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The Hoax Museum Blog
Category: Health/Medicine
Glitter Lung
Posted by The Curator on Wed Nov 30, 2005
Status: Satire mistaken as news Last week The Onion ran a story reporting that increasing numbers of elementary-school art teachers are coming down with "glitter lung" (aka pneumosparklyosis), a disease caused by inhaling too much glitter. "When art teachers spend so much time in confined quarters with inadequate ventilation amid swirling clouds of glitter, it's only a matter of time before their lungs start to suffer negative effects," said Dr. Linda Norr, a specialist in elementary-school-related respiratory diseases. "Those sufferers who are not put on a rigorous program of treatment often spend their last days on respirators, hacking up a thick, dazzling mucus." Apparently the story quickly made its way…
Categories: Health/Medicine Comments (16)
Magneurol-S6: The ESP Pill
Posted by The Curator on Tue Nov 22, 2005
Status: Snake Oil The makers of MagneurolS·6 promise that this little pill has some remarkable properties. It will give you "the ability to plug into Earths complex magnetic fields" thereby enhancing your extra-sensory perception and psychic abilities. Of course, never mind that its ingredients are nothing that you can't find in any vitamin supplement costing far less than $49 a bottle. You won't care about such trivial matters once your sixth sense (S·6) has been awakened. One potential danger, however. When taking Magneurol, some users report that "they can 'feel' the radiation, or something like it, emanating from the [cell]phone where they could not…
Categories: Health/Medicine Comments (63)
Fake Cavities
Posted by The Curator on Thu Nov 10, 2005
Status: Scary scam An Indiana dentist has been charged with diagnosing patients with cavities that didn't exist. This is the kind of thing that feeds the popular paranoia about dentists: The attorney general's office said Dunlap diagnosed three patients with cavities, but the patients sought second opinions and were found to be cavity-free. State officials said Dunlap diagnosed a child with 10 cavities in June, but another dentist found that the child did not have any cavities. A similar complaint was filed by a patient in May 2004, said Staci Schneider, a spokeswoman for the attorney general's office. Personally, I've never had a cavity. But one time a dental assistant cleaning…
Panexa
Posted by The Curator on Thu Nov 03, 2005
Status: Parody Panexa is a drug you need to take, no matter what may, or may not be, wrong with you. As the Panexa site states: No matter what you do or where you go, you're always going to be yourself. And Panexa knows this. Your lifestyle is one of the biggest factors in choosing how to live. Why trust it to anything less? Panexa is proven to provide more medication to those who take it than any other comparable solution. Panexa is the right choice, the safe choice. The only choice. Now, Panexa is pretty obviously a parody…
Categories: Health/Medicine, Websites Comments (15)
HETRACIL Anti-Effeminate Medication
Posted by The Curator on Tue Nov 01, 2005
Status: Hoax According to the HETRACIL website, "HETRACIL is the most widely prescribed anti-effeminate medication in the United States, helping 16 million Americans who suffer from Behavioral Effeminism and Male Homosexuality Disorder." In other words, it's supposedly a drug to treat homosexuality. The look and feel of the site is pretty convincing, perfectly imitating the bland soothing nature of other pharmaceutical sites. And it's plausible that some drug company could try to devise such a product, given that up until the late 1960s the American Psychiatric Association actually did list homosexuality in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual on Mental Disorders as a psychiatric disorder.…
New Orleans Euthanasia
Posted by The Curator on Tue Sep 13, 2005
A report in the Daily Mail claims that doctors stranded in New Orleans hospitals after Katrina hit decided to give some patients lethal doses of morphine, rather than watching them die in agony. A few bloggers are suggesting this report has all the markings of an urban legend, given that it's based on only one identified source. If so, it wouldn't be the first urban legend emerging from the disaster. However, the recent discovery of 44 dead bodies in a New Orleans hospital would seem to add credibility to this report.
Categories: Death, Health/Medicine Comments (19)
Liquid Oxygen Skin Cream
Posted by The Curator on Fri Sep 09, 2005
New Scientist has flagged a product whose promoters are guilty of making a few misleading claims. It's Neaclear facial cream, and it's advertised as containing a "powerful combination of liquid oxygen, vitamins C & E, sage, chamomile, seaweed and rosemary, coconut oil, sweet almond oil and hydroquinone." The company even boasts that they're the first company "to combine stabilised liquid oxygen into all of its products." New Scientist notes that "We have certainly never heard of a skin cream that contains liquid oxygen, the temperature of which is normally somewhere below -183 °C."
