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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Health/Medicine
Another Cancer Hoaxer
Posted by The Curator on Wed Apr 15, 2009
Dallas, Texas is home to the latest case of Munchausen Syndrome. Hope Ybarra managed to raise $100,000 by convincing an entire community that she was dying of cancer. She even fooled her family. Apparently the ruse went on for years. To their credit, once her family found out she wasn't really sick they put an end to the entire thing and are offering to return everyone's money. [Yahoo! Video]
Categories: Health/Medicine, Scams Comments (15)
Bottle Caps For Charity
Posted by The Curator on Mon Apr 13, 2009
The latest victims of the decades-old trash-for-charity hoax are the students of PS 46 in Staten Island. They were collecting plastic bottle caps in the belief that for every 1000 caps collected a child with cancer would get chemotherapy. Finally one of the students did an online search for "bottle caps" and "charity" and figured out it was a hoax. [silive.com]
Categories: Health/Medicine, Pranks Comments (7)
Long Hair
Posted by The Curator on Mon Apr 06, 2009
A Chinese doctor hasn't cut his hair in more than 60 years. He says doing so is responsible for the health of his patients. I'm sure there's a name for this logical fallacy, but I'm not sure what it is. [Daily Express (with pic of long-haired doc)]
Categories: Health/Medicine Comments (5)
Is it healthy to pick your nose?
Posted by The Curator on Fri Dec 05, 2008
If you do a search on the web for information about rhinotillexis (aka nose picking) you'll soon run across references to Dr. Friedrich Bischinger, described as an Austrian lung specialist, who is quoted as saying that nose-picking combined with nasal mucus eating is a healthy habit: "With the finger you can get to places you just can't reach with a handkerchief, keeping your nose far cleaner. "And eating the dry remains of what you pull out is a great way of strengthening the body's immune system. "Medically it makes great sense…
Categories: Health/Medicine Comments (7)
The Hypoallergenic Dog Myth
Posted by The Curator on Mon Nov 17, 2008
When the Obamas recently announced they were searching for a dog to have in the White House, they noted that one of the criteria was that it would need to be hypoallergenic, since Malia is allergic to dogs. The media quickly raised the possibility of a White House poodle, since poodles are supposedly a hypoallergenic breed. Skeptics have quickly pointed out that the idea of a hypoallergenic dog breed is a myth. Individuals dogs may produce less of the protein that causes the allergic reaction (and this protein can be found in the dander, urine, saliva, and fur of dogs). However, there is no dog breed as a whole that produces less of the protein. And if…
Categories: Animals, Health/Medicine Comments (9)
Fake caterpillar fungus
Posted by The Curator on Wed Sep 24, 2008
Chinese food inspectors have issued a warning to those planning to buy caterpillar fungus: Many samples of caterpillar fungus have been replaced by fakes. These fakes "not only miss their medicinal function, but could even be poisonous." According to Wikipedia, caterpillar fungus is one of the most prized ingredients in traditional Chinese and Tibetan medicine: it is used as an aphrodisiac and as a treatment for a variety of ailments from fatigue to cancer. It is regarded as having an excellent balance of yin and yang as it is apparently both animal and…
Categories: Health/Medicine Comments (1)
Caps for Charity
Posted by The Curator on Wed Sep 03, 2008
Another case of the Collecting Junk for Charity hoax. Aleta Brace of Parkersburg, West Virginia collected 20,000 bottle caps, believing that the caps could be redeemed for money which would aid cancer patients. And she wasn't alone. Churches, schools, businesses, and individuals throughout West Virginia have been collecting the bottle caps all summer. The caps would all have gone to waste, but now the Aveda skin care company has announced it'll take the caps and recycle them into new caps for its products.
