the worst when something you really wanted to eat falls on the floor. But if you grab it in five seconds, it’s ok, right?

The five-second-rule isn’t a real thing. Bacteria can contaminate a food within milliseconds.

Mythbusting tests show that moist foods attract more bacteria than dry foods, but there’s no “safe duration.” Instead, safety depends on how clean the surface you dropped the food on is.

Whether you eat it or not after that is up to you, but if the people that walk on that floor are also walking around New York City, for example, we wouldn’t recommend it.

Sources: Business Insider,

MYTH: The chemical tryptophan in turkey makes you sleepy.

MYTH: The chemical tryptophan in turkey makes you sleepy.

Bev Currie/Flickr

Who doesn’t love the post-Thanksgiving nap? After all, turkey contains tryptophan an amino acid that is a component of some of the brain chemicals that help you relax.

But plenty of foods contain tryptophan. Cheddar cheese has even more than turkey, yet cheddar is never pointed out as a sleep inducing food.

Experts say that instead, the carbs, alcohol, and general size of the turkey-day feast are the cause of those delicious holiday siestas.

Sources: Business Insider, LiveScience

MYTH: There’s beaver butt secretions in your vanilla ice cream.

MYTH: There's beaver butt secretions in your vanilla ice cream.

Via Flickr

You’ve probably heard that a secretion called castoreum, isolated from the anal gland of a beaver, is used in flavorings and perfumes.

But castoreum is so expensive, at up to $70 per pound of anal gland (the cost to humanely milk castoreum froma beaveris likely evenhigher), that it’s unlikely to show up in anything you eat.

In 2011, the Vegetarian Resource Group wrote to five major companies that produce vanilla flavoring and asked if they use castoreum. The answer: According to the Federal Code of Regulations, they can’t. (The FDA highly regulates what goes into vanilla flavoring and extracts.)

It’s equally unlikely you’ll find castoreum in mass-marketed goods, either.

Sources: Business Insider, Vegetarian Resource Group, FDA, NY Trappers Forum

MYTH: Eating chocolate gives you acne.

MYTH: Eating chocolate gives you acne.Flickr/lhongchou’s photography


For one month, scientists fed dozens of people candy bars containing 10 times the usual amount of chocolate, and dozens of others fake chocolate bars.

When they counted the zits before and after each diet, there was “no difference” between the two groups. Neither the chocolate nor the fat seemed to have any effect on acne.

Source: JAMA

MYTH: An apple a day keeps the doctor away.

MYTH: An apple a day keeps the doctor away.


Apples are packed with vitamin C and fiber, both of which are important to long-term health, but they aren’t all you need.

And if certain viruses or bacteria get into your system, an apple will unfortunately do nothing to protect you.

Go ahead and get that flu shot, even if you eat apples.

Source: Business Insider

MYTH: Organic food is pesticide-free and more nutritious.

MYTH: Organic food is pesticide-free and more nutritious.

naotakem via Flickr

Organic food isn’t free of pesticides and it isn’t necessarily better for you.
Farmers who grow organic produce are permitted to use chemicals that are naturally derived and in some cases are actually worse for the environment than their synthetic counterparts. However, pesticide levels on both organic and non-organic foods are so low that they aren’t of concern for consumption, according to the USDA.
Eating organic food also doesn’t come with any nutritional benefits over non-organic food, according to a review of 98,727 potentially relevant studies.

MYTH: Natural sugar like honey is better for you than processed sugar.

A granola bar made with honey instead of high-fructose corn syrup is not better for you.

That’s because sugar in natural products like fruit and synthetic products like candy is the same: “Scientists would be surprised to hear about the ‘clear superiority’ of honey, since there is a near unanimous consensus that the biological effect of high-fructose corn syrup are essentially the same as those of honey,” professor Alan Levinovitz told Business Insider.

The problem is that candy and other related products typically contain more sugar per serving, which means more calories a difference you should actually be watching out for.

