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"7 Medical Myths Even Doctors Believe"

Tck13

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Link to article...

Thought this was interesting:


7 Medical Myths Even Doctors Believe

By Robert Roy Britt, LiveScience Managing Editor

Popular culture is loaded with myths and half-truths. Most are harmless. But when doctors start believing medical myths, perhaps it's time to worry.

In the British Medical Journal this week, researchers looked into several common misconceptions, from the belief that a person should drink eight glasses of water per day to the notion that reading in low light ruins your eyesight.

"We got fired up about this because we knew that physicians accepted these beliefs and were passing this information along to their patients," said Dr. Aaron Carroll, assistant professor of pediatrics at the Indiana University School of Medicine. "And these beliefs are frequently cited in the popular media."

And so here they are, so that you can inform your doctor:

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.

"Whenever we talk about this work, doctors at first express disbelief that these things are not true," said Vreeman said. "But after we carefully lay out medical evidence, they are very willing to accept that these beliefs are actually false."
 

Jumbie

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I'm not going to lie that I believed the 8 glasses of water thing but during my Nephrology rotation a couple months ago, the doc I was following said it was a bunch of BS.

Either way, it's still a good idea to be more hydrated rather than less.

The cell phone thing is definitely not true. Everyone uses the damn things in hospitals.
 

Flambeur

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One of the more recent ones is that coffee/black tea dehydrates you, but latest research shows that once your body gets accustomed to it (if you drink it regularly) it hydrates you just as well as any other "normal" liquid
 

jefe

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Originally Posted by Flambeur
One of the more recent ones is that coffee/black tea dehydrates you, but latest research shows that once your body gets accustomed to it (if you drink it regularly) it hydrates you just as well as any other "normal" liquid

Awesome! now I can just drink coffee all the time!
 

DrZRM

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Another one is that antibiotics are negatively impacted by drinking alcohol. Army doctors wanted to keep soldiers with VD out of the brothels until they had completed their course of antibiotics so they would not reinfect the prostitutes and thus infect other soldiers, so they told them no drinking, and most doctors still say you should not drink while you are on antibiotics.
 

sho'nuff

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i always wondered about the advice not to drink sodas or sparkling water because the carbonic acid creates an acidic environment in your stomach inducive to creating cancer from what i hear.

i dont believe it because our stomachs already contain HCL which has a very low pH in the first place but im not sure of all the dynamics and context that goes into that in the stomach to really know if the above is a myth or not.
 

hamish5178

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Originally Posted by SField
I don't know a single doctor who believes any of this.

Trash article for fat stupid housewives.


Really?

Most of the doctors I've encountered believe that breastfeeding is bad for kids and that milk builds strong bones!
 

why

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Uhhh...milk is good for stronger bones.
 

Listi

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I never believed any of these things and I'm not a doctor.
 

mink31

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Originally Posted by sho'nuff
i always wondered about the advice not to drink sodas or sparkling water because the carbonic acid creates an acidic environment in your stomach inducive to creating cancer from what i hear. i dont believe it because our stomachs already contain HCL which has a very low pH in the first place but im not sure of all the dynamics and context that goes into that in the stomach to really know if the above is a myth or not.
This is definitely a myth. (I'd worry about tooth decay due to soda first!) The fact is that the vast majority of the CO2 in carbonated beverages isn't converted into carbonic acid in the stomach (or anywhere else at ~30 C). Even if it were, carbonic acid isn't very acidic compared to our stomach juices.
 

sho'nuff

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Originally Posted by mink31
This is definitely a myth. (I'd worry about tooth decay due to soda first!)

The fact is that the vast majority of the CO2 in carbonated beverages isn't converted into carbonic acid in the stomach (or anywhere else at ~30 C). Even if it were, carbonic acid isn't very acidic compared to our stomach juices.


that's what i figured. but still some highly knowledgeable people here at my work (health industry, they are chemists and some biology/health degree holders) strongly insist that the above is true. hmm
 

SField

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Originally Posted by hamish5178
Really?

Most of the doctors I've encountered believe that breastfeeding is bad for kids and that milk builds strong bones!


the fuck?

It's been a well established tenant of neo-natal medicine for like... decades... that breastfeeding is the optimal way to raise an infant.
 

mink31

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Originally Posted by SField
the fuck?

It's been a well established tenant of neo-natal medicine for like... decades... that breastfeeding is the optimal way to raise an infant.


Passive immunity FTW!
 

Mr T

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Originally Posted by sho'nuff
that's what i figured. but still some highly knowledgeable people here at my work (health industry, they are chemists and some biology/health degree holders) strongly insist that the above is true. hmm

They must only be using 10% of their brains.
 

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