Six Medical Myths

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If someone tells you something enough times you begin to believe that it’s true. This can be the case with many so-called medical factoids, which according to the British Medical Journal turn out to be false.

The British Medical Journal has pointed out that if you repeat something often enough it becomes true claiming that many so-called medical facts are actually untrue. This has now been bourn out by two professors at the Indiana University School of Medicine Dr. Rachel Vreeman and Dr. Aaron Carroll who where curious about facts they’d heard repeated by physicians to their patients, and wondered how many of them were actually myths.

They narrowed an extensive list down to seven medical “facts” which proved to have no basis in science, and did research on each one.

1. You need to drink eight glasses of water a day.
There is no scientific evidence to support this claim. It appears to have begun back in 1945 when an article made the statement that people should drink, on average one millilitre of fluid for every calorie consumed. However it was also found that most of this fluid was replenished by the food we eat and the normal drinks we consume such as milk, tea and coffee. In the 1980’s this statement was then picked up by certain bottle water companies, who used the first part of this claim but ignored the second part to promote the intake of their product backed up by clever marketing. There have now been many studies carried out of the last few years that have proved that this claim is completely false. However the only caveat to this is if you exercise, then your fluid intake will need to be increased.

2 People only use 10% of their brain.
Some sources state that Albert Einstein made this claim but there is no evidence to prove it. The researches could find no truth in this statement and numerous reports have refuted it. Multiple studies have shown that at any given time many parts of the brain are active and no part of it is completely dormant.

3 After death fingernails and hair continues to grow.
This disturbing and creepy factoid is the thing of horror stories, but in fact is completely untrue. Bodily tissue requires an active process to make it grow, after death this is simply impossible. However as the body decays and shrinks it could give the appearance of longer nails and hair and this may be were the myth originates. The authors of the study quote forensic anthropologist William Maples: “It is a powerful, disturbing image, but it is pure moonshine. No such thing occurs.”

4 Once you start shaving, hair grows back thicker and darker.
To the shaver this may seem the case but the facts are very different. What is actually taking place is when you shave for the first time you remove the fine, tapered end of the hair. The new hair that grows afterwards no longer has the fine, tapered end and it looks darker because it has never been exposed to sunlight, which would cause a bleaching effect.

5 Reading in a dim light will cause poor eyesight.
Doctors have proved this is not the case. Studies have shown that it may make the eyes sore, itchy and tired, but it does not effect the eyesight. Once the reading in the dim light stops there is no lasting after effects.

6 Mobile phones interfere with medical equipment in hospitals.
There are a handful of medical units (fewer than 4%) that could be affected by mobile phones, but the phone has to be closer that one meter away. There has never been reported an injury or death in a hospital that has been caused by a mobile phone.

The researches concluded their report by saying that it was not intended to embarrass their fellow physicians. It was more to point out that many patients who visit their doctor see them as powerful figures of authority and believe everything they say. It also points out to patients that they should check things out for themselves.

Could someone now prove that baked beans don’t give you wind.

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