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7 Medical Myths Even Doctors Believe


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#1
frantique

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7 Medical Myths Even Doctors Believe
By Robert Roy Britt, LiveScience Managing Editor
posted: 20 December 2007 07:00 pm ET


Myth: We use only 10 percent of our brains.

Fact: Physicians and comedians alike, including Jerry Seinfeld, love to cite this one. It's sometimes erroneously credited to Albert Einstein. But MRI scans, PET scans and other imaging studies show no dormant areas of the brain, and even viewing individual neurons or cells reveals no inactive areas, the new paper points out. Metabolic studies of how brain cells process chemicals show no nonfunctioning areas. The myth probably originated with self-improvement hucksters in the early 1900s who wanted to convince people that they had yet not reached their full potential, Carroll figures. It also doesn't jibe with the fact that our other organs run at full tilt.

Myth: You should drink at least eight glasses of water a day.

Fact: "There is no medical evidence to suggest that you need that much water," said Dr. Rachel Vreeman, a pediatrics research fellow at the university and co-author of the journal article. Vreeman thinks this myth can be traced back to a 1945 recommendation from the Nutrition Council that a person consume the equivalent of 8 glasses (64 ounces) of fluid a day. Over the years, "fluid" turned to water. But fruits and vegetables, plus coffee and other liquids, count.

Myth: Fingernails and hair grow after death.

Fact: Most physicians queried on this one initially thought it was true. Upon further reflection, they realized it's impossible. Here's what happens: "As the body’s skin is drying out, soft tissue, especially skin, is retracting," Vreeman said. "The nails appear much more prominent as the skin dries out. The same is true, but less obvious, with hair. As the skin is shrinking back, the hair looks more prominent or sticks up a bit."

Myth: Shaved hair grows back faster, coarser and darker.

Fact: A 1928 clinical trial compared hair growth in shaved patches to growth in non-shaved patches. The hair which replaced the shaved hair was no darker or thicker, and did not grow in faster. More recent studies have confirmed that one. Here's the deal: When hair first comes in after being shaved, it grows with a blunt edge on top, Carroll and Vreeman explain. Over time, the blunt edge gets worn so it may seem thicker than it actually is. Hair that's just emerging can be darker too, because it hasn't been bleached by the sun.

Myth: Reading in dim light ruins your eyesight.

Fact: The researchers found no evidence that reading in dim light causes permanent eye damage. It can cause eye strain and temporarily decreased acuity, which subsides after rest.

Myth: Eating turkey makes you drowsy.

Fact: Even Carroll and Vreeman believed this one until they researched it. The thing is, a chemical in turkey called tryptophan is known to cause drowsiness. But turkey doesn't contain any more of it than does chicken or beef. This myth is fueled by the fact that turkey is often eaten with a colossal holiday meal, often accompanied by alcohol — both things that will make you sleepy.

Myth: Mobile phones are dangerous in hospitals.

Fact: There are no known cases of death related to this one. Cases of less-serious interference with hospital devices seem to be largely anecdotal, the researchers found. In one real study, mobile phones were found to interfere with 4 percent of devices, but only when the phone was within 3 feet of the device. A more recent study, this year, found no interference in 300 tests in 75 treatment rooms. To the contrary, when doctors use mobile phones, the improved communication means they make fewer mistakes.


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#2
BHowett

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Myth: Eating turkey makes you drowsy.

Fact: Even Carroll and Vreeman believed this one until they researched it. The thing is, a chemical in turkey called tryptophan is known to cause drowsiness. But turkey doesn't contain any more of it than does chicken or beef. This myth is fueled by the fact that turkey is often eaten with a colossal holiday meal, often accompanied by alcohol — both things that will make you sleepy.



Thats a good one, I saw on the news this year that you would have to eat like 25 whole turkies just to get any affect at all from the tryptophan. :)
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#3
hfcg

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Myth: Eating turkey makes you drowsy.

Fact: Even Carroll and Vreeman believed this one until they researched it. The thing is, a chemical in turkey called tryptophan is known to cause drowsiness. But turkey doesn't contain any more of it than does chicken or beef. This myth is fueled by the fact that turkey is often eaten with a colossal holiday meal, often accompanied by alcohol — both things that will make you sleepy.

