To Your Health With Dr. Jim Morrow – Episode 35, Medical Myths
Vaccines cause the flu. We only use 10% of our brains. You’re more likely to get sick in cold weather. Dr. Morrow covers a number of medical beliefs we’ve picked up throughout life which we need to reconsider and discard. Listen in to find out what is true and what is a myth. (And we also celebrate Dr. Morrow’s birthday!) “To Your Health” is brought to you by Morrow Family Medicine, which brings the CARE back to healthcare.
About Morrow Family Medicine and Dr. Jim Morrow
Morrow Family Medicine is an award-winning, state-of-the-art family practice with offices in Cumming and Milton, Georgia. The practice combines healthcare information technology with old-fashioned care to provide the type of care that many are in search of today. Two physicians, three physician assistants and two nurse practitioners are supported by a knowledgeable and friendly staff to make your visit to Morrow Family Medicine one that will remind you of the way healthcare should be. At Morrow Family Medicine, we like to say we are “bringing the care back to healthcare!” Morrow Family Medicine has been named the “Best of Forsyth” in Family Medicine in all five years of the award, is a three-time consecutive winner of the “Best of North Atlanta” by readers of Appen Media, and the 2019 winner of “Best of Life” in North Fulton County.
Dr. Jim Morrow, Morrow Family Medicine, and Host of “To Your Health With Dr. Jim Morrow”
Dr. Jim Morrow is the founder and CEO of Morrow Family Medicine. He has been a trailblazer and evangelist in the area of healthcare information technology, was named Physician IT Leader of the Year by HIMSS, a HIMSS Davies Award Winner, the Cumming-Forsyth Chamber of Commerce Steve Bloom Award Winner as Entrepreneur of the Year and he received a Phoenix Award as Community Leader of the Year from the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce. He is married to Peggie Morrow and together they founded the Forsyth BYOT Benefit, a charity in Forsyth County to support students in need of technology and devices. They have two Goldendoodles, a gaggle of grandchildren and enjoy life on and around Lake Lanier.
Dr. Morrow’s Show Notes
Debunking Medical Myths
Myth: Flagyl and Alcohol will make you sick
- Just not the case. A study of college students showed that even when drunk, metronidazole did not make anyone sick.
Myth: Medicine expires after a year
- Just not the case. Just because a date has passed does not mean that the antibiotics you got a year ago turned to poison or suddenly stopped working. It just does not happen.
- The expiration actually refers to the fact that the prescription itself expires, not the medicine.
- any refills you have are no longer valid.
Myth: Vaccines can cause the flu (and autism).
- Although the body can develop a low-grade fever in response to any vaccine, rumors that a flu shot can cause the flu are an outright lie
- The flu shot does contain dead flu viruses, but they are, well, dead.
- A dead virus cannot be resurrected to cause the flu
- As for vaccines causing autism, this myth was started in 1998 with an article in the journal The Lancet.
- In the study, the parents of eight (yes, only eight) children with autism said they believed their children acquired the condition after they received a vaccination against measles, mumps and rubella (the MMR vaccine).
- Since then, rumors have run rampant despite the results of many studies.
- For example, a 2002 study in The New England Journal of Medicine of 530,000 (yes, a whopping 530,000) children found no link between vaccinations and the risk of a child developing autism.
Myth: Supplements always make you healthier.
- Vitamin supplements may be not only ineffectual but even dangerous, studies have shown.
- For example, a study published in 2016 showed that some older women who take calcium supplements may face an increased risk of dementia.
- And in a huge review of 20 years of supplement research published in 2015, researchers found that taking high doses of vitamins may be linked with an increased risk of cancer.
- Aside from these possible long-term risks, reports have suggested that supplements can cause damage in the short term too.
- A report published in 2016 found that a man in Pennsylvania who took Ayurvedic herbal supplement developed lead poisoning.
- Another report, also published in 2016, showed that a 4-year-old boy in England went to the ER after taking a slew of “natural” supplements, and developing vitamin D toxicity.
- The FDA does not require supplements to be regulated in the same way that drugs are, which can be a real problem.
- As a result, the safety of many supplements has not been rigorously studied.
- Furthermore, supplement bottles can sport unsubstantiated claims and even make errors in dosage recommendations, she said.
