Here's a fun parlor game: Gather some friends and divide the group into two teams. Choose a subject at random. Then set a timer for four minutes and see how much confusion you can generate around that subject before your time is up. Your team scores a point every time an opponent scrunches up his face in a "Huh?" manner; closes her eyes and rubs her temples in a "Ow, headache" sort of way; mumbles, "Wait, what?"; or simply gets up and leaves the room.
Just whatever you do, don't agree to a game of Four-Minute Fumble-F*** with the folks on the Fox News "Sunday Housecall" squad. Because they are professionals, and they will trounce you.
Take this recent segment, for instance. The subject is "Jogging and Knee Cartilage." And... Go!
Feel like a punch-drunk boxer, dizzy after a flurry of jabs and right hooks? Are you currently rubbing your temples so hard they're starting to bleed? Don't feel bad. I told you these guys are pros. Which I suppose is why they call themselves "The Fox News Medical A Team," although I can't be the only one who sees that and thinks immediately of Mr. T and George Peppard.
To truly appreciate the level of sheer bullshittery at work here, let's go back and review the tape. Here is a point-by-point examination of this four-minute exchange, distilled to its essence. Read it once, slowly, and then again very quickly, just for laughs.
Host Guy: Person worried jogging will affect knees. Buh?
Dr. Number 1: Many people think jogging wear out knees. But, studies. Maybe not. Leg has bones, femur and tibula. Uh, tibia. Cartilage in between. Many think jogging wear out knees. But, studies. Maybe not. Sweden! Jogging GOOD for cartilage? More protection, protein made. Cartilage. But not people who are overweight. Or sprinters. Gentle jogging, long distance running. Also soft surfaces.
Host Woman: Treadmill?
Dr. Number 1: Some treadmills. Depends. Look. See which one.
Host Guy: Sidewalk? High school track?
Host Woman: Track better?
Dr. Number 2: Depends which jogging.
[Viewer: Hey, more doctor!]
Dr. Number 2: Studies. Sprint runner, "very speed runner," marathon runner... that can affect cartilage. If jog for health, no big deal. Also, if genetics, family history arthritis, or pre-existing, damage done that you aren't aware of, jogging can make worse. But not cause arthritis. Chemistry, jogging, make it stronger!
Host Woman: What if no jog but start jogging? And pain in knee?
Dr. Number 1: Consult physician! Low impact, elliptical, bike! Running great sport. And, again, obese people.
Host Woman: I don't jog. Want to, sometimes, but knees sore.
Host Guy [to self]: I wear suit.
Dr. Number 2: Don't jog! Pain means bad. Shoes, leaning forward or backward. Obesity. Weight = four times that pressure on cartilage. So, losing weight first. Non-weight-bearing, swimming, biking, other things. Then jogging.
Host Woman [making hypodermic needle pantomime]: Injection work?
Dr. Number 1: They can! But temporarily. Working on stem cell, rich plasma. By the way, shoes? Important. Here's a wisecrack.
Host Woman: Ha ha.
[Several voices, unintelligible.]
Dr. Number 2: Glucosamine? Many people glucosamine.
Dr. Number 1: Works for some, not others. Started off in dogs. Works for you, use it. Controversial. But.
Dr. Number 2: Supplements.
Dr. Number 1: Chondroitin too. Glucosamine and chondroitin. In some people.
Dr. Number 2: Fifteen hundred milligram a day. You can talk to doctor about glucosamine.
Dr. Number 1: Help some people!
...aaaaand cut to commercial.
Got all that?
By the way, if you're still wondering:
Q: I really enjoy my daily hour of jogging but I am worried about how it is affecting my knee cartilage. Should I worry?
A: No. Unless you're very overweight or have a pre-existing condition affecting your knees. And if it hurts, stop.
See? That took about five seconds! And you didn't have to rub your temples once.
I love it when a plan comes together.