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7 Medical Myths Even Doctors Believe
livescience.com ^ | December 20, 2007 | Robert Roy Britt

Posted on 12/21/2007 7:24:50 AM PST by Watershed

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.

(Excerpt) Read more at livescience.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Miscellaneous
KEYWORDS: health; legends; medical; myths
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1 posted on 12/21/2007 7:24:52 AM PST by Watershed
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To: Watershed

“Myth: Reading in dim light ruins your eyesight.”

I have to explain away this one almost EVERY day.

Even the correction in the article is not entirely correct.


2 posted on 12/21/2007 7:28:28 AM PST by EyeGuy
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To: Watershed
Myth: We use only 10 percent of our brains.

Truth: Liberals barely use 10 percent of their brains at the apex of their intellect.

3 posted on 12/21/2007 7:29:38 AM PST by theDentist (Qwerty ergo typo : I type, therefore I misspelll.)
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To: Watershed

“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.”

So reading in dim light can cause “eye strain”. What part of the eye gets strained, and why does that reduce acuity?


4 posted on 12/21/2007 7:30:30 AM PST by secretagent
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To: EyeGuy

See #4. Is the pupil dilating in low light the cause of reduced acuity?


5 posted on 12/21/2007 7:32:02 AM PST by secretagent
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To: Watershed

Myth No 11: Insurance will cover it.


6 posted on 12/21/2007 7:32:26 AM PST by FastCoyote (I am intolerant of the intolerable.)
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To: Watershed; MotleyGirl70; Cagey; Mr. Brightside; Rb ver. 2.0; lesser_satan; Taffini; jdm; ...

KRAMER: “You know.. You really shouldn’t brush 24 hours before seeing the dentist.”

JERRY: “I think that’s eat 24 hours before surgery.”

KRAMER: “Oh no, you got to eat before surgery, you need your strength.”

(Kramer leaves. Jerry is speechless.)


7 posted on 12/21/2007 7:32:39 AM PST by Gamecock (Aaron had what every megachurch pastor craves: a huge crowd that gave freely and lively worship.)
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To: EyeGuy

I would prefer reading in lower-light conditions, but not exactly dim. We can’t all see well in the dark, but I don’t like reading with bright lights.


8 posted on 12/21/2007 7:33:48 AM PST by wastedyears ("I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery." - Thomas Jefferson)
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To: theDentist

I’m not a Liberal, but I bet only 10% of my brain works.


9 posted on 12/21/2007 7:34:08 AM PST by wastedyears ("I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery." - Thomas Jefferson)
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To: Watershed
Myth: Shaved hair grows back faster, coarser and darker

Jerry: Oh! That's an old wives tale!

Kramer (ripping open shirt) Is it!?

10 posted on 12/21/2007 7:34:45 AM PST by mylife (The Roar Of The Masses Could Be Farts)
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To: FastCoyote

Actually, insurance will cover new equipment for my sleep apnea machine every 6 months. Whether they hold true to that has yet to be found out. I only acquired said sleep aid on Wednesday.


11 posted on 12/21/2007 7:35:31 AM PST by wastedyears ("I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery." - Thomas Jefferson)
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To: theDentist
Truth: Liberals barely use 10 percent of their brains at the apex of their intellect.

They have an apex?
12 posted on 12/21/2007 7:35:45 AM PST by reagan_fanatic (Ron Paul put the cuckoo in my Cocoa Puffs)
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To: Gamecock; MotleyGirl70; Cagey; Rb ver. 2.0; Larry Lucido

Want a Junior Mint?


13 posted on 12/21/2007 7:36:31 AM PST by Mr. Brightside
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To: Watershed
Myth: We use only 10 percent of our brains.

I just hate it when this is used to argue for those phony new age ideas of a sixth sense and telepathy.

