Thursday, December 27, 2007

Medical Myths Even Doctors Believe

I know, this sounds like the latest infomercial on late night television to get you to by some book that "doctors don't want you to have." Unfortunately, marketing tactics like this work. They sell books and my patients bring them in to ask me about them. (At least my patients come in and ask me about them, so that we can talk about it).

The title of this post is "borrowed" from an article from yesterday's New York Times. Researchers from the Indiana University School of Medicine made a list of items thought to be in the "conventional wisdom" of physicians and of the general public. What they came up with is a list of seven items proven NOT to be scientifically sound -- according to their research. This is an interesting list...

1. People should drink at least eight glasses of water a day.
2. We use only 10 percent of our brains.
3. Hair and fingernails continue to grow after death.
4. Shaving hair causes it to grow back faster, darker or coarser.
5. Reading in dim light ruins your eyesight.
6. Eating turkey makes people especially drowsy.
7. Cellphones create considerable electromagnetic interference in hospitals.

Definitely check out the article for more details. I admit that a couple from that list surprised me (I won't tell you which ones - HA!). Not only is the article interesting, but also are the 142 comments (as of this posting) that follow the article. Some people added to this list.

Others who identify themselves as "physicians" say that they knew all of these were myths and that the title is misleading. Still others are taking this opportunity to attack traditional western medical care to promote their own "non-traditional" or "alternative" methods of wellness.

For me, it's a fun article. I'm not taking this article too seriously. Did I learn something - yes. Did it rock my world - not really. This shows again that a lot of angry people live in the comments section. Kind of sad, if you think about it. Take it easy people!


Donna. W said...

I don't feel the 8 glasses of water a day is necessary for good health; but I do feel I lose weight, or maintain my weight, better when I drink a lot of water.

Mauigirl said...

I was relieved to hear I didn't have to drink 8 glasses of water. I hate the stuff. I try to get enough liquids by drinking non-caloric seltzers with and without flavoring, and ordinary things like juice, milk and coffee (yes, they said even caffeinated beverages can count to the liquid you consume).

In Weight Watchers we're always being told to drink water to lose weight but it just makes me hungrier!

I was also glad to know your hair and nails don't keep growing after death. That was just creepy.

Anonymous said...

I think the truth is that eating turkey in dim light while talking on your cell phone makes your hair grow faster and your nails fall out.

Happy Holidays!

The Beach Bum said...

I am not a Doctor! I do disagree with two items on the list that I have learned to be true though lifetime experiences.

I have often wondered about the electromagnetic interference (caused by Cell Phone) on Planes and in Hospitals.

I do not(nor will not) own a cell phone , so I therefore never did any research on the subject.

Doctor A:

I wish you a Happy and Prosperous New Year.

The Beach Bum

Dermdoc said...

Great post.

I would add: Drinking more water will hydrate your skin.

Hard to believe, I know, but there is no evidence to support this.