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The Skeptics' Guide to the Universe => Messages and Questions From the Panel => Topic started by: Steven Novella on October 31, 2009, 01:04:07 PM

Title: Medical Myths
Post by: Steven Novella on October 31, 2009, 01:04:07 PM
I am developing a lecture series on common medical myths. Please post any topics here you would like to suggest for this series.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: veganerd on October 31, 2009, 02:00:46 PM
that going outside with wet hair or in the rain makes you sick.


Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: stands2reason on October 31, 2009, 03:46:52 PM
That sweating is somehow good for you (besides the obvious temperature reason). That getting exposed to sunlight is healthy, beyond the vitamin D reason. Then there's the classic "8 cups of water a day" myth.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Lukas on October 31, 2009, 03:52:39 PM
That sweating is somehow good for you (besides the obvious temperature reason). That getting exposed to sunlight is healthy, beyond the vitamin D reason. Then there's the classic "8 cups of water a day" myth.

Well, getting exposed to sunlight gives you vitamin D, so what's the myth? I also believe that sunlight has positive psychological effects, but I haven't really looked into it, so that might be a myth.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: stands2reason on October 31, 2009, 04:02:38 PM
That sweating is somehow good for you (besides the obvious temperature reason). That getting exposed to sunlight is healthy, beyond the vitamin D reason. Then there's the classic "8 cups of water a day" myth.

Well, getting exposed to sunlight gives you vitamin D, so what's the myth? I also believe that sunlight has positive psychological effects, but I haven't really looked into it, so that might be a myth.

I've heard that it can do all sorts of things, that have nothing to do with vitamin D, like treat certain kinds of skin conditions. I thought the idea of sunlight being good for your skin was particularly bizarre.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: veganerd on October 31, 2009, 04:17:26 PM
That sweating is somehow good for you (besides the obvious temperature reason). That getting exposed to sunlight is healthy, beyond the vitamin D reason. Then there's the classic "8 cups of water a day" myth.

Well, getting exposed to sunlight gives you vitamin D, so what's the myth? I also believe that sunlight has positive psychological effects, but I haven't really looked into it, so that might be a myth.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seasonal_affective_disorder (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seasonal_affective_disorder)
apparently you dont live in a wintery climate.  here in minnesota everyone knows about  SAD
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Lukas on October 31, 2009, 05:08:34 PM
That sweating is somehow good for you (besides the obvious temperature reason). That getting exposed to sunlight is healthy, beyond the vitamin D reason. Then there's the classic "8 cups of water a day" myth.

Well, getting exposed to sunlight gives you vitamin D, so what's the myth? I also believe that sunlight has positive psychological effects, but I haven't really looked into it, so that might be a myth.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seasonal_affective_disorder (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seasonal_affective_disorder)
apparently you dont live in a wintery climate.  here in minnesota everyone knows about  SAD

I know about stuff like that, and I grew up in Germany, which is further to the north than MN (even though it doesn't get as cold in the winter), but I was just not sure whether the lack of sunlight was the reason. (I suspect it is, but I didn't know of any definite proof.)
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Chew on November 01, 2009, 09:46:47 AM
The myth that 98.6 F is normal body temperature. The initial study was done in Germany, IIRC, and was done in celsius. The researcher rounded off the average temperature found in the study to a whole degree, 37 C. Which converts to 98.6 F. Saying 98.6 F is going beyond the study's precision.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Soodal on November 01, 2009, 12:09:26 PM
Here in Korea there are literally millions of medical myths. Here are a few off the top of my head...

-Eating eel gives you sexual stamina
-eating octopus gives sexual stamina
-any food shaped like a winky gives sexual stamina
-ginseng cures all
-acupuncture
-dongchim (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kancho)is good for your health
-parts of your feet represent organs in your body and can be stimulated to relieve pain in these organs (I emailed about this recently)
-fan death (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fan_death)
-doctors routinely prescribe loads of different pills without ever explaining what they are for. when quizzed, the regular response is, "you wouldn't understand." I think they are chinese herbal pills.
-kimchi cures all
...I'll see what else I can find

On a related note, a friend of mine has a grandmother who claims to have eaten nothing but boiled onions for the past decade. The only time she strays from her all-onion diet is when she goes to her daughter's house for Sunday lunch. She claims that onions are the key to her health, and she does seem to be in very good shape for a woman of 90. That said, other people live long lives while enjoying rich and varied diets, but I'm not about to try to slam a nice old lady, either mentally or physically.
Is there any chance that there is something to the all-boiled onion diet?

Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Beep Boop Boop on November 01, 2009, 12:58:06 PM
Quote
-fan death
Hey!!!! I'm a Mythbuster and I didn't even know it.  Seriously????  Seriously?????? Korea. Shame on you. Shame shame shame.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Karyn on November 01, 2009, 04:18:16 PM
Eating chocolate/greasy foods gives you acne.

The Atkins Diet

Going out in the cold with wet hair will make you sick.

Vitamin C overdosing will help you with your cold.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: seaotter on November 01, 2009, 04:45:03 PM
That men have fewer ribs than women.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Hanes on November 01, 2009, 07:49:21 PM
I sent in an email, but I'll repost here because, well, I guess my ego makes me think it's that important ::)

My suggestion for medical myths to discuss: multivitamins.  Taking multivitamins is pretty widespread, at least in my family, but I've heard they're not necessary most of the time.  I don't really know much about when they're helpful and when they're bunk, and I suspect that misperceptions about them are pretty widespread amongst rational people.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Belgarath on November 01, 2009, 07:53:56 PM
Couple of really good ones mentioned so far.

Here are some more:

- Colon Cleansing
- The whole 'toxins in the body need cleansing' schtick
- Antibiotics for viral infections.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Karyn on November 01, 2009, 10:48:58 PM
oh yeah, the colon cleansing...especially the 'hydrotherapy' industry and how dangerous it is.  I used to know a hydrotherapist...she was bat shit insane.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: T. Azimuth Schwitters on November 01, 2009, 11:17:00 PM
- Waiting 45 minutes after eating to go swimming.
- Risks of consuming Aspartame.
- The existence of the G-Spot.
- Aromatherapy.
- "Feed a fever starve a cold," or however the saying goes.
- Sugar making kids hyperactive.
- Are acid flashbacks caused by the presence of a chemical in the spine or brain, or purely psychological?
- Different types of alcohol producing different types of drunken states (e.g., whiskey=depressed, tequila=hallucinogenic, gin=tranquil/clumsy, etc.)
- Effects of second-hand smoke.
- Correlation of foot and penis size.
- Hats causing baldness.
- Effects of knuckle cracking.
- Phrenology.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: veganerd on November 01, 2009, 11:34:50 PM
- Effects of second-hand smoke.

Are you saying that there are or aren't effects? 
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: T. Azimuth Schwitters on November 02, 2009, 01:22:55 AM
- Effects of second-hand smoke.

Are you saying that there are or aren't effects?

I'm not saying anything.  I think there is likely to be some misinformation out there one way or another.  Smoking rights advocates like to parrot statements that some study or another has shown that second-hand smoke is mostly benign, whereas those who favor smoking bans will cite second-hand smoke as the reason this is one legal behavior that is worth banning in public.  It's a hot topic worth a truly objective look, IMO.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: eliensign on November 02, 2009, 02:24:24 AM
Pregnancy myths
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Soodal on November 02, 2009, 04:35:53 AM
Pregnancy myths

That old chestnut. I never fell for it myself - "I'm not fat, I'm pregnant." Rubbish. Disney's Dumbo debunks that myth.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: DK on November 02, 2009, 12:33:14 PM
Hangover cures.

Please, tell me that there's one that works out there!
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Boßel on November 02, 2009, 07:55:55 PM
Here's a good one:

Shaving makes your hair grow back faster and thicker.

Another one that I heard a while ago, and I'm not sure if it's a common misperception: Taking testosterone/estrogen will change your sexual preference.

Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: stands2reason on November 02, 2009, 07:58:24 PM
Hangover cures.

Please, tell me that there's one that works out there!

The closest thing I've found is simply a sports drink. Also here's a topic: are hangovers mostly caused by dehydration?
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: karirafn on November 02, 2009, 08:47:08 PM
Hangover cures.

Please, tell me that there's one that works out there!

A big glass of Coca-Cola, a big bag of blue Doritos and the Doritos cheese dip ... was my preferred remedy until they quit making the cheese dip ... WHY DORITOS WHYYY

There are all kinds of misinformation on supplements, the biggest one is that the average gym rat really needs them ... The only thing you need to do to add on some muscles is to eat a lot, that's it.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Joe B on November 02, 2009, 09:42:28 PM
Hangover cures.

Please, tell me that there's one that works out there!

A big glass of Coca-Cola, a big bag of blue Doritos and the Doritos cheese dip ... was my preferred remedy until they quit making the cheese dip ... WHY DORITOS WHYYY

There are all kinds of misinformation on supplements, the biggest one is that the average gym rat really needs them ... The only thing you need to do to add on some muscles is to eat a lot, that's it.

I keep some muscle milk/snickers marathon protein bars around since I lift real late in the day and a lot of the time don't feel like making food/eating before going to sleep but want to get some protein in. That's about as far into the supplement world as I'll go.


related/on topic:  my buddy I lift with wants to try downing a ton of water and hitting a sauna has a hangover cure.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: seaotter on November 02, 2009, 09:47:49 PM
Hangover cures.

Please, tell me that there's one that works out there!

Hair of the dog with aspirin.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Soodal on November 02, 2009, 10:54:53 PM
Hangover cures.

Please, tell me that there's one that works out there!
Half a day of fevered bed rest and mild to moderate vomiting followed by a breakfast of tomatoes on toast and cherry coke usually sorts me out.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Morvis13 on November 02, 2009, 11:08:55 PM
Glass of water for every drink. Don't hold the vomit back. Light foods easy on the stomache and learn from your mistakes.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: DK on November 03, 2009, 12:51:53 AM
See, I mention hangover cures and I get loads of advice.


Half a day of fevered bed rest and mild to moderate vomiting followed by a breakfast of tomatoes on toast and cherry coke usually sorts me out.

This bit is my default position. Though I'm beginning to get a bit bored by it now and actually try to avoid getting too drunk. I'm old.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Dolomedes on November 03, 2009, 04:36:27 AM
Of course, there are about a trillion weight loss and nutritional myths, e.g. eating late vs. not eating late, a glass of red wine is good for you, etc.

How many thousand installments will this lecture series have? I have the feeling there is no lack of topics in this area.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: stands2reason on November 03, 2009, 10:08:15 AM
a glass of red wine is good for you, etc.

Ooh yes, the  resveratrol myths! Now there's an interesting subject...
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: cradams79 on November 03, 2009, 10:08:39 PM
go after this guy everthing he says is crap.

http://www.drsebi.com/ (http://www.drsebi.com/)
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Soodal on November 03, 2009, 10:21:15 PM
go after this guy everthing he says is crap.

http://www.drsebi.com/ (http://www.drsebi.com/)

That is sensational!

It's scary that so many people are actually taken in by these guys.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Dionysus on November 04, 2009, 02:38:46 AM
I've heard that your body can't digest supplements very well and so they're totally useless, or at least not that helpful. They lack the necessary enzymes to facilitate digestion.

I have no idea if that's true or not.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Scadilla on November 04, 2009, 05:29:54 AM
I submitted in the contact form, but I'll post here too.
-Cellphones or cordless phones give you cancer or tumors.
And I'll throw in a few more.
-Cracking your knuckles gives you arthritis.
-Chocolate gives you acne.
-Drinking your own fresh urine has it's benefits.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: DJBexbot on November 04, 2009, 08:55:14 AM
one that has bugged me for a long time and is something I can never find a reliable answer to.
I've been on the contraceptive pill for 6 years and one nurse suggested to me that I should take a 'break' from taking it (for a non-determined amount of time). This is something I have heard from a lot of women who have done it or worry that they should. I mentioned it to 2 doctors, one agreed that it would be a very good idea and the other thought it was a terrible idea (confusing your body more).
Just want to know if it is complete bunk or has some element of truth/sense to it.

Oh and for hangovers: bacon sandwich with lots of brown sauce (or prefered condiment of choice)
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Joe B on November 04, 2009, 10:01:43 AM
(http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_8etIZiRTFRE/SVucY-xmeeI/AAAAAAAAAMs/7xt9ucvjWzs/s320/5_hour_energy_shot-200-200.jpg)

Or more generally megadoses of B vitamins for energy and plus stuff like taurine, Glucuronolactone, malic acid, N-Acetyl L-Tyrosine, L-Phenylalanine, and Citicoline. Is it any more effective than the coffee cups worth of caffeine that's in it?

I've had it recommended to me since alcohol makes me sleepy, and if it works it'd be better than my current strategy of pop, candy and red bull, with my alcohol that pretty much undos the cut back on junk food I've made, but I'm skeptical.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Skulker on November 04, 2009, 10:20:06 AM
Feed a cold and starve a fever. Or is it starve a cold and feed a fever?

It's so dumb I can't remember which way it goes. ::)
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Chew on November 04, 2009, 11:54:24 AM
Hangover cure: alka-selter dissolved with 2 tylenol.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Scadilla on November 04, 2009, 12:34:17 PM
Hangover cure:
I think you'll find that pretty much anything that follows this statement is pretty much bologna. It's like the Free Parking is Monopoly; everybody has a suggestion for it, but none of them are right, because really, there is no right answer.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Boßel on November 04, 2009, 12:50:27 PM
Hangover cure: alka-selter dissolved with 2 tylenol. More alcohol!

FTFY
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Calinthalus on November 04, 2009, 12:55:04 PM
Eating frozen poke berries as a treatment for arthritis.  I'm a fan of fresh poke when it's in season and someone I know picked it...but I never eat the berries.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Karyn on November 04, 2009, 01:01:07 PM
one that has bugged me for a long time and is something I can never find a reliable answer to.
I've been on the contraceptive pill for 6 years and one nurse suggested to me that I should take a 'break' from taking it (for a non-determined amount of time). This is something I have heard from a lot of women who have done it or worry that they should. I mentioned it to 2 doctors, one agreed that it would be a very good idea and the other thought it was a terrible idea (confusing your body more).
Just want to know if it is complete bunk or has some element of truth/sense to it.

I second this one.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Karyn on November 04, 2009, 01:10:26 PM
go after this guy everthing he says is crap.

http://www.drsebi.com/ (http://www.drsebi.com/)

That is sensational!

It's scary that so many people are actually taken in by these guys.

Also from that website (http://www.drsebi.com/03courtdecision.html)  They have the page set up as a picture so you can't cut and paste the text.  I warn you that you will be outraged when you click that link.   :ssj: :ssj: :ssj: :ssj:
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: DK on November 04, 2009, 01:47:54 PM
Sticking with the pill question, how about the whole contraception myths as discovered in this article. (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/8238789.stm) Seriously, kebabs as an oral contraception?

As well as various 'ways' to get pregnant? Standing on your head afterwards kinda thing.

Story my gf told me at the weekend. She was at her high school re-union and as everybody is around 30, they all either have kids or planning them. One woman said that as she really, really wanted a girl, her egg was able to 'sniff out' the sperm that would make a girl.