14 posted on 12/21/2007 7:37:51 AM PST by Kleon
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To: Watershed

bump


15 posted on 12/21/2007 7:37:54 AM PST by VOA
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To: EyeGuy
OK Eyeguy, I hear an ad on the radio occasionally about some kind of treatment that will improve your eyesight and you will not have to wear glasses anymore. I have never made a note of the exact name because it sounds like an ad by a “snake oil” salesman. Is there something to this claim or am I just smarter than the average bear?
16 posted on 12/21/2007 7:38:51 AM PST by Ditter
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To: EyeGuy

When In the Phillipines we were told that the finely embroderied linens and hand made lace were made by young women because by 30 they were no longer able to see well enought to work. Their eysight was permanently damaged by years of very close work in very poor lighting


17 posted on 12/21/2007 7:40:04 AM PST by bert (K.E. N.P. +12 . Moveon is not us...... Moveon is the enemy)
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To: reagan_fanatic

Yea, they do, it’s right after the medulla oblongata kicks in and takes over involuntary functions of the foetus...


18 posted on 12/21/2007 7:40:41 AM PST by Axenolith (Merry Christmas. Jesus is LORD! Amen...)
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To: Kleon

I knew you were going to post that.


19 posted on 12/21/2007 7:40:48 AM PST by stylin19a
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To: theDentist
Myth: We use only 10 percent of our brains.

Rush Limbaugh keeps half his brain tied behind his back to make things fair. ;>)

20 posted on 12/21/2007 7:44:01 AM PST by SC DOC
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To: secretagent

“See #4. Is the pupil dilating in low light the cause of reduced acuity?”

No, the pupil does not dilate enough in scotopic (dim light) conditions to cause blur except perhaps in very young children who have very large, still highly reactive pupils.

This was the inaccuracy I mentioned in my original post. In and of itself, reading in dim illumination will not elicit consequent distance blur. I think they are confusing the effects of early presbyopia (loss of near vision beginning in the early 40’s). For presbyopic patients, prolonged nearpoint activity in WHATEVER lighting condition will result in a slow refocus to full distance vision. This is due to a simple thickening, with resultant stiffening of the crystalline lens with age and is independent of lighting conditions, photopic or scotopic.


21 posted on 12/21/2007 7:47:10 AM PST by EyeGuy
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To: theDentist
"Truth: Liberals barely use 10 percent of their brains at the apex of their intellect."

Au contraire - Liberals are using every one of their associate neurons at top capacity - the sad fact is that those neurons number in the double digits along with their IQ's.
22 posted on 12/21/2007 7:48:04 AM PST by ConorMacNessa (HM/2 USN, 3rd Bn. 5th Marines, RVN 1969. St. Michael the Archangel defend us in battle!)
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To: reagan_fanatic
Truth: Liberals barely use 10 percent of their brains at the apex of their intellect.

They have an apex?

No, just a poorly developed prefrontal cortex

23 posted on 12/21/2007 7:49:33 AM PST by HangnJudge
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To: SC DOC

and he STILL kicks dem/lib butts


24 posted on 12/21/2007 7:50:17 AM PST by cubreporter (I trust Rush. He has done more for this country than any of us will ever fully realize.)
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To: SC DOC

and he STILL kicks dem/lib butts


25 posted on 12/21/2007 7:50:19 AM PST by cubreporter (I trust Rush. He has done more for this country than any of us will ever fully realize.)
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To: Watershed

Here’s the list:
1. We use only 10 percent of our brains.
2. You should drink at least eight glasses of water a day.
3. Fingernails and hair grow after death.
4. Shaved hair grows back faster, coarser and darker.
5. Reading in dim light ruins your eyesight.
6. Eating turkey makes you drowsy.
7. Mobile phones are dangerous in hospitals.


26 posted on 12/21/2007 7:53:15 AM PST by null and void (I've always liked Ron Paul, he is not a like a serial rapist. - rovenstinez)
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To: theDentist
It might be more apropos to say that liberals use all of their brains - implying that their brains are 1/10th the size of ours...
27 posted on 12/21/2007 7:56:17 AM PST by Quality_Not_Quantity (A half-truth masquerading as the whole truth becomes a complete untruth. (J.I. Packer)
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To: Watershed
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.

