Friday, December 21, 2007

Medical Myths Even Doctors Believe

I've always been fascinated by this kind of thing. We have a lot of ideas that we pass off as fact with nothing to back it up. Some of these I already knew. They are myths, but I think that some of them are still good ideas. Check out the full article here.

Myth: We use only 10 percent of our brains.
It turns out there is no part of the brain we don't use. There are no inactive locations. They myth comes from quacks from the early 1900s trying to push their self-improvement schemes.

Myth: You should drink at least eight glasses of water a day.
I grew up with this myth. My mom is a strong follower of 8 glasses a day. You know, I think that it isn't a bad idea. Our bodies are made of mostly water. This much water can't hurt our operations.

Myth: Fingernails and hair grow after death.
I remember learning this myth back when I was seven years old and walking through a graveyard in Germany. My dad told me about it. I had this awful idea of corpses with really long nails and hair. Gross.

Myth: Shaved hair grows back faster, coarser and darker.
I only found out this was a myth several years ago. I wish it were true! I have very little facial hair. If this myth were true, it would be possible for me to grow a beard if I kept at it. Sadly, there's no truth in it.

Myth: Reading in dim light ruins your eyesight.
I'll quote the article directly: "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.
This was a new one for me. Yes, yes, we've all heard that tryptophan makes you sleepy. That is true. But turkey doesn't have any more tryptophan in it than turkey or beef. The drowsiness is caused by the large amount of food you're eating, not a special chemical.

Myth: Mobile phones are dangerous in hospitals.
I've never heard of this myth before. I can see where it would come from however. We aren't allowed to use cell phones in airplanes. (The jury on that is still out. Some studies say it can interfere with flight controls, some say that it can't.) So it makes sense that we'd believe it could hurt sensitive instruments in hospitals. Luckily that isn't true.

1 comment:

the mighty guin said...

Cell phones aren't allowed in radiation treatment areas at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. I think it's probably a legitimate thing though.