Test your “Health IQ” – round three!


| By Dr. Ronald Hoffman

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It’s that time again! Time for another installment of Intelligent Medicine’s “Test Your Health IQ” quiz. You can also test your knowledge in our previous quizzes, part one and part two.

Test your Health IQ!According to an article in The Los Angeles Times, American adults get a “D” in science. In fact, 22% confuse astronomy and astrology! On a general science knowledge quiz consisting of 12 questions, the test-takers answered 7.9 correctly, on average. That’s a score of 66%. Only 6% answered all 12 questions correctly.

Similarly, lack of health literacy is also a huge problem among Americans. We are continually bombarded with often-contradictory health information. U.S. patients are confronted with a myriad of treatment options that they are ill-equipped to properly choose among. Urban legend, aggressive direct-to-consumer advertising, and dumbed-down media stories add to the confusion.

The mission of Intelligent Medicine is to enhance your health IQ. Here’s a third, all-new installment of our Health Quiz. See if you get a “Pass!”

1. The following are reasons for a chronic persistent cough EXCEPT:

  • A. Asthma
  • B. Lung Cancer
  • C. Pneumonia
  • D. GERD (gastro-esophageal reflux)
  • E. ALL of the above are correct

2. Which statement most accurately describes the relationship between the gut and the brain:

  • A. There’s a “microbiome fingerprint” for autism, fibromyalgia, and anxiety
  • B. Chronic psychological stress can alter the composition of the microbiome
  • C. Certain intestinal bacteria and fungi may “hijack” the brain’s appetite controls, creating cravings
  • D. NONE of the above
  • E. ALL of the above

3. All of the following support cellular energy metabolism EXCEPT:

  • A. Propax with NT Factor
  • B. Magnesium
  • C. Nicotinamide riboside (Tru Niagen)
  • D. Coenzyme Q10
  • E. ALL of the above are correct

4. Which of the following nutrients can dangerously over-accumulate in patients with kidney failure?

  • A. Coenzyme Q10
  • B. Vitamin D
  • C. Carnitine
  • D. Magnesium
  • E. ALL of the above are correct

5. ALL of the following reflect the professional esprit of many U.S. physicians EXCEPT:

  • A. They are enthusiastically embracing new advances in technology to make record-keeping and insurance submissions easier
  • B. More and more doctors are contemplating early retirement
  • C. Half of doctors no longer recommend medical careers to their children
  • D. More doctors are opting out of Medicare and Medicaid
  • E. ALL of the above

6. All of the following are harmful effects of even moderate alcohol consumption EXCEPT:

  • A. Increases the risk of many cancers including breast, esophageal, and pancreatic
  • B. Increases the risk of heart attack
  • C. Increases the risk of atrial fibrillation
  • D. Increases the risk of stroke
  • E. ALL of the above

7. Recently disproven medical dogmas include all of the following EXCEPT:

  • A. Prophylactic hysterectomy in women with breast cancer genes (like Angelina Jolie) protects against hereditary ovarian cancer
  • B. Antibiotics hasten the resolution of sinusitis, bronchitis and ear infections
  • C. Fitness trackers help people lose weight
  • D. Milk intake is associated with heart attack risk
  • E. ALL of the above have been disproven

8. High-dose vitamin D has been demonstrated to be effective for all EXCEPT:

  • A. Psoriasis
  • B. Multiple sclerosis
  • C. Kidney stones
  • D. Rheumatoid arthritis
  • E. Vitamin D may be effective for ALL of the above

9. Which of the following statements about the Paleo Diet is incorrect:

  • A. Because of its high fat and animal protein content, it is unsuitable for patients with established heart disease
  • B. It can help promote weight loss
  • C. It is often helpful to patients with gastrointestinal problems
  • D. It can be a suitable diet for autoimmunity
  • E. ALL are correct

10. Which of the following has NOT been demonstrated to be helpful for Parkinson’s Disease:

  • A. Coffee
  • B. Nicotine
  • C. Vitamin E
  • D. NONE of the above
  • E. ALL of the above


1. E) All of the above; GERD is a newly-recognized cause of chronic cough.

2. E) All of the above; The gut-brain connection is now acknowledged to be a two-way street.

3. E) All of the above.

4. D) Magnesium, can dangerously accumulate in patients with reduced kidney filtration.

5. A) Surveys show that electronic health records (EHRs) and office automation are a major source of physician dissatisfaction.

6. B) While alcohol reduces the risk of coronary artery disease, and hence heart attacks, it may increase the risk of atrial fibrillation.

7. A) Unfortunately, women with a BRCA gene mutations may be at such higher risk of ovarian cancer that hysterectomy may be warranted. The lifetime risk of ovarian cancer is 20%–46% for BRCA1 mutation carriers and 10%–27% for BRCA2 mutation carriers.

8. This is kind of a trick question. I’ll accept either C) or E) for an answer. Excess vitamin D may INCREASE the risk of kidney stones (vitamin D greater than 10,000 IUs per day) but there is a unique condition called secondary hyperparathyroidism, which usually occurs in the setting of kidney dialysis, where the risk of stones can be diminished with aggressive vitamin D therapy. A new study suggests the risk of kidney stones with even high vitamin D supplementation may be exaggerated

9. A) While it may seem counterintuitive, the anti-inflammatory, blood sugar-regulating effects of the Paleo Diet make it ideal for heart disease prevention and reversal.

10. C) Unfortunately, while it showed promise in early trials vs. Parkinson’s, vitamin E was deemed ineffective in the large DATATOP trial. However, the vitamin E used was alpha tocopherol, so it may be that mixed tocopherol or gamma-tocopherol E may eventually be proven beneficial as potent brain antioxidants.

If you answered all these questions correctly, or even 9 out of 10, congratulations, you are a true paragon of Intelligent Medicine! If you got 7 or 8 right, you’re still doing better than average. If you scored 60% or less, your health literacy needs a boost. Try boning up on medical and nutritional facts by listening to our Intelligent Medicine podcasts and following the articles we post at DrHoffman.com—you’re sure to ace the test when we repeat it sometime next year!


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