She apparently got slapped down by everyone at the table with a quick lesson on biology.  :laugh:
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Hanes on November 04, 2009, 02:46:46 PM
My hangover cure is homeopathic (and all natural!):

Lots of water, nothing in it.  Consume.  Sleep.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Morvis13 on November 04, 2009, 03:27:35 PM
Someone recommended to be Cold FX(tm) to avoid the flu.
I said If they give me the money I'll think up a better placebo for them.

This crap is ginsing extract and jello. Why the hell do we put up with this?
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Zeno Izen on November 04, 2009, 06:31:40 PM
That red meat is especially bad for you.

Oh, and that hormones in our food are making kids start puberty sooner.

Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Chew on November 05, 2009, 10:28:20 PM
Hangover cure:
I think you'll find that pretty much anything that follows this statement is pretty much bologna. It's like the Free Parking is Monopoly; everybody has a suggestion for it, but none of them are right, because really, there is no right answer.

Before you crap on someone's post make sure you know what you are talking about. The cure I posted is very easily testable. Test it or shut the fuck up.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Zabulon on November 05, 2009, 11:06:31 PM
That heated car seats may cause hemorrhoids.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: stands2reason on November 06, 2009, 07:14:43 AM
That heated car seats may cause hemorrhoids.

 :raise:

Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: skylark on November 06, 2009, 08:43:23 AM
How about the myth that if you get cold, you can catch a cold. Also, the old 'feed a cold and starve a fever' maxim - or is there some truth in this, after all, if I have a cold I do want to eat a lot, whereas when you have a fever you don't, so myth or not?
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Hyperion on November 09, 2009, 10:23:58 AM
I don't know if this is the type of thing you are looking for but how about the old urban legend that "really happened to a friend of a friend of a co-worker's next-door neighbor who heard about it from the UPS delivery driver of a second cousin thrice removed who, in turn, heard about it from..."

Any way, it is the one about the man who, after a night of drinking with a comely young lass he met in the bar, wakes up in a bathtub full of ice, stitches on his abdomen, phone next to the tub and a note telling him to not to move and to call 911.  He does so, only to learn that one of his kidneys has been harvested by organ thieves. 
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Joe B on November 09, 2009, 10:51:23 AM
I don't know if this is the type of thing you are looking for but how about the old urban legend that "really happened to a friend of a friend of a co-worker's next-door neighbor who heard about it from the UPS delivery driver of a second cousin thrice removed who, in turn, heard about it from..."

Any way, it is the one about the man who, after a night of drinking with a comely young lass he met in the bar, wakes up in a bathtub full of ice, stitches on his abdomen, phone next to the tub and a note telling him to not to move and to call 911.  He does so, only to learn that one of his kidneys has been harvested by organ thieves.

I heard the type of story ("My roommate's friend...")  from a girl in my summer class and immediately started taking notes so I could look for the story on Snopes.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: DJBexbot on November 09, 2009, 11:08:02 AM
One that is doing the rounds in Ireland is:
That after getting very very drunk people's bladders are bursting after excessive nights out as they ingest so much liquid and are so drunk they don't register the urge to pee.
This maybe something to do with our fondness for a tipple or two...
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Green Ideas on November 09, 2009, 11:48:45 AM
One from Brazil:

Milk and mango together can be fatal.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Chew on November 09, 2009, 12:45:20 PM
One from Brazil:

Milk and mango together can be fatal.

I've had Mango Yogurt. Does the rumor say how long it takes t
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Parrot on November 09, 2009, 02:03:22 PM
How about that BS Dr. Oz pushes about how you need to check how dark your urine is in order to prevent dehydration?
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Lukas on November 09, 2009, 02:44:04 PM
How about that BS Dr. Oz pushes about how you need to check how dark your urine is in order to prevent dehydration?

Why is this BS? Color of urine is a pretty good indicator of hydration level, usually.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Skulker on November 09, 2009, 02:51:04 PM
How about that BS Dr. Oz pushes about how you need to check how dark your urine is in order to prevent dehydration?

Why is this BS? Color of urine is a pretty good indicator of hydration level, usually.
With Dr. Oz you can never be sure. He flip-flops between real medicine and alt-medicine all the time.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Green Ideas on November 09, 2009, 02:57:09 PM
How about that BS Dr. Oz pushes about how you need to check how dark your urine is in order to prevent dehydration?

Why is this BS? Color of urine is a pretty good indicator of hydration level, usually.

With Dr. Oz you can never be sure. He flip-flops between real medicine and alt-medicine all the time.

Probably fortunately, I don't even know who Dr. Oz is. But I agree with Lukas.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Skulker on November 09, 2009, 03:01:16 PM
How about that BS Dr. Oz pushes about how you need to check how dark your urine is in order to prevent dehydration?

Why is this BS? Color of urine is a pretty good indicator of hydration level, usually.

With Dr. Oz you can never be sure. He flip-flops between real medicine and alt-medicine all the time.

Probably fortunately, I don't even know who Dr. Oz is. But I agree with Lukas.
I do too. I'm only pointing out how it would be easy to mistrust what this guys says.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Parrot on November 09, 2009, 03:04:37 PM
How about that BS Dr. Oz pushes about how you need to check how dark your urine is in order to prevent dehydration?

Why is this BS? Color of urine is a pretty good indicator of hydration level, usually.

Well, no it's not.  There are many factors that can affect the colour of urine, hydration being only one of them.

Thirst is a much better measurement of whether you require hydration.  Some people claim that "you can be desperately in need of water but not feel thirsty", but that's just not true. 

Thirst is your body's built in mechanism for regulating it's water content.  There's absolutely no reason to expect that it performs it's function so poorly that you must rely on other indicators of hydration.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Green Ideas on November 09, 2009, 03:10:08 PM
How about that BS Dr. Oz pushes about how you need to check how dark your urine is in order to prevent dehydration?

Why is this BS? Color of urine is a pretty good indicator of hydration level, usually.

Well, no it's not.  There are many factors that can affect the colour of urine, hydration being only one of them.

Thirst is a much better measurement of whether you require hydration.  Some people claim that "you can be desperately in need of water but not feel thirsty", but that's just not true. 

Thirst is your body's built in mechanism for regulating it's water content.  There's absolutely no reason to expect that it performs it's function so poorly that you must rely on other indicators of hydration.

Sure, all our buit-in regulatory mechanisms must function perfectly. That's probably why people never eat more than they should...

Sarcasm aside, I know people who drink less water than they should simply because they prefer to go to the bathroom as infrequently as possible.

ETA: And yes, hydration is only one of them. It's also the most common.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Parrot on November 09, 2009, 03:11:33 PM
With Dr. Oz you can never be sure. He flip-flops between real medicine and alt-medicine all the time.

He's a strange one, that Mehmet Oz.

A qualified, competent heart surgeon.... but in areas outside of his field of expertise he's extremely susceptible to a good deal of medical pseudoscience.  He's more reigned in than most woo pushers, but it's still disappointing to see a popular medical authority pushing false information.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Parrot on November 09, 2009, 03:22:43 PM
Sure, all our buit-in regulatory mechanisms must function perfectly. That's probably why people never eat more than they should...

Not a very good example.  Thirst has a simple function, to keep you hydrated.  Hunger is a much more complex beast.  You eat for energy, but you also eat for vitamins and other nutrients.  Our bodies have evolved a variety of different survival techniques as well, for example it's common for certain people's bodies to want to store as much fat as possible in preparation for future famines.

Researchers studying the bowels and digestive system have likened it to being a second brain, because of it's complexity and it's far reaching effects over the body.  That's a lot of complexity in which things can go a little wonky.

Thirst, on the other hand, is a steady and reliable indicator of hydration, which needs no additional help for the vast majority of healthy adults.

Sarcasm aside, I know people who drink less water than they should simply because they prefer to go to the bathroom as infrequently as possible.

I've known people who do that as well.  The thing is, they still feel thirst - they just try to ignore it as much as possible.  The thirst mechanism still works perfectly.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Parrot on November 09, 2009, 03:44:54 PM
Relating to this, Dr. Oz also offers this laughably unhelpful bit of advice for determining how dark your urine can be - he suggests that you should "be able to read through it".

That's it.  Just you should be able to read through it.  No more information that might be pertinent, like under what lighting conditions should you be able to perform such a task?  How big should the lettering be?  How far under the water line should you be able to read the letters from?  How far away from the water line should your face be?  And what kind of water to urine ratio would be optimal for such a test to be valid?  Because you know that different toilets have different amounts of water in them, and the amount of urine you release will vary from trip to trip.

All of these variables will make a big difference to your experience at reading something through your urine.  But above all, how exactly does Dr. Mehmet Oz expect people to put this little tidbit into practice?  Perhaps he expects people to start carrying around plastic coated cards on a stick with something written on them that they can lower into the toilet after each urination?

It's all just unbelievably silly!
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Lukas on November 09, 2009, 04:02:02 PM
I wasn't claiming that thirst is not a good indicator, or that color of urine is always perfect, and I certainly am not endorsing reading through your urine... But anyway, the Mayo clinic also writes (from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/dehydration/DS00561/DSECTION=symptoms (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/dehydration/DS00561/DSECTION=symptoms))

Quote
Unfortunately, thirst isn't always a reliable gauge of the body's need for water, especially in children and older adults. A better barometer is the color of your urine: Clear or light-colored urine means you're well hydrated, whereas a dark yellow or amber color usually signals dehydration.

And the advice for long-distance runners (one of my hobbies) has been flip-flopping between watching the color of your urine, drinking only when you're thirsty and various other more or less reasonable guidelines. My impression was that it wasn't quite settled yet whether thirst is the one and only or even the best guide to avoid dehydration.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Green Ideas on November 09, 2009, 05:23:05 PM
I wasn't claiming that thirst is not a good indicator, or that color of urine is always perfect, and I certainly am not endorsing reading through your urine...
Same here (with the exception that I spell 'colour'...).
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Morvis13 on November 09, 2009, 09:31:01 PM
I'd uninate on Dr Oz.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Parrot on November 10, 2009, 02:09:48 AM
I wasn't claiming that thirst is not a good indicator, or that color of urine is always perfect, and I certainly am not endorsing reading through your urine... But anyway, the Mayo clinic also writes (from http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/dehydration/DS00561/DSECTION=symptoms (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/dehydration/DS00561/DSECTION=symptoms))

Quote
Unfortunately, thirst isn't always a reliable gauge of the body's need for water, especially in children and older adults. A better barometer is the color of your urine: Clear or light-colored urine means you're well hydrated, whereas a dark yellow or amber color usually signals dehydration.

To my understanding, the reason for this advice is because very young children or elderly adults may not be able to adequately communicate what's wrong. 

It doesn't mean that they don't feel thirst.  If they were better able to communicate their discomfort, then roundabout measures like checking their urine would not be necessary.

But then that still brings up the question of how dark is too dark?  And how do you account for other factors that might affect the clarity of urine?  Perhaps it's just something you can develop an eye for.  In any case, we agree that the guideline of "you should be able to read through it" is unhelpful.

And there's no reason to expect that these measures need to be practiced by the majority of the population.

Recently on Mythbusters when they were doing the beer/liquor hangover test, they measured hydration levels with a skin pinch test.  I wonder if that would be helpful in the elderly or the very young....

And the advice for long-distance runners (one of my hobbies) has been flip-flopping between watching the color of your urine, drinking only when you're thirsty and various other more or less reasonable guidelines. My impression was that it wasn't quite settled yet whether thirst is the one and only or even the best guide to avoid dehydration.

I'm not aware of any evidence that athletes may have trouble relying on thirst as an indicator of a need for hydration.  I know that there are a lot of medical myths in sports, perhaps this is one.

However, if there is some evidence that athletes cannot rely on their thirst, then I would be very interested in hearing about it.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Dolomedes on November 10, 2009, 02:15:08 AM
How about "we use only 10% (or a similiar low number) of our brain".
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Soodal on November 11, 2009, 05:11:26 AM
Today I learned about the wonders of deer antlers in preventing colds. Of course, we must by properly prepared antler-based medicine, and of course people who take this sometimes get colds.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: stands2reason on November 11, 2009, 09:31:28 AM
How about that BS Dr. Oz pushes about how you need to check how dark your urine is in order to prevent dehydration?

Why is this BS? Color of urine is a pretty good indicator of hydration level, usually.

I've heard that if your urine isn't clear, or very close to it, you're dehydrated. Doesn't sound right though.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Dionysus on November 12, 2009, 01:37:41 PM
I'm not aware of any evidence that athletes may have trouble relying on thirst as an indicator of a need for hydration.  I know that there are a lot of medical myths in sports, perhaps this is one.

However, if there is some evidence that athletes cannot rely on their thirst, then I would be very interested in hearing about it.

If they drink every time they feel thirsty, they could potentially give themselves hyponatremia.

http://sportsmedicine.about.com/od/hydrationandfluid/a/Hyponatremia.htm (http://sportsmedicine.about.com/od/hydrationandfluid/a/Hyponatremia.htm)

Thirst isn't always a good indicator, and I've also been told by my past doctors that urine color is in fact a good indication of hydration. Dr. Oz is definitely a douche, but he's right on this one.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Parrot on November 12, 2009, 02:10:57 PM
If they drink every time they feel thirsty, they could potentially give themselves hyponatremia.

http://sportsmedicine.about.com/od/hydrationandfluid/a/Hyponatremia.htm (http://sportsmedicine.about.com/od/hydrationandfluid/a/Hyponatremia.htm)

Interesting - but the deal for athletes here isn't that their thirst has caused them to drink too much.  Instead, the problem is that they're losing salt through sweating and it's not being replaced - but since the water is being replaced, it causes them to develop an imbalance.

The solution isn't for athletes to ignore their thirst - their bodies still require that water.  Instead, the solution is for them to replace their salt content along with their water.

Thirst isn't always a good indicator

I've still yet to be provided of any examples of that being the case.  I'm willing to consider that there may be rare medical conditions that I'm unaware of in which the thirst mechanism becomes unreliable.  I've certainly admitted that certain patients may not be able to adequately communicate thirst, requiring more roundabout measures.

But as far as these measures being applied generally, that doesn't seem to be warranted.

I've also been told by my past doctors that urine color is in fact a good indication of hydration. Dr. Oz is definitely a douche, but he's right on this one.

No, I'm still not convinced that he is.  I've admitted that urine colour may be a reasonable roundabout way of checking hydration for some people - you'd probably have to develop an eye for it - but I've seen no evidence yet that it provides any benefit to the rest of the population.  There's no reason to expect that thirst won't provide you with ample warning of your need for hydration, it's a far more reliable indicator.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Lukas on November 12, 2009, 02:28:05 PM
If they drink every time they feel thirsty, they could potentially give themselves hyponatremia.

http://sportsmedicine.about.com/od/hydrationandfluid/a/Hyponatremia.htm (http://sportsmedicine.about.com/od/hydrationandfluid/a/Hyponatremia.htm)

Interesting - but the deal for athletes here isn't that their thirst has caused them to drink too much.  Instead, the problem is that they're losing salt through sweating and it's not being replaced - but since the water is being replaced, it causes them to develop an imbalance.