Oh, I wouldn't be too sure about that. I have a USB receiver attached to the notebook via a USB extension cord. Whenever I accidently place my mobile phone near or on the cable, and the phone receives a call, the computer's USB port fails immediately, and I'll have to perform a restart to get it working again. I'm sure the interference of the boosted signal, while receiving a call, is causing errors in the data flow through the cable. It's the same reason one hears a "buzz" whenever a mobile phone, on call, is placed near an earphone cord.

28 posted on 12/21/2007 7:56:29 AM PST by CarrotAndStick (The articles posted by me needn't necessarily reflect my opinion.)
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To: Ditter

“OK Eyeguy, I hear an ad on the radio occasionally about some kind of treatment that will improve your eyesight and you will not have to wear glasses anymore. I have never made a note of the exact name because it sounds like an ad by a “snake oil” salesman. Is there something to this claim or am I just smarter than the average bear?”

You are referring to the “SeeClearly Method”.

For the MOST part, total hogwash. There are in fact, in several states currently, attorney general actions against these charlatans. Yes, you apparently are smarter than the average bear, because they have made millions from this scam.

Now, having said that, the principles of eye exercises to improve focusing flexibility, eye coordination and overall visual skills have firm, study-documented validity. This therapy is used most often in children with reading/learning difficulties, but now increasingly with adults with near focusing stamina problems, largely attributed to the pervasiveness of the desktop PC. The lie is that this bonafide Vision Therapy can be used to correct significant refractive errors.


29 posted on 12/21/2007 7:58:09 AM PST by EyeGuy
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To: Watershed
Myth: Shaved hair grows back faster, coarser and darker.

I call BS on this one. That's no myth.

30 posted on 12/21/2007 7:58:56 AM PST by Centurion2000 (It's only arrogance if you can't back it up.)
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To: EyeGuy
“Myth: Reading in dim light ruins your eyesight.”

I have to explain away this one almost EVERY day.

Even the correction in the article is not entirely correct.

There is no permanent change in vision
however there is a clear loss of Visual Acuity in
low contrast environments
Measured by the Contrast Sensitivity Curve

http://www.accusight.com.br/Sensib/Contrast.htm

31 posted on 12/21/2007 8:00:47 AM PST by HangnJudge
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To: wastedyears

“I would prefer reading in lower-light conditions, but not exactly dim. We can’t all see well in the dark, but I don’t like reading with bright lights.”

Do whatever is comfortable for you and you will be just fine.


32 posted on 12/21/2007 8:03:27 AM PST by EyeGuy
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To: Watershed

You know how they say we only use 10 percent of our brains? I think we only use 10 percent of our hearts.

33 posted on 12/21/2007 8:03:59 AM PST by NittanyLion
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To: theDentist

Actually it is a collective concept, the 10% refers to those of us who frequent FR, less the Trolls.


34 posted on 12/21/2007 8:06:15 AM PST by Camel Joe (liberal=socialist=royalist/imperialist pawn=enemy of Freedom)
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To: Watershed
Over the years, "fluid" turned to water. But fruits and vegetables, plus coffee and other liquids, count.

Does beer count, too?

35 posted on 12/21/2007 8:09:02 AM PST by the_devils_advocate_666
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To: bert

“When In the Phillipines we were told that the finely embroderied linens and hand made lace were made by young women because by 30 they were no longer able to see well enought to work. Their eysight was permanently damaged by years of very close work in very poor lighting.”

By age 30, in everyone the accomodative (focusing) mechanism has slowed considerably from that of childhood. This is age-driven and again has nothing to do with lighting conditions. Many of us become MORE nearsighted because of prolonged nearpoint work in childhood, but that in MOST case would make the embroidery task EASIER, unless their nearsightedness progressed to a severe level in which case the focal point would be too proximal to be useful for handheld tasks.

Again, this would not have anything to do with lighting conditions.


36 posted on 12/21/2007 8:10:05 AM PST by EyeGuy
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To: Watershed

I see they didn’t challenge the activity that causes hair to grow on your palms. It must be true!


37 posted on 12/21/2007 8:14:15 AM PST by JZelle
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To: EyeGuy

My eye doc put some drops in my eye yesterday that afterwards made it impossible to read! The drive home through blurry city lights was an adventure I don’t want to repeat. What a miserable experience.


