Medical Myths

These were no surprise to me, and most of them should be well and truly disproven for most people, but it still surprises me that we have so little understanding of our own bodies and yet claim to have such great knowledge of things outside ourselves.

Some of the myths debunked in this article are:

Daily Fluid Intake

There is no evidence to support the need to drink eight glasses of water a day…

The myths’s origin may have been a recommendation in 1945 which said 2.5 litres was a suitable fluid intake for adults and that most of this comes in prepared food. If the last part of the recommendation is omitted, it could imply the fluid intake should be in addition to normal food, suggested the researchers.

Eating Turkey

…Many experts say that the effect of tryptophan in turkey is probably reduced by the fact it’s eaten with other foods. The more likely explanation is that turkey is often eaten as part of a large solid meal, for instance at Christmas with stuffing, sausages and various other foods, and followed by Christmas pudding and brandy butter. Add to this the probability that wine is often consumed at the same time and it is not surprising that the myth has caught on. Eating a large solid meal like this decreases oxygen to the brain which can lead to drowsiness said the authors.

And a favored bugbear of ludites the world ’round:

Mobile Phones in Hospitals

…[The researchers] found scant evidence to substantiate the myth that mobile phones cause substantial interference with hospital equipment. They tracked down one journal article that listed 100 reports of suspected electromagnetic interference in medical equipment from mobile phones before 1993, which the Wall Street Journal made into front page news, after which hospitals banned the use of mobile phones.

But there is little evidence to support this policy said the researchers. In the UK early studies showed mobile phones interfered with as few as 4 per cent of the equipment and only when within one metre, while less than 0.1 per cent showed serious effects. Rigourous testing at a number of other laboratories and medical centres have also come up with very small percentages and again only when within 1 metre of the equipment.

A more recent study carried out this year found no interference in 300 tests in 75 treatment rooms, and in contrast the authors give an account of a survey of medical staff where use of mobile phones to stay in touch with each other was linked to reductions in risk of medical errors and injury resulting from delays in communication.

Technology has always been and will continue to be a favorite scapegoat and target for fear-mongers. What we don’t understand, we tend to fear.

In many ways, though we consider ourselves to be far beyond those dreary days we know as the Medieval times, the Dark Ages, we are still as profoundly ignorant and fearful as ever.

There really is nothing new under the sun, including mankind’s self-delusions of enlightened grandeur and his reality of befuddled fear.

The good news is that the mortality rate is still 100%. It has never wavered more or less. When we remember there is no promise of tomorrow and that to pin our hopes on that lustrous sunrise is to exercise maddening futility. We ought to appreciate each moment while living in such a way as to be prepared for tomorrow, should it come. Then we can live a life free of fear and deep with rich fulfillment.

Read the original article here.

One thought on “Medical Myths”

  1. Hi Matthew,

    It is, I must say, a great relief to know that I don’t have to spend all night in the emergency room head getting rid of all that water, trying to stay awake and resisting the urge to use my cell phone, while waiting for the usual Thanksgiving accidents to be patched up! Future holidays will be much easier to deal with.

    the Grit

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