Show cover of Sawbones: A Marital Tour of Misguided Medicine

Sawbones: A Marital Tour of Misguided Medicine

Join Dr. Sydnee McElroy and her husband Justin McElroy for a tour of all the dumb, bad, gross, weird and wrong ways we've tried to fix people.


Sawbones: Marvel Anatomy
Dr. Sydnee and Justin go through the marvelous Marvel Anatomy book, which explains how many comic book heroes' superpowers work. Where does the Hulk's strength come from? How does Spider-Man climb walls? How does Captain Marvel shoot energy out of her hands? And is any of it anatomically or medically plausible at all?Music: "Medicines" by The Taxpayers
34:12 3/21/23
Sawbones: Head Lice
Lice aren’t just a longtime annoyance of school aged kids, they’ve actually been around longer than people. Dr. Sydnee and Justin talk about the history of trying to get rid of these creatures as well as some common misconceptions. Be warned: your head will be itchy during this episode.Music: "Medicines" by The Taxpayers
41:17 3/7/23
Sawbones: Is Leg-Length Discrepancy Genetic?
It's another Sawbones: Medical Questions, and we're gonna go full Galaxy Brain on these listener-submitted queries. What is methalated B-12? Can my appendix grow back and give me appendicitis ad infinitum? Does sugar help tongue burns or is it just tasty? And most importantly, how do I tell my friend to stop listening to TikTok for medical advice?Music: "Medicines" by The Taxpayers
45:32 2/28/23
Sawbones: Appendicitis
People have been dying of the inflammation of the appendix long before anyone even knew what this little finger-like organ was good for. Dr. Sydnee goes through the history of the first accidental appendix removal, to the long journey to figuring the true cause of abdominal distress. And most importantly: What's the one place where you MUST have your appendix removed before visiting?Music: "Medicines" by The Taxpayers
37:38 2/14/23
Sawbones: Ketchup
There are lots of things that aren’t medicine. Taxes. Pound cake. One thing that is definitely not a medicine but at a time was thought as one? Ketchup! Dr. Sydnee goes through ketchup’s journey from a fermented non-tomato condiment to the condiment we know and love, including its brief stint as Dr. Miles’ Extract of Tomato.Music: "Medicines" by The Taxpayers
34:34 2/7/23
Sawbones: Grapefruits
Dr. Sydnee and Justin don't actually like grapefruits, so it's irrelevant to them, but grapefruit juice is known to interact poorly with many medications. Given the wide variety of fruits and their juices, it seems strange this is such an outlier. How was this anomaly discovered, and why exactly does it do what it does?Atlas Obscura article, "Grapefruit is One of the Weirdest Fruits on the Planet" by Dan Nosowitz: "Medicines" by The Taxpayers 
41:33 1/31/23
Sawbones: Mononucleosis
Have you ever been interrupted on a college campus by someone asking about your latest incident of intimate kissing? That's because they were trying to track the spread of a common infection called mononucleosis, or mono. Dr. Sydnee goes over the history of how the virus that caused mono was tracked down, and how it's tested for now.Music: "Medicines" by The Taxpayers
37:12 1/24/23
Sawbones: Asafoetida
If you're like Dr. Sydnee and your TikTok algorithm keeps advertising medical substances at you, perhaps you've heard of asafoetida. It's a pungent resin derived from a plant, and has culinary appeal as well as reportedly some medical benefits. But what, if any, research and evidence do we have about these medicinal claims? And most importantly, what does it really smell like? We need to know, for science.Music: "Medicines" by The Taxpayers
37:18 1/17/23
Sawbones: Anthrax
In 2001, the United States was under a biological attack from strange spores in mailed envelopes. This is a lot of people's first introduction to anthrax, a bacteria often associated with both domestic and wild animals. But what is anthrax, how is it spread, and where did it come from? To clarify, this episode is about the disease, not the metal band.Music: "Medicines" by The Taxpayers
35:40 1/10/23
Sawbones: Super Sawbones Quiz of 2022
The Sawbones Medical Quiz is back and better than ever, with questions about this past year's episodes! What have you learned about bad fast food, Senate contenders, pirate medicine, and owls?Music: "Medicines" by The Taxpayers
37:32 1/3/23
Sawbones: Can I Become the Alpha Period-Haver?
