Debunking medical myths: Did you know these are not true?

Theo

Active Member
The Freakonomics blog has posted a year-end clearance of medical myths:

Sorry, moms: it turns out that reading in low light won’t make you go blind; going hatless in the winter won’t make you freeze to death; and you could eat poinsettias all day and not be poisoned.

All this holiday medical myth-busting and more is courtesy of our somber friends at the British Medical Journal....

I believed some of these myths to be true. Shows ya just how much bullshit is floating around out there, some of which even doctors believe.

Myths, Part One:

Sugar causes hyperactivity in children

Suicides increase over the holidays

Poinsettia toxicity

Excess heat loss in the hatless

Nocturnal feasting makes you fat

You can cure a hangover

Myths, Part Two

People should drink at least eight glasses of water a day

We use only 10% of our brains

Hair and fingernails continue to grow after death

Shaving hair causes it to grow back faster, darker, or coarser

Reading in dim light ruins your eyesight

Eating turkey makes people especially drowsy

Mobile phones create considerable electromagnetic interference in hospitals

Hospitals totally seem to believe in that last one.

Do any of these surprise you? Do you have more medical myths to add to the list?

I can't wait to forward to my brother the myth about sugar causing hyperactivity in kids. He's always claiming I'll cause my niece and nephew to be hyper when I give them sugary treats.

The research shows:
The differences in the children’s behaviour were all in the parents’ minds.
 
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PregnantForTheLastTime

Hideous trait.
Do any of these surprise you? Do you have more medical myths to add to the list?

I can't wait to forward to my brother the one about sugar causing hyperactivity in kids. He's always claiming I'll cause my niece and nephew to be hyper when I give them sugary treats.

I agree, it's caffeine you have to watch out for. My mother-in-law keeps giving me shit because I don't let the boys drink Coke all the time. Yes, it affects them more when they have it, because they don't have it often. But they sleep well the rest of the time...

Also, I know that cell phones don't cause any problem in hospitals. I know that for a fact. But you still can't get any reception, for some reason.
 

Theo

Active Member
It's funny. I believed people that this one was true:
Shaving hair causes it to grow back faster, darker, or coarser

I've often wondered to myself why that would be true. It didn't make sense. But still I believed it cuz I'd heard to so many times...
 

CrystalGeezer

My secret's my enzyme.
It's funny. I believed people that this one was true:

I've often wondered to myself why that would be true. It didn't make sense. But still I believed it cuz I'd heard to so many times...

Maybe it is true.
 

Cassius

New Member
Doesn't the skin recede after we die due to the lack of moisture, giving off the illusion that the skin and nails continue to grow after death?
 

Theo

Active Member
Doesn't the skin recede after we die due to the lack of moisture, giving off the illusion that the skin and nails continue to grow after death?

You are correct! You're smart, Cassius!

From the article:
This myth does have a basis in a biological phenomenon that can occur 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.w24 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. The actual growth of hair and nails, however, requires a complex hormonal regulation not sustained after death.w25 w26


This was another of the myths I had believed, just cuz I'd heard it so many times. And also, I guess, cuz I thought it was kinda cool.
 
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Dave

Guest
The thing about eating turkey probably comes from Thanksgiving, when people eat so much that they are lethargic.


I am going to add one that is not a medical myth. It seems that when you add salt to water it makes it boil faster. I read that this is not true. But if you have a pan of water that is hot but not boiling, it seems that it boils immediately when you add a little salt. Obviously, if it was about to boil anyway when you add the salt, it's an illusion, but it just seems to work.
 
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Cassius

New Member
The thing about eating turkey probably comes from Thanksgiving, when people eat so much that they are lethargic.

Well supposedly turkey contains a chemical that is supposed to makes people sleepy. I forgot what it's called. I actually thought this was true, I need to read the article to see how it's been debunked.
 

Theo

Active Member
I think that the shaving example would be really hard to prove or disprove, but it does seem that if you have unwanted hair it is probably going to get worse anyway. Old men (and women) seem to keep getting hairier unless they are balding. But I think even someone that is balding would continue to be hairier on their arms (etc :eek: )



Here's what the article says:


Another common belief is that shaving hair off will cause it to grow back in a darker or coarser form or to grow back faster. It is often reinforced by popular media sourcesw27 and perhaps by people contemplating the quick appearance of stubble on their own body.

Strong scientific evidence disproves these claims. As early as 1928, a clinical trial showed that shaving had no effect on hair growth.w28 More recent studies confirm that shaving does not affect the thickness or rate of hair regrowth.w29 w30 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.w26 Shaved hair lacks the finer taper seen at the ends of unshaven hair, giving an impression of coarseness.w31 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.
 