Sources: Business Insider, SciShow, Dr. Joy Dubost/Huffington Post

MYTH: Milk does a body good!

MYTH: Milk does a body good!

liz west/flickr

This is an incredibly successful bit of advertising that has wormed its way into our brains and policiesto make milk seem magical.

The US Department of Agriculture tells us that adults should drink three cups of milk a day, mostly for calcium and vitamin D.

However, multiple studies show that there isn’t an association between drinking more milk (or taking calcium and vitamin D supplements) and having fewer bone fractures.

Some studies have even shown an association with higher overall mortality, and while that doesn’t mean that milk consumption itself was responsible, it’s certainly not an endorsement.

Sources: Business Insider, NYTimes, Journal of Bone Mineral Research, JAMA Pediatrics, The Lancet, British Medical Journal

MYTH: Coffee stunts your growth.

MYTH: Coffee stunts your growth.

Susanne Nilsson/Flickr

Most research finds no correlation between caffeine consumption and bone growth in kids.

In adults, researchers have seen that increased caffeine consumption can very slightly limit calcium absorption, but the impact is so small that a tablespoon of milk will more than adequately offset the effects of a cup of coffee.

Advertising seems to be largely responsible for this myth: Cereal manufacturer named C.W. Post was trying to market a morning beverage called “Postum” as an alternative to coffee, so he ran ads on the “evils” of Americans’ favorite hot beverage, calling it a “nerve poison” that should never be served to children.

Sources: Business Insider (1, 2), Smithsonian Magazine

MYTH: Eating ice cream will make your cold worse.

MYTH: Eating ice cream will make your cold worse.

lvaro Nistal/Flickr (CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0)

If you’re home sick with a cold, you can totally go ahead and comfort yourself with some ice cream.

The idea that dairy increases mucous production is very fortunately not true, according to researchers and a doctor at the Mayo Clinic, who says “in fact, frozen dairy products can soothe a sore throat and provide calories when you otherwise may not eat.”

Bless him.

Sources: Business Insider, American Review of Respiratory Disease, Mayo Clinic

MYTH: Sugar is as addictive as heroin.

MYTH: Sugar is as addictive as heroin.

Jake Harris/flickr

In the 2009 book “Fat Chance,” the author, Dr. Robert Lustig, claims that sugar stimulates the brain’s reward system the same way that tobacco, alcohol, cocaine, and even heroin does, and therefore must be equally addictive. Lustig even cites studies that show parts of our brain that light-up from a sugary reward are the same parts that get excited for many types of enjoyable activities, from drinking alcohol to having sex.

The problem, however, with these types of scientific studies of the brain is that “In neuroimaging, there is no clear-cut sign of addiction,” Hisham Ziaudden, an eating behavioral specialist, told Levinovitz.

So, scientists don’t know what addiction in the brain looks like, yet, and until that mystery is solved we should not be living in fear from something as fanciful as sugar addiction.

Source: Business Insider (1, 2), “Fat Chance

MYTH: Sugar and chocolates are aphrodisiacs.

In the mid 19th century before sugar purportedly caused diabetes or hyperactivity sugar was thought to ignite sexual desire in women, children, and, more controversially, the poor.

One vintage Kellogg advertisement even claimed “Candies, spices, cinnamon, cloves, peppermint, and all strong essences powerfully excited the genital organs and lead to the [solitary vice].”

So don’t get worked up over sugar. There’s little to no evidence to support the notion that it or any food, including chocolates stimulates sexual desire.

Sources: Business Insider, Mayo Clinic

MYTH: Sugar causes hyperactivity in children.

MYTH: Sugar causes hyperactivity in children.

Flickr user edith_soto

Numerous scientific studies have tried and failed to find any evidence that supports this off-the-wall notion.

The myth probably emerged in 1974, when Dr. William Crook wrote a letter to the American Academy of Pediatrics, which published it. “Only in the past three years have I become aware that sugar … is a leading cause of hyperactivity,” the letter stated.

