Do you really need to drink eight glasses of water a day? Will reading in the dark honestly lead to blindness?
A new study in the British Medical Journal reveals several widespread health beliefs many of which doctors accept as true are more old wives' tale than medical.
The research, published in the December 2007 British Medical Journal uncovers the real truths behind the top seven medical myths of our time.
Here's a rundown (so next time your beautician tells you waxing is better than shaving you can call her on it):
1. You must drink a full eight glasses of water a day: Research shows it is important for our bodies to consume water on a daily basis but this can be in the form of juices, tea, milk and other watery supplements and food we may consume in our regular diets, rather then just plain water.
2. We can only use 10 percent of our brains: No longer should you be using this as an excuse for having a 'thick' day as the British Medical Journal research here shows that there are in fact no clinically proven inactive areas of the brain and that we do use much more then 10 percent of our brain.
3. After death our hair and nails continue to grow: The study explains after death it is not possible for any part of our body to continue to live and grow. What can be mistaken as growth in hair and nails is actually decomposing tissue and skin surrounding these areas.
4. Reading in the dark effects your eyesight: Though the British Medical Journal study reveals that reading in dim lighting can increase the strain in your eyes and cause short-term focussing problems, it will not cause any permanent long-term damage to your eyesight.
5. Shaved hair will grow back quicker and thicker: Research shows this myth is exactly that … a myth. Shaving has no effect on hair regrowth. It may appear thicker due to the newly grown hair lacking the fine taper seen on the ends of hair that is unshaven.
6. Mobile phone use can be a danger in hospitals: British Medical Journal investigators found little evidence to prove that mobile phone use effects medical treatments in hospitals. In fact, use of mobile phones actually seems to reduce the chances of medical error that may have been caused by hindrances in communication.
7. Consuming turkey can cause drowsiness: It has been disputed here that tryptophan in turkey can cause a drowsy effect after consumption. However, research here shows that there is just as much of it in other foods such as pork and cheese. Other factors, the researchers pointed out, are probably to blame for post roast drowsiness: any big meal can make you feel sleepy. And that, of course, is before those large glasses of Shiraz come into play.
The researchers reportedly chose the seven myths above as they had heard them so often they thought they may be true.