Skeptikai Notices (Sep1) – Medicine, sex, memory, and skepticism

Medicine:

Half of GPs back change in rules on sex with patients – Is it okay for a doctor to have consensual sex with a patient? What if the doctor sends the patient to another practitioner? One survey specifically asked this to 282 general practitioners in the UK and found that “48% would support a GP’s decision to enter into a sexual relationship with a patient, as long as they registered with another practice.” 28% were against such a decision, and 24% were not sure, but the takeaway is that half of them were okay with it. So this raises the question… which one of the doctors above do you think is okay with it?

Your Doctor’s Bedside Manner Could Affect Your Health – Especially if she looks anything like the ones above, Jesus!… Actually, interesting new research came out about patient health. “[When] doctors were more courteous to operating room staff, their patients were more likely to survive and avoid complications than the patients of docs who were [assholes].”

Do You Lie to Your Doctor? – Yes. Yes you do. About “how much they drink or smoke, how unhealthily they eat, how little they exercise, how many sexual partners they’ve had, [and] what drugs they’re taking,” to name a few. The relationship between doctor & patient is also discussed here.

The July Effect: Fertile Ground for Systems Improvement – If you haven’t heard of the July Effect, it’s the notion that the quality of healthcare decreases in the beginning of the academic year, when new practitioners first hit the field. The newest research on this effect provides evidence for a July effect, but there have been problems in such research in the past, so keep that in mind when you start freaking out about going to a hospital next July.

Sex:

Ladies think about sex 5 times a day vs. men’s 13 – To be honest, I actually expected women to think about sex more like 70% of the amount of time men do. But still, it’s pretty high compared to men. And 13 times a day is a far cry from the bullshit I keep hearing that men think about sex every 3 seconds, or 7 seconds, or 30 seconds, or 53 seconds, or whatever. That’s total nonsense.

You’re more likely to remember your first kiss than losing your virginity – Your “first time” might be special… but your first kiss is probably more memorable than your first time having sex. So there you go.

The Female Erotic Brain, Mapped – We thought we knew a thing or two about the neuroscience involved in sexual stimulation and orgasm, but now neuroscientists are reporting the surprising findings that genital stimulation activates the same part of the brain as stimulation from nipples. In fact, if you understand the basics behind the neural structure known as the “homunculus,” you may understand why their findings can explain certain sexual phenomenon such as gratification via foot stimulation (which is a relatively common sexual fetish).

‘No sex’ theory is an urban myth, says doctor – There appears to be no good evidence to support the idea that athletes shouldn’t have sex before a big game. Doctors are saying that sex should not impede on one’s ability to perform at full capacity. I presume that the only thing athletes should be careful about is sacrificing sleep time for sex. After all, if you want to perform well, you need to get your sleep.

Men Are From Cuddle, Women Are From Penis – This article does a great job of debunking some of the recent headlines that have made the media circuit a few months ago. “A new study supposedly says women want sex but men want cuddling. Don’t believe it.” It’s also a good read for those who want to see some of the difficulties in conducting social science research.

A New Dating Site for People Who Can’t Have Sex – An interesting site that gives people a chance for the companionship and love we all desire, without the standard physical relationship.

A Blood Test Determines a Baby’s Sex Earlier than Ever. But at What Cost?“Families that have a history of gender-linked diseases will undoubtedly welcome the test, since it can help identify at-risk babies early on. But experts worry that some couples will take advantage of the blood screen to select the sex of their child.”

Making Marriage Work by Forgetting Love and Sex – A brief video by Gay Talese, who says that the most important part of marriage is not love or sex, but respect. I don’t agree with all of the things he said, but it’s an interesting perspective that should be taken seriously.

Sex education textbook dubbed ‘pornographic’ by parent – There is now a debate in China about the appropriate age to begin sex education, as the country sees the first textbook of its kind intended for 7-year-olds. Just how young is too young?

10 Best Sex Documentaries – This probably a list I’ll be coming back to often. But honestly, I’m surprised they didn’t have “Inside Deepthroat” from 2005 on there. It was a very interesting documentary, showing the controversies of pornography as they developed a few generations ago.

Memory:

Memory contaminates perception – Do you think you perceive the world the same way I do? Unless you have the same memories as me, think again.

Five myths about memory (and why they matter in court) – Honestly, I’m pretty shocked at just how little people actually know about memory. If you think you can do better, take the short memory quiz here.

Trial-and-error a memory booster for seniors – Seniors have been shown to more successfully learn via trial-and-error, as opposed to passive learning with no opportunity for learning from their mistakes. This is good to know in an age where the global life expectancy is at the highest we’ve ever seen (double what it was a century ago). Also, it would sure be useful knowledge for those elderly students going back to school, such as the American woman who dropped out of school in 1939 (no typo there!) and finally came back to graduate from her university at the age of 87, and then got her masters degree last year at age 90.

Skepticism:

Homeopathy multinational sues blogger over statements that its mythological curative had “no active ingredient” – French homeopathy company “Boiron” is suing Samuele Riva, an Italian blogger, because she rightfully said that there’s nothing in homeopathy pills.

JREF vs. Psychics on Nightline – This well-organized article provides videos that aired on the TV show “Nightline,” in which people from the James Randi Educational Foundation expose the lies of psychics, and particularly “psychic detectives” or “psychic investigators.” Watch the videos if you want to see the self-proclaimed psychics put to the test.

Researchers Outline Ways to Advance Scientific Thinking in Children – This is great. The best way to raise skeptical thinkers is to teach scientific reasoning.

There’s Money to Be Made in the 2012 Apocalypse – If you thought people predicting the end of the world weren’t bad enough, consider just how much money people are making from it. People shouldn’t get a penny for drumming up fear, and this is just another reason to stand up to such mongering. If you want to watch an expose on the upcoming 2012 hoax, you should watch Penn & Teller’s Bullshit! episode on it here.

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