Fake Patients
Posted by The Curator on Fri Aug 08, 2008
The Associated Press reports that the FBI has started cracking down on a widespread insurance scam in which hospitals fill up their beds with homeless people posing as patients, and then charge government programs for the costs. Hospitals in Los Angeles and Orange counties submitted phony Medicare and Medi-Cal bills for hundreds, perhaps thousands, of homeless patients — including drug addicts and the mentally ill — recruited from downtown's Skid Row, state and federal authorities allege. While treating minor problems that did not require hospitalization, such as dehydration, exhaustion or yeast infections, the hospitals allegedly kept homeless patients…
Categories: Health/Medicine, Scams Comments (2)
An Unfortunate Accident
Posted by The Curator on Sun Jul 13, 2008
This news clipping has been doing the rounds: Is it true? It does have urban-legend qualities to it, but a search of LexisNexis reveals that it was widely reported in April 2002. English-language papers credited the story to the Danish newspaper BT. The surgeon was identified as Jorn Kristensen. The Sun had this line: Surgeon Jorn Kristensen said of the chain reaction: "No-one considered the possibility." So, given the specific details, I'm going to say that it appears to be true my hunch is that it's true, but I'll list…
Categories: Gross, Health/Medicine Comments (20)
A Degloving Injury
Posted by The Curator on Fri Jun 20, 2008
Warning: Don't look at these pictures if you're squeamish. Picture 1, Picture 2. They're the latest stomach-turners circulating around the internet. You've been warned! But if you think you can handle it, the pictures are interesting from an anatomical perspective. They show a "degloved" finger. A woman, while drunk, snagged her ring on a spiked fence, thereby peeling the skin off her finger. Her friends had the presence of mind to put the 'finger glove' in a glass of water and take her to a hospital. The images are strange, but real. They come from a recent article in The Internet Journal of Orthopedic…
Categories: Gross, Health/Medicine Comments (8)
Woman discovers husband isn’t a doctor
Posted by The Curator on Tue Jun 03, 2008
Tammi Parteet was worried since she hadn't heard from her husband. So she decided to call him at Piedmont Hospital, where he worked as a doctor. WSBTV.com relates what happened next: She called him on his Piedmont cell phone, the one he told her was for emergencies. A staff member picked up. "I said, 'I'm trying to locate my husband, Dr. Perteet.' And she said, 'Dr. who? We don't have a Dr. Perteet.' And she says, 'Are you talking about the guy that had this cell phone?' And I said 'yes.' And she says, 'Oh, he was arrested last…
FairDeal Homeopathy
Posted by The Curator on Sat May 10, 2008
FairDeal Homeopathy promises it won't lie to its customers. They only guarantee that their remedies are "as effective as all other homeopathic remedies." They also won't promise that their products can help you if you're ill. Although they do note that if you believe in their remedies they might help, because of the placebo effect. But they caution that if you're "actually ill" you shouldn't expect their products to cure you. "Homeopathy of any sort," they note, "is not a medical treatment, neither is it a substitute for evidence-based medicine and proper medical opinion." On the testimonials page you find comments from "Miss Emily…
Categories: Health/Medicine, Websites Comments (10)
Who authors drug studies?
Posted by The Curator on Thu Apr 17, 2008
A disturbing article in the most recent issue of JAMA (The Journal of the American Medical Association) suggests that the practice of ghostwriting medical studies is widespread. How it works is that a big drug company writes a study touting the merits of its latest drug. Then the company hands off the study to a prestigious researcher who agrees to be listed as the author. This adds a veneer of scientific credibility to what is basically corporate propaganda. The dupes in this entire process are the patients who are convinced to shell out big bucks for medicine that's either worthless or actually harmful (such as Vioxx). The drug companies, of course, claim this…
Categories: Health/Medicine Comments (15)
Malawi Ousts Fake AIDS Healers
Posted by The Curator on Sun Mar 09, 2008
Lawmakers in Malawi have decided to crack dawn on quacks peddling phony cures for AIDS. The "cures" generally involve having sex with a virgin, an albino, or a disabled person. The legislation is only in draft form right now, but if passed it will require traditional healers to register with the health ministry. I'll have to ask my sister what she knows about this, since she's been in Malawi for the past four years working on promoting AIDS education. That's why I visited Malawi last year. I had a great time there. I would definitely encourage anyone to visit, but if you plan on driving around the country, make sure you have a…
Categories: Health/Medicine Comments (9)
Viagra-Inspired Food
Posted by The Curator on Wed Mar 05, 2008
Trifter.com has collected examples of foods that have either been made to look like Viagra, or have been renamed after it. The list includes Viagra Gelato, Viagra ice cream, Viagra spam mousse, Viagra cake, and Viagra musubi. The Viagra spam mousse seems particularly appropriate, since the drug is such a favorite topic of spammers.
Categories: Food, Health/Medicine Comments (2)
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