It's the last episode of the year, so Dr. Sydnee and Justin set out to answer your important medical questions! How do oral probiotics prevent a yeast infection (or do they)? What's that medicine and Sprite combo you drink before a CT scan? Should I talk to the students who practice appointments on me? And does everyone rub their limbs together like a cricket before bed, or is it just Justin?Music: "Medicines" by The Taxpayers
35:22 12/20/22
Sawbones: RSV
Parts of the US are currently in the midst of a triple-demic, a very scary phrase, so Dr. Sydnee is here to break down the third illness: Respiratory Syncytial Virus, or RSV. It’s a virus that’s common among everyone, but can be dangerous for some people. Dr. Sydnee and Justin talk about what it is, why it is suddenly prevalent in adults, and what can be done to help prevent the spread (hint: wear a mask).Music: "Medicines" by The Taxpayers
38:11 12/13/22
Sawbones: Farts
This week, Justin takes the wheel and finally gets to talk about farts, only tangentially in a medical way. Get ready for some fart etymology, some notable farts in medieval history, fun fart facts, and a little bit about preventing and treating excessive gas and flatulence.Music: "Medicines" by The Taxpayers  
40:34 12/6/22
Sawbones: Pirate Medicine Chapter Three
In the third and final chapter of the pirate medicine series, Dr. Sydnee and Justin talk about the dreaded Flux. What is the Flux? Well, it involves something coming out of your body in excess . . . and it's not urine.Music: "Medicines" by The Taxpayers
35:01 11/29/22
Sawbones: Pirate Medicine Chapter Two
In the second entry in the pirate medicine series, Dr. Sydnee talks about the practice of treating burns aboard a ship. It seems like burns on a ship would not be a problem, but ships are made of wood, and fire + wood = bad.Music: "Medicines" by The Taxpayers
30:26 11/22/22
Sawbones: Pirate Medicine Chapter One
To celebrate the first new live Sawbones shows since 2020, we're releasing the first in a three-part series exploring the vast array that pirates—in an extremely resource and knowledge-limited setting—tried to keep one another alive through the years.Music: "Medicines" by The Taxpayers
32:08 11/16/22
Sawbones: Does Shrimp Make My Husband Drunk?
Have you ever wanted to ask a real doctor questions that aren’t really advice? Dr. Sydnee answers listener questions about infecting yourself with a virus, refusing opioids, and difficult veins. And don’t worry - there are some poop questions as well.Music: "Medicines" by The Taxpayers
45:49 11/8/22
Sawbones: Anthroposophy
Why not just connect the spiritual and scientific world? That's basically what anthroposophy asks, teaching a philosophical approach to medicine. Dr. Sydnee and Justin talk about the history of this movement and also try to explain what exactly it is.Music: "Medicines" by The Taxpayers
40:44 10/25/22
Sawbones: Iridology
The eyes are the windows to the soul, but could they also be the windows to all the body's ailments? Dr. Sydnee and Justin discuss iridology, the idea that changes in the eye color could possibly indicate different diseases and conditions – and perhaps even personality traits – although there is very little evidence that any of this is scientifically sound.Music: "Medicines" by The Taxpayers 
42:22 10/18/22
Sawbones: Dr. Oz
There are many people who have been recurring characters on Sawbones. Pliny the Elder. Charlie. But few so notorious as Dr. Mehmet Oz, now running for the U.S. Senate. This isn’t a commentary on his political fitness; just an examination of his history of questionable medical advice and pop-science claims.CW: Discussion of dieting and weight lossMusic: "Medicines" by The Taxpayers
45:13 10/11/22
Sawbones: Schizophrenia
Is schizophrenia the same as having a dissociative identity? Or anti-social disorder? Or being a murderer? No. No. All of these are wrong. Dr. Sydnee breaks down one of the most misunderstood and maligned mental illnesses and how our understanding of symptoms and treatment have changed over the years.Music: "Medicines" by The Taxpayers
