100% effective = dodgy science

Sarah: Today I received the email pasted below:


WOW! I was raised, and raised my kids with Vicks. How come I never knew this? I can’t wait for my next cough. Amazing! READ IT ALL. It works 100 percent of the time, although the scientists at the Canada Research Council (who discovered it) aren’t sure why.

To stop night-time coughing in a child (or an adult, as we found out personally), put Vicks Vaporub generously on the bottom of the feet at bedtime and then cover with socks.

Even persistent, heavy, deep coughing will stop in about five minutes, and stay stopped for many, many hours of relief. This works 100 percent of the time and is more effective in children than even very strong prescription cough medicines. In addition,
it is extremely soothing and comforting and they will sleep soundly.

I heard the head of The Canada Research Council describe these findings by their scientists when they were investigating the effectiveness and usage of prescription cough medicines in children as compared to alternative therapies like acupressure. I just happened to tune in to a.m. Radio and picked up this guy
talking about why cough medicines in kids often do more harm than good due to the chemical make-up of these strong drugs, so I listened. It was found to be more effective than prescribed medicines for children at bedtime and in addition to have a soothing and calming effect on sick children who then went on to sleep soundly.

My wife tried it on herself when she had a very deep constant and persistent cough a few weeks ago and it worked 100 percent! She said it felt like a warm blanket had enveloped her. The coughing stopped in a few minutes, and believe me, this was a deep (incredibly annoying – every few seconds!), uncontrollable cough, and she slept cough-free for hours every night she used it.

If you end up sick, try it yourself and you will be absolutely amazed at the effect.

Pass this on – especially to those with children or grandchildren

Hmmmm….there’s nothing like the words “this works 100% of the time” to rouse my suspicions! So I checked the “Canada Research Council” and found the following press release. Turns out of course that they never did any such study of Vicks Vaporub, and to boot their correct name is National Research Council Canada. But still plenty of my university-educated friends (many of them mothers of young children) were willing to believe and pass on this faulty information. Yes, we all get a bit desperate in the bid for a good night’s sleep, but let’s be sceptics at every opportunity!      [image from azfotos.com]


  1. More on dodgy science – this one in terms of what constitutes a fair experiment: http://apgaylard.wordpress.com/2008/06/20/operation-rudolph/

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