Theo

Active Member
Well supposedly turkey contains a chemical that is supposed to makes people sleepy. I forgot what it's called. I actually thought this was true, I need to read the article to see how it's been debunked.


You gotta click on the links to read the analysis!

On the turkey thing:

The myth is the idea that consuming turkey (and the tryptophan it contains) might particularly predispose someone to sleepiness. Actually, turkey does not contain an exceptional amount of tryptophan. Turkey, chicken, and minced beef contain nearly equivalent amounts of tryptophan (about 350 mg per 115 g), while other common sources of protein, such as pork or cheese, contain more tryptophan per gram than turkey.w42 Any effects of the tryptophan in turkey are probably minimised by consuming it in combination with other food, which would limit its absorption according to expert opinion.w43 In fact, consuming supplemental tryptophan on an empty stomach is recommended to aid absorption.w44 Other physiological mechanisms explain drowsiness after meals. Any large solid meal (such as turkey, sausages, stuffing, and assorted vegetables followed by Christmas pudding and brandy butter) can induce sleepiness because blood flow and oxygenation to the brain decreases,w45 and meals either high in protein or carbohydrate may cause drowsiness.w46-w51 Accompanying wine may also play a role.w52 w53
 

Theo

Active Member
I am going to add one that is not a medical myth. It seems that when you add salt to water it makes it boil faster. I read that this is not true. But if you have a pan of water that is hot but not boiling, it seems that it boils immediately when you add a little salt. Obviously, if it was about to boil anyway when you add the salt, it's an illusion, but it just seems to work.

It does appear that salt makes it go to boil faster! I make a lot of pasta and I sometimes get annoyed waiting for the water to go to boil, but then it seems to speed up when I add some salt.
 

Theo

Active Member
Dave, I guess you edited this away, but:
but it does seem that if you have unwanted hair it is probably going to get worse anyway. Old men (and women) seem to keep getting hairier unless they are balding.

I have this one hair that grows on my left ear lobe. It grows fast!!! Just one solitary hair that grows like a motherf***er if I don't keep it in check. It annoys me. Can I expect more of these weird hairs in the future? The hair in my nostrils seem to grow a lot more nowadays. I had to get an electric nose hair trimmer to deal with that. Though I get an odd and satisfying feeling of pain 'n' pleasure when I pluck one of these nose hairs with my fingers.
 
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Dave

Guest
Dave, I guess you edited this away, but:

I have this one hair that grows on my left ear lobe. It grows fast!!! Just one solitary hair that grows like a motherf***er if I don't keep it in check. It annoys me. Can I expect more of these weird hairs in the future? The hair in my nostrils seem to grow a lot more nowadays. I had to get an electric nose hair trimmer to deal with that. Though I get an odd and satisfying feeling of pain 'n' pleasure when I pluck one of these nose hairs with my fingers.

yes, I decided the hair talk was getting to be sort of gnarly. but yeah...

I got one of those electric things but it didn't work well. they have scissors just for that though, and they work much better if you don't mind sticking scissors up your nose.
 

Theo

Active Member
yes, I decided the hair talk was getting to be sort of gnarly. but yeah...

I got one of those electric things but it didn't work well. they have scissors just for that though, and they work much better if you don't mind sticking scissors up your nose.

I use scissors, too. But my Panasonic nose hair thingie works pretty good. I see a lot of guys walking around with out of control nose hairs and it makes me sick.
 

Theo

Active Member
I am going to add one that is not a medical myth. It seems that when you add salt to water it makes it boil faster. I read that this is not true. But if you have a pan of water that is hot but not boiling, it seems that it boils immediately when you add a little salt. Obviously, if it was about to boil anyway when you add the salt, it's an illusion, but it just seems to work.

Did you know, though, that it is absolutely true that if you leave the kitchen and stop hovering over the pot, the water comes to a boil much faster? It works every time!
 

EPbabe

Active Member
It's funny. I believed people that this one was true:

I've often wondered to myself why that would be true. It didn't make sense. But still I believed it cuz I'd heard to so many times...

The one about the hair is true. :o
 

Brel

Guttersnipe
I have been discussing the "Nocturnal feasting makes you fat" issue this week. The most recent research has totally rejected this misconception. I have always had my doubts, especially as I have a few friends from Spain who are all thin, yet all eat very late. My wife works in Epidemiology and was discussing this at some national science committee a few weeks ago. So she added a bit of gravitas to the debate. Not that I remember any of it!
 

Sister Rose

A little older, wiser
I totally agree that caffeine causes hyperactivity! I always try to drink caffeine free coke and decaffeinated tea and coffee. :)
 
Tags
good thread theo! stfu theo ain't no troll theo is a tit very interesting theo!
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