46:44 10/4/22
Sawbones: How Justin McElroy Became a Trusted Source for COVID News in Canada
Podcast history is being made here: There are TWO Justin McElroys in this week's episode. We are joined by Justin McElroy, CBC reporter of municipal affairs in Vancouver and British Columbia, as he discusses his role reporting COVID data over the last two and a half years, and the challenges of presenting that information as people seem to be moving on from caring about the pandemic.Music: "Medicines" by The Taxpayers
42:23 9/27/22
Sawbones: E. coli
From our earliest days of life E. coli is among us and within us, living in harmony with the rest of our colonic flora. But this week we're here to discuss the multi-dimensional E. coli's ability to really mess all that up through contaminated romaine and undercooked cheeseburgers.Music: "Medicines" by The Taxpayers
38:33 9/20/22
Sawbones News: Vaccine Updates
Extra, extra! It’s the first edition of the Sawbones Medical News, updates on what’s going on in the world of medicine. We’ve got the newest reports on Monkey Pox vaccines and the hot new COVID-19 booster. Plus, an analysis of Dr. Oz’s interesting medical care advice.Music: "Medicines" by The Taxpayers
40:36 9/13/22
The Sleeping Sickness
Starting In 1915, cases of something known as encephalitis lethargica started popping up around the globe. Symptoms were varied, but included some sort of lethargy or tiredness, with some more extreme manifestations. But exactly how many people were infected and what exactly caused this remains one of medical history’s greatest mysteries. So, yeah, we’re going to leave you hanging on that. Sorry.Music: "Medicines" by The Taxpayers
34:42 8/30/22
Rufus Weaver and Harriet Cole
In the 1880s, anatomist Rufus Weaver worked meticulously to extract and mount the human nervous system for study. The nervous system came from a woman named Harriet Cole; but how was it actually obtained? Dr. Sydnee dissects this medical mystery, which is a telling story of who in history is celebrated and who is often forgotten.Music: "Medicines" by The Taxpayers
37:17 8/23/22
In this episode of Justin McElroy’s Medical Brand Hall of Fame, Justin and Dr. Sydnee are stuck on Band-Aid brand adhesive bandages. Justin goes through the decades of campaigns and jingles, the evolution of bandage technology, and Dr. Dan the Bandage Man to explain how this sticky plaster became a staple for children and clumsy people alike.Music: "Medicines" by The Taxpayers
38:41 8/16/22
Hank Green in 2018 joked that everyone should take Metamucil, the fiber-rich powder that is supposed to help with your BMs. But is he right? Well . . . “should” is a strong word. Dr. Sydnee goes through the history of the supplement itself, made of psyllium, as well as our understanding of fiber and its use in human nutrition. And yeah, you probably aren’t getting enough of it.Music: "Medicines" by The Taxpayers 
43:24 8/9/22
The Brompton Cocktail
In the late 1800s, Dr. Herbert Snow observed cancer patients and considered that a mix of different medications might do the trick for slowing down its progress. The Brompton Cocktail, as it was called, was mostly cocaine and morphine. Though used for a long time for pain relief, the cocktail proved to have its problems – but maybe not for the reason you would think.Music: "Medicines" by The Taxpayers
35:11 7/26/22
Hand Sanitizer
Around the early 1900s, it was discovered that a high percent of ethanol was useful for killing germs, and worked great if there was no available soap and water. Dr. Sydnee and Justin go through viral internet stories and odd patents to explain how we eventually landed on the hand sanitizer we know and love today. Hey, if you can, though, wash your hands.Music: "Medicines" by The Taxpayers
38:58 7/19/22