Woman Claims to Have Diana’s Kidney
Posted by The Curator on Thu May 26, 2005
A French woman, Francoise Gaellar, had a kidney transplant two days after Princess Diana died in a car crash. She believes that she received Diana's kidney. As a consequence, she now feels urges to speak in English: "I found myself speaking English to my friends, something I don't normally do because I have no reason to," she says. "I cannot explain why I did this." Is this evidence of a fanciful nature, or an indication she had indeed received an organ from an English-speaker? Improbable though it sounds, there are many documented accounts of organ recipients taking on characteristics of their donors. The French authorities aren't allowed to say who people…
Categories: Death, Health/Medicine Comments (20)
Hidden Dangers
Posted by The Curator on Sun Mar 27, 2005
The website of the British firm Health and Safety Management Consultants offers a list of 'hidden dangers'. For instance, did you know that 10,700 people in the UK are injured every year while putting their socks on? That two women have been killed by lightning hitting the underwiring of their bras? That more people are injured by flowerpots every year than by hedge trimmers? And that "the number of injuries inflicted by vegetables remains unacceptably high, at 13,132"? Most of these statistics seem to come from the Home and Leisure Accident Statistics Report produced by the Royal Sciety for the Prevention of Accidents. So they're probably fairly credible. But obviously the figures don't give any indication…
Categories: Health/Medicine Comments (13)
The Rumor About LiveStrong Bracelets
Posted by The Curator on Mon Mar 14, 2005
A lot of people lately are wearing those yellow LiveStrong bracelets that help support the Lance Armstrong Foundation's efforts to fund cancer research. But the rumor going around is that if you do wear one of them, you better hope that you don't get into an accident and end up at the hospital, because the bracelets look exactly like the yellow wristbands that hospitals place on 'Do Not Resuscitate' patients. Apparently there is some truth to the rumor. Some hospitals do place yellow wristbands on DNR patients. However no one has ever been left to die because of a mix-up involving a LiveStrong bracelet and…
Categories: Health/Medicine Comments (20)
Cure The Catch
Posted by The Curator on Mon Feb 28, 2005
I received this email from 'Kurto': i have been a frequent visitor of your site for some time now. Recently this bombardment of advertisements about "The Catch" has been bothering me. The ad's contain figures stating million of Canadians have the Catch, and there's no cure. I'm curious to what exactly they're referring to. The website they encourage people to visit is http://curethecatch.com i have doubts to the validity of this so called disease. See if you can dig up any dirt on this. A little googling reveals that 'The Catch' is a new viral ad campaign dreamed up to promote Virgin Mobile pre-paid phones: Virgin has started…
Magnehance
Posted by The Curator on Thu Feb 17, 2005
Dakota Therapeutics has issued a press release announcing their exciting new product: the Magnehance. It's "a new magnetic device for erectile enhancement." The mind boggles. I don't quite understand how this thing is supposed to be worn, and (perhaps thankfully) they don't offer any illustrations on their website. But the amount of pseudo-scientific jargon they deploy is quite remarkable: the Magnehance™ is constructed of a super-flexible form of the high-energy, rare earth magnet known as neodymium iron boron, which is used extensively in magnetic therapy. Wow. The only thing that would top that is if it were made of 'patented IonXR nanoceramics technology' (but no, that's a different…
Carrot Fungus: It’ll Either Kill You or Cure Cancer
Posted by The Curator on Fri Feb 11, 2005
Andy sent me an email pointing out this curious article about an anti-cancer compound found in carrots. It's probably some kind of typo or poor choice of words, but if you read the first and last sentences together it sure sounds like this carrot cure is going to kill you before it has a chance to kill the cancer: Eating 400kg of carrot every day can help ward off cancer, scientists say. The recent study carried out by scientists at the University of Newcastle said a compound called Falcarinol found in carrot reduced the risk of cancer developing in rats by a third.... Falcarinol protects carrots from fungal diseases, such as liquorice rot that…
Categories: Food, Health/Medicine Comments (10)
Morgellons Disease: Is It Real?
Posted by The Curator on Fri Feb 11, 2005
Sufferers of Morgellons disease complain of invisible parasites biting their skin. And they get skin lesions from which sprout strange fibers. And mysterious black spore-like specks appear on their skin. Cases of this strange disease seem to be spreading, especially in the Bay area. One theory is that it has something to do with Lyme disease. Or it may be a case of mass delusion. The medical community seems to think it's mass delusion. Most people who show up complaining of these symptoms get diagnosed with 'delusional parasitosis', which is a psychological problem in which people imagine that they're infested by…
Categories: Health/Medicine, Psychology Comments (607)
Knuckle Cracking
Posted by The Curator on Wed Feb 02, 2005
I'm not a knuckle cracker myself. In fact, I hate it when people crack their knuckles. And I've frequently told people that cracking their knuckles would cause arthritis. After all, that's what everyone says. But according to this NY Times article (republished in the Arizona Republic) it's not true. It's an urban legend. Just reading this description of what causes knuckles to crack makes me cringe: The loud pop of a cracked knuckle is caused by synovial fluid, the thick lubricant that surrounds every joint. When the fingers are stretched or bent backward, the bones of the joint pull apart. This creates bubbles of air in the fluid, which subsequently burst. But as for…
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