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Authors want health myths put to rest

 
 
Reply Mon 15 Aug, 2011 12:26 pm
Authors want health myths put to rest
By JANE GLENN HAAS - McClatchy Newspapers
08/03/2011

A lot of what we "know" about our health turns out to be myths. Nevertheless, we pass these "truths" on for generations.

Like eggs. We all know we shouldn't eat a lot of them because people who eat eggs get high cholesterol and are more likely to get heart disease. Right?

Wrong, say pediatricians Aaron E. Carroll and Rachel C. Vreeman, both associated with the Children's Health Services Research Group at Indiana University School of Medicine. These pediatricians are the authors of the best-seller "Don't Swallow Your Gum!" Their new book is "Don't Cross Your Eyes ... They'll Get Stuck That Way" (St. Martin's Griffin).

These myths "are widely believed by people of all ages and passed on to children. We even hear from medical doctors, who accept these adages as true," Vreeman said.

Q. You discuss 75 quirky health claims in your new book. What are some of them that impact older patients?

A. Well, as we write, what about the concept you should uncover a wound at night to let it air out and heal? Most people who believe in this time-honored tradition do so for a number of reasons. Some believe that airing out a wound reduces the likelihood of infection. Others believe that drying the wound allows it to scab and will make it heal faster. This is completely backward.

When you cut yourself or sustain a wound, your skin heals itself by growing new cells from the edges toward each other. These cells actually need a moist environment in which to grow and spread.

Some of the other myths are that you should stretch before you exercise because it will help you perform better. There is good scientific evidence that stretching does not reduce your chances of being injured during sports and exercise.

What about using soap is the best way to clean your hands? Washing your hands is key to avoiding a whole slew of illnesses, especially the common cold. Avoiding cold weather, dressing warmly, and making sure you dry your hair completely before heading outside will not keep you healthy.

Neither vitamin C, nor Echinacea, nor zinc, nor Airborne, nor Emergen-C will prevent you from catching a cold. Amid all these things that don't work, hand-washing does.

But soap can become contaminated with bacteria. There are a few types of bugs that cause infection through spores that seem to come off better than hand-washing with soap and water, but the hand sanitizers – the alcohol-based hand rubs – win overall.

Q. This is really a fun book to read. But why do we keep repeating these myths?

A. I think in many ways the Internet and access to information makes myths stick around more. There is a tremendous amount of information, but it's hard to know the quality. And it circulates more quickly in the age of email.

Q. These are not really "serious" health issues.

A. True, but we worry and we spend money to follow advice that doesn't really keep us healthy. It's liberating to know when you don't need things.

Q. But not every "myth" is phony, right?

A. There are a few that end up being true. Aloe does help heal burns. Acupuncture does work for some conditions. There are benefits in chicken soup.

But we really hope people will start to question these myths. Sometimes they are not true and we don't need to encourage them. Instead, we need to focus on information that's important. Especially information we want our children to know.
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saab
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Aug, 2011 12:36 pm
@BumbleBeeBoogie,
Very good article.
Old myths don´t die so easily and new ones start.......
0 Replies
 
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Aug, 2011 12:47 pm
@BumbleBeeBoogie,
BumbleBeeBoogie wrote:

Authors want health myths put to rest
By JANE GLENN HAAS - McClatchy Newspapers
08/03/2011
Some of the other myths are that you should stretch before you exercise because it will help you perform better. There is good scientific evidence that stretching does not reduce your chances of being injured during sports and exercise.

I stretch before I get out of bed in the morning, and if I don't, I sometimes hurt myself.
rosborne979
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Aug, 2011 12:48 pm
@BumbleBeeBoogie,
Here's another myth that I hate: That people only use 10% of their brain. I wish people would lose this brain-garbage.
0 Replies
 
PUNKEY
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Aug, 2011 01:03 pm
Others:
Masterbation can cause blindness.
Operations that expose cancer to air causes the cancer to grow.

0 Replies
 
saab
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Aug, 2011 03:00 pm
Modern myth:
Even healthy children shouldn´t drink cow milk before they are 2 or 3 otherwise they can get allergic
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Aug, 2011 03:40 pm
@rosborne979,
Quote:
I stretch before I get out of bed in the morning, and if I don't, I sometimes hurt myself


Just leave it alone and you'll be okay.
0 Replies
 
JTT
 
  1  
Reply Mon 15 Aug, 2011 05:30 pm
@BumbleBeeBoogie,
Quote:
Authors want health myths put to rest


That's precisely what has happened with language too, BBB. Only in the last number of years are these old canards being put to rest.
0 Replies
 
saab
 
  1  
Reply Tue 16 Aug, 2011 12:51 am
@rosborne979,
Strechting before getting out of bed is good for you.
Look at any cat, dog or baby how they strecht.
Guess noone told them not to do so.
0 Replies
 
 

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