Vitamin C and the common cold: Linus Pauling or Old Wives?
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that while vitamin C (ascorbic acid) may shorten the length of a cold, it does not seem to prevent it. Not news, really, but the article frames the issue as debunking "an old wives' tale." No mention of Linus Pauling, who in the 1970s did studies on the efficacy of vitamin C and who wrote books (popular and technical) and articles arguing for the use of vitamin C in preventing colds. I suppose, given the state of science education in the U.S., I should not be surprised that the author of the article would be ignorant of this history and Pauling's influence, but I can still be disgusted that the phrase "old wives' tale" is still be used to mean "old, foolish discredited knowledge." Apparently that packs more of a punch than saying that one scientific study overturned the results of another.