The solution isn't for athletes to ignore their thirst - their bodies still require that water.  Instead, the solution is for them to replace their salt content along with their water.

No, in long events like marathons and the like athletes can't possibly replace all the salt they lose, and they can't replace all the calories they burn either. The solution really is to not drink too much. (Obviously, drinking Gatorade or other stuff that contains salt helps a little, but the salt content is still way too low to replace the salt loss through sweat.) To be fair, the really dangerous cases of hyponatremia have not been induced by thirst, but by way over-the-top recommendations of the amount of water you should drink. For some years, the general advice (by professionals and laymen alike) was that you should always drink as much to have very clear urine, way before you were thirsty. This has turned out to be a very bad idea, since hyponatremia is more dangerous than dehydration. I guess there are some conditions where you can't quite trust your thirst in these athletic events, like if you run in unusually low temperatures (and dry air) or at very high elevation, or in extreme heat. Thirst still works as an indicator, but it might be lagging, a very bad thing in competitive sports events.

Even outside of competitive sports I have noticed that thirst isn't always reliable in unusual circumstances. E.g., when I lived in low-elevation Michigan and went to vacation in Rocky Mountain National Park, the high elevation gave me headaches which I suspect were related to dehydration. Or in extremely low temperatures when the air is very dry I have experienced (again, I suspect, don't have scientific proof of this) dehydration-related headaches. In both of these cases I wasn't really thirsty. I wonder whether the thirst mechanism adapts to common environmental conditions.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Alkmene on November 12, 2009, 09:41:23 PM
I am sure that Mr Novella (there is only one, the man himself, a hero and very eloquent one at that) knew that he was not getting *suggestions* for myths necessarely but mostly *getting* myths directly through he misconceptions discussed in this thread. Wonderful! Smart fellow you are!

My personal fav is the "widespread use of MultiVits" with the added comment "at least in my family" ... ROFL!

But the sun light is good for you myth (except for the absolutely vital Vit D connection) is close second!

Alk
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Alkmene on November 12, 2009, 09:44:00 PM
How about discussing the heart beat myth; except for the bit where it keeps you alive in the absence of a heart lung machine; it is really a pure myth that a vast majority (at least in my family) believe in.

Alk
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Skulker on November 13, 2009, 08:57:18 AM
How about discussing the heart beat myth; except for the bit where it keeps you alive in the absence of a heart lung machine; it is really a pure myth that a vast majority (at least in my family) believe in.

Alk
Heart beat myth? I haven't heard that one but on the surface I think having a heart beat is a good thing  :D

Quote
I am sure that Mr Novella (there is only one, the man himself, a hero and very eloquent one at that) knew that he was not getting *suggestions* for myths necessarely but mostly *getting* myths directly through he misconceptions discussed in this thread. Wonderful! Smart fellow you are!

BTW, not to be pedantic but, it's Dr Novella if you're referring to Steve and Mr Novella if you're talking about Bob or Jay. Steve worked hard for that medical degree ;D
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Green Ideas on November 13, 2009, 03:38:53 PM
I think some people here are much too quick in dismissing some alleged "myths". We have to bear in mind that there's always the possibility we're overlooking something. I'm thinking specifically about sunlight, we probably have yet a lot to understand about the ways it affects us.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Opcn on November 16, 2009, 03:53:01 AM
What is the truth about circumcision
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Parrot on November 16, 2009, 07:15:43 AM
What is the truth about circumcision

My understanding is that there's not enough evidence for the medical profession to recommend it definitively.  There may be small benefits like a slightly smaller chance of the baby developing a urinary tract infection, but that's disputed and the effect isn't big enough to make that much of a difference anyway.

And, of course, there are the moral considerations, like is it right to subject a baby to that kind of pain even if it won't remember it later in life?  And does it hamper their abilities as adults to enjoy sex?
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Opcn on November 17, 2009, 02:02:42 AM
Dr. Crislip seems to think that it reduces the chance of HIV infection by a statistically significant degree.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Parrot on November 17, 2009, 06:42:17 AM
Dr. Crislip seems to think that it reduces the chance of HIV infection by a statistically significant degree.

Based on what evidence?  (and who's this Dr. Crislip?)
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: dzelzkalns on November 17, 2009, 07:02:46 AM
How about glucosamine supplements for joint health?  From what I've read, it doesn't do much, but people swear by it.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: stands2reason on November 17, 2009, 09:50:15 AM
Dr. Crislip seems to think that it reduces the chance of HIV infection by a statistically significant degree.

Based on what evidence?  (and who's this Dr. Crislip?)

 :wth:

http://www.quackcast.com/ (http://www.quackcast.com/)

Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Parrot on November 17, 2009, 04:57:33 PM
Dr. Crislip seems to think that it reduces the chance of HIV infection by a statistically significant degree.

Based on what evidence?  (and who's this Dr. Crislip?)

 :wth:

http://www.quackcast.com/ (http://www.quackcast.com/)

He doesn't appear to talk about circumcision on that podcast.  Do you know of a link where he does state his opinion on the subject?
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Lukas on November 17, 2009, 05:24:25 PM
Dr. Crislip seems to think that it reduces the chance of HIV infection by a statistically significant degree.

Based on what evidence?  (and who's this Dr. Crislip?)

 :wth:

http://www.quackcast.com/ (http://www.quackcast.com/)

He doesn't appear to talk about circumcision on that podcast.  Do you know of a link where he does state his opinion on the subject?

You don't need to search through all the Crislip stuff, the CDC has a factsheet: http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/resources/factsheets/circumcision.htm (http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/resources/factsheets/circumcision.htm)
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Hyperion on November 18, 2009, 12:51:18 PM
I knew a guy once who was absolutely convinced that drinking enough of any drink out of aluminum cans would eventually lead to Alzheimer's. 
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Hyperion on November 18, 2009, 08:19:38 PM
Here's one: 

The claim that the drug Accutane causes suicidal thoughts and actions.  I don't think this would have gotten as much attention if it weren't for  Michigan Democrat Representative Bart Stupak's son committing suicide (http://www.house.gov/stupak/accutane_statement_20001005.shtml) while he happened to be taking Accutane. 

I'd be curious as to what Dr. Novella thinks of this claim.  I can state from first hand experience (over 2 separate courses) that Accutane made me happier!  :) It is a true miracle drug. 

Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Morvis13 on November 18, 2009, 08:32:53 PM
Here's one: 

The claim that the drug Accutane causes suicidal thoughts and actions.  I don't think this would have gotten as much attention if it weren't for  Michigan Democrat Representative Bart Stupak's son committing suicide (http://www.house.gov/stupak/accutane_statement_20001005.shtml) while he happened to be taking Accutane. 

I'd be curious as to what Dr. Novella thinks of this claim.  I can state from first hand experience (over 2 separate courses) that Accutane made me happier!  :) It is a true miracle drug.

FDA has the drug on alert.
http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/PostmarketDrugSafetyInformationforPatientsandProviders/ucm094305.htm (http://www.fda.gov/Drugs/DrugSafety/PostmarketDrugSafetyInformationforPatientsandProviders/ucm094305.htm)
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Hyperion on November 18, 2009, 09:24:14 PM
That doesn't necessarily mean anything.  When a congressman's kid dies, strings can be pulled.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Morvis13 on November 18, 2009, 09:34:57 PM
That was in 2005 and I don't know what the test results. There has been plenty of time for tests and politics so all we can do is wait to see who wins.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Artemisia on November 18, 2009, 09:43:59 PM
I don't know if this has been mentioned but I think the concept of "boosting" the immune system is a good medical myth. Also the concept of 'overloading' the immune system.

The most common objection from 'normal' parents I encounter is that they don't want to 'overload the immune system. There seems to be an idea that there is a huge amount of virus in a vaccine.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Z0mb13s on November 18, 2009, 09:45:13 PM
Well...
 I know this was covered on an episode of SGU but I am unsure if this type was covered.
One of my favorite bands,Deftones, have a fundraising web site up that has been around since the bassist, Chi Cheng, was in a car accident on November 3 08. He has been in a coma since then.There was a false rumor that he came out of the coma.Me, being the outspoken skeptic I am, got into an argument about comas and the probability of him ever coming out of it. His coma, as the web site and Wiki states is MCS (minimally-conscious state). He  was readmitted to ICU following a near-fatal septicemia infection.He survived the infection following treatment and was released from ICU about a week later.My question that I post to the forum is this...is this what Steven referred to as the vegetative state? There is so much fundrasing going on for this ans I can see why the family and fans want to have hope.I was wondering what are the chances he will ever come out of it?!?!I know it may be hard to determine if it isn't a hard line defined state of being.Basically...I have been bummed since I found out about it last year and don't hold much hope that I will ever see the original line up rock out again.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Hyperion on November 18, 2009, 10:00:17 PM
That was in 2005 and I don't know what the test results. There has been plenty of time for tests and politics so all we can do is wait to see who wins.

Accutane has been on the market since 1982 and I believe around 200 people have committed suicide while on it.  I'm no statistician, but if you take the already turmoil-filled life of an adolescent and add to it a disfiguring disease, then I would imagine 200 suicides over a quarter of a century might just fall within the "normal" range for that demographic group whether they were on Accutane or not.  But to a politician whose kid has just taken his own life, he can't be relied upon to be objective.  He is a politician who sees political "solutions" (ala the FDA doing something), not necessarily scientific facts.     
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Morvis13 on November 18, 2009, 10:19:46 PM
That was in 2005 and I don't know what the test results. There has been plenty of time for tests and politics so all we can do is wait to see who wins.

Accutane has been on the market since 1982 and I believe around 200 people have committed suicide while on it.  I'm no statistician, but if you take the already turmoil-filled life of an adolescent and add to it a disfiguring disease, then I would imagine 200 suicides over a quarter of a century might just fall within the "normal" range for that demographic group whether they were on Accutane or not.  But to a politician whose kid has just taken his own life, he can't be relied upon to be objective.  He is a politician who sees political "solutions" (ala the FDA doing something), not necessarily scientific facts.     

that's 7.4 deaths per year or way less then Jenny McCarthy.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Carl Chapple on November 20, 2009, 05:16:06 AM
Methadone rots teeth and "gets into bone". Male baldness is associated with virility. Oh, and smoking causes cancer.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Parrot on November 20, 2009, 07:02:04 AM
smoking causes cancer.

Tell me you're joking.

9,000% relative risk for lung cancer, and they've accounted for all the confounding factors alleged one by one - epidemiology hasn't had this kind of a success since.  And it's not that it hasn't tried.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Dolomedes on November 20, 2009, 08:47:08 AM
Sitting on a cold floor will give you an infected bladder.

The size of a man's feet/nose indicates the size of his penis.

Wearing tight jeans leads to testicle cancer.

And the classic: Masturbation causes blindness/hair growth on the palms

Hope this doesn't push the thread to Explicit  :)
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: stands2reason on November 20, 2009, 09:40:34 AM
Sitting on a cold floor will give you an infected bladder.

 :raise:
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Calinthalus on November 20, 2009, 09:59:06 AM
Sitting on cold floors/rocks will give you the piles.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Carl Chapple on November 20, 2009, 04:34:29 PM
smoking causes cancer.

Tell me you're joking.


Yep - sorry about that. Couldn't resist it.

Regards.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Parrot on November 20, 2009, 05:00:52 PM
smoking causes cancer.

Tell me you're joking.


Yep - sorry about that. Couldn't resist it.

Regards.

In that case - good one!   ;D

I thought you might be joking, but sometimes it's hard to know for sure.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Harradine on November 21, 2009, 05:49:36 PM
Hangover cures.

Please, tell me that there's one that works out there!

Yes.  Paracetamol with doxylamine (a sedating antihistamine).  Available OTC in the UK.  Or 30mg codeine (prescription only).  Sedative + analgesic is the magic combination.  These will remove all hangover symptoms.  While no substitute for sleep, they will more than effectively treat 'beer fear' (the heightened sense of acute anxiety common after alcohol binge).

Medical myths?  That statin therapy is to be feared and avoided.

That anything physiological is measured in 'levels' (e.g. one commonly hears of boosting neurotransmitter 'levels'- this is a nonsense.  Neurotransmitters operate by shifts in concentration at certain sites- transmission is what's important.  Not blanket 'levels'- a lay term and a rather misleading one at that.)

'Boosting' serotinin levels is the most common con.  Not only would 'boosting' anything in the brain be a bad idea, but not even MDMA 'boosts' serotonin levels.  It just simply moves serotonin from one place to another.  Antidepressants have no effect on serotonin 'levels'.  They just change how it is moved from one place to another.  Fear the word 'level' when talking about neurotransmitters.  Its a sure sign that much fact is being left out. 

Carefully question (don't believe) anything that claims to 'boost' any aspect of your pharmacology.  Thus:

http://ezinearticles.com/?How-to-Boost-Serotonin&id=1564956 (http://ezinearticles.com/?How-to-Boost-Serotonin&id=1564956)

This is how it is actually done by two of the best people in the field- Trevor Sharp and Sasha Gartside (in Europe we call serotonin '5-HT')

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9222551?itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum&ordinalpos=18 (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9222551?itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum&ordinalpos=18)
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Opcn on November 21, 2009, 06:18:27 PM
One of my friends has launched an herbal hangover cure called U-turn and wants me to write for his blog :(
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Harradine on November 21, 2009, 08:18:10 PM
I'm sure you're in control 
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Hyperion on November 23, 2009, 12:53:43 PM
What about the claim that marijuana is a "gateway drug" that magically takes over people forcing them to take harder drugs?
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Skepdad on November 23, 2009, 01:25:26 PM
- probiotics defends against the flu (i.e. yogurt vs vaccines)
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: DJBexbot on November 23, 2009, 07:40:48 PM
- probiotics defends against the flu (i.e. yogurt vs vaccines)

following on from that, these probiotics in general.
can these cultures actually survive your stomach to make it to where they are supposed to go?
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: stands2reason on November 24, 2009, 06:58:08 AM
What about the claim that marijuana is a "gateway drug" that magically takes over people forcing them to take harder drugs?

Hasn't happened yet!
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: TransplantJoe on November 24, 2009, 09:33:57 AM
Organ transplants transplanting aspects of the donor's personality, like food tastes, as opposed to personality changes due to side effects of anti-rejection drugs or other reasons.  ("cellular memory")

http://www.med.unc.edu/wellness/main/links/cellular%20memory.htm (http://www.med.unc.edu/wellness/main/links/cellular%20memory.htm)

Will likely be somewhat important to me within the next few years.  :)
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: The General on November 30, 2009, 01:37:22 AM
My wife believes that if you go to bed with wet hair, you'll become sick.  She's Japanese and this is a VERY common myth here in Japan.  I'm not sure how common it is outside the country (though I heard "don't go OUTSIDE with wet hair" all the time growing up).

Blood type is related to your personality:  "You're so artistic because you're type A" . . . "Of course she's stubborn--she's AB!", etc.

The "haramaki" (lit. stomach wrap):  If you're sick and want to speed your recovery (or are well and want to remain that way), you wrap your stomach up with a long piece of fabric to keep it warm.

