How much did you learn from this column last year? It’s always the hope of a medical journalist that at least some medical topics didn’t go in one ear and out the other. Let’s see how many of these questions you can get right.
1. The millimeter wave machine, used in the United States, is a safe human body scanner for airport security. But fliers should refuse to have their bodies exposed to “backscatter” devices and demand that they have a body pat-down instead.
2. Brushing the teeth using plain white bar soap is not the total answer to avoiding dental plaque.
3. Children playing with laser swords can cause serious damage to their eyes, leaving them with permanent blind spots in their vision.
4. Having a CT scan subjects patients to the same amount of radiation as 500 chest X-rays.
5. Campbell Soup in the United States decreased the amount of salt in its soup by 32 percent and saw profits slump as a result.
6. Increasing the amount of sugar in the diet increases blood cholesterol.
7. Animals make their own vitamin C. Humans don’t make their own vitamin C, which makes them more vulnerable to coronary attack.
8. The number of North Americans with advanced kidney disease requiring renal dialysis has doubled in the last 10 years. One of the main reasons for this increase is the number of people who take pain pills, particularly nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, which must be excreted by the kidneys.
9. Sarcopenia begins in the late 30s and increases at the rate of 1 percent per year. By age 80, many people have lost 30 to 50 percent of their muscle mass and are so weak they cannot get off a toilet seat.
10. In the past, patients who had a hernia were told to have an operation to prevent intestinal obstruction. Now surgeons know that it’s not necessary to repair all hernias.
11. The prime time to have an operation is on Tuesday morning at 8:00 a.m.
12. The inventor of the PSA test for prostate cancer says he wishes he had never invented the test because it has been misused by doctors and caused needless harm to patients.
13. Magnesium is needed so the electrical system of the heart is able to function properly. A deficiency of magnesium can cause an irregular heartbeat called atrial fibrillation.
14. Vitamin K2 helps fight the nation’s No. 1 killer, cardiovascular disease. It places calcium where it belongs, in bones and teeth, and keeps it out of arteries, where it can cause trouble.
All answers to the above are true.
Dr. Gifford-Jones is a medical journalist with a private medical practice in Toronto. His website is DocGiff.com. He may be contacted at Info@docgiff.com.