A letter does not include the rigorous scientific research that a paper does, and according to the National Institute of Mental Health: “The idea that refined sugar causes ADHD or makes symptoms worse is popular, but more research discounts this theory than supports it.”

Sources: University of Arkansas for Medial Sciences, Business Insider, NIH

MYTH: Dogs and cats are colorblind.

MYTH: Dogs and cats are colorblind.

flickr user: rob.wiss

Dogs and cats have much better color vision than we thought.

Both dogs and cats can see in blue and green, and they also have more rods the light-sensing cells in the eye than humans do, so they can see better in low-light situations.

This myth probably comes about because each animal sees colors differently than humans.

Reds and pinks may appear more green to cats, while purple may look like another shade of blue. Dogs, meanwhile, have fewer cones the color-sensing cells in the eye so scientists estimated that their color vision is only about 1/7th as vibrant as ours.

Sources: Today I Found Out, Business Insider

MYTH: Lemmings jump off cliffs in mass suicides.

Lemmings do not commit mass suicide.

During their migrations they sometimes do fall off cliffs, or if they wander into an area they are unfamiliar with.

Source: Alaska Department Of Fish And Game

MYTH: Sharks don’t get cancer.

MYTH: Sharks don't get cancer.

Wendell Reed/Flickr

Back in 2013, researchers reported a huge tumor growing out of the mouth of a great white shark, and another on the head of a bronze whaler shark.

And those aren’t the only cases of shark cancers. Other scientists have reported tumors in dozens of different shark species.

The myth that sharks don’t get cancer was created by I. William Lane to sell shark cartilage as a cancer treatment.

Sources: Journal Of Cancer Research, LiveScience

MYTH: Ostriches hide by putting their heads in the sand.

Ostriches do not stick their heads in the sand when threatened. In fact, they don’t bury their heads at all.

When threatened, ostriches sometimes flop on the ground and play dead.

Source: San Diego Zoo

MYTH: People get warts from frogs and toads.

MYTH: People get warts from frogs and toads.


Frogs or toads won’t give you warts, but shaking hands with someone who has warts can.

The human papillomavirus is what gives people warts, and it is unique to humans.

Source: WebMD

MYTH: This dinosaur is called a Brontosaurus.

MYTH: This dinosaur is called a Brontosaurus.

public domain

Many people would call this dinosaur a Brontosaurus even Michael Crichton did in “Jurassic Park.”

It is actually called the Apatosaurus. The myth emerged some 130 years ago during a feud between two paleontologists.

Source: NPR

MYTH: Sharks can smell a drop of blood from miles away.

This one is a big exaggeration. Jaws is not coming for you from across the ocean if you bleed in the water.

Shark have a highly enlarged brain region for smelling odors, allowing some of the fish to detect as little as 1 part blood per 10 billion parts water roughly a drop in an Olympic-size swimming pool.

But it the ocean is much, much, much bigger and it takes awhile for odor molecules to drift. On a very good day when the currents are favorable, a shark can smell its prey from a few football fields away not miles.

Source: American Museum of Natural History

MYTH: Bats are blind.

Being “blind as a bat” means not being blind at all.

While many use echolocation to navigate, all of them can see.

Source: USA Today

MYTH: Goldfish can’t remember anything for longer than a second.

MYTH: Goldfish can't remember anything for longer than a second.

Flickr user riviera2008

Goldfish actually have pretty good memories.

They can remember things for months, not seconds like many people say.

Source: ABC News

MYTH: Giraffes sleep for only 30 minutes a day.

MYTH: Giraffes sleep for only 30 minutes a day.

Wikimedia Commons

Giraffes have fairly typical sleeping patterns.

To debunk this one, researchers closely monitored a herd of five adult and three young giraffes for 152 days, counting all of their naps and deep sleeps.

The animals typically slept overnight and napped in the afternoon (sound familiar?).

