Thursday, December 18, 2008

Don't Swallow Your Chewing Gum...!

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!"

Oh, goodness...

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.


Charles Gramlich said...

I'm glad to see that "10 percent" of your brain myth debunked. I have to do that all the time with my students.

Russell said...

I work with a nut, I mean a guy (!) who fills up a 64-oz plastic container of water ever morning. All day long he drags around this mega container filled with warm water soaking up plastic. To me it is incredibily gross. He believes it is healthy.

I suggested to this nut, I mean guy, that he might want to just get a drink of nice, cold water ever so often as we have drinking fountains all through the building. If nothing else, at least he might want to change his foul smelling, I mean, his warm water jug every so often during the day.

However, this is one of those people who uses about 1% of his brain. You see, the reason people believe we use 10% of our brains is because some people use so little of it and others use a normal amount - therefore the average comes out to something like 10%.

Remember, stupid people make up the majority of our population, so.... heh!!

I mean, just this morning I was eating a poinsetta while crossing my eyes as I hung upside down from monkey bars! I am now going to go eat a huge turkey meal and read under a dim light!

Okay, okay.... I know. I am bringing down the average. Looks like the latest results show we use only about 8.9% of our brains...!!!

Take care.

The Grandpa said...

Well, you're absolutely right. I don't believe any of this. ;0)

Firefly said...

I just love the Myth Busters on the Discovery Channel. The way they take things that we all believe is true and proof false is amazing. Like if you pick up food thay fell on the ground fast enough that germs would not have climbed on yet. FALSE! I have another one. People say that if you sit in front of the computer all the time you won't make new friends. False, or what do I say blog buddy. ;-)

Deb said...

I heard this very thing on the news a few days ago. Poinsettias are not poisonous, yet the girls on The View today, reverted back to the old myth!
Some days, I feel as though I don't use any part of my is one of them!

On a limb with Claudia said...

It's funny. I drink a lot more than 8 glasses of water a day - just love the stuff! :)

Are you ready for the holiday Josie?

Leslie: said...

My mother used to say, "Don't believe anything you hear and only half of what you see."

Anonymous said...

I was hoping to find out if the gum myth was true. And really, drinking to much water (like Russell's nut guy) leaches all the vitamins and minerals out of your body. Is that a myth, too do you think?

heartinsanfrancisco said...

Great post, Josie!! I have been told all of these as a child, and also "Stop making faces or your face will freeze like that." Even in summer.

I think that most people don't have much respect for the intelligence of children. I have Snopes bookmarked for ready access because the Internet constantly generates new myths to check out.

Jo said...

Charles, well, sometimes I wonder about some people, though... *sigh*

Russell, LOL... :-) And yes, your co-worker's water habit sounds really disgusting. I mean, think of all the little greeblies that are growing in that water during the day, and he drinks it. Yuck! Stupid!

Grandpa, I love debunking myths.

Firefly, I love Myth Busters on the Discovery Channel. They're always blowing something up, or drowing something, or just having a great time!

Deb, the women on The View all have just one brain, and they occasionally share it back and forth. But most of the time they just leave it in the dressing room. *heh*

Claudia, for some reason I don't care for "straight" water, unless I am really thirsty. And, no, I am not quite ready for Christmas, but almost ... almost. :-)

Leslie, your mother was a very wise woman. And I totally, totally (!!!) agree with her.

XUP, it's true. Water can wash out all the potassium, so too much water is not a good thing, but it would have to be a lot of water to do that.

Hearts, oh, yes, I can remember being told that as well. And yes, children are a lot smarter than that. People grow up and become adults, and they forget how to be children. It's funny, hey?

KathyB. said...

Do you think that maybe I am NOT growing watermelons and apple trees in my stomach from eating the seeds ?I think every older relative I ever knew told me that one as they observed me eating the seeds. Still do, and no melons or trees yet...isn't it funny how some things just get stuck in the mind and we don't even think to question them?

There was a medical report out last year that actually stated many people are drinking too much water and it is BAD for their health.

Adventure girl wanna be said...

I love this post and your comment on my site. Both are the reasons why I love you. Can I borrow that quote for my sidebar after Christmas. I like it for when I want to use my strong voice about animal cruelty;)

Merry Christmas!

Ces said...

Hello Jo,

Interesting post. I think the internet plays a major part in the myths spreading so rapidly. Somehow chain emails are accepted without verification and then forwarded by people who would normally question or disregard the information if it came in a soft copy.

Jo said...

Kathy, I had a friend who once had a summer cabin in Nova Scotia, and she had an outhouse. She ate a lot of watermelon, and there were watermelons growing profusely outside her outhouse. Proof that the seeds went right through! *heh*

AdventureGirl, of course you can borrow the quote! I think that would be wonderful! I borrowed it myself from a website I read.

Ces, oh, yes, the dreaded chain mail, forwarded to everyone, full of urban myths. *sigh* You're so right!

marain said...

I loved your commentary about the eating turkey makes you sleepy myth - haven't laughed so much in a really long time! Thank you!!!

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