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. There's the other possibility, however, of a lousy teacher. Let's see how many of these true-or-false questions you can get right.
1. The millimetre wave machine, used in the U.S., is a safe human body scanner for airport security. But flyers should refuse to have their bodies exposed to "backscatter" devices and demand they have a body pat-down instead.
2. The "Baby-Time Mini-Microscope Saliva Ovulation Tester" accurately predicts the best time to achieve pregnancy. But because the company is small, its product can only be purchased online.
3. Brushing teeth using plain white bar soap is not the total answer to avoiding dental plaque.
4. Children playing with laser swords can cause serious damage to their eyes, leaving them with permanent blind spots in their vision.
5. Sytrinol is a safe, natural remedy consisting of citrus and palm fruit extract used to lower blood cholesterol. It's available in health-food stores and should be tried before resorting to stronger, dangerous prescription drugs.
6. Having a CT scan subjects patients to the same amount of radiation as 500 chest X-rays.
7. If the distance from the anus to the base of the scrotum is shorter than 52 millimetres (two inches), males are seven times more likely to be infertile due to a low sperm count.
8. Potassium in potatoes helps to prevent strokes and hypertension.
9. Campbell Soup in the U.S. decreased the amount of salt in its soup by 32 per cent and saw profits slump as a result.
10. Increasing the amount of sugar in the diet increases blood cholesterol.
11. Animals make their own vitamin C. Humans lost this ability in the process of evolution, which makes them more vulnerable to coronary attack.
12. Nitric oxide is normally produced by the inner lining of blood vessels. But after age 40, the production of nitric oxide decreases and arteries constrict, causing hypertension, increased risk of heart attack and other medical troubles. NEO40 is a new, revolutionary drug that increases the blood level of nitric oxide and helps to prevent these cardiovascular problems.
13. 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 non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, which must be excreted by the kidneys.
14. Sarcopenia begins in the late 30s and increases at the rate of one per cent a year. By age 80, many people have lost 30 to 50 per cent of their muscle mass and are so weak they cannot get off a toilet seat.
15. In the past, patients who had a hernia were told to have an operation to prevent intestinal obstruction. Now, surgeons know it's not necessary to repair all hernias.
16. The prime time to have an operation is on Tuesday morning at 8 a.m.
17. PGX is a super fibre complex of natural polysaccharides. The soft gels, when taken with water, expand because of their great ability to absorb many times their weight in water. This tells the stomach it's full, with no need for a second helping of food.
18. 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.
19. 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 auricular fibrillation.
20. Vitamin K2 helps to fight the nation's number one killer, cardiovascular disease. It places calcium where it belongs, in bones and teeth, and keeps it out of arteries, where it can cause trouble.
The answer to all of the above is true.
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