In total, each giraffe slept about 4.6 hours every day.

Source: European Sleep Research Society

MYTH: Sharks die if they stop swimming.

MYTH: Sharks die if they stop swimming.

Elias Levy/Flickr

You often hear sharks can breathe only when swimming pushes water over their gills.

That’s true of some sharks, but many others like bottom-dwelling nurse sharks can pump oxygen-rich water over their gills without swimming.

All sharks lack swim bladders, however, so if they stop swimming they will sink to the bottom. Luckily a shark’s body is incompressible and rapid descents or ascents don’t harm them.

Source: American Museum of Natural History

MYTH: Poinsettias contain deadly poison.

Poinsettias won’t kill you or your pets, though you still shouldn’t eat them.

The flowers might make you a bit sick with some gastrointestinal issues.

Source: The New York Botanical Garden

MYTH: Humans got HIV because someone had sex with a monkey.

MYTH: Humans got HIV because someone had sex with a monkey.

flickr user: kvn.jns

HIV probably didn’t jump to humans through human-monkey sex.

It probably jumped to humans through hunting of monkeys for bushmeat food, which led to blood-to-blood contact.

Source: Cold Spring Harbor Perspectives In Medicine

MYTH: Dropping a penny from the Empire State building could kill someone.

MYTH: Dropping a penny from the Empire State building could kill someone.

Flickr user Charles 16e

Dropping a penny from the Empire State building is very unlikely to maimanyone.

A penny weighs roughly 1/11th of an ounce and tops out at 50 mph in freefall, which isn’t fast enough to kill. It’d hurt like heck, though.

Sources: Today I Found Out, US Mint

MYTH: The great wall of China is the only man-made structure visible from space.

The Great Wall of China isn’t the only man-made structure visible from space. It all depends on where you believe space begins above Earth.

From the International Space Station 250 miles up, you can see the wall and many other man-made structures. From the moon, you can’t see any structures at all only a dim glow of city lights.

Source: NASA

MYTH: The moon’s gravity pulling on water causes the tides.

MYTH: The moon's gravity pulling on water causes the tides.


This is only half true.

On the side of Earth that’s facing the moon, the moon’s gravity does indeed pull water toward it to cause tides.

On the other side of Earth, however, gravity is weaker (from the moon’s pull on the other side) and it’s the inertia of water from the Earth’s rotation at work: spinning at about 1,040 mph flings ocean water into a slight bulge we recognize as the tide.

Sources: NOAA, NASA

MYTH: Lightning never strikes the same place twice.

Lightning does strike twice.

Some places, like the Empire State Building, get struck up to 100 times a year.

Source: WeatherBug

MYTH: The Earth is a perfect sphere.

The Earth rotates at about 1,040 mph. That’s about 60% the speed of your typical bullet after it shoots out of the muzzle.

This inertia slightly flattens the planet’s poles and causes a bulge of rock around the equator.

Due to global warming and the melting of glaciers (and less weight pushing down on the crust), scientists think that bulge is now growing.

Sources:, MythBusters the Exhibition

MYTH: Mount Everest is the tallest mountain on Earth.

MYTH: Mount Everest is the tallest mountain on Earth.

Mauna Kea.Creative Commons

The world’s tallest mountain technically is not Mount Everest.

Mount Everest is the tallest mountain above sea level, but if we’re talking mountain base-to-summit height, then the tallest is the island of Hawaii that peaks as Mauna Kea.

Everest stands 29,035 feet above sea level. Mauna Kea only stands 13,796 feet above seal level, but the mountain extends about 19,700 feet below the Pacific Ocean. Over half of it is submerged.

That puts the total height of Mauna Kea at about 33,500 feet nearly a mile taller than Everest.

Source: Tech Insider

MYTH: Water conducts electricity.

MYTH: Water conducts electricity.

flickr user: elitatt

Pure or distilled water doesn’t conduct electricity well at all.

