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Monday, February 25, 2008

Myth Busting Monday - Stolen Kidneys

MYTH: Drugged travelers wake up in a bath tub of ice with a missing kidney

I remember the first time I heard this myth and being totally shocked that someone would go through all that effort to get some extra cash. After hearing about it I would occasionally hear other people talk about it as a joke or tv shows making fun of the situation but I never gave it much thought past that. To give you some more insight into this myth here is a version of the story I found while researching this myth.

"Bob" — was on a business trip alone somewhere in Europe, and went out to a bar one night to have a cocktail. Wouldn't you know it, he woke up the next morning in an unfamiliar hotel room with severe pain in his lower back. He was taken to the emergency room, where doctors determined that, unbeknownst to himself, Bob had undergone major surgery the night before. One of his kidneys had been removed, cleanly and professionally. [source]
In other versions the myth take place in Huston, New Orleans, Las Vegas or other major US cities; but no matter the place all the stories are basically the same, some one wakes up with missing kidneys. The urban legend site has the complete email concerning this myth that was passed around the internet back in '97, you can read it here.

Here are some quotes I found that de-bunk this myth:
A drug-induced haze, a bathtub full of ice, a gaping hole where the left kidney should be: you may have heard the main ingredients of this popular legend, which has turned up in various forms. Organized bands of organ-thieves are the usual culprits and students or business travelers their victims. A particularly rampant e-mail outbreak of this (un-true) tale in 1997 prompted law and organ-donor groups to issue press releases debunking the legend. [source]
In fact, it's all but impossible for such activities to take place outside properly-equipped medical facilities, UNOS argues. The removal, transport, and transplantation of human organs involves procedures so complex and delicate, requiring a sterile setting, minute timing, and the support of so many highly-trained personnel, that they simply could not be accomplished "on the street," as it were.
The National Kidney Foundation has repeatedly issued requests for alleged victims of such crimes to come forward and validate their stories. To date, none have. [source]
In my opinion, the criminals in this story go through a lot of effort to get the organs in addition to preforming the surgery in such a way as to have the 'donor' live to tell the tale. If there are criminals out there that are willing to go through all that effort for an organ then there should be poachers out there that put elephants and rhinos to sleep in order to harvest their ivory; but instead, rather than go through all that trouble, the poachers kill the animals and then remove the ivory. I think organ harvesters would do the same that if organization like that really existed; why settle for one or two kidneys when potentially they could harvest an entire body full of organs. I know this is kind of a morbid way of looking at the situation, but the criminals in this myth are just way to nice.

Since you don't hear news stories about someones organ being stolen and that no one has come forward to the National Kidney Foundation to report that something like this has happened to that proves to me that this myth is just that, a myth.

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Friday, February 15, 2008

Flash Back Friday- Bacteria

Welcome to this week's edition of Flash Back Friday! This article from last year was written be my husband. At his previous job he worked too far from home to come home at lunch time so he had to eat lunch at his desk. That must have been lonely. Now that we have moved and got a new job he comes home everyday for lunch so hopefully we don't have this gross problem at our kitchen table.

Me and My Bacteria

I use to think that I ate lunch alone, at my desk, but according to professor Charles Gerba of the University of Arizona I am sharing my lunch with millions of germs and bacteria. To put it bluntly he says " The average office desktop has 400 times more bacteria than the average office toilet seat." I eat my lunch at my desk every day!!!! I could hardly believe what I was reading; so basically if I ate my lunch off a toilet seat I would be more bacteria free than eating it off my desk. On the bright side, luckily I am a man because "women have three to four times the number of bacteria in, on and around their desks, phones, computers, keyboards, drawers and personal items as men do." The reason for this is women have more places for bacteria to hide; knickknacks, cosmetics, hand lotions and food, all things found in and around a woman's desk. Sometimes I will bring licorice to work to eat throughout the day; I will take out a few pieces, eat one and put the others on my desk. I try to keep the others pieces off the paper and files on my desk so I don't have little pieces of candy suck to them, but after reading this article none of my food will touch my desk, ever.
Professor Gerba offers this advise to combat this big bacteria blight, "using a hand sanitizer and using a disinfectant on office surfaces helps, with 25 percent fewer bacteria found on surfaces that were regularly disinfected. Once-a-day use should be sufficient. 'You don't have to go crazy with it, but with the key areas, desktops, phones and keyboards probably need to be disinfected once in a while.'" Needless to say I am bringing a hand sanitizer and disinfectant to work with me tomorrow.

