One of my greatest pleasures in life is proving myths wrong. When I was a child, I used to believe every silly thing anyone told me. "Don't cross you eyes, they'll stay that way!" "Don't hang upside down on the monkey bars, all the blood will rush to your head and you will die!" "Don't swallow your chewing gum, it will expand in your stomach and all your guts will stick together!"
There was a recent study was done by Rachel C. Vreeman, fellow in children’s health services research, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis and Aaron E Carroll, assistant professor of paediatrics, Regenstrief Institute, Indianapolis. The study was published in the prestigious British Medical Journal this week. According to the study, poinsettias are not toxic. Well, I knew that. I did. I knew that.
"How did he die?"
"He ate a poinsettia."
If people have an allergy to latex, the sap of a poinsettia may sting their eyes, if they should happen to stick some sap in their eyes. Hardly anyone ever does that.
Some more common myths that were debunked by the study are:
People should drink at least eight glasses of water a day. I tried that once, and I spent the whole day in the little room down the hall. Apparently we get all the moisture our body needs from the fluids in coffee, tea, milk, water, juices and most of our food.
We use only 10% of our brains. This myth arose in the early 1900s, but with modern imaging, it has been proven false. Trust me, I know people who use at least 15% of their brains.
Hair and fingernails continue to grow after death. "For three days after death hair and fingernails continue to grow, but phone calls taper off." … Johnny Carson. Actually, it is just an optical illusion, and it does not happen.
Shaving hair causes it to grow back faster, darker, or coarser. Again, this is an optical illusion caused by the stubble growing back close to the skin. As it grows out, the ends taper, giving it a finer appearace.
Reading in dim light ruins your eyesight. This has been proven false. The solution? Turn the lights up, you will find you can see better.
Eating turkey makes people especially drowsy. Turkey contains L-tryptophan, but pork and cheese container more L-tryptophan than turkey does. Anyone eating a large meal consisting of turkey, sausages, stuffing, gravy, vegetables, cranberry sauce, potatoes, Christmas pudding with rum sauce, mince tarts, shortbread and copious amounts of wine and brandy is going to fall asleep afterwards. Just enjoy it.
Mobile phones create considerable electromagnetic interference in hospitals. A 2007 study, examining mobile phones "used in a normal way," found no interference of any kind during 300 tests in 75 treatment rooms. In contrast, a large survey of anaesthesiologists suggested that use of mobile phones by doctors was associated with reduced risk of medical error or injury resulting from delays in communication.
I have a friend who will not eat coconut because she is convinced it contains cholesterol. I can't convince her that it does not. Cholesterol is an animal byproduct and it is not found in coconut. Studies have indicated that not only did coconut have no effect on cholesterol levels, it even reduced the cholesterol elevating effect of animal fat. Coconut does contain oil, however, and it is fattening. But there is no cholesterol.
I love sifting the truth from the nonsense, because when I was younger I believed everything I was told, and I lived in fear half the time. And then I decided to find out the truth. Snopes is my friend. Don't believe everything you hear.