I don't know how many times I've had to explain to the kids why something their mother just said was complete woo (as nicely as possible, of course) and why.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: ♫♪ FX ♪♫ on November 30, 2009, 01:53:00 AM
I've gone to bed with wet hair, (it's quite long), when it was cold, and it can cause a serious chilling effect, leading to some very unpleasant effects.  So there is something to that bit of wisdom.  I won't do it again.

However, when it is hot, it provides a cooling effect and is not harmful.  In fact it is quite nice. In both cases the evaporation causes some serious heat loss.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: The General on November 30, 2009, 02:28:31 AM
I've gone to bed with wet hair, (it's quite long), when it was cold, and it can cause a serious chilling effect, leading to some very unpleasant effects.  So there is something to that bit of wisdom.  I won't do it again.

However, when it is hot, it provides a cooling effect and is not harmful.  In fact it is quite nice. In both cases the evaporation causes some serious heat loss.
I don't know what your "unpleasant effects" were (apart from having a cold, wet pillow) but the myth is that you'll catch cold/flu from doing this but surely you're not suggeseting you caught a cold from a wet bed.

For the record, the myth has nothing to do with the season.  Just going to bed with wet hair is said to cause one to become sick.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: MountainManPan on November 30, 2009, 07:05:52 AM
My wife believes that if you go to bed with wet hair, you'll become sick.  She's Japanese and this is a VERY common myth here in Japan.  I'm not sure how common it is outside the country (though I heard "don't go OUTSIDE with wet hair" all the time growing up).

Blood type is related to your personality:  "You're so artistic because you're type A" . . . "Of course she's stubborn--she's AB!", etc.

The "haramaki" (lit. stomach wrap):  If you're sick and want to speed your recovery (or are well and want to remain that way), you wrap your stomach up with a long piece of fabric to keep it warm.

I don't know how many times I've had to explain to the kids why something their mother just said was complete woo (as nicely as possible, of course) and why.

We get it. You live in Japan.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Hyperion on November 30, 2009, 10:16:42 AM
My wife is a pediatrician.  One she hears often, usually from grandparents, is that when an infant has a high fever and vomits up their milk, the high temperature of the fever caused the milk "curdle." 

They don't realize the stomach acids made the milk its yucky consistency you see when it is vomited up.  They seem to think of an infant with a fever as a type of stove or oven that superheats milk to a "curdled" state.   ;D

I would imagine that different generations have their own set of medical myths.  This one seems to be mostly confined to the older generation. 
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Calinthalus on November 30, 2009, 10:25:48 AM
My wife is a pediatrician.  One she hears often, usually from grandparents, is that when an infant has a high fever and vomits up their milk, the high temperature of the fever caused the milk "curdle." 

They don't realize the stomach acids made the milk its yucky consistency you see when it is vomited up.  They seem to think of an infant with a fever as a type of stove or oven that superheats milk to a "curdled" state.   ;D

I would imagine that different generations have their own set of medical myths.  This one seems to be mostly confined to the older generation.
Hell, I still don't give my kids milk when they have a fever.  I don't really know why...but I was told when I was young that milk will make you vomit if you have a fever.  It made sense to me since I always hated milk anyway.

Of course, my youngest now is 11, so they're not exactly infants anymore.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Opcn on November 30, 2009, 10:38:06 AM
Milk Was A Bad Choice (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=APAySMepRm8#normal)
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Parrot on November 30, 2009, 12:32:00 PM
Speaking of milk, I recently had a disagreement with my sister about the myth that milk, and it's byproducts like cheese, are mucus forming.  Not really much of an argument, basically it was:

"That's a myth, by the way"
"No it's not!"
"I'm pretty sure it is"
"No, it's absolutely true!"

Then her boyfriend broke in and said "I wouldn't contradict her on this, she went to school about this kind of thing" (in reality, she went to woo school to learn how to manage a health food store)

I let it drop there.  You can't push things too hard with family.  But I've gathered the evidence that I'm right and I'm thinking over how to present it to her without making it look like I'm gloating.

In any way, the "milk is mucus forming" myth would be a good one to tackle.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: MountainManPan on November 30, 2009, 05:46:35 PM
Plus milk and yogurt are very important part of many culture's diets. 
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Opcn on November 30, 2009, 06:09:22 PM
I don't see how that impacts mucus.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: The General on November 30, 2009, 07:56:42 PM
My wife believes that if you go to bed with wet hair, you'll become sick.  She's Japanese and this is a VERY common myth here in Japan.  I'm not sure how common it is outside the country (though I heard "don't go OUTSIDE with wet hair" all the time growing up).

Blood type is related to your personality:  "You're so artistic because you're type A" . . . "Of course she's stubborn--she's AB!", etc.

The "haramaki" (lit. stomach wrap):  If you're sick and want to speed your recovery (or are well and want to remain that way), you wrap your stomach up with a long piece of fabric to keep it warm.

I don't know how many times I've had to explain to the kids why something their mother just said was complete woo (as nicely as possible, of course) and why.

We get it. You live in Japan.
I get it.  You're a dick.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Parrot on December 01, 2009, 01:41:55 AM
I don't see how that impacts mucus.

It's the thickness of milk that gives some people the sensation that there's something going on with mucus.  The people who believe it think that it's something intrinsic to milk, but when properly blinded there's no way to tell the difference mucus wise between milk and a soy beverage.

So it's a myth.  But that didn't stop PETA from spreading that piece of misinformation in order to get people to stop drinking milk at one point.  PETA gets it's facts wrong with great regularity.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Opcn on December 01, 2009, 02:20:01 AM
I was responding to MountainManPan, sorry.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: MountainManPan on December 01, 2009, 05:36:06 AM
I don't see how that impacts mucus.

Nor do I.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: kem on December 02, 2009, 11:40:12 PM
That getting exposed to sunlight is healthy, beyond the vitamin D reason.

for every life saved from melanoma by sun avoidance, 55 lives are taken by other cancers.

The big myth is that eating fat makes you fat.  Check out this week in Skepticality for a really good interview...
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Opcn on December 03, 2009, 02:12:33 AM
I don't see how that impacts mucus.

Nor do I.

Then why state the Truism?
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Harradine on December 11, 2009, 11:02:11 PM
That getting exposed to sunlight is healthy, beyond the vitamin D reason.

for every life saved from melanoma by sun avoidance, 55 lives are taken by other cancers.

The big myth is that eating fat makes you fat.  Check out this week in Skepticality for a really good interview...

Eating enough fat will make you fat enough. 
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: kem on December 12, 2009, 12:01:02 AM
Not old enough to remember the days well, before Dr. Atkins, when everyone stopped eating carbohydrates to lose weight??? 

They didn't call it a beer belly for nought.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: MountainManPan on December 12, 2009, 12:49:53 AM
You get fat by eating more calories than you  need.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Lukas on December 12, 2009, 12:13:19 PM
That getting exposed to sunlight is healthy, beyond the vitamin D reason.

for every life saved from melanoma by sun avoidance, 55 lives are taken by other cancers.

The big myth is that eating fat makes you fat.  Check out this week in Skepticality for a really good interview...

I listened to this episode and I was quite disappointed by the non-skeptical attitude of the interviewer. I don't usually listen to Skepticality, so I don't know whether this is common or not with them. The guest (William Meller) basically pushed his fad "stone-age diet" and praised the Atkins stuff and the interviewer fawned over it. It sounded like an infomercial. Just as an example, he claimed that athletes would be the first ones to adopt these new scientific insights, and that marathon runners would carbo-load before the race, but otherwise eat a diet high in protein and fat. I am a long-distance runner myself (not professional, though), and I've never heard anything like that. To my knowledge, the general recommendation for runners is a balanced diet with a little bias toward complex carbs. Certainly not biased towards fat and protein.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: kem on December 12, 2009, 01:12:27 PM
You get fat by eating more calories than you  need.

you might, but not necessarily. 
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: kem on December 12, 2009, 01:21:57 PM

I listened to this episode and I was quite disappointed by the non-skeptical attitude of the interviewer. I don't usually listen to Skepticality, so I don't know whether this is common or not with them. The guest (William Meller) basically pushed his fad "stone-age diet" and praised the Atkins stuff and the interviewer fawned over it. It sounded like an infomercial. Just as an example, he claimed that athletes would be the first ones to adopt these new scientific insights, and that marathon runners would carbo-load before the race, but otherwise eat a diet high in protein and fat. I am a long-distance runner myself (not professional, though), and I've never heard anything like that. To my knowledge, the general recommendation for runners is a balanced diet with a little bias toward complex carbs. Certainly not biased towards fat and protein.
[/quote]

That isn't exactly how I heard it, but I think different circles of athletes would have different ideas about nutrition and I am in the circle that would tend to use more protien and fat for general maintenence and long chain carbs for excercise to keep ones muscles from being metabolised during excercise.  Seems that managing ones insulin response is the key to weight control and that is pinned to carbs as fats and protiens don't provoke it and simple sugars do in a rapid manner.

And I get your point about his one eyedness.  He certainly knows very little about organic (we have to have a word for that sort of farming) food and its effects on nutrition and the world in general.  I mean, he made  a few indefensible statements and Swoopy didn't blink an eye.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Green Ideas on December 12, 2009, 03:01:42 PM
That sweating is somehow good for you (besides the obvious temperature reason). That getting exposed to sunlight is healthy, beyond the vitamin D reason. Then there's the classic "8 cups of water a day" myth.

Well, getting exposed to sunlight gives you vitamin D, so what's the myth? I also believe that sunlight has positive psychological effects, but I haven't really looked into it, so that might be a myth.

Sunlight also estimulates the production of melanin. I suppose that, in excess, that's what causes melanoma. But in moderation it may be beneficial. I can't cite any studies, but I have no doubt that sunlight has positive psychological effects. Why else would millions of people every year choose to spend their vacations in sunny places? I wouldn't be surprised if the production of some hormones is also stimulated by sunlight (I've heard that some, like the growth hormone, has its production stimulated by the absence of light, so why not the reverse regarding other hormones?). I'm not claiming anything, I'm just suggesting perhaps we should give more attention to the subject.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: MountainManPan on December 12, 2009, 07:04:09 PM
You get fat by eating more calories than you  need.

you might, but not necessarily.

I'd love to see someone who can as much as he wants and not get fat.

Contrailiay, I saw no fat people in the concentration camps.  All they ate was bread, too.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: ♫♪ FX ♪♫ on December 12, 2009, 10:22:18 PM
You were in a concentration camp?
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: kem on December 13, 2009, 12:24:34 AM

I'd love to see someone who can as much as he wants and not get fat.


you're looking at him.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: MountainManPan on December 13, 2009, 01:30:51 AM

I'd love to see someone who can as much as he wants and not get fat.


you're looking at him.

But if you were to eat more than you eat now, you would gain weight.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: kem on December 13, 2009, 02:17:03 AM
I'd love to see someone who can as much as he wants and not get fat.
you're looking at him.
But if you were to eat more than you eat now, you would gain weight.
It would be hard to eat more than I do now, unless I upped the ante on excercise and I am getting a bit on in years for that.  I have plenty of friends that are like me.  Just don't eat sugar, white bread and drink too much beer and you're sweet.  Oh, and keep up the kms.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: MountainManPan on December 13, 2009, 02:48:53 AM
Are fruits OK?
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Opcn on December 13, 2009, 08:13:29 AM
There are a couple things that happen, one is diet induced thermogenesis (DIT), where in your GI tract actually short circuits its energy producing system and dumps out lots of heat, that is why I can walk around all winter with just a polar fleece while those around me bundle up in layers of down, I eat lots of bacon. After that you have the effect of eating more producing more activity. While you may not have to go on a run your body may shunt that energy into something like the mental energy to read some awful prose from a creotard or the physical energy the get up early and walk the dog.

Calories in, Calories out (CICO) is pretty well supported, if we analyze waste products (Co2, urine and feces) and input we tend to be able to account for almost everything (if it were perfect then I'd suspect fudging). The CICO model is also supported quite well by that who thermodynamics thing ... and the conservation of energy thing ... and you know ... science.

Avoiding sugar may be helping you to avoid pushing your body into an energy storage mode, or it may simply be limiting the energy density of the food you put it. When you mix the low energy density with the fixed stomach you find that your total Caloric intake is reduced.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: MountainManPan on December 13, 2009, 08:33:09 AM


Avoiding sugar may be helping you to avoid pushing your body into an energy storage mode, or it may simply be limiting the energy density of the food you put it. When you mix the low energy density with the fixed stomach you find that your total Caloric intake is reduced.

Very nice post.

See the thing with sugar and carbs is where I get confused.  I always figured those foods tends to make people gain weight because they tend to be calorically dense, but then I hear other people say that the way our bodies deal with digesting them is the problem.

Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: stands2reason on December 13, 2009, 08:40:58 AM


Avoiding sugar may be helping you to avoid pushing your body into an energy storage mode, or it may simply be limiting the energy density of the food you put it. When you mix the low energy density with the fixed stomach you find that your total Caloric intake is reduced.

Very nice post.

See the thing with sugar and carbs is where I get confused.  I always figured those foods tends to make people gain weight because they tend to be calorically dense, but then I hear other people say that the way our bodies deal with digesting them is the problem.

The answer is that they're probably both problems. Calorie density is only a problem for portion control though, it doesn't affect what the calorie number means.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: MountainManPan on December 13, 2009, 09:15:19 AM


Avoiding sugar may be helping you to avoid pushing your body into an energy storage mode, or it may simply be limiting the energy density of the food you put it. When you mix the low energy density with the fixed stomach you find that your total Caloric intake is reduced.

Very nice post.

See the thing with sugar and carbs is where I get confused.  I always figured those foods tends to make people gain weight because they tend to be calorically dense, but then I hear other people say that the way our bodies deal with digesting them is the problem.

The answer is that they're probably both problems. Calorie density is only a problem for portion control though, it doesn't affect what the calorie number means.

Well that's what I mean. The fact that they are calorie dense means it is easier for some people to consume more calories more quickly/without being as full as compared to eating, say, vegetables.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Opcn on December 13, 2009, 09:23:59 AM


Avoiding sugar may be helping you to avoid pushing your body into an energy storage mode, or it may simply be limiting the energy density of the food you put it. When you mix the low energy density with the fixed stomach you find that your total Caloric intake is reduced.

Very nice post.

See the thing with sugar and carbs is where I get confused.  I always figured those foods tends to make people gain weight because they tend to be calorically dense, but then I hear other people say that the way our bodies deal with digesting them is the problem.

The answer is that they're probably both problems. Calorie density is only a problem for portion control though, it doesn't affect what the calorie number means.

Well that's what I mean. The fact that they are calorie dense means it is easier for some people to consume more calories more quickly/without being as full as compared to eating, say, vegetables.

I can eat 5 lbs of potatoes easily
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: MountainManPan on December 13, 2009, 09:32:57 AM
So is the hub ub about carbs over the fact that they are calorically dense or because they trigger insulin which triggers fat storage?
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: kem on December 13, 2009, 12:02:38 PM
So is the hub ub about carbs over the fact that they are calorically dense or because they trigger insulin which triggers fat storage?

Gary Taubes is condensing his 500 page well researched and referenced tome to a 150 page  readable book soon.  He explains the research very well on insulin and fat storage.  You can get a listen whith him and Ron Kraus in the archives of science friday.  Richard Wrangham has a bit to say about digestion as well in the recent press. 

