Celebrity bad science: Dried placenta pills and oxygen shots

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Pop guru Simon Cowell carries pocket-sized inhalable oxygen shots, America’s “Mad Men” actress January Jones favors dried placenta pills, and British soap star Patsy Palmer rubs coffee granules into her skin.


Celebrities rarely shy away from public peddling of dubious ideas about health and science, and 2012 was no exception.

In its annual list of the year’s worst abuses against science, the Sense About Science (SAS)campaign also named former U.S. presidential candidate Mitt Romney for spreading misinformation about windows on planes, and Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps for false justifications for peeing in the pool.

To help set the record straight, SAS, a charity dedicated to helping people make sense of science and evidence, invited qualified scientists to respond to some of the wilder pseudo-scientific claims put about by the rich and famous.

It suggested Romney, who wondered aloud in September why aircraft crews don’t just open the windows when there’s a fire on board, should listen to aeronautical engineer Jakob Whitfield:

“Unfortunately, Mitt, opening a window at height wouldn’t do much good,” the scientist said. “In fact, if you could open a window whilst in flight, the air would rush out…because air moves from the high pressure cabin to the lower pressure outside, probably causing further injury and damage.”

January Jones’s dried placenta pills, which the actress admitted in March she consumed after giving birth, win no favor with Catherine Collins, principal dietician at St George’s Hospital in London.

“Nutritionally, there’s nothing to be gained from eating your placenta – raw, cooked, or dried,” Collins said. “Apart from iron, which can be easily found in other dietary choices or supplements, your placenta will provide toxins and other unsavory substances it had successfully prevented from reaching your baby in utero.”

Written By: Kate Kelland
continue to source article at reuters.com

16 COMMENTS

  1. Perhaps they should have invited Mitt to test out his “theory” of opening the window.

    Nothing like testing in the field to increase your knowledge or at least remove yourself from the gene pool.

  2. “…your placenta will provide toxins and other unsavory substances it had successfully prevented from reaching your baby in utero.”

    …mmmptt… heh… ahahahahaha-haaaaaa! That’s hysterical. So why do they put it in shampoo?

    Placenta has a definite woo value, like eating tiger penis for virility.

  3. Wouldn’t that require us to custom-build an entire plane with a window you can open just to get a kick out of the exercise? It’d be cheaper, of course, to just create a low-pressure area on the other side of a window in a building on Earth’s surface, but he’d probably find that simulation unconvincing. We all know how creationists “think” about scientific evidence. Even the “but at least he’d suffer/die” argument for the ground-floor option has lost some of its appeal now he’s already lost the election.

  4. The Romney bit is very sloppy reporting. I watched the source footage and it was clear that he was telling a joke and was being funny because he and everyone else obviously knew you couldn’t open a window. The crowed laughed! I can’t stand Romney or the rethuglicans, but that doesn’t mean I give false or misleading reporting a pass because of that.

    Read this article, for example for more details:

    http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2012/09/mitt-romney-joke-joking-airplane-windows.html

  5. Talk about ‘bad science’ explanations! I personally know people who believe (in the 21st century!!) that a pregnant woman must not look at raging fire if there is a blazing building nearby or her child will have a birthmark. Or that epilepsy can be prayed away! Or that a baby was born with cleft lip because the pregnant mother dropped scissors to the floor!

    I know these are more superstitions, but that’s what they are, aren’t they, bad science or lack of it altogether. And this from very religious people indeed. It tells you something about the mind set, doesn’t it?

  6. In reply to #4 by Axulus:

    The Romney bit is very sloppy reporting. I watched the source footage and it was clear that he was telling a joke and was being funny…

    I agree that he was probably joking and though I despise his party platform, I don’t like the spread of disinformation. I can’t be 100% sure he was joking because his delivery was horrible and he believes a lot of crazy shit, so I think I also have to give a pass to the people that didn’t realize it was a joke. He always wears a half-smirk on his face and tends to spout some wacky stuff, how can a person honestly tell when he’s “joking?”

    Anyway, there are much bigger scientific misconceptions out there and I’d much rather relegate Mitt Romney to a foot note in history and let him fade into obscurity. Any YEC representative on the congressional Science Committee is more deserving of public ridicule.

  7. In reply to #7 by Vorlund:

    munching on pulverised mummies used to be fashionable

    My great-grandfather used to have the hand of a mummy in an ornamental jar above the fireplace. When my father inherited it and tried to give it back to Egypt, they politely refused. Even mummies go out of fashion.

  8. In reply to #7 by Vorlund:

    munching on pulverised mummies used to be fashionable

    Don’t Catholics truly and honestly believe that they are actually eating the flesh and drinking the blood of a 2000 year old zombie? “Transubstantiation”. Sounds very similar to munching on mummies!

  9. In reply to #15 by SaganTheCat:

    If I could advise Simon Cowell on anything it would be that not only are oxygen shots worthless, he should at least consider drastically reducing his oxygen intake

    You should remember that he makes his money from celebrity “air-head” amusement TV.

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