38 posted on 12/21/2007 8:21:53 AM PST by GOP_Party_Animal
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To: Centurion2000
I call BS on this one. That's no myth."

If true then anyone who shaves should be as hairy as great apes
39 posted on 12/21/2007 8:23:26 AM PST by RedMonqey
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To: null and void

2. You should drink at least eight glasses of water a day.”

There is an undeniable health benefit to drinking tons of water every day.

It is called extra exercise in the form of walking to the can.


40 posted on 12/21/2007 8:23:58 AM PST by ConservativeDude
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To: Watershed
Myth: We use only 10 percent of our brains.

Does that mean Rush only uses 5 % ?

41 posted on 12/21/2007 8:24:10 AM PST by Popman
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To: wastedyears
As a former apnea sufferer myself, I would highly recommend you speak with your ear, nose, throat doc about possible surgery. Yes it is painfull .... very painful recovery BUT, I don’t have the blower and I’m doing very well.
42 posted on 12/21/2007 8:28:43 AM PST by taxcontrol
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To: GOP_Party_Animal

Routine dilation (which allows us a more comprehensive view of the posterior segment (retina)), will cause an accompanying loss of near vision; more pronounced, the older you are.

I can almost always achieve sufficent dilation with a relatively new, milder drug that does not have quite the nearpoint compromise. Personally, I try to dilate my patients only as frequently as is clinically indicated.


43 posted on 12/21/2007 8:30:56 AM PST by EyeGuy
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To: Watershed

Hallelujah! I’m a physician and never believed any of these. Someone asked me to turn my cell phone off once because it might interfere with hospital equipment. I conducted my own little experiment and found NO piece of equipment that appeared to malfunction during cell phone transmissions. I submitted the data to administration and never heard another peep.


44 posted on 12/21/2007 8:31:56 AM PST by CholeraJoe (Some days it doesn't even make sense to chew through the restraints.)
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To: NittanyLion

Which movie is that from? Wedding Crashers? It’s killing me that I can’t remember. I can hear his voice, but can’t picture the scene.


45 posted on 12/21/2007 8:33:59 AM PST by vollmond (Sorry, Mom, the mob has spoken!)
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To: Kleon
LOl

OK folks

If you are telekinetic, raise my hand.....

46 posted on 12/21/2007 8:35:13 AM PST by ASOC
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To: CholeraJoe

“Hallelujah! I’m a physician and never believed any of these. Someone asked me to turn my cell phone off once because it might interfere with hospital equipment. I conducted my own little experiment and found NO piece of equipment that appeared to malfunction during cell phone transmissions. I submitted the data to administration and never heard another peep.”

Well, Doc you know how that got started of course.

There is nothing like trying to conduct a thorough examination on a patient and having their all-important cell phone go off. Worse is when they insist on answering it. So instead of posting signs that say “Please exercise common courtesy and respect for our time just as we respect yours, and turn your damn toy off” Instead we fabricate tall tales of damage to our sensitive medical equipment from concurrent cell phone use.


47 posted on 12/21/2007 8:37:02 AM PST by EyeGuy
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To: vollmond

Yep, Wedding Crashers. Hilarious movie, IMO...


48 posted on 12/21/2007 8:38:24 AM PST by NittanyLion
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To: CarrotAndStick
I think you missed something: 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.
49 posted on 12/21/2007 8:41:28 AM PST by Don W ( Police were called to a day care where a three-year-old was resisting a rest.)
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To: GOP_Party_Animal
My eye doc put some drops in my eye yesterday that afterwards made it impossible to read! The drive home through blurry city lights was an adventure I don’t want to repeat. What a miserable experience.

I've had that happen, and they always tell me beforehand, "Oh, don't worry, you'll be able to drive!" Then the drive home is blurry and terrifying. Never again will I let them put drops in my eyes if I have to drive home.

50 posted on 12/21/2007 8:44:38 AM PST by Nea Wood (I'm not a bad Christian because I refuse to join you in giving other people's stuff away.)
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