Medicine has gone through a myriad of changes over time and has continued to transform from what it had been in the past. Practices that existed just ten years ago, now seem alien to today’s society. Hospitals that use Kemper Medical have also continued to adapt and now can help more people while making medical procedures more affordable.
Even with technology improving around hospital supplies and hospital equipment, it can still be difficult to believe that there are some medical practices and myths from times of old that people still believe.
It's understandable when something experiences so many different changes, and with new ways of taking care of the human body and of combating existing diseases being developed.
Below are seven of the most common medical myths that people still believe today, even if they have already been proven to be false.
- Shaved hair is coarser and darker when it grows back. This myth has been busted a long time ago, yet many people continue to assert that hair becomes thicker and darker when it is shaved. Back in 1928, a trial compared the quality and the speed of growth of shaved and unshaved hair patches. The results revealed that there is no difference both in quality and in color between the two.
The reason why people think that shaved hair is coarse and dark is because after shaving, the hair grows with a blunt top edge, which eventually gets worn over time, making it seem like the hair is thicker than it really is. The hair also appears dark because it has not yet been exposed to sunlight.
- Eight glasses of water a day. This is a standard rule of thumb which parents have told their children. Even doctors have given the same advice. However, the truth is that there is no medical evidence to support the claim that a person should drink at least eight glasses of water a day to stay hydrated and healthy.
The myth presumably comes from a 1945 Nutrition Council recommendation of taking at least eight glasses, or sixty-four ounces, of fluid every day. Take note that the original recommendation used the word “fluid”, which means that fruit juices, coffee, and other forms of liquids, also count.
- Hair and fingernails continue to grow after death. This myth actually had medical professionals quarrelling, until it was determined that this was not true. When a dead person’s body is observed, it would seem as if over time, the hair and fingernails continue to grow. However, upon closer and more detailed inspection, what is really happening is that as the skin dries up and begins to retract, more of the hidden parts of the fingernails and hair are exposed, making it seem like they are “growing” when in fact they are not.
- Humans only use ten percent of their brains. You might have heard of this in various television shows and even in Hollywood movies. However, PET, MRI scans, and other hospital equipment have revealed that all parts of the brain are constantly active. Close inspection of brain cells and neurons reveal that there are no inactive or dormant areas in the brain. In fact, each part of the brain serves a specific purpose, from identifying sensations to cognitive function. The idea was originally promulgated by motivational speakers in the 1900s that convinced people that they have not yet reached their full potential.
- Reading in dim light is bad for the eyes. Not only does this make no sense, but there is no proof of dim light being a contributing factor to eye sight degradation. If this were true, all of the people who lived in the era before electricity would have suffered eye damage.
The worst thing that could happen when you read in dim light is eye strain and reduction in eye acuity, which can easily be remedied through rest. Reading while lying down poses a more serious threat to eyesight than reading in dim light.
- Eating turkey can be attributed to drowsiness. Although turkey does contain a sleep inducing chemical called tryptophan, the level of tryptophan that an entire turkey has is so small that it has little (if it has any) effect. This myth is still popular because turkey is usually served in large amounts along with alcohol.
- Cellphones pose a threat in hospitals. A common belief held by medical professionals is that cellphones can cause hospital equipment to malfunction. However, in reality, there has been no documented case of anyone dying in a hospital through cellphone interference. Phones also affect only four percent of devices, and they only do so if the phone is at least three feet away from the device. This effect is so small that it is almost unintelligible.