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Should Men Sit Down to Pee?

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When Viggo Hansen, a county counselor from the Left Party in Sormland, Sweden, tried passing a law that required that men sit down to pee when using the public bathrooms, his motion caused a flood of reactions. Hansen argued when men sit down to pee it is better for public health because it reduces the splatter around the toilets and stops the spread of disease. Hansen is one of many—including the head of the environmental protection agency in Taiwan, Stephen Shen, who also tried mandating such an order—that believe errant urine is bad for public health. They argue that droplets of urine spread disease. But just how scientifically sound are these arguments? Is it actually better for men to sit down and pee?

“Urine is actually sterile,” says Benjamin Davies, an associate professor of urology at the University of Pittsburgh. “There is no bacteria in it. You can drink urine.” (Though he's not advocating that anyone does take a swig of urine.) 

So puddles of urine might smell bad and look gross, but they won’t cause disease. But Hansen has another argument: Hansen claims that men who pee while sitting will fully empty their bladders, which is better for their prostates—and means they'll experience a longer, healthier sex life.

But again, Hansen's claims are totally off the mark. "This is total bullsh**," Davies says. "There is no relationship between voiding and sex life. I haven’t the slightest idea why it would improve your prostate. If you are a normal male your prostate muscles relax while you urinate.”

Bottom line: Completely healthy men experience no benefit by sitting to urinate instead of standing. Some conditions might mean it is easier for a man to fully empty his bladder if he sits down, but for the vast majority there is no difference between sitting and standing. However, some cultures prefer to sit rather than stand—almost half of all Japanese men sit to urinate. 

Davies believes that sitting is a cultural or psychological preference, not a health issue. “If you are tired," he says, "go ahead and sit.”   

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Big Questions
What Is the Difference Between Generic and Name Brand Ibuprofen?
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What is the difference between generic ibuprofen vs. name brands?

Yali Friedman:

I just published a paper that answers this question: Are Generic Drugs Less Safe than their Branded Equivalents?

Here’s the tl;dr version:

Generic drugs are versions of drugs made by companies other than the company which originally developed the drug.

To gain FDA approval, a generic drug must:

  • Contain the same active ingredients as the innovator drug (inactive ingredients may vary)
  • Be identical in strength, dosage form, and route of administration
  • Have the same use indications
  • Be bioequivalent
  • Meet the same batch requirements for identity, strength, purity, and quality
  • Be manufactured under the same strict standards of FDA's good manufacturing practice regulations required for innovator products

I hope you found this answer useful. Feel free to reach out at www.thinkbiotech.com. For more on generic drugs, you can see our resources and whitepapers at Pharmaceutical strategic guidance and whitepapers

This post originally appeared on Quora. Click here to view.

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Big Questions
Do Cats Fart?
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Certain philosophical questions can invade even the most disciplined of minds. Do aliens exist? Can a soul ever be measured? Do cats fart?

While the latter may not have weighed heavily on some of history’s great brains, it’s certainly no less deserving of an answer. And in contrast to existential queries, there’s a pretty definitive response: Yes, they do. We just don’t really hear it.

According to veterinarians who have realized their job sometimes involves answering inane questions about animals passing gas, cats have all the biological hardware necessary for a fart: a gastrointestinal system and an anus. When excess air builds up as a result of gulping breaths or gut bacteria, a pungent cloud will be released from their rear ends. Smell a kitten’s butt sometime and you’ll walk away convinced that cats fart.

The discretion, or lack of audible farts, is probably due to the fact that cats don’t gulp their food like dogs do, leading to less air accumulating in their digestive tract.

So, yes, cats do fart. But they do it with the same grace and stealth they use to approach everything else. Think about that the next time you blame the dog.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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