Sawbones: A Marital Tour of Misguided Medicine-logo

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.


Huntington, WV


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: Pepto Bismol

Many of us know all the catchy jingle that lists all the things that Pepto Bismol is supposed to be good for. However, that ubiquitous pink medicine is maybe not so ubiquitous everywhere. How did this chalky liquid become so necessary for curing Americans' stomach woes – and does it actually do anything? Music: "Medicines" by The Taxpayers


Sawbones Classic: Santa is Sick

To get you through that holiday slog, we're re-releasing our classic holiday episode all about the ailments Santa could possibly have. It's Candlenights 2016, and that can only mean one thing: Dr. Sydnee is trying to ruin Christmas again. Join her as she explains to poor, pitiful Justin all of Santa's terrible health risks, recorded live in Huntington, WV. Music: "Medicines" by The Taxpayers


Sawbones: Dr. Willard Bliss

It was probably the destiny of Dr. Doctor Willard Bliss to become a medical professional, although his career was a real rollercoaster of beliefs and practices. But he obtained the most notoriety for bringing his questionable treatments to one of the most important people in the United States – President James Garfield. Music: "Medicines" by The Taxpayers


Sawbones: The Ejaculation Panic

In the 1800s, there was a growing concern about spermatorrhea, a condition that involves involuntary and excessive semen leakage or discharge. Some doctors (and people who claimed to be doctors) were quick to come up with some truly terrifying solutions . . . except that it was largely a panic and not really happening at all. Music: "Medicines" by The Taxpayers


Sawbones: The Intimate Side of a Woman’s Life

What was some of the outdated (though subtly subversive) medical advice given to cisgendered women of the 1930s? Dr. Sydnee and Justin aim to answer that with The Intimate Side of a Woman’s Life by Leona W. Chalmers, with all sorts of tips about douching, period cramps, and sex energy. Thanks to Olivia for sending in the book! Music: "Medicines" by The Taxpayers


Sawbones: The Tea That Doesn’t Cure Cancer (and Might Make It Worse)

Often cure-alls cure nothing (and do nothing), but other times they may actually hurt. Dr. Sydnee and Justin talk about the Essiac tea formula, which claims to cure cancer while preventing people from seeking actual helpful medical care. Music: "Medicines" by The Taxpayers


Sawbones: Pineapple

There is a claim on the internet that when you eat pineapple, it eats you back. This is actually true! Or more accurately, pineapple contains an enzyme that breaks down tissue. Dr. Sydnee and Justin dive into exactly how this works, as well as the fundamental question: what is an enzyme? Music: "Medicines" by The Taxpayers


Sawbones: Why Do I Always Burp Next to My Wife?

It’s time for us to answer some more listener medical questions, if “us” means “Dr. Sydnee McElroy.” Questions like: can you cook dirt enough to make it clean? What is Gaze-Evoked Tinnitus? Why do we rub our eyes when we’re tired? And can I taste . . .with my eyes? Music: "Medicines" by The Taxpayers


Sawbones: Marvel Anatomy: Endgame

Justin returns to quiz Dr. Sydnee for the third and final analysis of the official Marvel Anatomy book. All will be revealed! Where does Colossus get his steel skin? How does Mystique turn into other people? And why are the Inhumans so disappointing? Music: "Medicines" by The Taxpayers


Sawbones: Carpet Python Parasite

Sometimes respiratory and GI distress can be treated with antibiotics; other times it turns out there’s a live carpet python parasite in the brain. Dr. Sydnee discuss this rare case from a few years ago, the history of discovering parasitic roundworms in humans, and best practices in avoiding them. Music: "Medicines" by The Taxpayers


Sawbones: Alpha-Gal Syndrome

That thing where you get bitten by ticks and can't eat meat, is that real? Yes, it's real, and it's called Alpha-Gal Syndrome. Dr. Sydnee dives into the fascinating story of how we found out that sometimes, if you get bitten by a certain tick, you become allergic to red meat. Music: "Medicines" by The Taxpayers


Sawbones: Blood Glucose Tolerance Test

If you’ve ever been pregnant or pregnant-adjacent, you may have heard of the blood glucose test to check for gestational diabetes. Many pregnant people find the process unpleasant and gross — which has prompted some pseudo-experts to speak out against it. Dr. Sydnee discusses the new discourse surrounding the test, how it works, and why, if your doctor recommends it, you should honestly just get it done. Music: "Medicines" by The Taxpayers


Sawbones: Mamajuana

One of the national drinks of the Dominican Republic, Mamajuana has a long history as an enjoyed alcoholic beverage . . . and a medicine. Dr. Sydnee and Justin go over the backstories of this beverage and the various medicinal properties it has reportedly held. For more about the history of Mamajuana and how to use it in cocktails, check out Neat: The Boozecast: Music: "Medicines" by The Taxpayers


Sawbones: Leprosy in Florida

Florida has a sudden uptick in cases of leprosy – but isn’t that just a weird Biblical disease? It’s real, it’s just fairly rare. Justin and Dr. Sydnee bring the history of leprosy from a 2014 episode, in addition to updated research and treatments, as well as what exactly is going on in Florida. Music: "Medicines" by The Taxpayers


Sawbones: Railway Madness

Trains are statistically one of the safest ways to travel, but please mind the vibrations. Dr. Sydnee talks about the brief period in the 1800's when men kept going wild on trains. Music: "Medicines" by The Taxpayers


Sawbones: Borax

You'll never believe what people are doing on TikTok now. Borax is a salt you might have in your home: it's an active ingredient in many contact solutions, so it doesn't sound especially good to eat. Dr. Sydnee talks about the different reasons people on the internet are drinking it, the history of borax, and the actual science behind it. But the bottom line is: please do not drink borax. Music: "Medicines" by The Taxpayers


Sawbones: Patents vs. Life-Saving Drugs

John Green recently made a video asking Johnson & Johnson not to extend their patent on a tuberculosis drug, which would keep it exclusive and expensive. Dr. Sydnee and Justin talk about how drug patents work, the recent (good) update about bedaquiline specifically, and the next steps that pharmaceutical companies and the government need to make to keep life-saving drugs affordable. We’re back to classic Sawbones, keeping tabs on Big Pharma again. Music: "Medicines" by The Taxpayers


Update: Malaria

Now that there have been malaria cases popping up in the United States, we bring the full episode about the disease from 2015. So learn all about malaria in the past, and Dr. Sydnee will have an update about malaria in the present. Music: "Medicines" by The Taxpayers


Sawbones: Harmonic Egg

Sound can sometimes be therapeutic, like listening to white noise to help fall asleep. But can a big egg-shaped hut use the theory of quantum realms and vibrations to cure everything with love and frequencies? Um . . . no. But someone seemed to think so. Dr. Sydnee and Justin explain the Harmonic Egg, how it’s supposed to work, and how it came about. Music: "Medicines" by The Taxpayers


Sawbones: What's the Point of Soup?

Start the summer off smarter with the answers to listener medical questions! What old-timey diseases should I worry about if I time travel? Are meat sweats a real thing? Is there any risk in being exposed to drugs in giving someone mouth-to-mouth? And why does Aleve get the short end of the stick when it comes to choice painkillers? Music: "Medicines" by The Taxpayers