The reason we can get shocked when standing in electrified water is because water we come across will be contaminated by minerals, dirt, and other things that will conduct electricity.

Source: USGS

MYTH: There was a global warming pause.

MYTH: There was a global warming pause.

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio

Earth’s average surface temperature hasn’t really budged since the start of the 21st century, but 70% of the planet is covered in water and that’s where 90% of heat trapped by global warming ends up.

In fact, warming of the oceans has caused them to thermally expand, creating a huge share of the sea level rise that scientists see today.

Sources: Scientific American/Climate Wire, Tech Insider

MYTH: Tectonic plates move because volcanism pushes them apart.

MYTH: Tectonic plates move because volcanism pushes them apart.


Older edges of a tectonic plate are cooler and denser, causing them to sink into the mantle where they’re recycled. Where two plates are being yanked apart by this sinking, ocean ridges appear.

That’s where the tectonic plate is being built by hot, buoyant rock that convects upward and emerges from the stretched-out weak point. The resulting volcanism isn’t what pulls two plates apart.

Source: USGS

MYTH: The Sahara is the biggest desert on Earth.

Not all deserts are hot and full of sand. They need only be dry and inhospitable.

Antarctica fits the bill, since it receives only two inches of precipitation a year and has few land animals.

At 5.4 million square miles compared to the Sahara’s 3.6 million square miles, the Bottom of the World is a vastly larger desert.

Sourcse: USGS (1, 2), NASA, Encyclopedia of Earth (1, 2)

MYTH: Diamonds come from coal.

Most diamonds aren’t formed from compressed coal.

Instead, they’re carbon that is compressed and heated 90 miles below the surface of the Earth. Coal is found about 2 miles down.


MYTH: People in the Middle Ages thought the Earth was flat.

MYTH: People in the Middle Ages thought the Earth was flat.


During the early Middle Ages, almost every scholar thought the Earth was round, not flat.

This myth picked up steam in the 1800s, right around the same time the idea of evolution was rising in prominence and religious and scientific interests clashed.

Sources: Journal of the Warburg and Courtauld Institutes, Patheos

MYTH: Summer is warm because you are closer to the sun.

MYTH: Summer is warm because you are closer to the sun.

Flickr/Gilberto Filho

The northern hemisphere of the Earth is not closer to the sun when it is summer, nor is the southern hemisphere during its summer.

It is always warmer during the summer because Earth is tilted; during its year-long orbit, our home planet’s tilt allows the sun’s energy to hit us more directly.

Source: NASA

MYTH: Lightning causes thunder.

A scientific and philosophical nitpick here, but lightning is just a stream of electrons zapping from cloud to cloud or ground to cloud. This in turn heats air into a tube of plasma that’s three times hotter than the surface of our sun.

That tube violently expands and contracts nearby air, creating an unmistakable crack and rumble not the flow of electrons itself.

Source: Scientific American

MYTH: Your blood turns blue when it’s out of oxygen.

Your blood is never blue: It turns dark red when it’s not carrying oxygen.

Blood only looks blue because you are seeing it through several layers of tissue, which filters the color.

Source: UCSB ScienceLine

MYTH: Every gene in your DNA codes for exactly one protein.

One gene does not equal one protein.

Many genes make multiple different proteins, depending on how the mRNA from the gene is sequenced and cut up in the cell. And many other genes don’t make proteins at all.

Source: Annual Reviews Of Biochemistry

MYTH: Humans have five senses.

Sight, smell, taste, hearing, and touch are just the beginning.

Don’t forget about balance, temperature, and time, as well as proprioception the body awareness that helps us not walk into things all the time and nociception, our sense of pain.

Source: Business Insider

MYTH: The hymen is a sheet of tissue that blocks a women’s vagina.

MYTH: The hymen is a sheet of tissue that blocks a women's vagina.

Flickr / CarbonNYC


Guys, the hymen is a thin membrane that only partially blocks the vaginal opening if a woman is born with one at all.

