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Health care is no place for lies, myths and misinformation, symposium organizers say



INDIANAPOLIS — We’ve all heard the one about a dog’s mouth being cleaner than a human’s. That’s a myth, says Aaron E. Carroll, Indiana University School of Medicine professor and dean for research mentoring.

“A dog’s mouth isn’t cleaner than a human’s – humans don’t use their tongues as toilet paper,” said Carroll, keynote speaker for Friday’s William S. and Christine S. Hall Center for Law and Health: Indiana Health Law Review symposium on the Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis campus.

Medical myths are the focus of the annual Hall Center for Law and Health: Indiana Health Law Review symposium. Titled “Medical Myths: Exploring Effectiveness, Misinformation and Scientific Rigor,” the event takes place from 8:45 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. Friday, March 27 in the Wynne Courtroom and Atrium of the IU Robert H. McKinney School of Law  (Inlow Hall), 530 W. New York St.  Carroll will deliver the keynote address from 9 to 10 a.m. The event is open to the public.

Mythbusting is nothing new for Carroll, who is the co-author of such books as “Don’t Swallow Your Gum: Myths, Half-truths and Outright Lies About Your Body and Health,” and “Don’t Cross Your Eyes . . . They’ll Get Stuck That Way!: And 75 Other Health Myths Debunked.”

“Aaron is not just a compelling speaker and extremely well-informed researcher and policy expert, but he has a great ability to spot the important issues and, of great importance for the symposium topic, to point out the disconnects, the myths,” said Nicolas P. Terry, Hall Render professor of law and executive director of the Hall Center for Law and Health.

Carroll will discuss medical myths, how they get started, why they persist, and why they are important. The truths behind two other myths he finds most interesting are:

  • Turkey doesn’t make you sleepy – regardless of what you’ve heard . . . about the tryptophan.
  • Sugar doesn’t make kids hyper – there are at least 12 randomized controlled trials that say so.

“People hearing my talk will learn about why many medical myths just aren’t true — (because) research says so. It will help them confront and think about other medical and health beliefs they are “sure” are true,” Carroll said.

The truth or good information, not myths and misinformation, are pertinent in today’s turbulent health care environment, Terry said.

“For the first time in generations we are seeing both the necessity for change and the political will to embrace reforms,” Terry said. “In that environment good information as to the issues is key,” Terry said. “Yet healthcare is particularly prone to misunderstandings or misinformation. Issues such as vaccination, further malpractice reform, smoking cessation, market-based reforms and information transparency are among the key topics in the current healthcare debates — and they are just some of the (panel) topics we will be discussing.”

For complete information, including registration and fee details for the public and those seeking CLE credit, go to: