Sunday, August 6, 2023

Book Report Post- Viral BS

 General Overview

In "Viral BS," Dr. Seema Yasmin explores the world of medical myths and misinformation that spread through various media channels and especially the internet and social media. The book delves into the reasons behind why people fall for false medical information and the consequences of doing so. This book provides insight as to why the misinformation is delivered to people and how this information is not always true. 

Dr. Yasmin, drawing from her expertise in medicine and her background as a journalist, critically examines various medical myths, conspiracy theories, and urban legends that have gone viral. She debunks the factors that contribute to their spread and influence over the public, despite lacking scientific evidence or credibility. Each chapter debunks common misconceptions.

Dr. Yasmin demonstrates her knowledge of medical misconceptions through each chapter of the book. Each chapter evaluates a medical myth and dives into the scientific evidence of that topic. Chapter’s include “Do vitamin D supplements protect against obesity and cancer”, “Can gay and bisexual men donate blood”, “Are e-cigarettes helpful or harmful”.

Favorite Part

My favorite part of this book was chapter 26, “Why do immigrants in America live longer than American-born people?”. I found this specifically interesting because I have extensive knowledge in health disparities in the United States and minorities have a great disadvantage with their health. According to the book, “Immigrants live at least 2.5 years longer than white people born in the United States.”(Yasmin,413). The phenomenon is called the Hispanic paradox. Hispanics statistically have poor or no health insurance, less likely to be employed, and less access to healthcare. According to the book, hispanics survive and recover from disease more quickly than non-hispanic whites. Dr. Ruiz conducted research and concluded that the hispanic paradox really does exist and 17.5 percent lower risk of death among the hispanic population. 

There is no hard evidence of hispanic paradox but there are many indicators showing that the paradox is a thing. After 33 years and hundreds of studies the paradox is still unsolved. Now, as for the connection between the Hispanic paradox and pseudoscience, it's crucial to understand that pseudoscience is characterized by claims, beliefs, or practices that are presented as scientific but lack evidence, validity, or reliability. In the context of the Hispanic paradox, there might be instances where pseudoscientific claims or misinformation emerge to explain the phenomenon. 


I connected this book to lecture slide 10. Medical myths thrive in an environment of misinformation and uncertainty. When there is a lack of clear and accurate information from trusted sources, people may turn to rumors and myths for answers. This uncertainty can fuel paranoia and lead individuals to believe in false claims or conspiracy theories in which most of the world is conditioned to believe. For example, in Viral BS, Dr. Yasmin explored the connection between autism and vaccines. This connection was proved false and then retracted from the Lancet. The false study was published and later found to be false, fraudulent, and invalid when the parameters of the study were investigated. The original study was conducted with children at a birthday party who already showed symptoms of autism before the vaccines but that wasn’t accounted for in the study. Later the same doctor who conducted the study got a patent on a vaccine and was looking to profit off of his study. 

This study created mass paranoia and delusion. The fear that we instill in ourselves without the proper research and strictly listening to what we are told by the media creates this sense of panic. A fallacy is a mistaken or deceptive argument or reasoning that appears valid but is not logically sound. They often exploit flaws in logic, emotional manipulation, or the use of irrelevant information to persuade or deceive others. Fallacies can be intentional or unintentional, but they undermine the credibility of an argument and lead to incorrect conclusions. This was demonstrated by the original doctor who conducted the study. 


Click the link to my powerpoint presentation on my favorite medical myths explored in the book. 


Working in the medical field this book was very insightful and eye opening and educated me on things that I even believed to be true. I believe that anyone who works in the medical field should read this book to educate themselves and their patients. Throughout reading this book I would find myself talking to my coworkers about it and even they were educated on certain topics. If people read this book I believe it would prevent mass paranoia and delusions. Take covid for example, there was huge mass paranoia simply from the media. Parents who do not vaccinate their children would benefit from reading this book as well. Overall I have enjoyed this book more than anything else I have read, I found all the chapters fascinating and insightful and I have already recommended this book to my coworkers in the medical field.

No comments:

Post a Comment