Also, plenty of activities other than sex can stretch or damage the hymen, including exercise or inserting a tampon.

Sources: Columbia University, College Humor

MYTH: Eating a lot of carrots gives you great night vision.

MYTH: Eating a lot of carrots gives you great night vision.

MissMessie/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Vitamin A is a major nutrient found in carrots, and it is good for the health of your eyes especially those with poor vision. But eating a bunch of the vegetables won’t give your all-seeing superpowers.

The myth is thought to have started during as a piece of British propaganda during World War II. That government wanted to secret the existence of a radar technology that allowed its bomber pilots to attack in the night.

Source: Smithsonian Magazine

MYTH: Blonde and red hair colors are going extinct.

MYTH: Blonde and red hair colors are going extinct.

flickr user: e3000

Blondes and redheads are not “going extinct.”

Genes rarely die out, and recessive genes, like those that lead to red or blonde hair color, can be carried from generation to generation without creating the hair color. (As much as 40% of some populations, for example, carry a gene that leads to red hair color.)

When two people with the correct recessive genes have a baby, there’s a good chance the kid will have red or blonde hair color even if the parents don’t have red or blonde hair themselves.

Sources: John McDonald/University of Delaware, BritainsDNA

MYTH: Pregnancy gives you “baby brain” and makes you dumb.

MYTH: Pregnancy gives you "baby brain" and makes you dumb.

Flickr / Frank de Kleine

Studies on this turn up mixed results, at best.

Some studies on changes to working memory during pregnancy do show a small effect on the brain, though other studies show no negative impacts whatsoever.

There’s actually growing evidence that being pregnant makes women more organized and smarter, at least, according to a study on rats.

It makes sense, though, since pregnant women and new mothers have a lot more to worry about and think about for their brains to keep up they may even be getting a boost.

Sources: Dr. Myra Wick/Mayo Clinic, New Scientist

MYTH: Hair and nails keep growing after death.

Hair and fingernails do not keep growing once someone dies.

Instead, the skin dries out and shrinks, giving the appearance of further growth.

Sources: Lecture Notes: Dermatology, Tech Insider

MYTH: Humans can’t grow new brain cells.

You are not born with all of the brain cells you will ever have.

There is plenty of evidence that the brain continues to produce new cells in at least a few brain regions well into adulthood, through a process called neurogenesis.

Source: The Scientist

MYTH: Some people have photographic memories.

MYTH: Some people have photographic memories.

flicker user: slalit

There’s actually no such thing as a “photographic” memory only very good memories.

Even people with exceptional or autobiographic memories don’t recall events with visual details precise enough to mimic the fidelity of film or a camera sensor.

Source: Moments of Science

MYTH: People only use 10% of their brain.

This myth has been debunked over and over again, but it just won’t die.

Just because you’re not doing math equations and juggling while you write a sonnet doesn’t mean you aren’t using all the parts of your brain at once.

You can use your entire brain, and you do the brain is 3% of the body’s mass but uses 20% of its energy.

Source: Scientific American

MYTH: “Left-brained” people are creative. “Right-brained” people are analytical.

MYTH: "Left-brained" people are creative. "Right-brained" people are analytical.

Flickr / Shaheen Lakhan

It’s a common old canard: Creative people are right-brained, while the logically-minded are left-brained. False.

It’s true that different hemispheres of your brain are more engaged in certain tasks (the left side is dominant in language, for example), but studies have never found overall left- or right-brain dominance in individuals.

Sources: Business Insider, Psychology Today

MYTH: The bigger your brain is, the smarter you are.

Sperm whales have the largest brain of all animals significantly larger than a human’s but they aren’t the smartest creature on Earth.

Humans don’t even have a particularly impressive brain-to-body-mass ratio.

The winner in that category among mammals is the humble tree shrew, though that’s largely because its body is so tiny.

Sources: Business Insider, Scientific American, Washington University

MYTH: It takes 7 years for gum to digest if you swallow it.