Now is the time you are welcome to comment with a link to your flash back friday post. Happy Friday everyone!

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Monday, February 11, 2008

Myth Busting Monday - Birds & Rice Don't Mix

MYTH: Birds and rice don't mix

Growing up in southern California I went to the beach all the time during summer vacation, and every time I would see a seagull fly by I would wonder to myself what would happen if I brought some rice with me and feed it to the birds. So I have always wondered about this myth.

This is a great quote about birds and rice from

Nothing spoils a wedding celebration like the thought of exploding pigeons. Nuptial guests have been cautioned against throwing handfuls of rice at newlyweds for this very reason, but there is absolutely no scientific backing to the legend. Experts say birds can ingest uncooked rice just fine, with no risk of blowing up. Hmm. Some people might say using love to lose a few pigeons is a perfectly splendid idea.[source]
Here is another great quote concerning 'exploding' birds:
Not true. If it were, there would be exploding bird stories all over the national press every June. Think about it. Lots of birds feast in rice fields every year, irritating rice farmers to distraction. If eating rice caused birds to explode, most rice fields would look like a popcorn machine in the harvest season, with little puffs and explosions providing constant entertainment. Quite a vision, and one that the press would never miss.[source]
The bird watchers digest always discusses another bird exploding myth; this one involves seagulls and Alka Seltzer:
If it were true, it would be a big story. I can see the coverage now: Dan Rather in his safari jacket, standing on the windswept coast, hair blowing in the wind, gull feathers raining down in the background; PBS specials (who can resist the vision of a gull, cheerfully flying along and then suddenly exploding, right in front of the camera?)
In researching this myth I found that there are a lot of supporters for both sides of this myth but looking to the urban legend explaining site has reported that both of these exploding birds myths are false. So I fell that that can be the final word on that.

What are your thoughts about this myth, let us know in the comments

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Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Vacation for one

I am feeling weird feelings today. This weekend my brother is getting married and so I am leaving tomorrow to go spend the weekend with my family and go to my brothers wedding... alone! No husband and child to accompany me. This will be the first time I have ever left my daughter before. She is two so I know she will be fine and it will be fun for her to have a daddy daughter weekend, but I'm still anxious about it. I go through waves of being excited and other waves of dreading it and wishing I hadn't bought a plane ticket. There are many fun plans so it should be a good time. We'll see how it goes. Hopefully everyone will survive, have fun and have a happy reunion when I get back on Sunday. For this reason there won't be a Flashback Friday this week.

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Sunday, February 3, 2008

Myth Busting Monday - Poppy Seeds & Drug Tests

MYTH: Eating poppy seeds mimics opium use

Purveyors of this urban legend call on a popular Seinfeld episode for support. It turns out there's truth behind the comedy: tests suggest ingesting just two poppy seed bagels may produce a positive result for opiates on a drug screen.[source]
Just recently going through the job hunting process in the past year, this topic has been something that I thought about when employers have required a drug test as part of the interview process. As soon as I walked in the door for one interview the first thing I had to do was to take a drug test and I remember thinking to myself that I was glad that I didn't have that poppy seed bagel for breakfast that morning.

The popular myth and urban legend site actually confirms that this myth is in fact True.

I find it very interesting that most of the myths that have been covered in Myth Busting Monday have been false, but this one is actually true.

Here is another interesting quote I found while searching for more information about this myth:
Yes, ingestion of poppy seed bagels or poppyseed cake can indeed cause a false positive on a urine test for opiates. Ingestion of poppy seeds can result in a positive drug test as long as two days after ingestion.[source]
With having the possibility of having two days of positive drug test you have to be really careful about eating poppy seed anything during job interview season. My advice is if you are looking and interviewing for a new job avoid all thing poppy seed, your future job ma depend on it.

What are your thoughts about this myth, let us know in the comments

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