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Monday, February 28, 2011

Love Bugs And Medical Myths.

If you are a Florida resident you can not miss our famous love bugs a.k.a honeymoon flies or kissing bugs or its real name …….Pelica Neartica. Come March and you can see these bugs everywhere in pairs here in Florida. They are an annoyance not only because they are awkwardly stuck to each other but also ruin your car paint when they splatter on it.   You try to remove the corpses for the first few years and then it just becomes a lifestyle. Great caution is required while a riding a bike, as you get a free protein bolus every time you open your mouth

There is a famous urban legend here that these bugs were created by University of Florida to fight mosquitoes. The myth is, that somehow this experiment failed and these bugs got out and spread all over Florida. I actually believed it. So every time I would see these bugs I would curse USF softly. Very recently I found out that USF has nothing to do with this and these bugs probably came through cargo ships in 1940s.

This got me thinking what else I believed in for the longest…..for example I believed…..

-          All post menopausal women should be on hormonal replacement therapy (HRT). Until we found out that HRT increases the chances of uterine cancer.

-          I believed that childhood vaccination can cause autism, a famous study published in “Lancet” , until I found out this January that it was a complete fraud and the study was retraced.

-          I thought all patients with osteopenia needed be on biphosphonates to prevent bone loss …. Until I found out that they can cause significant Jaw bone necrosis.

-     Antonio Moniz was awarded Nobel Prize for Physiology in 1949 for his discovery of lobotomy in  psychosis.  By 1951, 20,000 lobotomies were performed. There was a gradual decline in this procedure… after the discovery of  the miracle drug Chlorpromazaine in 1954. Everybody believed in this med….eventually this too declined after it was found that it can cause Tardive Dyskinesia .. a disorder resulting in repetitive body movements.

Do not think for a second that I am saying that we should not believe in evidence based studies. My point is  that we should keep our inner critique alive at all time. We should maintain our ability to question and never permanently close any doors. I believe the same is true for everything in life. 

There are very few eventualities in life.

About the picture: Not a love bug.