And shit burns.  There is a lot of energy going out the back and that you are feeding billions of little creatures in your intistines. 
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Opcn on December 13, 2009, 03:08:24 PM
And shit burns.  There is a lot of energy going out the back and that you are feeding billions of little creatures in your intistines.

We have known that literally since biblical times, even early nutritionists looked at it. Whille eating 3000 Calories might not enable your body to do 3000 Calories worth of work and heat if you change to 3500 Calories you will not poo out an extra 500 Calories, or produce the remainder in heat release during digestion.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: MountainManPan on December 13, 2009, 05:39:32 PM
I just read an article about vertical farming in Scientific American and in the article they mention that the average 1/2 pound bowel movement contains 300 calories of energy.

I think I just found the cure for starving people.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: The General on December 15, 2009, 12:08:47 AM
I think I just found the cure for starving people.
The Yes Men proposed that solution to world hunger (http://theyesmen.org/hijinks/plattsburgh) years ago.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Opcn on December 15, 2009, 06:23:20 AM
When everyone dies from eating shit there won't be any more starving people. Seems simple enough to me ...
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: ttguy on December 23, 2009, 07:37:32 AM
Too much salt causes heart disease.

I recall an ancient SGU podcast where it was suggested that the evidence supporting this was weak. I would love to know more details on this one.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Calinthalus on December 23, 2009, 08:17:42 AM
Too much salt causes heart disease.

I recall an ancient SGU podcast where it was suggested that the evidence supporting this was weak. I would love to know more details on this one.
As someone with hypertension, I'll second this one.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: kem on December 23, 2009, 12:57:19 PM
Too much salt causes heart disease.

I recall an ancient SGU podcast where it was suggested that the evidence supporting this was weak. I would love to know more details on this one.

This is discussed in Taube's well referenced "Good Calories, Bad Calories" (chapter eight).  Salt restriction lowers blood pressure in hypertensives by 4-5 mm Hg and 2 mm Hg in the average person.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: kem on December 23, 2009, 01:05:33 PM
Measuring one's "cholesterol" is a good indicator of heart disease risk.  I can't believe how this one hangs in there.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Diverdi on January 03, 2010, 04:19:22 PM
Methadone rots teeth and "gets into bone". Male baldness is associated with virility. Oh, and smoking causes cancer.

 Methadone now sugar free but I can can imagine a connection between the sugar containing syrup and dental disease.

 The only paper I can find in a (brief) search is this, which shows a correlation between addicion and poor dental health but doesn't separate cause.

http://ada.org.au/App_CmsLib/Media/Lib/0706/M82892_v1_633174070969048750.pdf (http://ada.org.au/App_CmsLib/Media/Lib/0706/M82892_v1_633174070969048750.pdf)


 What about the myth that ER is always manic during a full moon? And that if you mention the word 'quiet' you will have a horrendous shift?
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: TransplantJoe on January 04, 2010, 02:35:55 PM
Too much salt causes heart disease.

I recall an ancient SGU podcast where it was suggested that the evidence supporting this was weak. I would love to know more details on this one.
As someone with hypertension, I'll second this one.

Causes heart disease by increasing BP, or worsens (pre-existing) CHF due to increased fluid retention?   
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: jawmo on January 11, 2010, 08:52:04 PM
The Myth of Menstrual Synchrony. I've heard several times over the years that women who live together (i.e. college dorm) somehow end up getting their periods at the same time. I've got a wife and two teenaged girls and call bullshit on that one.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: ♫♪ FX ♪♫ on January 11, 2010, 09:28:57 PM
Fascinating.  With the collective power of science worldwide, nobody has ever done a study to validate the McClintock effect, also known as menstrual synchrony or the dormitory effect, while the  Whitten effect is well documented and not questioned.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Peace Bunny on January 15, 2010, 07:11:43 PM
I have read most of the posts so sorry if these two have been said before.

1. That having twins skips a generation in women, my Step Mum is certain that this is true and I see no reason for it to be the case.

2. One really cool myth is in S.Korea where they believe that sleeping with an electric fan on will kill you, check it out :http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fan_death
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Anders on January 17, 2010, 07:05:09 AM
Masturbation makes you blind/sterile/gives you hairy palms/etc.

(this one is obviously close to my heart...  >:D)
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Hyperion on January 17, 2010, 12:13:42 PM
Masturbation makes you blind/sterile/gives you hairy palms/etc.

(this one is obviously close to my heart...  >:D)

(http://i183.photobucket.com/albums/x146/floyderism/masturbation.jpg)
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: ♫♪ FX ♪♫ on January 17, 2010, 12:35:37 PM
That made me laugh!
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: jawmo on January 19, 2010, 03:43:17 AM

Thank Bog for Lasik and depilatories.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: kem on January 19, 2010, 12:35:30 PM
A calorie is a calorie.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Morvis13 on January 19, 2010, 01:28:12 PM
Interesting anecdote I just heard at the dentist:

Receptionist says that if you sing or otherwise exercise your numbness will wear off faster.

Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: seaotter on January 19, 2010, 06:32:04 PM
What about the banana and pickle eating for cramps? Is that a myth? Sounds kinda grandmothers wisdom to me.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Dolomedes on January 20, 2010, 04:24:11 AM
Bananas contain a lot of magnesium, and some cramps are caused by a lack of magnesium. So this is at least plausible.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: MountainManPan on January 20, 2010, 04:28:25 AM
I thought it was the potassium.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: ♫♪ FX ♪♫ on January 20, 2010, 09:33:31 AM
 
Bananas contain a lot of potassium, and some cramps are caused by a lack of potassium. So this is at least plausible.

FTFY
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Dolomedes on January 21, 2010, 01:24:22 AM
No, I did mean magnesium.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: WooFighter on February 08, 2010, 06:52:09 PM
Hangover cures.

Please, tell me that there's one that works out there!

I have one that works and is absolutely 100% completely effective every time. But you're not going to like it: Don't drink.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: stands2reason on February 08, 2010, 08:05:17 PM
Hangover cures.

Please, tell me that there's one that works out there!

I have one that works and is absolutely 100% completely effective every time. But you're not going to like it: Don't drink.

Or just drink very little. Seriously, is it just me, or is being full-on drunk overhyped and not that great at all?
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: WooFighter on February 08, 2010, 08:14:32 PM
How about the myth of 'localized fat burning'? That is, that if you exercise your abs you will only burn belly fat, if you exercise your thighs you will only burn thigh fat, etc. I have heard this endlessly from friends and occasionally even from trainers at the local gym.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Duckhugger on February 10, 2010, 08:33:42 AM
-Drinking your own fresh urine has it's benefits.

That one is a total myth! You have to store the urine in a fetid old glass bottle in your grandmother's attic, letting it age for at least a month or so, before you can expect to reap benefits from drinking it!

Speaking of drinking related myths... the whole "drinking liquid during a meal messes up your digestion" one kinda' pisses me off.

I remember I had some friends when I was a kid who's parents firmly believed in that one and wouldn't let them touch a drop of liquid till they were finished eating. I'd hate to be the poor kid stuck choking down dry food in that household... gah!
Title: Teething
Post by: Hampster on February 11, 2010, 02:05:14 AM
Teething is not real, according to my Dr.

We could have sworn our kid was teething at 6 months.   He had all the symptoms, but his teeth never came in.  At 7 months his teeth came in with absolutely no fuss.  Our doctor said that studies have show people report this, but can't never be proven to be caused by teeth coming in.  It usually just another type of sickness.

Kinda like MSG-- another medical myth.  Everyone claims symptoms, but double blind studies show no relation.

--Dave
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: MountainManPan on February 11, 2010, 02:16:52 AM
A calorie is a calorie.

For the most part it is.  Except if you are talking about eating raw food. Like a raw apple may be rated for 100 calories, but we get maybe only 60 or so calories from it on accounta it is raw.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Morvis13 on February 11, 2010, 07:43:45 AM
A calorie is a calorie.

For the most part it is.  Except if you are talking about eating raw food. Like a raw apple may be rated for 100 calories, but we get maybe only 60 or so calories from it on accounta it is raw.

Proof! we need proof.

-----------

How about the statement that hot/warm water for hand washing kills more bacteria then cold.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: kem on February 11, 2010, 12:58:15 PM
A calorie is a calorie.

For the most part it is.  Except if you are talking about eating raw food. Like a raw apple may be rated for 100 calories, but we get maybe only 60 or so calories from it on accounta it is raw.

Eat a calorie of glucose and you cause an insulin resonse and prevent adipose tissue from releasing fat and direct blood sugar and fat into the adipose tissue (and a myriad of other responses, insulin is a very powerful hormone). 

Eat a calorie of fat or protien and insulin is not released and adipose cells can continue feeding the body on what it normaly uses between meals, fatty acids.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Morvis13 on February 11, 2010, 01:24:52 PM
A calorie is a calorie.

For the most part it is.  Except if you are talking about eating raw food. Like a raw apple may be rated for 100 calories, but we get maybe only 60 or so calories from it on accounta it is raw.
Proof


Eat a calorie of glucose and you cause an insulin resonse and prevent adipose tissue from releasing fat and direct blood sugar and fat into the adipose tissue (and a myriad of other responses, insulin is a very powerful hormone). 

Eat a calorie of fat or protien and insulin is not released and adipose cells can continue feeding the body on what it normaly uses between meals, fatty acids.


I think you are confusing calories and fat. They are not equal. A calorie measures a unit of energy. When you consume 100 calories of glucose or 100 calories of fat it is still a 100 calories. What your body does with it is a horse of a different colour.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: kem on February 11, 2010, 03:35:49 PM
I think you are confusing calories and fat. They are not equal. A calorie measures a unit of energy. When you consume 100 calories of glucose or 100 calories of fat it is still a 100 calories. What your body does with it is a horse of a different colour.

...which is why a calorie is not a calorie, given the common useage as food energy rather than the energy it takes to raise a gram of water one degree (small c). 
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Morvis13 on February 11, 2010, 03:55:30 PM
I think you are confusing calories and fat. They are not equal. A calorie measures a unit of energy. When you consume 100 calories of glucose or 100 calories of fat it is still a 100 calories. What your body does with it is a horse of a different colour.

...which is why a calorie is not a calorie, given the common useage as food energy rather than the energy it takes to raise a gram of water one degree (small c).

Now I think we are both confused.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: MountainManPan on February 11, 2010, 04:55:19 PM
A calorie is a calorie.

For the most part it is.  Except if you are talking about eating raw food. Like a raw apple may be rated for 100 calories, but we get maybe only 60 or so calories from it on accounta it is raw.

Eat a calorie of glucose and you cause an insulin resonse and prevent adipose tissue from releasing fat and direct blood sugar and fat into the adipose tissue (and a myriad of other responses, insulin is a very powerful hormone). 

Eat a calorie of fat or protien and insulin is not released and adipose cells can continue feeding the body on what it normaly uses between meals, fatty acids.





The effect of eating carbs is overstated.  In studies when people are given strictly controlled diets people lost weight on a variety of diets that had different proportions of macronutrients.

Also, you fail at quoting.  And I fail at it, too.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: MountainManPan on February 11, 2010, 04:56:54 PM
A calorie is a calorie.

For the most part it is.  Except if you are talking about eating raw food. Like a raw apple may be rated for 100 calories, but we get maybe only 60 or so calories from it on accounta it is raw.

Eat a calorie of glucose and you cause an insulin resonse and prevent adipose tissue from releasing fat and direct blood sugar and fat into the adipose tissue (and a myriad of other responses, insulin is a very powerful hormone). 

Eat a calorie of fat or protien and insulin is not released and adipose cells can continue feeding the body on what it normaly uses between meals, fatty acids.
So what does this all mean, anyway? 
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: kem on February 11, 2010, 06:43:22 PM
So what does this all mean, anyway?

...timing and choosing what and when to eat is everything if you want to maximise your physical and athletic performance, general health, and of course, satisfaction and enjoyment of FOOD!
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Morvis13 on February 11, 2010, 09:49:33 PM
So what does this all mean, anyway?

...timing and choosing what and when to eat is everything if you want to maximise your physical and athletic performance, general health, and of course, satisfaction and enjoyment of FOOD!

(http://hornbillunleashed.files.wordpress.com/2009/10/bullshit.jpg)
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: madjockmcferson on February 16, 2010, 12:31:56 PM
My dad puts salt on everything before he even tastes it. He claims that because he does a manual job in high temperatures (he is a baker) he needs to take as much salt as possible. I'd like to know whether this is a myth - I've tried to find evidence online but I must either be a terrible 'Googler' or the research isn't there. I've told him just to drink more water but he refuses to.....
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: cerveauxfrits on February 16, 2010, 01:25:17 PM
I just did a PubMed search and looked through a mess of abstracts.  From what I saw, in vivo studies where you look at what people are eating and correlate that with weight gain or loss tend to find that, for the most part, a calorie is a calorie.  The overwhelming majority of such studies tell the same story: The balance of carbs, fat, and protein is at best a very weak indicator for weight change, with differences usually barely managing to achieve statistical significance if they achieve it at all.  i.e., A calorie is a calorie.

There are certainly differences with regards to insulin response and whatnot, but it seems that in practical terms this tends to translate into differences in other factors such as diabetes risk, not weight loss, and therefore doesn't really apply to what people mean when they say "a calorie is a calorie".
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Lukas on February 16, 2010, 01:48:06 PM
My dad puts salt on everything before he even tastes it. He claims that because he does a manual job in high temperatures (he is a baker) he needs to take as much salt as possible. I'd like to know whether this is a myth - I've tried to find evidence online but I must either be a terrible 'Googler' or the research isn't there. I've told him just to drink more water but he refuses to.....

"as much salt as possible" is obviously bogus, but there is some truth to this. If you sweat a lot, you have to replace those lost electrolytes. However, the lost electrolytes aren't only table salt, and I think you get most of them from a normal balanced diet, too. I know that long distance runners sometimes eat salt during a run, supposedly to prevent cramps from losing electrolytes. However, you can't possibly replace everything you lose during a marathon in real time, not electrolytes and not calories.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: cerveauxfrits on February 16, 2010, 02:01:30 PM
Also, NaCl is far from the only electrolyte.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Opcn on February 17, 2010, 02:44:21 AM
However a large salt intake isn't just about replacing electrolytes. Higher salt intake increases blood osmolarity, which in turn leads to the release of ADH (Arginine vasopressin (AVP), also known as vasopressin, argipressin, antidiuretic hormone) which helps him to hold onto water throughout the day, which he will then dump out in the heat as sweat. Back in the day people used to take salt pills when it was hot out. While his health may or may not suffer for this habit I think it is highly likely that he is more comfortable because of it.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: ThorGoLucky on April 09, 2010, 01:59:45 PM
The myth that fasting removes toxins.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: cerveauxfrits on April 09, 2010, 02:11:07 PM
The myth that fasting removes toxins.