Great, now what am I going to use as an excuse for my afternoon nap on Thanksgiving?
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#4
Teenage.Zombiee

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Myth: Mobile phones are dangerous in hospitals.

Fact: There are no known cases of death related to this one. Cases of less-serious interference with hospital devices seem to be largely anecdotal, the researchers found. In one real study, mobile phones were found to interfere with 4 percent of devices, but only when the phone was within 3 feet of the device. A more recent study, this year, found no interference in 300 tests in 75 treatment rooms. To the contrary, when doctors use mobile phones, the improved communication means they make fewer mistakes.

You mean all the years I've been in waiting rooms at hospitals I've been told to put my phone away for no reason? Man that makes me mad >.>
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#5
computerspecialist101

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You mean all the years I've been in waiting rooms at hospitals I've been told to put my phone away for no reason? Man that makes me mad >.>


The main reason that they tell you to put it away is really just a precaution to make sure that there is no room for error. if 99 percent of all cell phones in a hospital are turned off, then there are that many less chances that something could go wrong. like the saying goes, if it can go wrong it will, well, the hospital doesnt want to take that chance with thousands of lifes on the line.
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#6
Titan8990

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Over the years, "fluid" turned to water. But fruits and vegetables, plus coffee and other liquids, count.


I'm not sure I believe this one. Fruits and veggies maybe but coffee? Caffeine can actually dehydrate the body doing exactly the opposite of drinking water....

Health books that I have read have for the most part been very against caffeine due to it's dehydrating effects. I hardly drink the stuff anymore.

Edited by Titan8990, 31 January 2008 - 04:11 PM.

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#7
frantique

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I'm with you on that one Titan8990. I read in one of my health books a long time ago that when anything is added to water or any liquid that is not water, is consumed, the body treats it as if it is a food. I have tested this out to a small extent. I usually drink around 2 litres of water daily. I also drink caffeine free tea. I went for a couple of days where I didn't drink any water and only drank around 2 + litres of the tea. My body felt very sluggish and heavy compared to normal.
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Teenage.Zombiee

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You mean all the years I've been in waiting rooms at hospitals I've been told to put my phone away for no reason? Man that makes me mad >.>


The main reason that they tell you to put it away is really just a precaution to make sure that there is no room for error. if 99 percent of all cell phones in a hospital are turned off, then there are that many less chances that something could go wrong. like the saying goes, if it can go wrong it will, well, the hospital doesnt want to take that chance with thousands of lifes on the line.

I know. But say if one ward had no equipment (pursay the one I'm waiting in) and the other one did, could it affect the other one/s?
I know its off topic cuz I am really stumped for this :)
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#9
frantique

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I know. But say if one ward had no equipment (pursay the one I'm waiting in) and the other one did, could it affect the other one/s?
I know its off topic cuz I am really stumped for this :)

Whilst I do not know an answer to your question, I do think that in instances such as hospitals it would probably cause confusion if there were certain places you could use a phone and other places it would be better if you didn't ... so they just have a blanket policy asking you not to use it. Also I would imagine that one person using a phone near equipment may not cause any interruption to that equipment, however, if at any one time a large number of people were all using phones near that equipment it may have an effect on it (don't know this for sure ... just my guess!). And in the case of lifesaving equipment ... surely it would be better to err on the side of safety.
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#10
Teenage.Zombiee

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I know. But say if one ward had no equipment (pursay the one I'm waiting in) and the other one did, could it affect the other one/s?
I know its off topic cuz I am really stumped for this :)

Whilst I do not know an answer to your question, I do think that in instances such as hospitals it would probably cause confusion if there were certain places you could use a phone and other places it would be better if you didn't ... so they just have a blanket policy asking you not to use it. Also I would imagine that one person using a phone near equipment may not cause any interruption to that equipment, however, if at any one time a large number of people were all using phones near that equipment it may have an effect on it (don't know this for sure ... just my guess!). And in the case of lifesaving equipment ... surely it would be better to err on the side of safety.

Good point :)
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