MYTH: It takes 7 years for gum to digest if you swallow it.

flickr user: sembrandogirasoles


Gum is mostly indigestible, but the occasional swallowed piece will pass through your intestines and exit the other side, just like anything else you eat that your body doesn’t need and can’t digest.

The only cases where swallowed gum has caused a problem is when that gum is swallowed along with other things that shouldn’t be in your stomach.

Scientific American cites a case where a 4-year-old girl suffered a gastrointestinal blockage from a wad of gum with four coins inside of it.

Sources: Business Insider, Scientific American

MYTH: Your microwave can give you cancer and disrupt your pacemaker.

MYTH: Your microwave can give you cancer and disrupt your pacemaker.


Microwave radiation won’t cause cancer, it just heats food up.

Only a few types of radiation cause cancer, and these depend on the dose. Radiation from the sun can cause skin cancer, for example, but just enough helps your body make Vitamin D, too.

Microwaves also won’t disrupt apacemaker. However, things like anti-theft systems, metal detectors, powerful refrigerator magnets, mobile phones, and even headphones can mess with the heartbeat-keeping devices.

Sources: Cancer Research UK, American Heart Association

MYTH: Shaving makes your hair grow back thicker.

MYTH: Shaving makes your hair grow back thicker.


Shaving your hair doesn’t make it thicker, it just makes it feel coarser for a time.

That’s because the ends of the hairs are sharp and stubbly instead of smooth.

Source: Mayo Clinic

A “Sex Robot Brothel” May Soon Be Opening In The UK

Welcome to the strangest article you will read all day. As reported by the Mirror, the UK, in the near future, may get its very own robot sex brothel”, pending investment guarantees. This follows on from the founding company, LumiDolls, opening its very first naughty robot residence in Barcelona just this February, before it suddenly disappeared and moved to a mystery location.

And now, a timely disclaimer: Sex between two consenting adults is a marvelously fun and calorie-consuming activity that all should be able to enjoy. People are also very idiosyncratic, and each individual has their own sexual preferences, fantasies, and escapades.

Putting that aside for a moment, you wouldnt be blamed for thinking copulating with a robot especially one that is definitely in the uncanny valley range is a little, well, unorthodox. We dont know about you, but weve not yet embraced this Westworld-esqueform of friskiness, so we went onto the company’s official website to try and find out how it works.

content-1493121027-aki.jpgAll our dolls, like all women, have oral cavity, vaginal and anal, the website proudly boasts.

Always remember that with any of your cavities you must use the lubricants (of a single use) that you will find in each of the rooms. Yes, we assume chafing on bits of plastic, metal or any other strange alloy would be particularly uncomfortable.

But what of the after-sex sanitation methods? Dont worry, the company says theyve got you covered.

Our LumiDolls are, before and after each service, properly disinfected with special antibacterial soaps, they hasten to note. We guarantee high standards of hygiene. Well, thats a relief.

Apparently, the dolls have a wide range of movement, but its unclear how robotic they are, or how autonomous they are. Essentially, theyre just lifeless, woman-like objects. You can dress them up however you like, all with the help of a receptionist who, we presume, is a real human.

For an hour, itll cost you around 100 in Barcelona, which we assume will translate to 100 (about $128 dollars). We cant quite tell if their dolls will compete, technologically speaking, with a range of others that have fully functional genitalia and customizable artificial intelligence personalities.

If this entire concept makes you uncomfortable, then youre not alone. The Campaign Against Sex Robots is a real thing too, which posits that sex robots further sexually objectifies women.

We take issue with those arguments that propose that sex robots could help reduce sexual exploitation and violence towards prostituted persons, their mission statement reads. They point to all the evidence that shows how technology and the sex trade coexist and reinforce each other creating more demand for human bodies.

So there you go. Welcome to 2017.

Image in text: Aki, one of the dolls on offer in Spain. LumiDolls

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