Well, if you go long enough without food you'll eventually get over that whole "carbon dioxide keeps building up in the bloodstream" thing.  So there's at least some truth to it. . .
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Zombierobotmonkey Future on April 21, 2010, 07:49:38 PM
The final goodbye in movies: fatal injury, one minute they're talking coherently (if dramatically whispering), next minute they're dead.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Derek Smalls on May 03, 2010, 12:48:35 AM
My first post so be gentle.
How about antibiotics suppressing your immune-system.
Does anyone know where this idea came from?
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Hampster on May 14, 2010, 03:21:40 AM
How about defibrillators.  In the movies, they restart a heart, but in real life they do the opposite- stopping a heart that is about to self-destruct.

--Dave
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Anders on May 14, 2010, 10:11:48 AM
My first post so be gentle.
How about antibiotics suppressing your immune-system.
Does anyone know where this idea came from?

Probably this - immune activity goes down while on the antibiotics because the bacteria are dying. Some moron misinterpreted this.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: jaypee on May 14, 2010, 10:24:53 AM
My first post so be gentle.
How about antibiotics suppressing your immune-system.
Does anyone know where this idea came from?

Probably this - immune activity goes down while on the antibiotics because the bacteria are dying. Some moron misinterpreted this.

here's a completely unsourced article by some guy with no apparent medical expertise.

http://www.articlesbase.com/medicine-articles/how-antibiotics-weaken-the-immune-system-288646.html (http://www.articlesbase.com/medicine-articles/how-antibiotics-weaken-the-immune-system-288646.html)

Quote
Firstly, medical antibiotics do not make the immune system stronger, they simply act a replacement for one of its functions: killing harmful bacteria. The immune system functions just like an organ or a muscle. When it is not put to use, it atrophies. So when an introduced agent does one its jobs, the immune system performs that job poorly once the agent leaves the body. This is why someone who takes antibiotics to cure a bacteria based disease may catch the same disease, only with more severe symptoms, at a later time.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Anders on May 14, 2010, 10:49:54 AM
Wonderful to see how they completely misunderstand how the immune system works. Yes the immune system downsizes when the infection is waning. This is not for shits and giggles. This is because it is dangerous to have the immune system fully active.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: jaypee on May 14, 2010, 11:10:03 AM
what kills me is the statement that it hurts your immune system in the long run, the author seems to have a basic understanding of how immunity works, but having antibiotics kill bacteria doesn't necessarily reduce the ability of the immune system to recognize the epitopes of bacterial cells, it just buys time for the immune system to develop the antigen specific binding sites to kill the intruder in the future.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: mechanized on May 28, 2010, 11:42:47 PM
 If your hand is bigger than your face , do you have A.I.D.s ?...   "SLAP!"
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Boss Burrill on May 30, 2010, 10:53:56 PM
That taking pre-natel vitamins is even better then taking regular multi-vitamins, some strange notion that its geared more for a womans body and that motherhood is the bee's knees or some crap.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Morvis13 on May 31, 2010, 07:54:50 AM
Folic acid is proven to help in development of brain, spine and skull.
fortunately pregnant women can get enough with a healthy diet.
http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/fa-af/ (http://www.phac-aspc.gc.ca/fa-af/)
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Dionysus on June 02, 2010, 03:35:24 AM
How about defibrillators.  In the movies, they restart a heart, but in real life they do the opposite- stopping a heart that is about to self-destruct.

--Dave

Damn it, now I'm going to notice this all the time. I'm sure it'll quickly become a pet peeve...


Curse you, pet peeves!
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: jaypee on June 02, 2010, 09:20:03 AM
How about defibrillators.  In the movies, they restart a heart, but in real life they do the opposite- stopping a heart that is about to self-destruct.

--Dave

Damn it, now I'm going to notice this all the time. I'm sure it'll quickly become a pet peeve...


Curse you, pet peeves!

How do we know that they "restart" a heart in the movie? Unless someone in the movie says "here, this will restart his heart" I think they just leave the medical terminology out of the dialogue.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: ♫♪ FX ♪♫ on June 02, 2010, 10:30:38 AM
They show a heart monitor flatlining, then after the shocking it starts beating again.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: jaypee on June 02, 2010, 10:34:48 AM
Ah. I guess that makes sense.

Well, at least its not as annoying as the "drowning/gunshot/heart attack victim miraculously revives and coughs a bit after CPR".

All CPR does is keep oxygenated blood flowing to the brain until actual interventions can be performed.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Skulker on June 02, 2010, 10:45:03 AM
How about defibrillators.  In the movies, they restart a heart, but in real life they do the opposite- stopping a heart that is about to self-destruct.

--Dave

Damn it, now I'm going to notice this all the time. I'm sure it'll quickly become a pet peeve...


Curse you, pet peeves!
A defibrillator does what its name implies. It stops the heart from fibrillating (i.e. quivering) instead of beating regularly. The defibrillator (hopefully) resets the heart's pacemaker back into a regular rhythm. A heart monitor would show a flat line since it can't detect a regular rhythm.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: ♫♪ FX ♪♫ on June 02, 2010, 10:48:01 AM
According to Darla, an ER nurse, a defibrilator "de-fibrillates." When the heart is fibrillating, it is fluttering. The heart monitor looks like a series of "V"s. The defibrillator jolts the heart back into a normal rhythm so it can actually pump blood to the body. If a person is flatline, Darla says that the defibrillator won't do any good!

http://www.nitcentral.com/oddsends/defibril.htm (http://www.nitcentral.com/oddsends/defibril.htm)
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: cerveauxfrits on June 02, 2010, 10:57:37 AM
C'mon y'all there's even a motivator for this.

(http://api.ning.com/files/tMmgt7L6B*8apwLV042b7GFIDBMaKBo6Jhp2tzDPKkViwSqKd*SQ2iQ2bw1Rpc04BWaDrmpgRqrg74SNYLwoC3KvyRoC07Um/VFib.jpg)
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Hampster on June 02, 2010, 03:17:52 PM
According to Darla, an ER nurse, a defibrilator "de-fibrillates." When the heart is fibrillating, it is fluttering. The heart monitor looks like a series of "V"s. The defibrillator jolts the heart back into a normal rhythm so it can actually pump blood to the body. If a person is flatline, Darla says that the defibrillator won't do any good!

http://www.nitcentral.com/oddsends/defibril.htm (http://www.nitcentral.com/oddsends/defibril.htm)

This is exactly what I learned in a first aid class, from a paramedic.  Not only that, but the "paddle type" defibrillators are no longer used- we have AED, or Automatic Electronic Defibrillators now.  You can hook them up to anyone, and nothing will happen.  However, if they detect crazy fibrillation, it will warn you to step back, then apply a shock. They can also speak, telling people to apply breaths and/or chest compressions.

Seeing a paddle type defibrillator must be akin to seeing an Edsel in a sci-fi movie.

--Dave
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Steven Novella on June 18, 2010, 10:47:58 PM
Hey - I need some medical myths from foreign (non-US) countries. Send me any weird medical beliefs from around the world

Thanks
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Morvis13 on June 18, 2010, 10:48:41 PM
Does Canada count?
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: seaotter on June 18, 2010, 11:01:17 PM
Having sex with a virgin cures aids?
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Morvis13 on June 18, 2010, 11:06:09 PM
only if you do it seventeen times.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: MountainManPan on June 18, 2010, 11:23:19 PM
The thing about fans suffocating peolple in Korea
Blood type crap from Japan.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Morvis13 on June 18, 2010, 11:25:23 PM
the Blood type thing is from China. The Canadian Red Cross was giving out papers on it and I called Bullsh!t on it to the nurse. She wasn't impressed.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: MountainManPan on June 18, 2010, 11:26:20 PM
the Blood type thing is from China. The Canadian Red Cross was giving out papers on it and I called Bullsh!t on it to the nurse. She wasn't impressed.

It's also from japan. In fact the best selling books two years ago was all about the blood type thing.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: jwray on June 23, 2010, 05:29:56 PM
can these cultures actually survive your stomach to make it to where they are supposed to go?

How else would the gut initially get populated with bacteria?  Babies are born with sterile guts.

Plenty of diarrheal diseases are caused by ingesting small amounts bacteria that have to get past the stomach to cause diarrhea.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: jwray on June 23, 2010, 05:52:53 PM
How about that BS Dr. Oz pushes about how you need to check how dark your urine is in order to prevent dehydration?

Why is this BS? Color of urine is a pretty good indicator of hydration level, usually.

Well, no it's not.  There are many factors that can affect the colour of urine, hydration being only one of them.

Thirst is a much better measurement of whether you require hydration.  Some people claim that "you can be desperately in need of water but not feel thirsty", but that's just not true. 

Thirst is your body's built in mechanism for regulating it's water content.  There's absolutely no reason to expect that it performs it's function so poorly that you must rely on other indicators of hydration.

I've heard that an inadequate sense of thirst is a common problem for the elderly.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: jwray on June 23, 2010, 06:11:10 PM
Shaving makes your hair grow back faster and thicker.

It's entirely plausible that we've evolved some homeostatic feedback mechanisms that regulate hair length.  Skin temperature or something could accelerate hair growth to replace hair that has been removed.    It seems like my hair grows fastest when it's really short.   The thickness change is bogus though.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Zeno Izen on August 07, 2010, 12:41:42 PM
No doubt this one's been said, but I actually heard it from someone the other day, so I'm going to repost it:

Microwaves kill all the nutrition in food.

Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: ♫♪ FX ♪♫ on August 07, 2010, 01:02:12 PM
If only they killed all calories in food.  That would be awesome.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: kem on August 07, 2010, 03:01:11 PM
No doubt this one's been said, but I actually heard it from someone the other day, so I'm going to repost it:

Microwaves kill all the nutrition in food.

dunno, but they surely kill taste and texture.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: ♫♪ FX ♪♫ on August 07, 2010, 03:02:30 PM
And critters.  You nuke em long enough, it will kill em.

Except for the little ones.  Wavelengths wrong.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: seaotter on August 07, 2010, 03:11:46 PM
No doubt this one's been said, but I actually heard it from someone the other day, so I'm going to repost it:

Microwaves kill all the nutrition in food.

dunno, but they surely kill taste and texture.

I find that heating crab in the microwave is actually a great way to reheat frozen crab. Fresh crab needs to be steamed imo.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: jaypee on August 07, 2010, 05:38:45 PM
Meh, some things are microwaveable, some aren't. Some are great if microwaved and then put into the toaster oven to "finish", i.e. leftover pizza.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Green Ideas on August 08, 2010, 09:49:40 PM
And critters.  You nuke em long enough, it will kill em.

Except for the little ones.  Wavelengths wrong.

(emphasis added)

Are you stating that as a fact or as a medical myth? I've heard that one before, but never saw confirming evidence. After a very quick search I found that, apparently, "bacterial endospores, which contain almost no water, are not destroyed by microwaves". Also, WikiAnswers says

Quote
Some researchers hope to use microwaves to destroy viruses, but the technique has so far proved ineffective. The water surrounding viruses absorbs the energy from microwaves. The virus doesn't receive enough microwave energy to be affected, much less destroyed.

Can somebody please tell me if any of this is true? TIA
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: stands2reason on August 08, 2010, 10:33:41 PM
Of course that's nonsense. Microwaves can penetrate pretty deeply. Even with liquid water, any given layer of material only absorbs a certain percent of the microwaves passing through it.

The real questions are, "is there enough heating on the water in the virus burst it?" or "do the microwaves themselves, or the resulting heat destroy the viruses DNA and/or outer shell?"
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Waffle on August 14, 2010, 12:23:17 PM
Ooh. I have one!

-It is possible to make it with only two hours of collective sleep? You take short naps that are about twenty minutes long and at certains times. You can't miss the naps by more than half an hour.

I highly doubt that it is possible since it was something I saw on teh inturnetz.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: vanAdamme on August 23, 2010, 10:41:34 PM
Rubbing your hair vigorously while washing it will delay baldness.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Tatyana on August 24, 2010, 01:23:49 AM
Aspirin thins the blood.

Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: jaypee on August 24, 2010, 09:27:35 AM
Rubbing your hair vigorously while washing it will delay baldness.

I've never heard this one before.

Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Skulker on August 24, 2010, 09:32:36 AM
Rubbing your hair vigorously while washing it will delay baldness.

I've never heard this one before.
That was Yul Brynner's theory  ;D
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: jaypee on August 24, 2010, 09:39:17 AM
Heh, you can see how well it worked. One would think that rubbing one's scalp vigorously would actually kill the follicles.. is that a possibility? Can you kill a hair follicle that way?
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Green Ideas on August 24, 2010, 02:42:26 PM
Rubbing your hair vigorously while washing it will delay baldness.

I've never heard this one before.
That was Yul Brynner's theory  ;D

JFTR: he actually shaved his head.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: vanAdamme on August 25, 2010, 10:45:23 PM
Rubbing your hair vigorously while washing it will delay baldness.

I've never heard this one before.

The idea is that vigorous rubbing will stimulate the follices and encourage growth.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: vanAdamme on August 25, 2010, 10:46:29 PM
My Mum used to tell me that every piece of chewing/bubble gum you swallowed would go down a different tube and stick to your heart. Once your heart was surrounded you would die.

I still don't like chewing gum.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Green Ideas on August 25, 2010, 11:32:21 PM
When I quit smoking chewing gum (regular, can't stand the nicotine one) was one of the things I tried to calm the urge. Until one day I accidentally bit my tongue so hard it bled.

So yes, chewing gum can be bad for you, but you probably won't die because of it.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: kem on August 27, 2010, 01:41:42 AM
Eating a lot of fat will raise your risk of heart disease.  Again.

My triglyceride/HDL is .6 (<2.0 is considered ideal).  I start my day off with a three egg cheese and vegi omlette fried in butter... and bacon if I have it. 

You want a poor ratio, eat cereal for breakfast... put some sugar on it and have toast with margerine and jam.  And you'll be hungry long before lunch.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Tatyana on August 27, 2010, 02:00:37 AM
Eating a lot of fat will raise your risk of heart disease.  Again.

My triglyceride/HDL is .6 (<2.0 is considered ideal).  I start my day off with a three egg cheese and vegi omlette fried in butter... and bacon if I have it. 

You want a poor ratio, eat cereal for breakfast... put some sugar on it and have toast with margerine and jam.  And you'll be hungry long before lunch.

My anecdotal evidence is that if I eat cheese, butter or cream, my cholesterol will shoot up to 7-8 mmol/L (I think it has been up to 8.2). That happens in less than two weeks.

That is 317 mg/dl for you Yanks.

If I take butter, cheese and cream out of my diet, my cholesterol will drop 2 points in weeks.

It's quite amusing and I have experimented with my wildly fluctuating cholesterol levels about 6 times, so it must be true.

Diet does affect cholesterol levels in some people.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: jaypee on August 27, 2010, 09:24:24 AM
One time I got a cholesterol test taken and my cholesterol was ~450mg/dl

It was nuts.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: kem on August 27, 2010, 02:32:40 PM
Why worry about total chloresterol, most cardiologists don't.  It's the small dense LDL and triglycerides that are the problem.  HDL/Triglycerides are the best marker for heart disease.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: jaypee on August 27, 2010, 04:13:23 PM
Why worry about total chloresterol, most cardiologists don't.  It's the small dense LDL and triglycerides that are the problem.  HDL/Triglycerides are the best marker for heart disease.