Myth: Cold weather makes you sick.
- This myth is common around the world, but it is just not true.
- Studies have shown we may feel more cold symptoms — real or imaginary — when we are chilled (after all, a cold is called a “cold” for a reason),
- but the temperature itself does not make us more susceptible to viruses.
- This has been known since at least 1968, when a study in The New England Journal of Medicine showed what happened when researchers exposed chilly people to the rhinovirus (one cause of the common cold).
- It turned out that whether they were shivering in a frigid room or in an icy bath, people were no more likely to get sick after sniffing cold germs than they were at more comfortable temperatures.
- Cold air also does not make a difference in people’s recovery time from a cold. In fact, although the research is in its early stages, it is possible that being exposed to cold may even help your body in some way.
- However, it’s unclear how chilly conditions might affect the germs themselves.
- Research has shown that two common causes of colds — rhinoviruses and coronaviruses — may thrive at colder temperatures,
- and that the flu may spread most effectively under cold, dry conditions.
- Some scientists speculate that colds are more common in cooler months because people stay indoors more, interacting more closely with one another and giving germs more opportunities to spread.
Myth: We use only 10 percent of our brains.
- Motivational speakers and other self-help gurus have been promoting this one since as early as 1907,
- as a way to encourage people to tap into some latent capacity, But these people were not basing the proclamation on sound science.
- Today, scientists can look at any brain scan, measuring activity at any given time, and have a big laugh at this myth. The idea lingers in popular culture because we want to think we haven’t reached our full potential.
Myth: Sugar turns kids into little monsters.
- It can be hard to find a parent who does not believe this
- In one particularly clever study among a slew of studies finding sugar’s nil effect on unruliness,
- kids were given Kool-Aid sweetened with aspartame, a compound that contains no sugar.
- Researchers told half of the parents the Kool-Aid contained sugar, and told the other half the truth.
- The parents in the study who thought their kids were riding a sugar high reported their children were uncontrollable and overactive.
- But a sensor on the kids’ wrists that measured activity level said the opposite:
- The kids were actually acting subdued.
- The study was published in the Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology in 1994
- Sugar is often given at times when the rules are loosened and there are lots of other kids around, like birthday parties and holidays.
Myth: You need to stay awake if you’ve had a concussion.
- Anyone who may have a concussion should seek medical attention,
- but the condition is rarely severe or life-threatening.
- Warnings that people need to stay awake after incurring a concussion most likely grew out of a misunderstanding about a particular type of head injury —
- one that involves brain bleeding and that causes people to have a “lucid period,” followed by a coma or even death.
- But this is very uncommon and doesn’t pertain to people with normal concussions
- If you’ve been evaluated by a doctor, and he has said that you have a mild regular concussion, you don’t need to worry that someone has to wake you up every hour.
Myth: Chewing gum stays in your stomach for 7 years.
- Although it is true that many of the ingredients in gum —
- such as elastomers, resins and waxes —
- are indigestible, that does not mean they hang out in your guts for seven years.
- Plenty of what you eat — even things you are recommended to eat, such as fiber — is indigestible.
- But the digestive system is a robust piece of organic machinery, and anything it can’t absorb, it moves along.
- Despite the stickiness and strange consistency of gum, it passes right through your digestive tract.
Myth: Reading in the dark or sitting too close to the TV ruins your eyesight.
- Dim light — or alternatively, staring into the multicolored tube at close range — can undoubtedly make your eyes work so hard they hurt.
- But there is no evidence that these practices cause long-term damage.
- The TV myth may have started in the 1960s, and at that time, it may have been true.
- Some early color TV sets emitted high amounts of radiation that could have caused eye damage,
- but this problem has long been remedied, and today’s TV and computer monitors are relatively safe
- If you or your child tend to sit so close to the computer or TV that it hurts the eyes, it may be a good idea to get checked for nearsightedness.
- However, sitting too close does not create a need for glasses even if getting glasses can remedy the habit.
Myth: You should drink at least 8 glasses of water a day.
- The eight-glasses-a-day myth likely started in 1945, when the Food and Nutrition Board of the National Research Council said adults should take in about 2.5 liters of water a day
- (equivalent to about eight glasses, or two-thirds of a gallon).
