Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Debunking Thirteen Medical Myths

Here and here are the facts:

1) Sugar does NOT cause children to be hyperactive.
Scientists have even studied how parents react to the sugar myth. When parents think their children have been given a drink containing sugar (even if it is really sugar-free), they rate their children’s behavior as more hyperactive. The differences in the children’s behavior were all in the parents’ minds.
2) Suicide rates do NOT increase over the holidays.
One study from Japan that looked at suicides in 1979-94 showed that the rate of suicide was lowest in the days before a holiday and highest in the days after the holiday. In contrast, in a study from the United States of suicides over a 35 year period, there was no increase before, during, or after holidays.
3) Poinsettia's are NOT toxic.
In an analysis of 849,575 plant exposures reported to the American Association of Poison Control Centers,17 none of the 22,793 cases involving poinsettia resulted in considerable poisoning. No one died from exposure to or ingestion of poinsettia, and most (96%) did not even require medical treatment. In 92 of the cases, children ingested substantial quantities of poinsettias, but none needed medical treatment, and toxicologists concluded that poinsettia exposures and ingestion can be treated without referral to a health care facility.
4) A disproportionate percentage of body heat is NOT lost through the head.
A more recent study confirms that there is nothing special about the head and heat loss. Any uncovered part of the body loses heat and will reduce the core body temperature proportionally.
5) Eating late at night does NOT cause excess weight gain.
But just because obesity and eating more meals at night are associated, it does not mean that one causes the other. People gain weight because they take in more calories overall than they burn up. The obese women were not just night eaters, they were also eating more meals, and taking in more calories makes you gain weight regardless of when calories are consumed.
6) There is NO cure for hangovers.
No scientific evidence, however, supports any cure or effective prevention for alcohol hangovers. A systematic review of randomized trials evaluating medical interventions for preventing or treating hangovers found no effective interventions in either traditional or complementary medicine.
7) People should NOT necessarily drink eight glasses of water a day.
Furthermore, existing studies suggest that adequate fluid intake is usually met through typical daily consumption of juice, milk, and even caffeinated drinks. In contrast, drinking excess amounts of water can be dangerous, resulting in water intoxication, hyponatraemia, and even death.
8) People do NOT only use 10% of their brain.
Evidence from studies of brain damage, brain imaging, localization of function, microstructural analysis, and metabolic studies show that people use much more than 10% of their brains. Studies of patients with brain injury suggest that damage to almost any area of the brain has specific and lasting effects on mental, vegetative, and behavioral capabilities.
9) Fingernails and hair do NOT continue to grow after death.
As Maples and numerous dermatologists explain, dehydration of the body after death and drying or desiccation may lead to retraction of the skin around the hair or nails. The skin’s retraction can create an appearance of increased length or of greater prominence because of the optical illusion created by contrasting the shrunken soft tissues with the nails or hair.
10) Shaving hair does NOT cause it to grow back faster, darker, or coarser.
In addition, shaving removes the dead portion of hair, not the living section lying below the skin’s surface, so it is unlikely to affect the rate or type of growth. Shaved hair lacks the finer taper seen at the ends of unshaven hair, giving an impression of coarseness. Similarly, the new hair has not yet been lightened by the sun or other chemical exposures, resulting in an appearance that seems darker than existing hair.
11). Reading in the dark does NOT ruin your eyesight.
The majority consensus in ophthalmology, as outlined in a collection of educational material for patients, is that reading in dim light does not damage your eyes. Although it can cause eye strain with multiple temporary negative effects, it is unlikely to cause a permanent change on the function or structure of the eyes.
12) Eating turkey does NOT make you especially drowsy.
Actually, turkey does not contain an exceptional amount of tryptophan. Turkey, chicken, and minced beef contain nearly equivalent amounts of tryptophan.
13) Cell phones create considerable electromagnetic interference in hospitals.
A 2007 study, examining mobile phones "used in a normal way," found no interference of any kind during 300 tests in 75 treatment rooms. In contrast, a large survey of anesthesiologists suggested that use of mobile phones by doctors was associated with reduced risk of medical error or injury resulting from delays in communication.

1 comment:

  1. This is one of the awesomest posts ever. I was blown away by the Christmas suicides one - it was so hard to believe I had to look it up myself. The sugar and head-heat ones also blew my mind.

    I also had heard a few of them, like the turkey, hangover, brain, and shaving ones (thank you, Straight Dope). I have been telling people for years that Bill Nye said that people use 100% of their brains, even when they're sleeping, but no one believed me. Never doubt Bill Nye.


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