I wasn't worried, especially since that test was so ridiculous as to be unbelievable. At the time the test was taken I was practically vegetarian.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: kem on August 27, 2010, 04:41:16 PM
Vegetarians often have low levels of HDL and high levels of serum triglycerides.  The best source of the garbage trucks (HDL) is fat from red meat, and the triglycerides, from starches and sugars, especially fructose. 

You only have to worry about total chloresterol if you have a job like an airline pilot that might only look at total cholesterol because it is a hangover from the 70's and they can't be bothered looking at the science or if it is very low.  Death from all causes rises when the total is low. 

Cholesterol is very important for health.  If you don't eat enough, your liver will probably overcompensate its manufacture. 
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: MountainManPan on August 27, 2010, 05:51:05 PM
Vegetarians often have low levels of HDL and high levels of serum triglycerides.  The best source of the garbage trucks (HDL) is fat from red meat, and the triglycerides, from starches and sugars, especially fructose. 

You only have to worry about total chloresterol if you have a job like an airline pilot that might only look at total cholesterol because it is a hangover from the 70's and they can't be bothered looking at the science or if it is very low.  Death from all causes rises when the total is low. 

Cholesterol is very important for health.  If you don't eat enough, your liver will probably overcompensate its manufacture.

Garbage truck what now?
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: stands2reason on August 27, 2010, 09:07:45 PM
It's the small dense LDL and triglycerides that are the problem.

 LDLs are the low-density lipoproteins. Either way, AFAIK the conventional wisdon is still that LDLs are bad while HDLs are good/neutral.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: kem on August 27, 2010, 10:38:18 PM
It's the small dense LDL and triglycerides that are the problem.

 LDLs are the low-density lipoproteins. Either way, AFAIK the conventional wisdon is still that LDLs are bad while HDLs are good/neutral.

The small dense LDL's are the ones that enter the lining of the arteries and cause inflamation.  The larger bouyant LDL's are relatively benign.  HDL's are referred to by some in the industry as the "garbage trucks" as they remove the aforesaid small dense LDL's.  One can test for the ratio of serum LDL's. 

I think this is the conventional wisdom of 2010.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: MountainManPan on August 27, 2010, 10:41:15 PM
It's the small dense LDL and triglycerides that are the problem.

 LDLs are the low-density lipoproteins. Either way, AFAIK the conventional wisdon is still that LDLs are bad while HDLs are good/neutral.

The small dense LDL's are the ones that enter the lining of the arteries and cause inflamation.  The larger bouyant LDL's are relatively benign.  HDL's are referred to by some in the industry as the "garbage trucks" as they remove the aforesaid small dense LDL's.  One can test for the ratio of serum LDL's. 

I think this is the conventional wisdom of 2010.

So HDL>LDL= GT?

GT= Good Thing
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Anders on August 29, 2010, 10:13:34 AM
I always heard that chewing gum, cherry pits, etc. get stuck in the appendix if you swallow them, causing appendicitis years later.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: kem on August 29, 2010, 02:25:58 PM
It's the small dense LDL and triglycerides that are the problem.

 LDLs are the low-density lipoproteins. Either way, AFAIK the conventional wisdon is still that LDLs are bad while HDLs are good/neutral.

The small dense LDL's are the ones that enter the lining of the arteries and cause inflamation.  The larger bouyant LDL's are relatively benign.  HDL's are referred to by some in the industry as the "garbage trucks" as they remove the aforesaid small dense LDL's.  One can test for the ratio of serum LDL's. 

I think this is the conventional wisdom of 2010.

So HDL>LDL= GT?

GT= Good Thing

that is true but the best indicator from a standard lipic panel is the ratio between tirglycerides and HDL.  (looking at LDL particle size is better but expensive)

Quote
Therefore, in adults, the triglyceride/HDL-"good" cholesterol ratio should be below 2 (just divide your triglycerides level by your HDL). Or more precisely, the triglyceride/HDL ratio:

2 or less is considered ideal
4 - high
6 - much too high

And, since HDL (high density lipoprotein) is protective against heart disease, the lower the ratio, the better.

In other words, the lower your triglycerides, or the higher your HDL, the smaller this ratio becomes.

It is now believed that the triglycerides/HDL ratio is one of the most potent predictors of heart disease.

Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Tatyana on August 29, 2010, 02:33:55 PM
Why worry about total chloresterol, most cardiologists don't.  It's the small dense LDL and triglycerides that are the problem.  HDL/Triglycerides are the best marker for heart disease.

Because my HDL doesn't increase at the same rate as my cholesterol, however, my LDL does.

My triglycerides are always quite low, it is just the cholesterol.

My body does not compensate by making more cholesterol when I eat less fat.

I have also checked my cholesterol level when I have been on a very low fat diet, less than 20% of my total calories.

My cholesterol is fantastic when I eat this way.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: kem on August 29, 2010, 03:12:26 PM
Why worry about total chloresterol, most cardiologists don't.  It's the small dense LDL and triglycerides that are the problem.  HDL/Triglycerides are the best marker for heart disease.

Because my HDL doesn't increase at the same rate as my cholesterol, however, my LDL does.

My triglycerides are always quite low, it is just the cholesterol.

My body does not compensate by making more cholesterol when I eat less fat.

I have also checked my cholesterol level when I have been on a very low fat diet, less than 20% of my total calories.

My cholesterol is fantastic when I eat this way.

Who said anything about changing or not one's chloresterol level with diet. 

The myth is that heart disease is related to the total chloresterol.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Ah.hell on August 29, 2010, 07:00:59 PM
The whole cholesterol thing strikes me as one the many pieces of health advice that doctors give that are just dumbed down so that people will remember them.  Sure, doctor's know that total cholesterol isn't the issue its just that its easier for lay folk to remember to bring down cholesterol rather than to bring down the bad kind of cholesterol. 
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: kem on August 29, 2010, 08:42:02 PM
The whole cholesterol thing strikes me as one the many pieces of health advice that doctors give that are just dumbed down so that people will remember them.  Sure, doctor's know that total cholesterol isn't the issue its just that its easier for lay folk to remember to bring down cholesterol rather than to bring down the bad kind of cholesterol.

Personally, I think they like the dumbed down argument because they can understand and deal with it with drugs.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Micke G on September 07, 2010, 05:17:41 AM

The effectiveness of a measles party for kids
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Aodonnell1987 on September 12, 2010, 08:34:09 AM
Hey Guys!

I dont know if this falls into the myth cat! but i have alot of allergys. i think it stands at about 20 or so that are mild, and a few serious ones like nuts which result in death!

i wasnt born with this, i had a reaction to peach water when i was 10..   13 years later and i havent been sick or ill since i was 10! iv been to the doctors a few times and he puts it down to good luck, but at present all 5 member of my family have the flu, all apart from me. my parents cant remember me ever being ill with anything. and i dont catch anything my friend or family have.

one doctor online said my immune system had changed as a result of my allergys and now i dont get ill. is this true or am i just lucky!!
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Chef Fincher on September 20, 2010, 09:20:38 PM
that's intere3sing.  I've heard that people with allergies are less prone to cancer, due in part to an over active immune system.  It stands to reason that its plausible if my information is correct.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: MountainManPan on September 20, 2010, 09:35:23 PM


one doctor online said my immune system had changed as a result of my allergys and now i dont get ill. is this true or am i just lucky!!

Considering you have deadly allergies, I wouldn't consider it lucky.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: vetbridge on November 02, 2010, 01:56:07 PM
Are medical myths still needed? If so, and if veterinary medical myths work for you, I have a few.  As a veterinarian, I get to hear them daily. A sampling:

Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: rlquinn1980 on November 05, 2010, 02:31:32 PM
I am developing a lecture series on common medical myths. Please post any topics here you would like to suggest for this series.

Are you still doing this? It's been a year since this first post. Just checking. :) Anyway, here are my suggestions:

That you take physical ailments to the doctor, but psychological ones can all be fixed with "thinking."
That you should follow your cravings, because your body knows what it needs (cravings can be an indicator, not a guide).
That physical castration can stop a sexual predator.
That there is anything good or healthy about circumcision.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: pulsetsar on November 15, 2010, 12:54:00 PM
Here are a few that I run into with my patients:

1) People can tell when they have high blood pressure because they get a headache, so they don't need to actually check their blood pressure.
2) The flu vaccine can give you the flu.
3) You can get sick from exposure to cold air ("catch a cold")
4) Fad diets work (it's all about the calories!)
5) Eating nuts / popcorn can cause diverticulitis (medical dogma, without any real evidence)
6) Vaccines cause autism (you've obviously done this one)
7) Number one, only with elevated blood glucose levels.
8) B12 supplements will give you more energy (it's like every patient I've seen lately buys into this one)
9) The number one problem with smoking is lung cancer (everyone is surprised about the heart disease / stroke connection)
10) You can fight off the common cold (take your pic on this one, from echinacea to vitamin C, I keep having to tell patients they can treat the symptoms but otherwise it just has to run its course)
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: cerveauxfrits on November 15, 2010, 01:14:53 PM
Isn't #8 at least vaguely related to truth, in that fatigue is a major symptom of pernicious anemia? 

I realize it's an uncommon condition and it's usually caused by a lack of intrinsic factor so it's not like an oral supplement would really do much good anyway, but it's still something of a kernel of truth, isn't it?
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: ♫♪ FX ♪♫ on November 15, 2010, 03:28:25 PM
Experience has shown that getting chilled (exposure to cold air or water,  long enough to lower your body temperature, so that you are cold) is often followed by a cold. It might even be why it's called a cold for all I know. 

Colds.  OK now the word looks funny.  Do you have a cold?  Did you give me a cold?  There are a lot of colds right now.  People get colds.

meh

But I know that I don't get a cold from getting chilled.  Or that people don't get a cold everytime they get chilled.   Research should be done.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: pulsetsar on November 16, 2010, 09:22:15 AM
Isn't #8 at least vaguely related to truth, in that fatigue is a major symptom of pernicious anemia? 

I realize it's an uncommon condition and it's usually caused by a lack of intrinsic factor so it's not like an oral supplement would really do much good anyway, but it's still something of a kernel of truth, isn't it?

It's true that any cause of B12 deficiency can cause macrocytic anemia, pernicious anemia included, and that one symptom of anemia is fatigue. However, this does not apply to the vast majority of my patients that are taking OTC B12 supplements. Many of them claim they take them as needed on days when they need an energy boost...that is most definitely placebo and not at all supported by evidence.

This of course is not an easy thing to tackle. Taking a little more of a water soluble vitamin than your body needs in a day is usually harmless, even if it has no effect. Do I tell my patient that he is experiencing a placebo effect and that the energy boost he feels has nothing to do with the b12? This may sound like I'm calling him stupid or refusing to believe his honest reporting of his reaction to the pill, which in turn can sabotage the therapeutic relationship. Maybe I'm chicken, but I usually pick my battles with patients' pseudoscientific beliefs for more substantial topics that actually make a huge difference in their care, such as vaccination.

One strategy I've come up with is to try to point out ideas from "alternative medicine" that have some efficacy demonstrated in the literature and now have been adopted by many practicing physicians, especially if relevant to patient care. Examples include nasal saline irrigation, omega 3 fatty acids / fish oil, buckwheat honey for cough from URI's in the pediatric population, etc. I've made a habit of asking my patients what supplements they are taking, pointing out the ones that I think are useless while highlighting the ones that may be helpful and telling them that they can save money by dropping the useless ones but leaving the others up to them. So far it's worked pretty well, but where I live the "granola" culture dominates and is hard to combat.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: cerveauxfrits on November 16, 2010, 09:29:26 AM
Heh.  I have a cousin who'll try and refuse to work with people unless they stop taking herbal supplements.  Her reasoning is, a lot of that stuff is pharmacologically active, and there's been absolutely zero research into possible drug interactions, and she doesn't want to take on the very real risk that something could go wrong.  I guess she's had some success with that approach, but I must admit it sounds too heavy-handed to me.  I suppose it could be, though, that having not taken the Hippocratic Oath, I don't take it as seriously as she does.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: pulsetsar on November 16, 2010, 12:03:52 PM
Experience has shown that getting chilled (exposure to cold air or water,  long enough to lower your body temperature, so that you are cold) is often followed by a cold. It might even be why it's called a cold for all I know. 

Colds.  OK now the word looks funny.  Do you have a cold?  Did you give me a cold?  There are a lot of colds right now.  People get colds.

meh

But I know that I don't get a cold from getting chilled.  Or that people don't get a cold everytime they get chilled.   Research should be done.

Well I think that experience here is misleading. Many respiratory infections are more common in winter and people tend to be indoors and in closer contact more often in winter and this likely explains the connection with the "cold," but people don't know that. All they know is that they were outside in the cold, they got sick afterward and that the two must be related, especially because their mothers have warned them about the connection for years. What they don't realize is that they probably got sick because they shook hands with someone else who was sick (or touched another fomite) and rubbed their own mucous membranes afterward without first washing their hands, and that this scenario was more likely to happen in winter to begin with because there are more people sick as a result of the natural patterns of these viruses. Furthermore, people usually associate their illness with an exposure to cold the same or previous day, and the incubation period of some of these viruses is longer than that.

Overall I think this illustrates the power of anecdotes in influencing human reasoning and how extremely bad we are at differentiating between correlation and causation on our own, without the scientific method to aid us. I actually remember one of my friends, who is also a physician and planning a career in infectious disease of all things, succumbing to this same myth about catching colds and warning us to dress warmly when we were about to go out. When I asked him how that fit into Koch's postulates he just turned red.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: ♫♪ FX ♪♫ on November 16, 2010, 01:05:33 PM
I understand.  But the opposite is also true.  Nobody can say that getting a chill does nothing, or has no relationship to succumbing to a viral infection.   That's why we do science, to find out what is real.

Saying there is no connection is the same as saying there is.  Because we don't know.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: pulsetsar on November 16, 2010, 02:15:29 PM
I understand.  But the opposite is also true.  Nobody can say that getting a chill does nothing, or has no relationship to succumbing to a viral infection.   That's why we do science, to find out what is real.

Saying there is no connection is the same as saying there is.  Because we don't know.

Point well made, however the evidence is sparse regardless and we generally have a good understanding of how the body responds to cold temperatures and even hypothermia, even down to the level of enzymatic reactions. Furthermore, this isn't a mystery - we already know the cause of infections, so is the cold air a separate second cause (which has NO plausible pathophysiological explanation - not a definitive point but certainly makes for a very difficult argument) or one that modulates the known cause in a meaningful way?

There may be something to the latter. I remember reading in the past that there is evidence of influenza virus being more stable in colder temperatures. How this relates to infectivity or the higher seasonal prevalence I'm not sure. I'll have to try to dig that article up again and see if any more research has been done on the topic since then.

Being open-minded and reminding ourselves about what we know, think we know, and don't know is important, but at some point the line between the known and the unknown must be drawn. For me, the idea that cold air or chilling can cause an infection independent of a virus or bacterium is clearly on the known side of that line - i.e. cannot happen. Dispelling this belief and, instead of advising people to bundle up or avoid going outside, advising people to cough on their sleeves, wash their hands, and get their flu shots are science-based, evidence supported recommendations. Keeping the myth of "catching a cold" going based on a philosophical idea about what we don't know detracts from this very important and sometimes life-saving teaching.
Title: Baby Myths
Post by: Angelhil on November 19, 2010, 05:44:24 PM
I have a 6 month old. I keep buying these old wives tales then being pissed when I find out they are bollocks.

