Sawbones: Fertility


Ready to be a YouTube sensation? Not so fast, buckaroo. You're gonna need a baby first, so you can teach it to do something adorable that you can capture in a candid moment. First step: You've got to get fertile, and Dr. Sydnee and Justin have a perfect cocktail of largely baseless historical treatments to help you get there.

You can subscribe to their show right now on iTunes! Then tweet about or follow the show on Twitter (@Sawbones) so all your friends and family can be as horrified and entertained as you.

Music: "Medicines" by The Taxpayers


Dodgy Quasi-Advice

@Dr. Sydnee (19:19), re Acupuncture:
"There are studies that would support that it benefits many different conditions in many different people. [...] It definitely is a valid treatment for many different things... I would say check it out if you're interested."
Article: ScienceBasedMedicine - Acupuncture Revisited

"Pain Ernst et al., systematically reviewed a decade's worth of systematic reviews of acupuncture. They found a mix of negative, positive, and inconclusive results. There were only four conditions for which more than one systematic review reached the same conclusions, and only one of the four was positive (neck pain). They explain how inconsistencies, biases, conflicting conclusions, and recent high quality studies throw doubt on even the most positive reviews. Ernst et al.'s analysis cannot prove that acupuncture does not work (negatives are hard to prove) but their study unquestionably sheds serious doubt on the claim that it does work. Overall the evidence is inconsistent, and among those studies judged to be of the highest quality, the results tend to be negative."

"Ernst et al. [...] have shown that acupuncture is not harmless. While many of the reported adverse effects could be avoided by proper training in sterile precautions and anatomy, they correctly point out that even one avoidable adverse event is too many. With any treatment, we have to consider the risk/benefit ratio. If there is no benefit, any risk is too much."
* Numerous other pages at that site review invividual studies, including for IVF.


I enjoy this podcast a great deal, including the one on fertility. However, in this episode Dr. McElroy sort of glossed over the topic of acupuncture, stating that it has been shown to be useful for several conditions. Actually, the most recent data suggest that any effects are largely placebo. Steven Novella has written about the failure of acupuncture at the Science-Based Medicine site:

History of Acupuncture

Even the claim that acupuncture is something that originated in ancient China seems to be shaky at best.


This was an interesting episode, but I think it concentrates too much on pregnancy. Neither I nor my boyfriend are all that concerned about pregnancy-this could be because we're both guys. Granted, he keeps trying to get me pregnant anyway, and if he ever succeeds, I'm going on the talk show circuit and cashing in on it.

I'd like to hear a podcast about sexual stimulation for purposes other than reproduction. Everything from red ginseng to Viagra to penis pumps have been touted as means of stimulating the libido throughout the ages. Late night infomercials gave way to the spam that fills our inboxes that now advertise products making often hilarious claims about their ability to condition us to our sexual primes no matter what our age or circumstance. PT Barnum woudl be amazed.

And I'm interested in what the hucksters of yesteryear (from Barnum to Hippocrates) thought about the most primal human urge, and the products used to stimulate it.

Again, this is a little different than fertility as a topic, since for some of us (and our boyfriend) baby-making is neither the goal nor a possibility. Think you could teach us about what Galen and Asclepius's followers had to say on this topic? What about the Egyptians or Suemrians?