- Although most media outlets reported that as fact and stopped there,
- the council actually went on to explain that most of the 2.5 liters comes from food.
- the recommendation should be amended to the following: Drink or eat about eight glasses of fluid a day.
Myth: You should wait an hour after eating before you go swimming.
- This myth has ruined many summer afternoons,
- forcing young and old to swelter in the heat while cool waters beckoned,
- all because they were careless enough to down a PB&J.
- Let the ban be lifted:
- There is no special reason not to swim after eating,
- It’s true that any type of vigorous exercise can be uncomfortable (although not dangerous) after an overwhelming feast.
- But for most of us whose waterfront dining experience includes sand-dusted chips and soggy sandwiches, that is hardly a concern.
- And cramps can happen anytime, whether you’ve eaten or not.
- If you are swimming in waters so rough that a charley horse will mean the death of you, you should probably swim elsewhere.
Myth: Fingernails and hair continue to grow after death.
- This myth is actually just a misperception, and for many years, most physicians couldn’t disprove it, even though they couldn’t quite explain it.
- Here’s what really happens to your nails and hair after you die:
- As the body’s skin is drying out, soft tissue, especially skin, is retracting.
- The nails appear much more prominent as the skin dries out.
- The same is true, but less obvious, with hair. As the skin is shrinking back, the hair looks more prominent or sticks up a bit.
Myth: Shaved hair grows back faster, coarser and darker.
- Here’s a myth you can debunk yourself by paying attention to your own hair after shaving.
- You may notice that new hair grows in with a blunt edge on top.
- Over time, that blunt edge gets worn down, making it seem thicker than it really is.
- But why might recently shaved hairs seem darker than their nonshaved counterparts?
- It could be that those newly spouted hairs haven’t yet been bleached by the sun
- But if you don’t trust your own experimental skills, there’s other evidence that this myth isn’t reality.
- A clinical trial conducted in 1928 compared hair growth in shaved patches to hair growth in unshaved patches.
Myth: Eating turkey makes you drowsy.
- Your excuse for taking a nap after dinner on Thanksgiving just went out the window.
- While turkey does contain a chemical called tryptophan that is known to cause drowsiness,
- your serving of Thanksgiving bird doesn’t contain any more of the chemical than a similar-size serving of chicken or beef
- So why do people feel so sleepy after a Thanksgiving feast?
- It could be the overall quantity of food you eat on this holiday that makes you drowsy.
- Those heaping mounds of carbohydrates on your plate (think dinner rolls and mashed potatoes),
- plus a few alcoholic beverages, will almost certainly make you feel tired.
Myth: Ulcers are caused by spicy food and stress.
- If you think your ulcers are acting up because of the curry you ate last night for dinner, think again.
- Although doctors once believed that ulcers were caused by stress, lifestyle choices or spicy foods, they now know that most ulcers are actually caused by the bacterium Helicobacter pylori.
- Ulcers — sores that develop in the lining of the esophagus, stomach or the first part of the small intestine — can also be caused by certain medicines.
- Aspirin, NSAIDs and iron tablets are the most common culprits
Myth: Poinsettias are toxic.
- Poinsettias aren’t toxic.
- The plants can make people sick,
- but there have been no definitive cases of a person dying from exposure to a poinsettia plant.
- In a paper published in the Southern Medical Journal in 1996, researchers reviewed 22,793 cases of poinsettia exposure that were reported to poison control centers over a seven-year period.
- They found that not one of those cases was fatal. The most severe reactions reported were stomachaches and cramping.
- The myth about poinsettias being toxic may have come from a case, reported in 1919, of a 2-year-old in Hawaii who allegedly died after ingesting parts of the plant, according to a 2012 article in the Western Journal of Emergency Medicine. But the child’s death was never confirmed, nor was the cause of death.
Myth: Chicken noodle soup cures … everything.
- Everybody’s heard that chicken soup is supposedly the best cure for whatever ails you.
- But does this delicious food really help you get better when you’re sick?
- Unfortunately, no.
- The combination of hot broth and yummy veggies is more of a comfort than a cure
- However, some research suggests that chicken noodle soup may work well as a placebo.
- In other words, it may convince you that you’re getting better.