Standing a baby up causes bow legs.
tickling a baby's feet causes it to get a stutter. ( I didn't buy all of these lol)
eating carrots helps them see in the dark

there are lots. email if you want my full list- R
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: MountainManPan on November 19, 2010, 06:53:55 PM
Just post the full list.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: eliensign on November 22, 2010, 12:16:32 AM
Quack Remedy from a Chinese Herbalist:  Cooking/drying/powdering and eating your own placenta after you have given birth is a remedy for post-partum depression.

Placenta:  It's not just for some quick protein when you're a gazelle on the Serengeti.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Ingram on November 22, 2010, 03:01:57 AM
Movies/TV shows still using intracardiac injections during a code (have never witnessed that in over 20 years of medicine)
You know, "jamming" the huge scary needle and big syringe directlly through the chest wall...
Title: Re: Baby Myths
Post by: jaypee on November 22, 2010, 09:52:00 AM

Standing a baby up causes bow legs.


My mom said that to me when my daughter was around six months old and I was standing her up. I'd never heard it before then.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: MountainManPan on November 22, 2010, 10:40:59 AM
Can sitting in that 'W' shape cause bow legginess?

(http://www.at-life.com/image216.jpg)

Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: pulsetsar on November 22, 2010, 11:21:20 AM
Like many sayings this has a kernal of truth to it. Bowing of the legs usually involves a problem with bone mineralization, not just weight and stresses on the bones. In fact, normal bones depend on weight and stress to stay healthy and it's from lack of gravity that the astronauts run into trouble.

Vitamin D deficiency can be a problem in exclusively breast fed infants, and if severe and continued in early childhood can lead to rickets, but there are also other causes of rickets. The application of weight to the legs in the setting of bone demineralization can cause bowing, and my suspicion is that this is where this "old wives tale" comes from, as rickets is common in developing countries. A healthy infant will not have this problem.

I tell all my breastfeeding mothers to start supplementing their infants with vitamin D at 2 months of age. Formula fed babies don't need this precaution, and I'm not sure that babies in more tropical climates do either given enough exposure. Here in Michigan even if we get enough sunlight, given our latitude, it's at an angle that is not great for producing vitamin D.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: ♫♪ FX ♪♫ on November 22, 2010, 11:37:00 AM
Why not have the mother's take Vit D?  Isn't breast milk low in D due to the mom being low in D?
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: pulsetsar on November 22, 2010, 12:18:31 PM
Why not have the mother's take Vit D?  Isn't breast milk low in D due to the mom being low in D?

No, it's low because vitamin D doesn't get secreted into breast milk that well, even if the mother's levels are adequate. Again, it's mostly a problem in temperate climates and developing countries. We should also remember that vitamin D is not truly a vitamin, in the strictest sense, because your body is able to synthesize it but only with exposure to sunlight. Without sunlight, dietary sources become important and then it really is a vitamin.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: cerveauxfrits on November 22, 2010, 12:36:27 PM
It seems odd that that would be such a problem for breast-fed infants.  Is it that they normally rely on sun exposure to produce their own vitamin D, and less of that's happening nowadays because parents have become more conscientious about limiting their children's sun exposure?
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: ♫♪ FX ♪♫ on November 22, 2010, 12:38:33 PM
Would a full spectrum light allow babies (and anybody else) to synthesize Vit D?  Or would it have to be a sunlamp?  Is there any sort of artificial sunlight people could use in the northern regions to get Vit D?

I'm asking because I use full spectrum light in the winter to avoid SAD, and I wonder if it involves creating D, or what? 
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: MountainManPan on November 22, 2010, 12:58:09 PM
Are the bulbs expensive?
Where can you buy them?
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: pulsetsar on November 22, 2010, 12:59:02 PM
Would a full spectrum light allow babies (and anybody else) to synthesize Vit D?  Or would it have to be a sunlamp?  Is there any sort of artificial sunlight people could use in the northern regions to get Vit D?

I'm asking because I use full spectrum light in the winter to avoid SAD, and I wonder if it involves creating D, or what?

No, it has to be ultraviolet light, but making a recommendation about exposure is complicated by a two main factors:

1) Ultraviolet light exposure causes skin cancer later in life to babies exposed early on (and in adults exposed as well). Let me be clear that I'm not recommending anyone go out in the sunlight without sunscreen for purposes of vitamin D production (and sunscreen will block vit D production).  Most pediatricians, and the AAP, have moved away from making a recommendation about sunlight exposure for vitamin D because of a real association seen with cancer.

2) There are too many variables to control for in order to make any meaningful, specific recommendations such as the amount of sunlight exposure (varies by latitude and the time of day), the percent surface area of the body that is exposed, and the pigmentation of the skin (dark skinned people get less vitamin D activation from a given amount of exposure).

This is why most of us recommend vitamin D supplementation and not UVB exposure.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: cerveauxfrits on November 22, 2010, 01:06:08 PM
So what's an appropriate amount? 

I've been taking a 2,400 IU D2 tablet a few times a week, on the advice of a biochemist friend who says that the RDA is too low.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Skulker on November 22, 2010, 01:08:32 PM
So what's an appropriate amount? 

I've been taking a 2,400 IU D2 tablet a few times a week, on the advice of a biochemist friend who says that the RDA is too low.
What's the matter? You don't your biochemist friend?  :laugh: :laugh:
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: ♫♪ FX ♪♫ on November 22, 2010, 01:11:20 PM
I've read that 10 minutes of sunlight on a fair skinned person is enough to get D daily.  And that low D levels are directly correlated with cancer, of almost all kinds.   

And that one third of all skin cancers are on areas of the body never exposed to sunlight, and that skin cancer rates are highest in populations located where there is little sunlight.

Interesting.  Let the mythbusting begin!
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: cerveauxfrits on November 22, 2010, 01:11:36 PM
So what's an appropriate amount? 

I've been taking a 2,400 IU D2 tablet a few times a week, on the advice of a biochemist friend who says that the RDA is too low.
What's the matter? You don't your biochemist friend?  :laugh: :laugh:

I advice more when multiple sources agree on it.  I generally consensus more than I individual opinions.   ;D
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: cerveauxfrits on November 22, 2010, 01:12:01 PM
dupe
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: ♫♪ FX ♪♫ on November 22, 2010, 01:15:18 PM
     My elderly Uncle was found to be low in D, and his excellent specialist Doctor proscribed D for him.  The Doctor also told me, flat out, that low D levels is associated with cancer.  More so that sun exposure.  (Not sunburn, just getting a little sun daily)

     I reported him to the AMA police.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: pulsetsar on November 22, 2010, 02:05:55 PM
And that one third of all skin cancers are on areas of the body never exposed to sunlight, and that skin cancer rates are highest in populations located where there is little sunlight.

And there are different types of skin cancer. Sunlight can lead to actinic keratosis, which can transform into squamous cell carcinoma, and basal cell carcinoma and these are typically found in sun exposed areas, but not always. Both of these are less likely to metastasize compared with malignant melanoma, the other big skin cancer, but they occasionally do and certainly can cause local disease that can be quite disfiguring upon excision.

Melanoma although associated with sun exposure as well can certainly crop up in areas of shaded skin. I always get nervous when I see a patient with a funny looking mole on the sole of his foot.

This variation in presentation should not be interpreted in a black and white fashion though. Just because you can get skin cancers in areas not exposed to sunlight doesn't mean that sunlight doesn't increase the risk. Most of the people who get BCC in non sun-exposed skin have a genetic predisposition, making for a multifactorial etiology of which sunlight is only one factor. The recommendation against excessive sunlight exposure and for sunscreen is pretty universal amongst dermatologists for a reason - and they're the ones most likely to benefit from a high incidence of skin cancer!
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: pulsetsar on November 22, 2010, 03:46:49 PM
So what's an appropriate amount? 

I've been taking a 2,400 IU D2 tablet a few times a week, on the advice of a biochemist friend who says that the RDA is too low.

Depends on the age, underlying medical conditions, etc. Not sure about you specifically, but assuming your stores are adequate I don't know about much benefit beyond 800 IU daily (about what you're taking if you take the 2400 twice a week), which is what we recommend even for women with osteoporosis.

However, this is a maintenance dose and if your stores are low to begin with you usually need much higher doses to bring them up. The regimen most of us use is 50,000 IU once weekly for 12 weeks, followed by repeat levels to ensure an adequate response.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: ♫♪ FX ♪♫ on November 22, 2010, 06:23:45 PM
Are the bulbs expensive?
Where can you buy them?

not expensive

I got them at Home Depot
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: stands2reason on November 22, 2010, 06:27:01 PM
So what's an appropriate amount? 

I've been taking a 2,400 IU D2 tablet a few times a week, on the advice of a biochemist friend who says that the RDA is too low.
What's the matter? You don't your biochemist friend?  :laugh: :laugh:

I advice more when multiple sources agree on it.  I generally consensus more than I individual opinions.   ;D

I accidentally this whole exchange.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: ♫♪ FX ♪♫ on November 22, 2010, 06:30:40 PM
So, the big question is, are skin cancer rates higher in climates with little sun? 
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: pulsetsar on November 23, 2010, 08:38:58 AM
So, the big question is, are skin cancer rates higher in climates with little sun?

Well that's one question, but answering that only provides part of the picture, a common problem with observational studies. It doesn't factor in lifestyle differences, genetics, etc. On example of how this is important is multiple sclerosis. The incidence of this is higher in higher latitudes than lower ones, and this isn't just genetic variation since those born at lower latitudes but then move to a higher ones at a young age end up having the same chance of developing MS as those who were in the higher latitudes to begin with. A pretty interesting demonstration of an environmental association.

Let's say there is less skin cancer in the tropics - this only raises a host of other questions. Do people at lower latitudes / tropics have a stronger genetic resistance against skin cancer that developed over generations of exposure and selective pressure? Does darker skin, more prevalent in the tropics, confer some protective benefit? Are those with lighter skin in the tropics, like Australia, more likely to wear protective sunscreen and/or go out in the sun less because of awareness? Do those in temperate climates wear sunscreen less or stay out in the sun longer because they're less likely to get burned given the lower intensity of the sunlight? Are their genetics different? So many questions...
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: madjockmcferson on December 01, 2010, 05:45:49 PM
I heard (years ago) that it takes 1 day for the effect of smoking a cigarette to be expunged from your body.....

Is this true? ..... and if you stop smoking does your body 'repair' itself at a steady rate, ie 1 cig a day, or does it increase, so for ex

1 day    1 cig
2 days   2 cigs
7 days   10 cigs
2 weeks 30 cigs

?!?
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: cerveauxfrits on December 01, 2010, 05:53:27 PM
Well, to take an extreme example, your body's never going to repair itself if you smoke yourself up a case of emphysema.  So it may have a kernel of truth, but it still sounds fishy to me.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: madjockmcferson on December 01, 2010, 05:56:48 PM
...yeah. Maybe I should qualify the question by saying....'assuming you haven't developed some sort of incurable disease'....or perhaps limit the situation to 'part-time smokers' - I used to smoke after a few beers for example....
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: jaypee on December 02, 2010, 07:00:47 AM
I've heard this too. My boss told me the same thing when I was quitting smoking early this year, although he didn't say that it was 1 cigarette per day, just that it took 15 years for his lungs to return to normal after he quit.

I remember (vaguely) something from a health class in 5th grade where the nurse was describing how these cells "scrub" foreign particles from the tissue of the lungs, and that the more you smoke the less able they are to keep ahead of the tar you're building up until eventually they get so bogged down that they can't keep removing the influx of tar. After you quit smoking they begin to break down the humongous backlog of tar you've built up over the years.

It's not inconceivable to me that this would be true.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Skunk_Ape on December 20, 2010, 12:57:37 AM
I remember (vaguely) something from a health class in 5th grade where the nurse was describing how these cells "scrub" foreign particles from the tissue of the lungs, and that the more you smoke the less able they are to keep ahead of the tar you're building up...

My undergrad anatomy prof described something similar. Basically, the cells that line your lungs secrete mucus to protect itself from foreign stuff (e.g., bacteria, viruses), and they also have cilia that move autonomically in such a way as to move that mucus (with the bacteria and viruses, etc., it caught) up and out of the lungs. Smoke causes the cells lining the lungs to retract the cilia, so that junk caught in the mucus, and the mucus itself, is not removed as efficiently. It requires very little smoke to cause retraction of the cilia, and it takes about 3 months for them to re-extend, so in this way, one cigarette a day is similar to a pack or two a day. BUT that's not the same for other, e.g., cardiovascular effects of smoking.

I have a hard time believing that it took 15 years for his lungs to fully recover. The damage to the lungs should take months, not years, to recover, but that isn't necessarily true for other systems in the body. I think it is more likely that he took up jogging 14 years after he quit smoking and only then realized the full benefits of quitting.



disclaimer: I have not thoroughly evaluated the primary literature--I have only a textbook knowledge of this.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Steven Novella on December 21, 2010, 11:45:29 AM
FYI - My Medical Myth course for the Teaching Company (for which I was asking for suggestions) is now available: http://theness.com/neurologicablog/?p=2624 (http://theness.com/neurologicablog/?p=2624)

Thanks for all your help. There may one day be a follow up, so any myths that id not make it into part I may find their way into part II
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Skulker on December 21, 2010, 12:08:34 PM
FYI - My Medical Myth course for the Teaching Company (for which I was asking for suggestions) is now available: http://theness.com/neurologicablog/?p=2624 (http://theness.com/neurologicablog/?p=2624)

Thanks for all your help. There may one day be a follow up, so any myths that id not make it into part I may find their way into part II
:dance: :cheers:
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: BadIdeaSociety on January 14, 2011, 09:09:34 PM
FYI - My Medical Myth course for the Teaching Company (for which I was asking for suggestions) is now available: http://theness.com/neurologicablog/?p=2624 (http://theness.com/neurologicablog/?p=2624)

Thanks for all your help. There may one day be a follow up, so any myths that id not make it into part I may find their way into part II
Read this on my phone while I was heading home from a long day of work. Was pleased to see the download version was 34 dollars, at the time.  When I finally returned to my home PC, the price returned to the MSRP of $129.95.  Refreshed the page I saved on my phone, the sale ended. snoozed and lost.:(
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Pak on April 16, 2011, 06:47:00 AM
I don't know if its a myth or not, but does magnoplasm "dehydrated mixture of glycerol and magnesium sulphate" draw out splinters? Why would gunk on the skin do that?
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Bafucin on May 02, 2011, 02:22:22 AM
Low Fat diet makes you live longer/healthier and etc. myths.
Saturated fat clogs your arteries-myth.
Title: Re: Medical Myths
Post by: Silly Llama on May 05, 2011, 11:46:57 PM
Here's a medical myth that Dr. Novella actually repeated in the first lecture series; people can be sensitive to MSG (monosodium glutamate).  It seems that good studies show that no one is sensitive to it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monosodium_glutamate#Health_concerns (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monosodium_glutamate#Health_concerns)