Navigation Links
Busting Medical Myths Even Doctors Believe
Date:12/20/2007

No, your hair and nails don't grow after death, report says

THURSDAY, Dec. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Somewhere in the back of your mind is the idea that you should drink at least eight glasses of water a day to stay healthy.

You may have nodded in agreement when someone mentioned scientific studies showing that, on average, we use just 10 percent of our brain.

And you may have lectured your children about the danger of reading in dim light, which could cause permanent eye damage.

None of this is true. But the ideas continue to circulate (and be believed even by some physicians), say Drs. Rachel Vreeman and Aaron Carroll of the Indiana University School of Medicine. They've taken the time and trouble in a two-page report in the Dec. 22-29 British Medical Journal to puncture seven such medical myths.

"We picked these in particular, because we either heard physicians repeat them or heard them in the media a number of times," said Vreeman, who is a fellow in children's health services research at Indiana. "They do appear to be ingrained in the popular imagination, including that of physicians."

Dr. Graham F. Greene, associate professor of urology at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences College of Medicine, admits he was tempted to believe the 10 percent brain myth, especially because he'd heard it attributed to Albert Einstein (not so), even though Greene is involved with the UAMS Web page devoted to puncturing similar myths.

"But, in reality, the brain is still a huge mystery in terms of capacity," Greene said. "We're still learning about it."

Greene does recall hearing his mother caution his sisters about another myth punctured in the BMJ presentation -- that shaved hair will grow back coarser and darker. The myth persists even though controlled studies done as long ago as 1928 showed no difference in the growth and texture of shaved and non-shaved hair.

Then, there's the one about hair and fingernails continuing to grow after death -- the so-called Dracula effect. What actually happens, Vreeman and Carroll write, is that the skin retracts after death, giving the illusion of growth. That's part of something that happens during life, too -- we grow "long in the tooth," not because old teeth are growing, but because the gums that support them shrink.

There's an air of scientific verisimilitude about another myth cited by Vreeman and Carroll -- that eating turkey makes you sleepy. Supposedly, that happens because turkey is rich in the sleep-inducing amino acid tryptophan, but the tryptophan content is not great enough to bother anyone, Vreeland said. It's probably the wine that comes with the Thanksgiving turkey that lowers the eyelids.

As for drinking eight glasses of water a day, don't try it. Water comes into the body via a number of foods, such as fruits and vegetables, and a zealous endeavor to meet the eight-glass quota might even be dangerous, Vreeman said.

She and Carroll are expanding their myth-busting effort. "We're in the process of writing a book with over 100 of them," Vreeman said.

Have you heard the one about chewing gum staying in your stomach for seven years if you swallow it?

More information

For a clear-eyed take on other medical myths, visit the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences.



SOURCES: Rachel Vreeman, fellow, children's health services research, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis; Graham F. Greene, M.D., associate professor of urology, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences College of Medicine, Little Rock; Dec. 22-29, 2007, British Medical Journal


'/>"/>
Copyright©2007 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. MSU engineering team designs innovative medical device
2. ATS Medical to Present at the 2007 Thomas Weisel Partners Healthcare Conference
3. Providence St. Joseph Medical Center, Caregivers Reach Agreement on a Union Contract
4. Owner and Operator of Florida Durable Medical Equipment Company Convicted of Medicare Fraud
5. Father and Daughter From Tanzania Receive Their First Medical Examination in Newport Beach
6. Doctors and medical ethicist discuss whether doctors should participate in capital punishment
7. Preparation for Natural Disasters Critical for People With Diabetes, Chronic Medical Conditions
8. Doctors and Medical Ethicist Discuss Whether Doctors Should Participate in Capital Punishment
9. Symmetry Medical Completes Acquisition Of Specialty Surgical Instruments
10. Milestone Scientific Announces Successful Completion of its Collaboration Agreement With Carticept Medical
11. FDA Seeks to Regulate Complementary and Alternative Medicine; Products Such as Vegetable Juice Could Be Restricted for Medical Use
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... 2016 , ... In an article published April 16th on the ... and lip injections, which she underwent in order to feel more at home at ... Festival. The article explains that Ms. Mirmelli’s situation is not unique; many plastic surgeons ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... April 29, 2016 , ... ... Awakening , announces the addition Onnit brand Alpha BRAIN and New Mood Daily-Stress ... Onnit brain and mood optimization products to the store is just one more ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... Springs, California (PRWEB) , ... April 29, 2016 ... ... lies at the heart of our nation’s productivity, stability, even security. Most importantly, ... for their organizations. , Then why are American workers so unhappy? , Just ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... April 29, 2016 , ... Conditions were ideal for Global Lyme Alliance’s ... Sunday, with sunny skies, a light breeze and temperatures in the 60s. Over 400 ... 5k Run and Walk and 1-mile walk were held to increase awareness about ...
(Date:4/29/2016)... ... ... Spine Team Texas, a comprehensive spine physician group specializing in the treatment of ... invited to be a featured speaker at the Texas Society of the American College ... , Dr. R. Scott McPherson, a physical medicine and rehabilitation specialist, will speak ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:4/28/2016)... , April 28, 2016 ... consumer insights on healthcare, announced today that it has ... report Cool Vendor in Life Sciences, 2016, ... 15, 2016.  The report focuses on life-science- oriented analytics, ... insight from patients and doctors, confirm medication ingestion, and ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... , April 28, 2016  ValGenesis, Inc., ... Management Solutions (VLMS) today announced that a ... for sufferers of chronic kidney failure has ... manage their corporate validation process. The global ... software solution to manage their validation processes ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... , le 27 Avril 2016 ... a progressé de +5% sur le trimestre, soutenu ... de consommables  Croissance de +16% des ... Mauna Kea Technologies (Euronext : MKEA, FR0010609263 ; ... confocale laser, annonce aujourd,hui son chiffre d,affaires pour ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: